Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our God Will Not be Moved

I pretty sure God has a good sense of humor, because He's constantly reminding me, " Amy, you're not in charge. You can't control this. Smile. Shrug your shoulders and take my hand..... Day by Day, Step by Step, Hand & Hand with God...... you named the blog."

Over the past week or so, this family has seen it's own little ups and downs, and through it all, God reminds me..... " I'm still here," usually through my favorite means......
and tonight was no different.

Just as we're getting ready for bed, we received some last minute information that just sent me into a tailspin of, " How do I do it all? How do I get it all done? I don't even know where to start. Lord, please help."

and then in my head pops these words......

"Our God will not be moved 
Our God will never change 
Our God will reign forevermore "

"So I’ll stand and trust 
I’ll stand in faith 
I will not be shaken"
Yes God, I'm listening.... and yes you're right.
Psalm 62:5-8 
(NIV) Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Yes Lord you are my rock, my shield, my fortress 
my salvation and my strength 
and you heard my cry for help 
Your my refuge, my high tower 
my deliverer so strong 
So I’ll stand and trust 
I’ll stand in faith 
I will not be shaken 
My God will not be moved 
My God will never change 
My God will reign forevermore

What more is there to say?
I know God's got a smile on His face as He DAILY reminds me
Take it all....
Day by Day. Step by Step. Hand in Hand with Him.
I Will Not Be Shaken by Jacob Park and Tommy Walker

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Counting my Blessings - Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Dear Lord,
Today I am reminded..... thank you for my 5 children on this earth: Lisa, Ariel, Amelia, Michael, Kaitlyn and 2 in Heaven : Hope & Grace. I love you all. 
Read my story Why I Feel Called to be Momma

Psalm 139

1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
19 If only you, God, would slay the wicked!
Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!
20 They speak of you with evil intent;
your adversaries misuse your name.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord,
and abhor those who are in rebellion against you?
22 I have nothing but hatred for them;
I count them my enemies.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Motivating the Un-motivated

Motivating the Un-motivated, that was the title of myTeacher Certification workshop today at Region 7. These are all required 6 hour classes once a month, and although we are to do nothing with complaining or arguing, I don't think many of us are "TRUELY" enthusiastic to spend a day in " Saturday School."

So, like all the other first year teachers, I drug myself out of bed this morning and went to learn all about Motivating the unmotivated, knowing full well I was REALLY unmotivated.

However, the day surprised me. It was not like some of the workshops I had attended where it was strictly lecture on "business," and the "education system." Today's was honestly Motivational - NO JOKE - honest to goodness, it was a God thing.

The guest speaker today was a Dr. Eric Cupp out of the DFW Metroplex Area. He's a motivational speaker who has spent the last 30 years working mostly with At Risk kids and teens. He's a fantastic story teller, riveting. I had notes all over my page and then some!

His philosophy is simple, It's all about the moments, life's moments, don't miss them. Grab them. Cherish them. Make them count!
and he got me thinking.......
What are those moments in my life that have been ** MARKED** moments in my life that have truly made an impact on my life to get me where I am today and help me become who I am today. You might be surprised at some of my answers, and then again, maybe you won't. But I'll share a few:

  • 1984- The move from Garland, Texas to Kilgore, Texas - within 6 months, I was saved, Baptized and met my futire husband, Lance. Yep! That was definitely a God thing!
  • Dec 15, 1990 - Our wedding
  • 1997,2000, 2004,2006,2011 - The births of each of my 5 children - there's a story behind each one
  • 2009, 2010 the two we lost, Hope & Grace - their story, my story, God used to save other babies, and mold me and make me who I am today. Go here to read that story Called to be Momma. and here Longview News Journal
  • 1995 - I asked Lance this question, " What is this internet stuff and why do we need to spend $20 a month on it? ( Words I will laugh at the rest of my life!)
  • 1999 - My dad's death 
  • 2003 A Christmas Eve picture of me about 7 months pregnant with #3, Amelia. My husband said, " Just buy what you want. It's mainly just for you. No one else will see it." 6 months later, that picture was on the cover of Above Rubies Magazine and went International with a story I wrote titled, " A Second Chance to Smell the Roses 
These are just a few of my moments, and I cherish them.
By the time I walked out of that classroom today, I was pumped up to make a million more.
Don't waste time. Get your priorities straight and make every moment of every day count. Make a difference in all you do!
It definitely wasn't a normal teacher inservice day. I came home and hugged my children and told them I love them, and I hope, personally, I will be more conscious of making more "moments" with them from here on out.

My philosophy and Lance's is not so different than that of Dr. Cupp's. For us, we believe everything in life is a choice. We all have choices to make and every choice has a consequence. And as I was sitting there today having my " aha" moment, it dawned on me..... I really enjoy doing this.

I enjoy blogging and sharing with people, motivating them and encouraging them.... that's the whole concept behind all of this.
As I travel, Day by Day, Step by Step, Hand in Hand with God, through it all, the good and the bad, especially for the last 14 years since I began writing in 1999 after my Dad's death.... it's all been about encouraging and motivating others to search for and find what I found, "God." and " God is always with us, day by day, step by step, hand in hand........
When you get to the point when you realize God is always with you and He never leaves you, there's nothing you can't do!...... and that changes you.
Dr. Cupp said today, " You can't motivate anybody. They have to motivate themselves. What you do is encourage them to motivate themselves."
Now think about that for a moment.
The same thing applies to Salvation. We don't "SAVE" people. We can lead them to the TRUTH and to the Cross, but from there they must ask and receive and it's Jesus who saves.
I'm willing to do some encouraging, and prodding, a little pushing if I have to..... but I do believe getting you to that point where you are MOTIVATED to make that one of your life's moments and begin making all kinds of new "moments with God," is one of my Callings. I see it.
As I look back at all my "moments," there's no doubt in my heart at all... I know who's in control...... and He walks with me each and every step of the way.
Day by Day. Step by Step Hand in Hand with God

My favorite verse is:
Romans 8:28 (NIV) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

My prayer for you this evening is that if you haven't....
May you seek. May you knock. May you find.God loves you,
All for His Glory.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Discernment and Our Media Choices

Those that have followed me since I began blogging in 2008 can probably testify to the fact that I really pay attention to the lyrics of my music. I want to know what I'm listening to, what the artist is saying and the message behind it.

That intensity comes from a lesson learned long ago when my husband and I were dating. As I stated in Saturday's blog, Sing a New Song, I love music. However, back when I was younger, I didn't always pay attention to the words as much as I did the beat. I LOVE THE DRUMS! ( Anyway, that's another story.).

One night, while spending time with Lance, I was Bee Boppin along to an oldie but not so goodie 80's song, wasn't paying any attention to any of the words, just enjoying the rhythm when Lance asked me, " Do you know what he's saying? Do you know what that means?"

To tell you the truth, I hadn't paid attention at all. So imagine my embarrassment when my future husband explains to me the song was about "intimate" matters! (Oh dear.)

That was one of those marked moments in my life. Those moments when you go, " Oh, I will remember this one."

And that I did. From that point forward, I made it a point to listen very carefully to every song and every message within a song. It changed me.
Back then, I loved Hip Hop and was right in the middle of all the 80's music, videos, MTV, etc. I loved it all. But then, I accepted Christ in November 1984, and was introduced to KVNE 89.5 and Christian radio. Rarely, do I choose to listen to anything else now. 
It's my choice and my desire to listen to that which edifies and builds up, strengthens us and reminds us God loves us and He's in control.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Well that covers my choice of music, but what about the books we read or the shows and movies we watch on TV or Netflix? 
Even that should reflect that we are changed creatures in Christ, in this world but not conformed to this world.

2 Corinthians 2:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:The old has gone, the new is here!

Romans 12:1-2 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

On most nights, even after all my work is done, this blog is written and I finally turn in for the night, I usually channel surf for just little while until I'm finally ready for sleep. I find myself surprised more and more by what is on that TV. 

The nightly shows are definitely not what I would call, " wholesome, family, entertainment." On the contrary, more and more of what is deemed as the "Hot, Popular, Trendy," shows, in my opinion, do nothing to edify or build anyone up. Most of the time it's quite the opposite.

So, what do we do? How do we choose? Do we choose or do we just throw it all out and do away with it all: TV, movies, radio, internet, publications? 
No, of course not. Just practice discernment, (good judgement based on Biblical pricipal). 

I struggle to explain this clearly, but the Apostle Paul says it beautifully in 

Colossians 3:1-10
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a] life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of Godis coming. 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.

As Christians and imitators of Christ, we should be repelled by the things we see that don't remind us of Christ. Christ is Light & Life, The Hunger Games and the Twlight movies focus on Dark & Death. Reality TV, for the most part, destroys and tears down.
I will say not all TV is bad and not all movies are bad. In all media forms, there are really good choices out there. That's where Spiritually maturity and discernment comes into play. 
Before choosing to watch a show or read a book, know what that author or writer is trying to convey to his or her audience and ask yourself, "Does it focus on things you find important, or worthy of your time?" 

Choose those things that will encourage, uplift and strengthen your character and your walk with the Lord. If it gives you a bad feeling or makes you want to turn away, perhaps that the Holy Spirit telling you, " let's choose something better."

I leave you tonight with words from 

1 Peter 2: 1-5, 9,

1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow upin your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Everything in our lives is a choice. What will you choose to listen to?, to watch? to read?

Proverbs 3:6
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight

Day by Day. Step by Step. Hand in Hand with God.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Strength and my Shield

Today was one of those days when you just want to get the day over with.
Psalm 28:1-2 (NIV)
To you, Lord, I call;
you are my Rock,
do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent,
I will be like those who go down to the pit.
2 Hear my cry for mercy
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands
toward your Most Holy Place.

I faced several different situations today, it was not the best of days,
but I know, through it all, my God walked with me.
Day by Day. Step by Step. Hand in Hand with God

Psalm 28:6-9
Praise be to the Lord,
for he has heard my cry for mercy.
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

("Thank you Lord for never leaving my side and walking me through my day.")
We'll continue our discussion on Genesis tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Genesis - In the Beginning - The "New" Things You Learn

So we begin our yearly study in Genesis.
No big deal, right?
We've all read it before.
God spoke it into being. It was. 6 days of Creation, 7th day to rest. Adam & Eve.
Yep. We've read it all.

But, have you "REALLY" READ it ALL?
What's  fun about Bible study is that as you mature as a Christian, the more you read, the more you learn, the more you want to read and learn! It's vicious fun cycle! I'm convinced God has a sense of humor and enjoys having a chuckle or two as His children discover new things.

I imagine God smiling as we read between the lines......
Adam & Eve didn't have a belly button?????!!!! - They didn't need one.
Adam & Eve had girls?????? - Who do you think Cain & Seth married?
Let's take a few steps back there with that thought.... the Bible never says God taught Adam & Eve how to procreate.
Genesis 4:1 (KJV) says, "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the Lord."

It's just implied they figured it out, and even though scriptures never mentions that Adam & Eve had girls, Cain had to marry somebody to set the stage for

Genesis 4:17  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.

I find things like this fascinating!
Read it. Study it and read between the lines. There's more there than is written. And as you read it and dig into it, it's like finding bits of buried treasure as God reveils these things to you over time as you read and study more. What fun! A Treasure Hunt With God.

Ok, you have to admit, that right there is totally worth going
Day by Day. Step by Step. Hand in Hand with God.
What new treasure will you uncover tonight as you read"?
Here's a few questions to ponder as you search through Genesis. I'll touch base on these tomorrow night.
1. What did Adam & Eve eat?
2. Did it rain in the garden?
3. How did people live so long back then?
Have fun searching!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Why Read the Bible?

This blog was started as a two part committment.
First, I've committed to reading the Bible this year, all the way through, cover to cover.
Secondly, if I'm going to read it. I want to share what I read, and if I committ to share then I must commit to read. So it's a win/win situation I have here. This blog is my way of accountability as I learn and share
Day by Day, Step by Step, Hand in Hand with God.
So here's a question to pose, why do this?
What's the point in reading and studying the Bible?
What can be gained from this?
First of all, no matter what anyone else tells you or tries to debate with you over the question,
2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) says, "16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
Who's words are you reading? God's
That should be reason enough.
However, if you are looking for more, here you go:
2 Timothy 3:17 says, " 17 so that the servant of God[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - Be ready to work and defend what you know and why you believe it.
Paul really stressed this to Timothy in 2 Timothy
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist,discharge all the duties of your ministry."

Jesus warned us to beware of false prophets. We must be ready.
Matthew 7:15-23, " 15 “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me on that day,‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’"

The only way you are truly going to know if a teaching is false is if you know the TRUTH.

God's WORD is the TRUTH. The Bible is the TRUTH. Jesus is the TRUTH.
John 17:17  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is one of my favorites
Luke 21:14-15 "14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict."

Have you ever taken a speech class or been on a debate team. The point of the debate is to win. When it comes to the Bible and scripture, 
You read so you can know. Know the TRUTH, seek the TRUTH and let the TRUTH be your SHIELD, your Breastplate and your armor, so that no one can debate you.
Ephesians 6:13-15 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Ready to read?
If you don't have a Bible, here's one of my favorite online resources.
Until tomorrow.