About Valerie Rumfelt

Valerie enjoys finding new ways to keep her life with Jesus insightful and interesting. She expects to learn more about her friend Jesus and loves to spend time with Him. He is her dearest friend and His word is life to her. She shares her life with her loving husband, Clark, and delights in ministry to others. After serving 20 years with the North American Mission Board(NAMB), (the last six years as directors of Buried Treasures Home), Valerie and her husband now serve with the International MIssion Board(IMB) and will make their home in Japan soon.

The Best Christmas Gift You Can Give

Sunday at FBC Jackson, Mississippi, we recognized the International Mission Board(IMB)missionaries in the church who are obeying the GO portion of the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. This GO is to the nations.

Todd Lafferty and his wife Susan served in the field. Now, Todd is Vice President at the IMB and was our speaker Sunday. The IMB’s strategy is to have people GO to the nations. They equip and train their missionaries and provide for all their needs. IMB missionaries GO without financial concerns. IMB’s theme verse is Revelation 7:9.

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.

Sunday’s message informed listeners on how to help the IMB fulfill its mission. This outline is my notes. I will comment more at the end.

  1. Pray for all nations and proclaim to all people

*This is a life-saving mission.

154,937 die daily without Christ.

2. Add variety to your prayers. Get the app IMB Pray on your phone. Set the notifications for your prayer time, or as a reminder throughout your day. You can pray for the 9 Affinity Groups IMB has identified. I have the app. These are specific requests.

3. Pray for the powerful

*Pray for an umbrella of peace to continue so people can hear the gospel in some nations. Pray this for the United States of America.

*New bible translation in China that blasphemes the Bible. The story of the woman caught in adultery has Jesus telling her that she’s a sinner, He is a sinner, and then he stones her.

*Pray for the persecutors. Pray that persecutors would turn from Saul’s to Paul’s. We pray so they will come to the truth and knowledge of Jesus. Jesus longs for the salvation of all who will hear. We must proclaim to all people.

The penetration of the Gospel into the darkness is dependent on the prayers of those walking in the Light

Statistics from IMB research:

The Gospel is shared with 275,000 weekly.

The challenge ——– 1.5 million people come into the world every week.

IMB wants 500 additional missionaries in the next five years.

IMB wants 500 global missionary partners.

IMB wants to engage in 75 global cities.

The Lottie Moon Christmas Offering is 60% of the IMB budget.

*God desires all people to have saving faith in Jesus

*God deserves the honor of all people

*Christ died to rescue all peoples

***If you are 60 years old, you need a 25-year plan for continued productivity. You can use your life experiences and giftings to reach the nations.

Valerie:

Pray – get the app IMB Pray

Give – to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering through your local church and tell your other friends to do the same. Give here:https://www.imb.org/lottie-moon-christmas-offering/

Gohttps://www.imb.org/go/

Did Covid19 steal your purpose? God still has plans for you. This time last year, my husband and I were in the first stage of the missionary process with the IMB. We didn’t know where it would lead. It was and continues to be a faith journey. In a few short weeks, a new country will be our home. It’s hard to fathom. The mission is overwhelming, but we GO in faith. Pray for us. Give sacrificially. Go if you can.

Why this strange indifference to missions? Why these scant contributions? Why does money fail to be forthcoming when approved men and women are asking to be sent to proclaim the ‘unsearchable riches of Christ’ to the heathen? – October 3, 1887, Pingtu – Lottie Moon

P.S. Masks were worn the entire time before, during, and after service. Removal was brief for the picture.

Did You Wash Your Hands Real Good?

This was a phrase I often heard from my mother in childhood. I think for her, it was important to add those last two words, “real good,” at the end. I believe she knew you could wash your hands real bad. And I think real bad would’ve been everything from just running the water a second or two over the hands, or not using soap, or not washing at all. So to her, “real good” meant hot soapy water and plenty of friction in between the fingers and over the hands, all the while hot water flowed in and around. Finally, the water was turned off, and drying your hands on an appropriate towel would follow. Also, and if need be, straighten the towel back on the towel holder, and turn out the light before exiting the bathroom.

Covid 19 has ushered in all kinds of reminders about hand washing, the spread of germs, and good basic hygiene. I find it amazing that our culture and government support things mamas and daddies are supposed to teach. But if you missed this in your childhood, there is no way to miss it now. 2020 is your year to get the memo!

I’m not too fond of hand sanitizers. When I was a substitute teacher, I saw children’s hands soiled with dirt and grime. As an effort toward sanitizing, children would independently approach the classroom sink toward the plastic bottle of the gel-like substance to “wash” their hands. Sometimes I’d approach and urge the child to turn on the water and use soap to wash their hands. Usually, the child rebuked me to my dismay, telling me that the soap dispenser was empty. Since my paradigm only supports soap and water as a successful handwashing practice, then the choice between hand sanitizer or just water was not worthy of consideration!

People have to choose to be clean. For believers, staying clean before God is a matter of worship and praise, reading His Word, and fellowship with Him in prayer. All this is best done regularly, often, even when you don’t feel like it. When any of these can’t be done, it’s a red light indicator to check on your heart. The Bible says that God looks on the heart. Your mother may have determined your cleanliness by looking on your hands. But God is concerned about both.

Psalm 24:3-4 says: Who may ascend the mountain? Who may stand in His holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.

James 4:8 says: Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Isaiah 1:16-17a says: So wash your hands. Make yourselves clean. Get your evil actions out of my sight! Stop doing what is wrong! Learn to do what is right! Treat people fairly. Give hope to those who are beaten down. Cheer them up.

Psalm 63:4 So I will bless You as long as I live; in Your name I will lift up my hands.

The next time you wash your hands because it seems the right thing to do, think about what is going on in your heart. Usually, you need just to tell Jesus you are sorry, and to help you to think right and to do right. Wash your hands, but be sure while you wash, you’re letting the Spirit in to wash your heart too.

Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind…Psalm 26:2

Holiday Help

The holidays can bring out the best or the worst in all of us. We cram into our schedules unusual activities. We long for scenarios that may never happen, even if it is Christmas. Or, our expectations are sky-high from people that haven’t performed so well up to this point! For some reason, we think the magic of the season will produce a different result or reaction from those who disappoint all year long. The traditions and practices of the season are different from any other time of the year. Everything is different at Christmas.

Why is this?

Is it true that “It’s the most wonderful time of the year?” My mother used to say the whole world seemed to change for the better at Christmas. It seemed to her people acknowledged the Reason for the season. I think she was right. Things were prettier, and people were nicer; the flow of society was happier and more gentle as anticipation grew toward Christmas. The Judeo-Christian values were held dear in most of society, and these values governed so much of our behavior and celebration of the season.

Unfortunately, the world is different, and now more than ever, we must focus on our individual journeys with Jesus to cope with the world as it is. Followers of Jesus must remain faithful to Him and choose Him when much of society isn’t. We truly have to decide to follow Jesus daily.

With that in mind, maybe the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons are more important than ever.

Let’s not allow the darkness to do what darkness does. Darkness will creep into your soul and make you cynical of all that’s happy and bright and of the goodwill still present on this earth. Even today at church, someone asked how she could quit focusing on all the bad in the world.

Here are eight tips for holiday help:

  • Stay with Jesus – Focus on scripture reading, and prayer. Add this to your life if it isn’t already. There are all kinds of Christmas Bible reading plans online. Find one and start it. If you are in this habit already, then keep it going. This daily discipline will save your life and keep you sane.
  • Enjoy the Body of Christ – If regular church attendance is already part of your life, keep that going. Be at your local church as often as the church holiday schedule allows. Our religious freedom is a gift, and corporate worship is God’s idea.
  • Pray for the lost – Your friends and family who don’t yet know Him need your prayers. You may have a divine opportunity around them these next few weeks. You’ll be ready for it if you’ve spent time with the Father.
  • Play the sacred Christmas carols – “Grandma got run over by a reindeer” will be heard a thousand times on any radio station. Raise the essence of the season and download some gorgeous, choral, or orchestral music, and enjoy the grandeur of these long-held hymns of Christmas.
  • Love the ones your with – Be kind, and use manners with those you’re around every day. You will feel better about yourself and your relationship with the Lord.
  • Teach the traditional– Christmas carols, old movies, poetry from days gone by, and lasting beliefs. Snuggle up and share storybooks of Jesus coming to earth. Focus on the biblical more than the secular.
  • Keep good routines – If you have good habits such as eating right, going to bed at a regular time, or exercise, then keep it up. If not, start. All these things are remedies for stress.
  • Serve others – This is basic Christianity and should be done regularly anyway. Work in your local church as there’s often a need for volunteers to greet at the Christmas services, or serve meals, or buy presents for others.
  • Live Christlike – There is incredible suffering, and people who know you are watching you. You can bring the light of Jesus to your world. If you have a stressful schedule, figure out your “no’s”, dig deeper, and lean on Jesus. 

The darkness of this world can breed a cynicism in all of us. As followers of Jesus, we have His light within us and we can be vigilant to keep the light burning as steady as a lighthouse. Let’s not cave in to the world’s darkness. Let’s live as children of the Light because the world has nothing to offer to us. They are searching for the Light. We have to remember…Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

Joy to the world, the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven and nature sing.

God is Bigger Than Your Thanksgiving Stress

The Saturday before Thanksgiving. A disruption of our usual routine. Adjustments will happen this week, and the week will be different. Shorter hours at work, more cooking than usual, more errands. More thoughts, more expectations. Maybe more family and friends, maybe more quiet than usual, less rest, or perhaps more rest. A holiday week in America is here, and we look out onto the next few days, and we think we know what might happen, but sometimes the unexpected occurs, good or bad.

Supposedly a meteor shower occurred while we were sleeping. Isn’t that just like God? Even while we sleep, He is sending showers of blessing, announcing His presence, His all-knowing, incomprehensible intervention, mediation, and celebratory cheering into our lives!

How can this be? My soul thrills to think of my Savior, Creator God, active even in the night when my defenses are asleep. I wonder what it looked like in the transcendent space as this event took place. How much planning went into sending earth such a phenomenon? Just another exclamation point from Him to all the inhabitants on the globe proclaiming, “I’m here. I perform big things. I not only speak them into existence, but I also created each one.”

Years ago, Clark and I decided to wake up and venture into the cool night to attend a predicted and most spectacular meteor shower. If I never see another, that shower’s memory will linger as a most unusual sight and experience; an honor to witness. Each of our oculus uterque took in a supernatural display of light and speed, combined with incalculable distance in dark space! We got to see it. At times during the exhibition, we thought one might hit us! We perceived them to be falling that close to our low and humble presence. We watched hundreds of them light up the sky, and no fireworks can ever compare.

Heaven is declaring God’s glory; the sky is proclaiming His handiwork. Psalm 19:1

As we anticipate the week to come, whether it be lonely, or filled with joy or even pain, our God is still amazing. In all His glory, He faithfully chooses to light up the sky for all who wish to look up and see His glory so evident in His creation.

5 Promises for Peace and Transformation

Covid19 is still here. It’s impacted our lives, and I don’t need to tell you how. It’s quite hard to believe all the changes. We are wondering will things go back to normal. Here are some questions to ponder. Am I still the same? Am I changed? Am I closer to Jesus now? Do I love His Word more? Do I hear God speaking to me? Is there sin in my life that I need to confess and take action to flee?

Of course, we can always choose to be alone with God. A pandemic doesn’t have to be the reason. Do you have gaps in your days because of Covid? These are opportunities. And Jesus is better than any lottery ticket. He is dependable.

When all around you changes, He is not and will not. Hebrews has a verse full of stability and promise, which says, “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.” A world to our expectations is not part of the deal. Actually, in John 16: Jesus says, “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.”

The other morning as I was in my quiet time, I came across all of these gems. Maybe reading these will inspire you to fellowship with God through His Word. There are many more scriptures like these that give testimony to the benefits of reading God’s Word. Ponder these few.

  1. Who knew memorizing it could help you not to sin.

2. This verse clearly explains the usefulness of reading and applying Scripture.3. Wow, let’s pray we love reading God’s Word more than food. 4. Jeremiah expresses a desire to read the Scripture and expresses the benefit. If you don’t have this desire, then pray for it. That is a prayer God will answer.5. Scripture comes straight from the Lord. Living by it is wise—every word.

Today is the day to invest your time reading God’s wonderful word. I have several blogs on this website on writing scripture which guarantees to slow down the brain and bring peace. Here’s one. FREE PRINTABLES are at the top of this site for you to work and enjoy. Suppose you don’t have the desire to get more of God’s Word in your life, pray for it. If you live in sin, you can’t hear from God even if you are a believer. Confess that sin, get out of the sin, and start again living a life that brings glory to Him.

The Bible was not given for our information, but for our transformation. D. L. Moody

Prepare For Thanksgiving

Recently, I was working in my Celebrate Recovery(http://www.celebraterecovery.com/) workbook. For those not familiar with this journey, it is a Christ-centered recovery program based on eight principles from the Beatitudes. It’s for people with hurts, habits, and hang-ups!
Getting out of denial is a step that is crucial to beginning any type of recovery.

Sometimes this time of year brings old conflicts, unresolved conflicts, new conflicts, stale conflicts, same ole conflicts up to the forefront in our minds.

We wonder if things will be different this year, or maybe we hold out hope that a person has changed. Perhaps we wonder if we’ve changed all that much. It comforts me to know that Jesus never changes. He is a Rock, a Strong Tower. (Psalm 18:2 and Proverbs 18:10).

I have to remember I can only be responsible for me. How other people act is not my responsibility.

Today I was talking to someone about how a specific family situation is going to turn out. The person was speculating that if the family member didn’t respond to her good gesture, then this would be sad to her. If the family member does respond, there’s a possibility the response could be with a sharp, snarky retort. For this situation, it would be desirable if the family member responded kindly and with manners. This surely would be proof things were changing or had changed.

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Thanksgiving is coming, and likely, most people will be with other people. Some of them we see regularly and others only on special occasions. Can we get along? With some core ideas to cling to, especially for the Christian, I think it is possible. The Bible says, cling to what is good (Romans 12:9). One of the questions in Celebrate Recovery is

“What areas of your life do you have power(control) over?”

As believers in Christ Jesus, I submit we do have control over some significant aspects of life. The most important and life-changing is our relationship with Jesus. We can talk to Jesus anytime, anywhere.

On Thanksgiving day, when you are with all those “others,” you may find it stressful. You may need to slip away and have a little talk with Jesus. But don’t wait until that day. You can prepare for that special day by spending extra time with Him. Here’s some ideas:

  • Look for some verses to claim( controlling your tongue, focusing your thoughts, gentle conversation, etc.)
  • Write out these verses
  • Pray out the verses over your life and commit to obedience. These verses can become your life, help, and strength.

It’s nice to think about Thanksgiving and being together with the ones we love. We want to have warm feelings and hope for the best. But the reality is, we all struggle, and there are dynamics in families that may or may not ever heal.

  • We have to get out of denial
  • Accept the way things are
  • Keep our focus on Jesus.

If there is nothing we are responsible for in unpleasant situations, then get out of the way and let God be God.

The one thing you can control is your relationship with Jesus. He loves you. He understands your situations. Focus on Him and make some intentional choices to read His word, write out His word, and pray His word.

Prepare your heart for Thanksgiving.

5 Reasons To Send Christmas Cards This Year

Do you still send Christmas cards? If you are a certain age and generation, you grew up with piles of Christmas cards coming in the mail from friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. Displaying them added to your home’s Christmas decor. After each card was tacked up, the scotch tape dispenser would be close to empty, but the door facings in the living room and kitchen were full.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards is one that I love. There’s just something about getting real mail in this highly technological age. And this mail is beautiful and personal! Since the digital age, many choose to send ecards or no cards at all. This post will hopefully quicken a desire in you to connect with others selflessly. If you’ve never sent Christmas cards through the mail or have dropped the idea years ago, then this is the year to send them. People are weary of isolation and need this personal touch in their lives right now. Sure, you have no guarantee you will get a card back from everyone you send one to, but they will know you thought about them, and that is wonderful. So let’s get started thinking differently about this idea of sending Christmas cards.Cards come with glitter, 3-dimensional art, gold and silver letters, foil or vellum lining, shiny graphics, or embossing. It’s eye candy for sure! There’s no doubt about it. This is happy mail! What other time of year can one get correspondence creatively portrayed on paper with thoughtful words inside declaring GOOD NEWS? Not just good news but THE Good News. Perhaps this year, you are thinking of not sending Christmas cards? I think even those of us who love the tradition are tempted in this way. Maybe you have so many people to send them to, and it seems overwhelming. Perhaps you thought that you were the only one that actually sends them anymore.
I want to encourage you not to give in to these ideas.

Here are 5 reasons for you to send Christmas cards:
  • Real mail – People love it when the mail is personal and not a bill or junk.
  • Remembered in prayer –  A family I know keeps every card they receive and places them in a basket. Every day of the year, the family pulls a card and prays for the person or family.
  • Recycle – Christmas cards are gorgeous and can be used to make other crafts.
  • Reminiscent – Each card represents friendship or a memory of a person. A card is a personal act of love. I often keep them from year to year.
  • Reflective – Sending cards through the mail seems nostalgic. Keeping this tradition alive gives people a few moments in their day to reflect on the sender.

When someone makes the effort to purchase the cards, fill out the cards, and mail out the cards, that is a thoughtful act! Whether you enclose a photo or a gospel tract or just your signature, receiving them is a blessing.

There’s no other way to look at it. It takes time, money, effort, and intention to send Christmas cards. Let’s keep this tradition alive and keep sending Christmas cards!

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Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp. Melanie White

5 Ways to Handle a Busy Schedule

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My husband and I are in full-time ministry, and just like you, we are busy. Like you, we struggle with time management, priorities, and just getting the daily list done sometimes. Some days the pressure comes, and it honestly seems no way to get it all done. As the holidays approach, you may find you have to drop some things and add other things. None of us can do it all. Wherever you may be on this struggle to juggle, maybe some of these ideas will help you as they’ve helped me.

1. Make a list– You don’t need a fancy planner to make lists. Use the notes on your phone or other apps. Sticky notes still work great for me. Whatever you use, you will find a sense of accomplishment for every task marked off or deleted.

2.Set the timer – When pressure comes, setting a timer moves my focus from all the tasks. The focus shifts to the job at that moment, and it never ceases to amaze me the satisfaction that comes after a 20-minute time frame. Repeat as needed.

3. Turn on background music – Calm music gives me a sense of being in charge and the manager of my world. It also makes the job more pleasant.

4. Pray – Talk to Jesus everywhere you go. Even when you work from home, talk to Him. When I lose something, I ask Him to help me find it. When I can’t find it, my frustration level doesn’t get out of control, but often I find it. Have you ever paused to ask the Lord to redeem the time? Ask God to be in charge of all you do; how you sound on the phone and talk with others is a good start.

5. Listen to inspire- If you are running errands, choose what you let in your brain. Car time can get the best of you. You can end up with road rage or poor thoughts. Focus your mind on beautiful music. Use your phone to listen to the Bible. Wholesome audiobooks take me to a pleasant place.

Not all days are going to be productive in terms of a list. I’ve sat at my desk at the end of a day with nothing marked off my list. That’s when I think the Lord had another plan for that day.

As the holiday season looms on the horizon, it’s essential to keep some of your usual routines. It’s good also to be open to eliminating some other things which send you to your crazy place. Remember to focus on your relationship with God and place this as a priority if it isn’t. God is the one who gives you your life and honoring Him is a daily joy.

But do everything properly and in order. I Corinthians 14:40

You Can Be The Fragrance Of Christ

Would you like a quick and easy idea for loving your neighbor? Now and then, I may post a healthy recipe or a decorating idea or helpful hint. It isn’t the blog’s central theme, but it does follow in line with following Jesus, which is the theme.

Today, I want to share with you an idea my sister had in service to her neighbor. It’s simple, but I know her neighbor appreciated the beauty brought into her life when my sister delivered flowers to her. My sister’s home grown roses invited the neighbor to lean into them and savor their fragrance immediately, an instant blessing. But the beauty will last for days inside her home.

The flowers are called Belinda’s Dream Roses. The vase is a spaghetti sauce jar wrapped in a lunch bag and a tied bow. So simple. So lovely. Another variation you could add to this is some glossy Modge Podge to shine up the bag a bit, but it is outstanding the way it is. You may not have roses, but if you do, this is an easy, quick idea for sharing God’s beauty with others. It’s recyclable since the jar can collect something like coins or place a candle inside. Even the bag is useful to ripen fruit or clean your window.

In the comments below, share a simple idea like this, you use to encourage others.

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads in every place the fragrance that comes from knowing him. For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

How You Can Be Prepared for God’s Plans


When was the last time you thought about a beaver? Me either, but these interesting rodents recently came to mind when I pondered being ready for whatever is coming. Curiosity led me to research these non-hibernators. Beavers have a method of gnawing on trees and branches near a stream. This begins the process of building a dam and a home for themselves called a lodge. These creatures choose a shallow body of water. Choosing this protects them later from a build-up of ice in the winter. The build-up would slow down their ability to go to and fro in their engineered paths for food. They strip away from the trees and bring along other limbs, twigs, stones, and other plants for this intentional endeavor. The result; survival. In addition to this fundamental need, the dams serve as protection from those who seek to devour them; predators.

Beavers offer some analogy for us as humans. At times in our lives, we may choose to let go of unnecessary things, just like animals shed their fur to stay cool. This is good. But more often than not, it is God who orchestrates processes to cause this. The letting go can be in many forms and can come quickly or over time. This process is to get us prepared. Some choose to cooperate with God in this process, others dig their heels in.

Who could have predicted an unseen, worldwide, pandemic, and all it’s ramifications? Covid 19 shut down gyms for a while. Was this a routine in your life? How did you adjust and prepare for the new season? Did you get creative and find other ways to stay fit? This is an every day example, but twists and turns that require our adjustment come and we must be prepared. We won’t always have time to get prepared. Consider the following scenarios: a tragedy of some kind, a natural disaster, the death of a close loved one, a financial collapse, incarceration, a move to an unlikely place, a call to ministry or missions, a terminal diagnosis, or being caregiver for a vulnerable person. It could be God is calling you out of your comfort zone, and you need to prepare for your next assignment, or the surprise of a godly man or woman entering your life as your future mate.

Back to the beaver: eventually, the dam or the lodge is built. Its functions and purposes are in place, and the beaver begins life in its new ecological home. Survival in a new season instinctually led the beaver to build a shelter. In contrast, we can often ignore or procrastinate when action is needed. We spend more time than required asking why. We complain. We need time to process, and we wish things would go back to the way they were. We have no interest in being challenged or surrendering to God. Beavers? They do what’s necessary for life and living and survival. They do these acts of survival year around. I know I can learn some things from these nocturnal, busy, and intentional creatures.

Our God is sovereign, and He is powerful, and nothing comes into a Christ-followers’ life can be wasted or unplanned. There are no surprises to God. Since this is true, then why does it take us so long sometimes to get on board with His plan? The beaver knows what is required and gets about doing it. The result is efficient, prepared, and ready for whatever may come. We can do the same. God is not interested in us being ill-equipped or unprepared for life. We can adjust ourselves to God.

Our ability to adjust seems related to our ability to trust our Heavenly Father.

So just like the beaver, we can build our earthly life efficiently, with preparation, and live in the reality of what is instead of what we wish it would be. We can grow no matter how old we are, no matter the situation. We can be ready for what God has. It doesn’t mean we won’t have fear or anxiety, but I humbly submit when I incorporate specific disciplines and habits, my response improves when the challenge comes and when life is changing. I also know the enemy is prowling, and he preys on those who are idle and unprepared. Christ’s followers are in the Lord’s army, and we must have a soldier’s readiness. We don’t want to cooperate in any delay of God’s plan, do we?

Here are some practices and disciplines I’ve learned which help me. I’m still growing, and need God’s mercy and help every day of my life.

Tips to be Prepared for Life:

Memorize and meditate on scripture – The Bible is God’s Word and the roadmap for life. As followers of Jesus, He expects us to obey it. The more scripture you have inside of you, the better your foundation for action when the plan comes.

Pray – Prayer is meeting with our Father. We are talking and listening, but mainly we are in His presence. If you want to feel close to God, intentionally set times aside to pray. When the plans begin to change, you will be at peace.

Keep your mind clean – Just because adults can view it doesn’t mean you have to view it. Be discerning and be vigilant to guard your mind. Your mind is a camera, and every word and image is inside your brain. Jesus tells us to love Him with our minds. You will be better able to love Him with a clean mind.

Exercise and care for your body– We tend to feel better about ourselves when we do this. Giving in to every indulgence is not useful for building yourself for service to Him. Discipline and self-control are all close to God’s heart. He writes about the body in His word. It’s essential, and you will be ready for any new plans coming when you care for your body.

Love the Church – Beavers stay in groups and care for one another. God has given us the church body to love and serve. Attend your local church, serve your local church, love other believers. Live in unity with every believer.

Be weak – God cares, and He can perfect those weak and faithless places in you. Weak people depend on God. Our faith hangs by a thread sometimes. He is your dearest friend and loving Shepherd. Humbly seek His help and ask Him to make your faith strong.

The next time you sense your life is about to change. Consider how you will respond. Ponder one of God’s most unique creatures, and have a winning response. Success in life is when you walk hand in hand with Jesus. Faithfulness to Him. The beaver is prepared. It ends up with shelter, an efficient way to get provisions, and a fun and safe place to play in the water away from predators. Jesus is our shelter, our safe place, and He desires we live in the joy of His presence.

God is the God of ‘right now.’ He doesn’t want you sitting around regretting yesterday. Nor does He want you wringing your hands and worrying about the future. He wants you focusing on what He is saying to you and putting in front of you … right now. Priscilla Shirer

Hope Realized

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This is a 2nd blog on Hope. In the previous blog, I explored the two kinds of hope, Living and Eternal. I wrote about the longing for heaven and the truth that for every believer, Jesus is our HOPE.

So with this longing, we as humans seem wired for more. We can chase a person, an experience, a goal, but we will never find eternal or living hope.

 Our souls long for a more beautiful, fulfilling, timeless place. We keep looking for heaven on earth. It is not here.

Every disaster, tragic event, scary medical report, broken vow, abandoned child, aging parent, even our physical limitations scream to us to put our hope in God, our eternal, and living God.

We are His children, not belonging to this world. Our hope is realized in Him every day. If you’re struggling to live in hope available to you in Jesus, these steps may help you.

1. Acknowledge Your Need for God’s Help

Our most significant problems generally involve other people. We need to surrender our sinful desires and acknowledge God is in control. We repent of our desire to control and we give that person or situation to God. He can then provide solutions, and walk with us through the troubled waters.

2. Read your Bible

Romans 15:4 states: “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.”

Believers have the holy Word of God to study, ponder, and digest. You likely have several copies near to you right now. The Bible is the manual for the Christian. I have found the spiritual disciplines that relate to God’s holy word do provide that encouragement that Romans 15:4 states. A treasure chest of divine options awaits those who go deep.

3. Believe you are not alone

I Peter 5:9 states: “Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters worldwide are going through the same kind of suffering you are.”

It seems expected that believers will have hardship. We have an enemy. The fact that our fellow Christians are experiencing much of the same wherever they are is comforting. This is an opportunity to pray for those who may be going through what you are.

Serve others – The enemy of our souls loves us to feel alone, isolated. He is very patient and looks for these kinds of opportunities to discourage. Don’t let him have them. When alone, spend time with the Lord. Go to church, serve in some way at your church, or through your church. Please get to know your neighbor and help them.

4. Believe you have a future glory

2 Corinthians 4:17 states: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Our suffering is not in vain. Here’s why. There’s nothing like pain to get our attention. In my blog, more phrases that have changed my life is this quote, “Well, God’s got their attention now.” We grow in times of pain, and our character is being made more like Jesus.

We also learn how to help others. When something similar happens to another person, we understand better how to assist them. The last reason our suffering is not in vain is that

5. God will be sure we gain on the other side of eternity.

This world is not our home. We are strangers. We must live here and show the world our love for Jesus by how we choose to live our lives. This is a temporary assignment. Our problems are temporary, and yet, sometimes, we act like they are here to stay. We let them define us, and live like we have no hope. This is a lie.

For those in Christ, eternal and living hope is ours now and in the not yet. 

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. I Peter 1:3-5 (MSG)

Dear Eternal and Loving God, thank you for the hope you give to all who know you through your Son, Jesus. Help us not to chase temperal things. We have so much in Christ! Help us to follow you so we can experience this hope every day of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Hope is Real

Do you have a favorite word? One of mine is hope.

Hope is real, and it lives in truth and can’t be mistaken as false hope. When a person makes things way too optimistic regarding something that has a strong chance of not happening, that is false hope. In error, humans often choose this.

False hope, when finished leading you on, leads to despair.

Losing hope teaches us to live in the light of real hope. I’ve had just enough pain in my life to know how valuable hope is to my emotional survival. I’ve experienced its power!

The Bible speaks of 2 kinds of hope.

Eternal Hope. Eternal means it is going to last! It’s without end. God is infinite and without end.

Living Hope. It’s living because it resides inside our spirit. Because of the resurrection, Jesus is our living Savior, our living Hope.

Hope makes life

worth living,

worth striving for,

worth fighting against the darkness,

worth every ounce of directed energy to hang on to,

diminishes skepticism with quiet confidence,

and…

overrides doubt.

There’s no easy path to get to this point.

We may go through storms, dark tunnels, raging rivers, sleepless nights, and the question of why. As we cling to Jesus, we find His promises are true, and He is faithful. In the end, we learn, He is our hope.

Hope has, within its nature, longing for more. That’s when a believer looks to a life promised beyond this. Heaven. Those in Christ have a home in heaven.

Looking forward to heaven is closely aligned with hope.

Hope, for the believer, causes a radically different approach in terms of residing on planet earth. It’s about WHO is our Hope. Because of Jesus, our spirit is sustained, no matter our circumstances. We, as believers, have the God of Hope living in us. Even in the dark nights of the soul, we have a God big enough to absorb our despair and aching souls. He is our Hope.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

This concept of hope is too big to cover in one blog. I will post more about this supernatural quality given to every believer in Christ Jesus. Until then…

“Hope is one of the Theological virtues. This means that a continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” C.S. Lewis

Faithful God

b643d909-06d5-44c9-95e7-01bc16b096d5No matter what, if you are a follower of Jesus, you can count on Him to come through. It may not be the way you would choose, but you can trust whatever the way, He is busy working it out for your good and His glory.

One of my go-to passages from the Bible is out of Lamentations 3:22-24 which says,

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

It does require waiting, but His word promises HE is enough.

Recently, I discovered the connection between this Lamentations passage and the glorious hymn, “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Thomas Chisolm wrote the words to this hymn in 1923. He was inspired by this Bible passage in Lamentations, and later it was put to music. I’ve known this song longer than I can remember. Congregational singing in church brought it into my life, and years of hymn singing put it to memory in my mind.

Enjoy it here.

Wherever you are in your life, as a believer in Jesus, you can know HE will be faithful to you and your circumstances. He is our faithful God.

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if we are faithless,
    He remains faithful,
    for He cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

 

Imagine Your New Life

In our church, often, songs with the themes of heaven and grace are sung. As we all join together heralding this good news, the idea of this blessed condition makes me weep at times. While singing, my mind ponders how freeing it is to live a life indelibly marked by the grace of Jesus. None of us deserve this grace. Gratitude often springs from my heart because I know without the Lord, my life would be as dark as the night sky with no hope of a new day. Quite the opposite is true, and I know it is because of the grace of Jesus.

If you are a follower of Jesus, surely you know and experience the grace of God daily!

He cares so deeply for His children, and His love is boundless and inexhaustible, and unfathomable.

If you aren’t a follower of Jesus, you may wonder how to make sense of it all. Surely, observing the events of our day would rattle the most stable person and cause questions to swirl. I’m wondering if you are in that state now; would you be looking for lasting peace?

The One who lives inside me is the only One who’s been able to give my life peace, purpose, and a plan. He is my stability and my joy.

This all-encompassing God also has a place reserved for me in Heaven. I know this for sure, and it’s not because of anything I’ve done. It’s actually because of everything He did for me when He died on the cross. Then, when I chose to receive His gift of salvation, certainty and assurance became my eternal hope.

I don’t deserve this one bit.14817349-b429-4450-b53f-185aa2348732

This gift came at the most supreme of sacrifices. God sent His One and Only Son to this earth with a mission to die for my sin and your sin. Receiving this gift has nothing to do with anything I’ve done. I am not a good person, nor do I have to do good works to earn this salvation. Any good coming from me is only because of Jesus and His righteousness. Any good works I do spring from my love for Him.

My faith is in the person of Jesus, not a religion. Because of Jesus, my heart is more tender to this world, and prayer is my response. I don’t lose hope. I know there are spiritual forces at work in this world.

Certainly, I’ve decided to follow Jesus, which means my life focuses on being part of the solution to the world’s ills. But my hope and peace are not found in this world. This world, as we know it will not last. So how does one find this peace? How can one have peace with God in a world shattered in pieces?

Consider these verses:

John 3:16 & 17 – “For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.

John 14:6- Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Romans 3:23 -for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…

Romans 6:23- For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8-9 – I mean that you have been saved by grace through believing. You did not save yourselves; it was a gift from God. 9 It was not the result of your own efforts, so you cannot brag about it.

Acts 2:21 – And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

If you believe what you’ve just read, then you can ask Jesus to come live in your heart and He will. By recognizing your need for Him, you can begin a relationship with the eternal and loving God. It is the best decision you will ever make. Once you do this, you will want to find a Bible-teaching church to attend. You can find several resources on this blog about reading the Bible and learning to walk in His ways.

Dear Jesus, if I don’t know you, I pray now and ask you to come live in my heart. I need you to forgive me of my sin. I believe you died on the cross for my sin and rose again. Please take my sin away and come live inside of me. I want my life to count for you. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

Improve Your Quiet Time

If you are a follower of Jesus, then having a quiet time is something you do. It’s part of who you are as His follower. It’s a time for Him to talk to you through His Word and time for you to speak to Him in prayer. This is the relationship we all learn about, and yes, it’s that simple, and yet it is profound.

I’m an advocate of a morning quiet time. It gets the day started right by filling your soul with His powerful Word, leaving your burdens with Him, and humbling yourself and letting Him lead the way.

God’s Word is not dull, but sometimes this discipline could use some variety. One thing I started a few years ago is scripture writing. Writing scripture affects my spirit, much like a good night’s rest feels. A sense of well being emerges and the truth of scripture seems to magnify before me.

You can add this practice to your quiet time, simply choosing passages in the Bible to write. But, there are some great minds out there who have made it super easy by compiling lists of scripture by the month. Just google “scripture writing,” and you will find the options. Choose one, make a copy of the plan, gather a notebook and pen, and you’ll be ready to start this new adventure with scripture.

So let me tell you how I use scripture writing:

  • I find the passage in the Bible, and I read it, sometimes out loud.
  • I write the scripture passage in the notebook. As I write, I try to absorb the words and meanings.
  • Often, I place my name, where there are personal pronouns. This technique personalizes it for me.
  • I look for keywords such as repeated words, words that describe the human heart, words that describe God’s heart, a command, a list, action words, consequences, or a promise and more.
  • I circle, underline, make squiggly markings around these elements. Out beside the scriptures, I write any question the scripture prompts, a praise, a statement the Holy Spirit is pressing on me. I call all this diagramming Scripture.
  • After “diagramming” the passage, I may write out a prayer based on the scripture.

This entire process takes only a few minutes. By the time this is done, God’s spoken through the passage, and the activity of prayer follows. Sometimes I make the scripture passage the start of my prayer time. The scripture writing I’ve used most recently is https://theplanningwoman.com/scripture-writing-plans-2020/

Having a morning quiet time is a daily spiritual discipline that involves you interacting with our holy God. Time spent with God brings assurance of His Presence all day and guides you in His way. Beyond transforming your mind, your life will bring more honor and glory to Him because you met with Him. Embrace your time with God each morning.

The secret to a happy life is giving God the first part of your day, the priority to every decision, and the first place in your heart.

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