Resting in God’s Goodness

Hey! Quick post today as I’m off to Vegas 👎🏼this weekend (of all places) for my uncle’s celebration of life. He passed away last year due to a lung disease and side effects of agent orange (Vietnam) but thanks to covid we’ve not been able to gather with family until now.

My Uncle Gary is and will continue to be missed like crazy!!! He was seriously thee most full of life and fun guy I’ve ever met.

xoxo❤️

Last weekend our family spent Labor Day weekend in Colorado at a cabin in the mountains. It was such a much needed time of rejuvenation, even hiking was peaceful and relaxing.

Honestly I’ve felt a wave of trials lately and just when I get back up another wave comes. It’s been a tough season…but God. He is always in the midst of our storms and serves as the best source of a life preserver. Consider how a life vest wraps around us to keep us afloat, God goes deeper by encircling us not only in His arms but graciously holding our hearts and minds as well. We feel and get that blessing as we keep in communion with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says this: ‘Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’

Wow! What hope, strength, and renewal we get from the pages of scripture.

In John 16:33b Jesus reminds us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Though the storm may rage the calm can still be felt, our saving grace is found through Jesus!! His ways are higher and His plans are perfect. His love and mercy never run dry. He is good and He is able.

In Jesus I will place my resting hope.

Colorado pics Labor Day Weekend 2021

The highlight of our trip was seeing this moose within twenty minutes of our arrival at the cabin. People call the lion one of the most majestic animals on earth but I think I beg to differ after this guy strolled gracefully upon our cabin grounds.

He was just so confident and it was incredibly soothing observing him as he made his way to the little pond just steps away from our cabin’s deck.

Have a blessed weekend, I’ll be in crummy Vegas (sorry not a fan at all) but spending time with family that I don’t get to see enough will make the positive difference and focus—and for that I am grateful.❤️

Spending Quiet Time With God

During a women’s Bible study I used to be a part of we talked at one gathering about intentionally spending more quiet time connecting with God. Some women were already making this happen daily but many others admitted they were struggling to make it happen at all and they longed to make a change in this area.

Daily time with God (and honestly all-day-long connection with Him) is something I crave otherwise if I skip out I’m a bigger mess than I am naturally, my day feels unorderly, and the people I interact with probably question my desire of love and care.

This wasn’t something I was always great with but like my post from last week about habits, this is one of those habits I’m sooo thankful I started!

There’s a verse that reminds me just how beneficial it is to seek God from the start of the day—in the early waking moments.

Psalm 90:14 says this—

“O satisfy us in the morning with Your lovingkindness, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.”

Pic from YouVersion app

That word ‘satisfy’ catches my attention. The Hebrew translation reads it as saga and it means ‘to be fulfilled.’

I think if we’re honest we all long for fulfillment. Often times though we’re guilty of looking for it where it was never meant to be found—through bank accounts, exercise plans, food, relationships, and so on.

But through God’s word we learn that genuine fulfillment comes through Him, and by digging into His word. This is where our mind and heart’s satisfaction becomes truly fulfilled and in return we express an outward joy.

And notice that verse includes ‘morning’ as a time reference…the thing is when we kick off our morning with God (even just a small heartfelt prayer, a devotion, time reading His word) then we set our day up with hope, encouragement, and Jesus to get us through the rest of the day…all our days!! There’s still a good chance we’ll encounter problems throughout our day but when (or if we do) we’re more likely to reflect on Jesus and handle those curve balls with a better outlook.

Here are some ways to begin and run the day with Jesus (I’m preaching to myself here too because these ideas are just as much meant for my motivation as they are for the next person).

  • Wake up just a little earlier, before distractions undoubtedly slip in and get into God’s word! We will feel much more refreshed from this act, over a few more moments of sleep!
  • Spend time quietly in prayer and praise while waking and when getting ready for the day.
  • Begin a Bible reading plan from the You Version app or use a physical Bible. The You Version app always includes a verse of the day and I love if I’m in a hurry and need some reflection and inspiration to check out the verse because it’s so quick and convenient but incredibly helpful!
  • Subscribe to a daily email devotion: thelife.com this one my husband uses or Proverbs31.org is the one I use.
  • Turn on worship music while getting ready for the day, while driving, or at work, etc.

These things have helped me so much in my faith and growing closer to God, along with writing and blogging. Some days I have more time than other days to spend in quiet time with God or studying scripture but even a little bit makes a huge difference.

God gives us an abundance of resources to draw closer to Him and feel His presence but we have to choose to make it happen!

I would love to know if you have other ways of connecting with God, leave a comment… and as always sweet weekend blessings!!

A Christian Brother

This past weekend we had my youngest brother (Jeffrey) staying at our house while my mom was at church camp. My brother suffered a brain injury from a car accident twenty years ago therefore he needs a caregiver 24/7.

I’ve wrote about Jeffrey a few years ago in a post called Furry Pinball and Faith. Funny title, I know…but the furry pinball was where I described my mom’s spastic Pomeranian and his wild antics. And the faith part was about my brother’s love for Jesus. That post was me sharing on the time I watched the two of them simultaneously for half a week…which I will never do again.

This brings me back to today’s post.

My family and I had Jeffrey for the weekend while my other brother (Johnny and his family) ended up with my mom’s dog, Beardsley. I stopped by Johnny’s house one day last week and ya I definitely got the better end of that deal. Beardsley is crazy. Nothing has changed.

While Jeffrey was with us his 31st birthday landed on Friday, July 23rd so we celebrated by making a cake and then had a birthday party afterwards.

Most of Jeffrey’s birthday gifts were puzzles. This is something he loves doing and has over 150 hanging up in his little apartment. However this particular birthday he was banking on receiving a Huskers book and after all the gifts were opened it didn’t get past him that there was no Huskers book.

This became a problem…all weekend long…regardless of Jeffrey’s short term memory loss there was absolutely no forgetting that the number one item on his wishlist was nowhere in his “presents/presence.”

With my best effort I tried distracting him from the thought of this unpurchased gift but as the weekend progressed so did his irritation.

Several times I reminded him that he could put the book on his Christmas wishlist and in return he very relentlessly and expectantly reminded me that mom might have another surprise waiting for him at home…

I talked to him about the sin struggle of lust—desiring something you don’t have and how that can interfere with your heart’s peace.

I also tried convincing him that the Huskers haven’t even been too great at football for a while now…that didn’t work either. (BTW things may be looking up for them this year).

In the midst of his disappointment though, I noticed Jeffrey praying at random times throughout his stay.

Curiously I listened in as he quietly whispered words of hope to the Lord…

As frustrated as he was over the absence of the Huskers book Jeffrey really just wanted to keep his cool, to hold onto self-control, and to not cause problems. He knew exchanging his personal concerns for truths from God was the best answer to calm his discontent.

And as much of a challenge as it can be for Jeffrey to stay positive as he wrestles negative emotions the same can be true for me also. However I saw in my brother what I often times lack—more often than not when I’m struggling I vent carelessly and prolongedly.

Jeffrey set and showed me a better example.

His issue didn’t go away but prayer became his frequent way out as he stayed connected to God with a commitment that he knew was bigger and better than his problem.

Psalm 55:22 says this, ‘Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.’

Oh if we would all passionately live by and allow those words to ground us, a changed lifestyle and mindset would do us well and bless us abundantly.

…There’s much good to be learned and echoed when we observe a Christian brother’s faithful path.

P.S. When I finally visited with my mom at the end of the weekend she had plans all along to order the Huskers book but just hadn’t had a chance to! No worries though, some valuable lessons were ‘scored’ in the meantime.❤️

Raising Up the Next Generation

There’s an old family church camp about an hour from where we live. It meets just once a year (the last half of July) for ten days and people come and go as they please. Some stay the entire time, some a handful of days, and others just the day or evening.

My girls have enjoyed attending this camp over the past five or six summers. They’ll stay for a week at a time with either my mom or my best friend’s mom who help as children’s craft directors during that time.

Typically I take my girls to camp to drop off or I pick them up at the end of their adventure. I so look forward to these yearly visits, spending the late afternoon and evening taking in the comforting atmosphere of this camp.

Large cedar trees line the north perimeter of the flat buffalo grass campgrounds and at this time of year the surrounding cornfields are tall and green.

Some folks bring an RV and stay on the east side of camp while others rent out cabins on the northwest corner.

I love checking out what activities the kids have been up to and what they’ve been learning in their own little children’s chapel.

Teamwork

Located near the center of the property the old church bell clangs to bring everyone together—announcing wake-up times, service times, and meal times.

In the dining hall savory down-home meals are served three times a day. And sweet iced tea hits the spot on these hot summer days.

Teens washing dishes after supper

Everywhere you look everything is just filled with remarkable charm and an old soul feeling.

After a full belly in the evening hours church service follows. The camp chapel is this 1950s white, barn-style building filled with traditional wooden pews, large open beams and propped open windows. It’s a Jesus-loving, farmhouse-enthusiast gal’s dream.

Chapel in the background
Chapel, my little nephew

Gospel music is sung from old hymnal books during what’s called Harmony Hour and afterwards the featured camp speaker gives an evening service message.

Worship in the chapel

You guys the entire experience warms my heart. It’s such a tie to nostalgic pieces of history where life was slower paced and electronics weren’t all the hype and distraction of today’s world.

There are kids from toddler age to teen, and adults from early twenties to well seasoned. It’s a beautiful array of generations and seeing the older folks get so excited about the younger kids coming…well there just isn’t anything like it.

I took my girls to camp on Monday afternoon of this past week and I enjoyed all the sweet blessings and soaked in conversations with different age groups.

And I left camp that night with this feeling of communion (not the bread and wine type) but communion that serves in a way where a group of people are gathered and their thoughts share the same likeness—an intimacy pointing to Christ and His love.

When I read my Bible reading the next morning it came from Titus 2; I want to share those words with you (this was Paul encouraging and instructing Titus, a trusted and dependable companion to him).

TITUS 2:

Vs. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Vs. 3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Vs. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Those verses cause me to reflect on Imperial Valley Holiness Camp—the way they cater to all ages and you literally get to witness the young and old interacting, enjoying, and respecting each other. Those verses are being fulfilled through this camp as an older generation passes down their wisdom, knowledge, and love to a younger one.

You may not be able to visit this camp for yourself but the heart of it lies within the pages of God’s word.

I pray people would flip open their Bibles and read and see for themselves what a life of hope and beauty can be had, our dark world is in desperate need of truth bent on leading the next generations to Christ.

It’s time to rise up, Christians.

Experiencing Blessing After Tragedy

Just a little forewarning, this one’s a bit downcast, the first part of it anyway.

July 8th, 2021.

When I wrote my post last week, I thought the next one I’d be sharing would be me telling about my crazy, spontaneous Texas purchases (which I plan to do tomorrow) but feelings spur and I can’t skip sharing my heart through a blog post today.

Twenty years ago, to the day, my dad passed away—July 8th, 2001.

I’ve shared that story and thoughts through past posts.

For those who don’t know, my dad ran a bit on the wild side through his teen years and most of his adult life. He provided well for our family, adored my mom and us kids but he struggled cutting loose from longtime addictions with alcohol and marijuana.

Finally (in his mid thirties) my dad broke away from the toxicity and traded it for church attendance and an old time hobby of dirt bike racing. Races usually happened on Sundays so church was typically bypassed in the summer months.

My dad had almost two years of racing in (along with no alcohol or drugs) when tragedy hit.

He was racing (October 10th, 1999) at a motocross event and miscalculated a double jump that left him a quadriplegic and ventilator dependent. Nearly two years went by with him living in rehab facilities.

Taken late in 2000

Over the Fourth of July in 2001 we brought my dad home for a visit not knowing it’d be his last. He had an amazing time visiting family and friends, almost as if it were a set up…

I was seventeen at the time and although I called myself a Christian, my life choices were far from a Jesus-like example. I partied like it was a vital necessity to my self-absorbed teenage life. And during my dad’s unbeknownst last visit there was no exception from my obnoxious traits. I just wasn’t present and I couldn’t see past my vain greed.

On Sunday, July 8th 2001, (with my mom and youngest brother along) I was to drive my dad back to Lincoln, NE where he lived for temporary rehab.

Too naïve to recognize how tired I was I fell asleep behind the wheel. I still have flashbacks of my dad yelling my name, “Alicia, Alicia” as he tried to get my attention, that was the last thing I heard him say. My dad didn’t make it—a blessing in disguise I’ve always thought. My mom and brother suffered severe injuries. I was fine but the mental toll still wreaks havoc at times.

There are so many other details and events wrapped up in all of that, it’d honestly take a book to share all of it.

I look back at that time and boy I wish I could’ve shook sense into that teenage girl I used to be. We don’t physically get those opportunities though but that’s where mercy and grace step in.

Tragedies that we are completely unprepared for happen in life and we’re left with a choice—to sulk in misery or surrender to Jesus with confident hope.

When we choose the latter of the two we’re met with peace, comfort, and direction.

It took me a long time to learn that I would need to fully give my life to God in order to feel true contentment.

Yesterday I began a demo project in my home which I’ll share in a future post and the song Broken Vessels by Hillsong came on as I was reflecting on thoughts of my dad and prying up old ceramic tile from our dining area…

My dad was a carpenter and a darn accomplished one at that, I share the same love. Wearing my ridiculous looking safety glasses tears slipped from beneath them as the words from the song echoed in the background…

All these pieces

Broken and scattered

In mercy gathered

Mended and whole

Empty handed

But not forsaken

I’ve been set free

I’ve been set free

Amazing Grace

How sweet the sound

That saved a wretch like me

Oh, I once was lost

But now I am found

Was blind but now I see

Those words have never been truer and more life captivating to me than now. I feel the power in them and the love of Jesus stronger than ever. I indeed once was a broken vessel, without a shadow of a doubt, but God has collected, mended, and filled this vessel with an abundance of beautiful hope and for that I am ever grateful.

I miss my dad as much today as I did twenty years ago but my choices and my mind are so much more clearer and healthier now that I’ve gained Jesus as He helps me navigate.

Sweet friend I don’t know whatever your struggle may be but turn your eyes and heart to the Father and allow Him to soften the rough areas. He will guide and provide. Precious healing is found in the midst…

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.’ —2 Timothy 2:21 ESV

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

This past week I did a little paint project on my bedroom furniture.

Beforehand the nightstand and dresser were the drab brown color in the photo below and the bed platform was a dark brown with whitewash over it.

I don’t have pictures of everything before painting them because I always get too impatient and excitedly start a project and then think about taking a “before picture” after the fact, hence the reason I only have the pre-painted dresser pic.

We leave for vacation to Texas in about a week and I made sure a stop at Magnolia Market in Waco is on our itinerary.

For those who don’t know, Magnolia Market is basically a shopping center owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines who were the home renovation gurus of the show Fixer-Upper so the market was inspired off of their creative mindsets.

Taking in one of the Gaines’ popular and growing establishments is right up my alley. I love, love, love home renovations, building projects, seeing before and after results. To me these things just feel like a breath of fresh air.

I’m reminded of the Bible verse from 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

Doesn’t that word “new” sound motivational and refreshing?

I want to dig a little deeper though for this devotional today…because while I thought I was going to focus on the topic of a ‘fresh new look’ …when I was studying this morning I came across a verse from Colossians 3:12 and God pointed me in a different direction to reflect on instead.

My bedroom furniture may have a new look on the outside but opening any of the drawers I’m still going to find the same articles of clothing inside. Those dresser drawers still serve the same purpose as they did before painting them, and that’s what matters. The only reason I need those pieces of furniture is because of what’s inside. Painted or not, the point is my clothes are held purposefully inside.

Colossians 3:12 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

According to that verse what truly matters is what’s on the inside, showing outwardly.

Let’s not miss the true beauty of those words.

When we consider our own personal appearance the best features that should show aren’t Maybelline’s sky high mascara plastered to our lashes, nor Mary Kay’s flashiest red lipstick for our pout…and fellas it’s not all about growing an epic Grizzly Adams beard, BUT instead our best representation of our outer-self should be that of “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”

Those attributes weave in as part of the fabric of our being as we make a daily conscious effort to live more like Christ. We are called to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Those should show greatest on our outside image.

After coming across that verse from Colossians and spending time studying over it, sure my newly painted bedroom furniture may be charming but the clothes inside hold more significance. And more so, when I consider how this verse applies to myself, those things pale greatly in comparison to the importance of how I clothe myself from the inside out in a Jesus-pointing, spiritual way. May my best look portray His attractive characteristics.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!❤️

The Answer to Quieting Drama

Of our three little fur friends in our house I could never name one that’s more dramatic than the other.

Eli the older of the two Yorkies is accident prone—to the point it almost seems he does stupid things on purpose such as running into doors. He also dreads bath-time and gets so worked up that he’ll pace around in the house until someone picks him up and forces him to have proper personal hygiene. P.S. He’s the one that’s actually diagnosed as special needs so no worries he doesn’t need to see a vet for any of this, he’s already being medicated by one.

Max the younger Yorkie gets ridiculously fired up if he lays eyes on a balloon, the vacuum, or a pair of scissors for a haircut.

And Taya our chihuahua yips and yipes anytime she gets bumped or hurt in the least bit.

And they all equally identify as guard dogs when someone comes to the door..like their little single-digit weight will take someone down…Actually Taya usually tips the scale to 10 or 11 pounds…she likes her food in large doses and several times a day.

This morning Taya’s back paw lightly got caught on the baby gate that separates our living room and my oldest daughter’s room. (I could call it a dog gate rather than a baby gate because that’s the role it plays in our house.)

She got so riled that I wondered if she had a splinter or if something more had happened. I picked her up and was consoling her and comforting her and spoiling her while she was whimpering and whining…then low and behold here came her mama (my youngest daughter) down from her loft bed to the rescue. When Taya saw Mc the dramatic whining immediately stopped, the tail began wagging wildly, and Taya flew into Mc’s arms and the smothering kisses began!!

She was absolutely, perfectly fine!!

When I think about this I’m reminded of a little child happily playing one moment—oblivious to accidents or danger, followed by a tiny topple and then resulting in an inevitable bumped knee or scraped elbow. The over-the-top, dramatic wailing starts right away and then comes a desperate cry for help, “Mommy! Mommy!” Mama comes to the rescue (just like Mc did for Taya) and she simply scoops her child up, kisses the owie, and maybe covers it over with a band-aide and it’s soon forgotten about.

The recovery time is almost instant…all because of a mama’s love and comfort.

I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gotten way too dramatic in life…emotionally, physically, or mentally but always, always, ALWAYS God is there for the rescue. Every. Single. Time.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. —Psalm 46:1

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them all from their troubles. —Psalm 34:17-18

In our brokenness, with our hurts, even when we’re in a dramatic state of mind God wants us to come to Him.

Knowing God leads to loving Him, and trusting that He is capable of healing anything.

Being in love with God means that when the drama or owies in life come (and they will) we have a Rescuer we can call out to anytime, anyplace. The recovery time God offers in times of hurt and heartache is unbeatable and beautifully life altering.

I pray we would passionately seek Him out regularly in the good times and the undesirable alike.

Sweet weekend blessings to you all!!

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

Insecurities are no fun, plain and simple, and unfortunately they can fester when least expected.

I’ve made progress in gaining confidence in a couple of “big to me” things over the past few years…

The two newest achievements:

1. I’ve graciously embraced my graying hair—determining it’s much easier to just go gray instead of maintain and apply color to my roots every three weeks to try and conceal grays. And I finally don’t mind how it looks.

2. I’ve reconciled with my height—the fact that I’m short and any hope of a growth spurt is decades past me. I’m now good with the idea that I won’t even make five foot with heels on because I’m clumsy, usually in a hurry, and quite frankly flats are much more comfortable! I’ve also learned to give grace to my oldest daughter who constantly rubs it in that she’s “reached” her goal and passed me up by a few inches!!

But after way too long of wearyingly tackling those self-made acceptance boosts, unsurprisingly Satan’s blind-sided maneuvers have discreetly slid in (almost like clockwork) with growing irritation in an unavoidable way.

I’m not sure how this came about but in more recent months I’ve now traded the above issues and instead began “picking” on my intellect. I’ve noticed that whether in a small group or large group setting, if the spot light is on me, I’ll give very brief descriptions or answers out of fear my words or stories don’t make sense otherwise.

This is a problem because it causes me to feel self-conscious. I begin feeding into lies like I’m not educated enough for this conversation. I don’t have enough knowledge to respond. My feedback isn’t going to be interesting enough…and as a result I shutdown.

Coming to grips with the idea of this new anxiety I realize I can’t allow it to continue.

I refuse to give Satan the satisfaction of messing with me.

I’ve had to dig to understand where this is rooting from and how to overcome…

I struggle with PTSD from my childhood and in those moments where I wrestle through flashbacks from those younger years it can be tough to not get stuck in the negative memory of it all. Because of my faith in Jesus I’m usually able to quickly identify when my mind is nearing a dark memory lane and I can cut to a happier path mentally.

In those instances I’m able to consider that my life is new because of Jesus. I’m not that old person anymore. I’m forgiven because of Him. None of the yuck from my childhood was what I asked for BUT God has been able to use it for His purpose. Those truths transition my focus toward a positive mindset.

When I think about getting over this new hurdle, this one where I’ve been beating myself up about feeling “not enough” I know that I can only overcome the lies through Jesus and what He says is true about me, similar to the way I handle those childhood flashbacks. I have to remember that God does the following things for me:

He loves me unconditionally. (Romans 8:37-39)

He equips me. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

He has chosen me. (1 Peter 2:9)

These things are not up to me to come up with on my own, they’ve been offered by a loving and compassionate God—all things from and of Him.

Image from YouVersion Bible app

The same way that I can move and think past any negative I experienced as a child, will be and is the same way I can escape from Satan’s deceptive practices…focusing on the truths (not the lies) ushers in a positive mindset.

Maybe you can or have been able to relate to what I’ve been experiencing. Honesty and sharing our struggles with others speaks volumes of healing. I pray you would join me in fighting against the lies of “not enough” and embrace the steadfast truths felt in God’s amazing love and throughout His unfaltering word.

Side note: Here’s how awesome God works…in the heat of really discovering I was battling these new “not enough” lies, God provided. I had only shared with my very-supportive husband my struggle, so no one else knew. In that time, I showed up to a women’s event (a hidden mess inside) and was sitting at the same table as a sweet friend of mine who handed me a gift bag, inside was this t-shirt with much needed words of encouragement!!

Isn’t it awesome how God works? He used my friend’s love to speak exactly to my situation…only He can perfectly put things together in this way…only Him!!

There’s no reason to ever give up because God out-does the hardship every single time…if not now then Heaven-side.

Always Be Ready…

I spent last week in the beautiful sunshiny state of Florida.

Without even a close contender following, Florida is my most favorite place in the whole wide world. I try to go there every time I get to choose a vacation spot.

This time I was with my mama and my childhood best friend and then my best friend had invited one of her friends.

I’m a little apprehensive to write this post but for the sake of the point I’m trying to make from it I’m gonna go ahead…

I had a conversation while on vacation regarding faith…my Christian views were opposite from this other person’s beliefs. It’s easy and natural for me to discuss my beliefs when others are in agreement with what I believe but when their beliefs oppose mine the conversation that ensues can be kinda difficult.

I won’t go into large detail but there was talk of their “belief in Buddha” and also mention that they’d “never read nor want to read the Bible because it was written by man…and often times pastors are hypocritical.”

You guys!! The coolest thing happened right then and there though…I was actually able to respectfully share my view without stalling on my words. I’m forever saying that I’m a much better writer than talker but this day the Holy Spirit was all over the moment.

I simply (and kindly) responded something along these lines, “I actually don’t agree with that, the Bible notes that it’s the inspired word of God. Yes, true that pastors can be off because they’re only human, but a good pastor will challenge you to get in the word yourself and find out how it’s speaking to you. For me when I read in the beginning of the Bible and it talks about creation of the world and everything in it and how people came about, and I read about sin entering and forgiveness of sins because of Jesus’ mercy and grace, then I can’t not believe every single part of it. When I read it everything just makes sense to me. It’s like a puzzle that fits together perfectly from start to finish.”

I really don’t know if my words at the time made a difference but I can trust God to do His will and way with how He used me and in His own timing. Ultimately it’s always up to an individual to choose how they will respond to God’s invitation when they hear a message. Without being pushy I can only do my part and then leave it in God’s hands afterwards.

I wasn’t really expecting to have that conversation while vacationing in Florida but in the time since I’ve thought about how incredibly important it is to truly live out the verse from 1 Peter 3:15.

And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. —1 Peter 3:15

Situations like what I described above are why verses like 1 Peter 3:15 are included in God’s word.

As Christians we must be able to open up about our faith and sometimes even defend it, to know and trust what we believe, and be able to share that hope with others in a compassionate way.

As long as we’re breathing and communicating with others the opportunity to share our hope of Jesus always exist…doesn’t matter if we’re in the comfort of our own community or vacationing at our favorite getaway…as Christians we must be ready and willing to share our hope in Him!!

APPLICABLE VERSES:

But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. —1 Peter 3:16

Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. —Colossians 4:5-6

Shining Like Stars

Subbing on Fridays seems to be a theme for me lately and that’s what I’m doing today. I like to be able to write and publish blog posts on Fridays too though, so in keeping up with that idea I’ve got a quick one to share!

My Bible reading plan has me in the book of Philippians right now and there are some verses in chapter 2 that have grabbed hold of my heart.

Philippians 2:14-16a—

‘Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.’

I’m not gonna spend tons of time breaking down these verses because I feel like they’re already as plain and simple as can be, which makes it easier to understand Paul’s point—it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to achieve but it’s definitely a good basis for positive instruction.

(You Version app pic)

I’ll be the first to admit I sometimes grumble and argue in the minor and major of life and I know I’m not alone in this…those (above) verses though pull us to veer away from that path and the result is that we “become” blameless and pure.

That word (become) reminds me that this is an ongoing process, we may not get it right every time but by “becoming” blameless and pure we’re headed in the right direction.

We don’t have to grab a magnifying glass to see that we live in a world that is exceptionally warped and crooked. Our obedience to God’s word can make such a difference; the verses I’ve noted go on to say that when we choose to abide, not grumbling or arguing, then we shine among unbelievers like stars in the sky!! And don’t we know that the light we shine is fully capable of pointing those who are without hope towards Him!!

Such a beautiful image!!

Have a blessed weekend—and be encouraged to follow those words from Philippians chapter 2 so that we may illuminate His amazing light for His purpose!!