A Broken and Humbled Heart

“The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.  You will not despise a broken and humbled heart, God.” Ps. 51:17

Have you ever felt an urgency to lay face down on the ground and present your petition to God the Father?  It is a need so great that it is there you can only find relief and peace.

Over the years, I have prayed prayers of blessing, protection, and healing over my family, friends, and myself.  There were many times God felt distant.  My prayers became more urgent until I was weary and confused by what I thought was God’s inattention to my request.

It is during those desperate times that my Heavenly Father almost seems to push my stubborn spirit to my knees and face down before him.  It is in those moments of total despair that I become humbled before the Creator of the Universe.  No longer am I praying empty prayers.  Instead, my heart is broken and my pleas are filled with tears.

As I am face down before the Lord, I envision myself in his throne room.  It is just the two of us.  I am curled up in the Lord’s lap.  With tears streaming down my face, I rest my head upon his chest.  I listen to his beating heart and hear my Father’s soft, tender voice whisper, “Be still my child.  I am God.”

The world in which we live is falling apart before our very eyes.  Around me are so many sick people who need healing.  Our nation is making decision of when life begins and ends (only God knows our days). People are lost and need a Savior.  This list goes on and on and my heart is broken.

Today is one of those days in which I feel the need to fall to my knees and let God still my heart and bring peace to my soul.  What about you?

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Hope

“For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration— “plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 CSB

With the arrival of 2019, I am ready for a new beginning.  I need a fresh start and a clean slate.  Each new year brings the hope that schedules will be less hectic, the family will be well, finances will be stronger, and the best part, a vacation will come without interruptions.

However, sometimes our best laid out plans for the new year may not play out as planned.  Hectic schedules supersede our well-planned calendar, family members fall sick, finances spin in to a frenzy over a broken appliance, and vacations vanish off the radar.  It is then we often wonder what happened to the hopeful new year.

Ladies, there is still hope.  It resides with our Heavenly Father.  He never leaves us.  He is in the midst of every situation, good or bad, that comes into our lives.  Hope is what keeps every Jesus believer anchored.

Yes, life does not always play out like me want.  Even our perfectly laid out plans can and will change.  However, we must remember that our God has the best plans in mind for us.  After all, he is the one who created each of us.  He knows our days.  He knows what trials will come in to our lives.  He knows we will struggle.  He knows the joys and sadness that life will bring.

As you enter this new year, hang on to the hope found in the salvation of our Lord Jesus.  Remember, this world is not our home.  We have a promise that we have an eternal home in heaven.  Girlfriends, that is HOPE with a true new beginning that will last for eternity.

 

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Make Sure You Have All the Ingredients

No one can ever label me as “Betty Crocker.”  Most dishes I prepare are very simple and no fuss.  Even my mom, who was an excellent cook, decided my culinary skills were lacking.  We won’t even discuss my artistic ability, my mind for math, or my successful sewing feats.  Nope, just not going there.

Well, I decided the other day to make homemade chocolate chip pumpkin bread.  Yes ladies, I know it is August and pumpkin season has not arrived.  However, when your six-year-old grandson pleads, “Vivi, will you make your chocolate chip pumpkin bread for me,” you step up to the plate.

I purchased my ingredients only to get home from the store to discover my eggs were still at the store.  I rushed back to town, gathered the eggs, and raced home.  By now, I am frazzled.

I doubled check to make sure the ingredients were on the counter and proceeded to mix the sweet-smelling bread.  As I am pouring the mixture in the pans, I noticed the mixture was a little off. I was not worried.  It had been a year since I made pumpkin bread.  As I went to open the oven, I spied my can of pumpkin . . .UNOPENED on the counter.  I dumped the loaf pan contents back into the mixing bowl and ADDED the pumpkin.  Ah, there was the perfectly smooth mixture I remembered.  The pumpkin bread batter poured evenly into the prepared baking pans and a sweet pumpkin spice smell filled my home.

Ladies, have you ever done “all the right things” for the Lord but left out the most important ingredient-THE LORD?  Did your “right thing” turn out to be God’s plan?  Did the “right thing” go smoothly without the Lord?

If you are like me, I often focus on my “right thing” and check off the box.  I tend to go in head- strong on a project that I believe is the “right thing” without consulting with the Lord.   The result is a sticky mess that I must correct.  However, once I put the Lord into the mix, things run smoothly.  I know that I need to have all the right ingredients for my day to run well or my project to go smoothly.  With the right ingredient-the Lord-our life will be a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Purging

In our home during the New Year weekend, we began an all in clean out.  Clutter was in the garage, the attic, and in our closets.  My pastor husband toted items to the trash bins and to Goodwill.  It felt good to purge out our clutter and start with a clean garage, attic and closets.

I wonder as ministers’ wives if we should do some purging in our lives.  Think about it:

*Does bitterness hide in the corners of your heart?

*Has a hurt taken root and become a tree that helps your distance yourself from the person who caused your pain?

*Has Satan whispered lies regarding your personal appearance or performance causeing you to be inward focused?

* Have you forgotten your first love-Jesus?

If we are all honest, we have one of these issues or a similar problem cluttering our lives and spoiling our relationship with Jesus. 

I know in my own personal experience that clutter around our house causes tension and chaos.  We can never find an item and that brings on frustration.  However, when we clear out the clutter, life is much easier and peaceful. 

The same holds true with our spiritual lives. When our spiritual lives are lacking, we need to take time to examine what is going on.  If our lives are loaded down with life’s lies and messes, we cannot have freedom in Christ.  We cannot truly focus on our Heavenly Father.

I challenge each of us to examine our hearts in this new year and see what is cluttering our relationship with Christ.  Once we discover it, PURGE it!

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A Simple Christmas

As a minister’s wife, my life is jammed packed from September through December.  I rarely stopped to think about Thanksgiving or Christmas until a couple of weeks before the big days.  This year has been no different.  However, I have decided that Christmas will be a little simpler this year.

Oh, we will stay with our family tradition meal started by my parents-a Mexican Fiesta.  However, gift giving is going to be smaller and I hope a little less stressful.  The following are some ideas that I have come up with and some ideas are borrowed from various people.  Hopefully, an idea or two will help you keep your sanity during this Christmas season.

*For a child-Fill a small box with new PJ’s, a book, and a snack.  Allow this gift to be opened on Christmas Eve.  You can also do a simple variation of this gift for an adult.  Just have fun with it.

*Have your children make gifts for their grandparents.  (Grandparents have everything they need).  As a grandmother aka Vivi, I look forward to getting handmade presents from my grandsons.  I especially love receiving ornaments with their hand prints/footprints on them. These gifts are precious treasures to me and remind me to keep making memories with my babies because they are growing up too fast.

*Stuffing a stocking can often break the bank.  Stay on budget by shopping the local dollar store.  I love Dollar Tree.  This store has great ideas for all ages.  For instance, create a stocking filled with snacks for your college age child.

*To provide some laughter on Christmas Day, play a game.  Purchase various $5 gift cards (Starbucks, Sonic, McDonald’s etc) and give as prizes.  My family loves this idea.  (By the way, if you shop at Krogers, download the 4x the fuel points digit coupon NOW, and on each gift card purchased at Krogers, you will receive 4x the fuel points).

*Instead of busting your budget on high ticket items or buying tons of gifts for your family, try purchasing only three gifts-a need, a read, a wish.  (Remember the Christ Child received three gifts at his birth).

*Weather permitting bundle up on Christmas Eve and walk outside to look at the sky.  Read the Christmas story outdoors.  Be amazed that God sent his only Son from  Heaven’s high throne to be born of a humble birth in order to save us from our sins.

*Because our family is scattered in different directions, we have decided not to exchange gifts.  We would much rather eat well, laugh a lot, and spend quality time together.  (We still purchase small gifts or give money to our sons, their wives and our grandchildren).

*Grandparents, instead of a big expensive gift for your grandchild, put money toward their future college education.

As I said these are just a few ideas I have to simplify my Christmas.  I would love to hear some tips that you may have.

Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas season!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dreams

Have you ever thought about the path God has chosen for your life? Does it match up with your childhood dream?

All my life I have loved to read books and write little stories.  As a grade school child, I imagined myself writing fun books for children.  It so happened that my cousin was a very talented artist (she even became a successful commercial artist and then at the age of forty decided to pursue a medical degree).  When my cousin and I saw each other at holidays, we would “create” cards for our family.  She would design the card and I would write the verse.

Then as a teen I attended a Career Day at my high school.  I decided to be adventurous and explore a career as an airline hostess.  I mean I grew up with an amateur pilot dad who built experimental aircraft.  He would also take our family flying occasionally.  Becoming an airline hostess met my love of flying and traveling in one package.  Sadly, that door closed quickly because back in the late 70’s, a hostess had to stand between 5’4″-5’10.”  If I stretched really hard, I stand 5’3″.

Still God opened another door.  I married my high school sweetheart who had surrender to the ministry, and I became a pastor’s wife.  No, I don’t write children’s books. Thanks to Shutterfly,  I do create fun stories for my grandbabies. Also, I am humbled to share my life lessons of ministry through two blogs, and I occasionally write for a couple of publications.  No, I don’t fly to exotic places.  However, I have traveled around the country and the world sharing Jesus.

No, I will never be an airline hostess even though the regulations have changed.  Yes, I still dream of publishing a “real” children’s book.  However, I would never change the path God has chosen for my life because it is pretty awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Brazil Bound

It seems like forever since I posted on our blog site.  The last several months have been a whirlwind of activity including babysitting my grandsons, the sudden death of my mother-in-law, and helping to sort through items at my in-law’s home.  Top that with all the church activities and I lost track of posting a blog.

So today I apologize for my absence and ask that you forgive a sister who is struggling to keep pace with life in general.  As I pondered what to write about I decided to share some prayer needs for our church’s upcoming mission trip to Brazil.

On Sunday a team of nine will travel to Sao Paulo, Brazil for a twelve day mission trip.  After we check into the hotel, we will literally hit the ground working.  For the next eight days we will have very little to no down time.  Every day we will be working with our host church to do door to door evangelism, prayer walking, Vacation Bible School, Sports Workshops, evening bibles studies and also have a three night revival service.  In addition to these activities, we have the opportunity to go into public schools (yes, public schools in Brazil welcome people coming to share the gospel).  We will spend three morning in different schools in the area talking with students and teachers.  As you can tell there are plenty of opportunities for the gospel to be shared.

On the ninth day of our trip, we will fly to Rio and team up with a missionary who is preparing for the Olympic Games.  The plan is for us to do more prayer walking, street evangelism and some ministry on the beach.  I think it is exciting to know that hundreds of people from around the world will come to Rio.  Many of these individuals will hear the gospel for the first time due to the many volunteers and missionaries who will be in place during the games.  Please pray for the Christian volunteers and missionaries as they seek to share Jesus with the world.  Pray for the people to have open hearts to receive Jesus.

My last request for prayer is for our team’s welfare.  Pray for safe travel (air and land).  Pray a hedge of protection over us regarding our health.  (As you know South America and other regions including Arkansas have the Zika Virus.  This virus has been in these areas for years but due to the Olympic Games, it has become world knowledge).  We know God has called us to do His work and that He will provide the protection we need.  Also pray for our strength.  Because this trip is long and every day is full from the time we wake till late night, we will be tired.  By the seventh or eighth day of little sleep, working on emotions, stress due to adjusting to a new culture, our bodies will be exhausted.  We need a good dose of Jesus strength to keep us focused.

I truly appreciate your prayers for our team.  I love each of you and hope to post again soon after I return to the states.

God bless you!

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