Monthly Archives: May 2012

Final Destination…..HEAVEN

 When Jim and I first heard this song, we laughed at the fact that the singer of this song shares how we all ‘want to go heaven but just not right now.’ Thus, he suggests that we put an extra twenty in the offering plate to buy us one more day and to cover what we have done.  Not only does he offer to put an extra twenty in the plate but he admits he is not ready to give up the life he is living. However in all reality, as Christians we know that the extra twenty isn’t going to buy us one more day and that going to heaven means putting the world behind us and living a life of Christ.

Since May of 2011, I have walked through several  sudden losses of people that totally kicked me in the stomach when they happened. From getting caught in rip tide, car accidents, and those who fell ill suddenly,  the times of many friends and family all came sooner than anyone imagined.  It has been through these tragedies that I have learned all the more how precious life is and how I need to be thankful for every day I wake up.  These incidents have also increased my awareness of my personal relationship with Christ and how I need to include Him in ALL that I do. Along with being thankful for waking up another day, working on my relationship with Christ, I am also reminded to cherish all the moments I can with family and friends. In other words, life is short and it is shorter than any of us realize!

Yes, “everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to go now.  just not right now.”  Yet, we need to be ready to go to heaven every day. The decision of when we go is NOT up to us. But the decision of getting there IS up to us.  The key to going to heaven is asking Christ to be our Lord and Savior. Once we have asked Him to be in our lives and heart, we must invite Him to walk with us every day and be in every thing we do. When we mess up, we need to go to Him for forgiveness.  Jesus tells us how we can get to heaven when he answers Thomas’ question about knowing the way. We find this response in John 14: 6.  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth  and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

One thing I am certain about in regards to those who were taken from this earth all to soon is that they were ready for heaven. They walked with their Savior each and every day. You knew this by their smiles, their spirit and the lives they lived. As a matter of fact, one of these dear precious people had shared in my small group not long before she went home that when it was time she was ready to go to heaven. She anxiously awaited to meeting her Savior face to face.

“Everybody wants to go to heaven but no one wants to go now. “ But, are we ready to go to heaven when that time comes? Along with putting that’ extra twenty in the offering plate’, how about asking Christ to be in your heart and involved in your life. Thus, when your time comes, there is not a doubt in your mind you will meet Him face to face one day. Also, it will be without a doubt in those you leave behind your final destiny.

My challenge for you today is to thank God for giving you one more day.Then, cherish every minute of the day that has been given to you. Last but not least, to be in tuned into God at work in ALL that you do.

Most of all, remember these words: “the world behind me, the cross before me. I have decided to follow Jesus.” I am looking forward to meeting you one day at that final destination….HEAVEN!

Blessings

One By One…Making A Difference  Thoughts From The Porch

Learning To Dance In The Rain         Thoughts From The Porch

I want to say thank you for the encouraging thoughts that you, the reader leave. As I am able, I love to respond. Please know, that I am taking a few days off for a little rest and relaxation with family and will respond to messages left as soon as I am back on my site.  It is my prayer that my readers take some time out to enjoy those who are dear to them. Blessings, April


“Don’t Forget The True Lyrics”

Jim and I are lovers of music. We like all genres of music from jazz, classical, country, gospel, Christian contemporary  to pop/rock. In our DVD library we have concerts that we like to pull from time to time and enjoy. He and I also enjoy going to concerts.

As I watch these concerts whether it be on television, DVD, or in person, it always gives me a chill when the artist performing stops singing and points the mic out to the crowd allowing the crowd to finish the lyrics to the song that is being performed.  I can only imagine what it feels like to stand on stage listening to the words of your own song being sung back to you.

The other night Jim and I were attending a concert when this very thing happened more than once during the performance. As the artist pointed the mic to the audience to finish the lyrics to the song, I thought about God and the words he has written for us.  If you read many of the Old Testament Scriptures such as the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes, you will see that these are lyrics not only worth reading but worth repeating. Can you imagine how God feels when we repeat his lyrics in a prayer, in a talk or just reading them aloud to print them on our hearts? I imagine he smiles when we remember the lyrics he gave us to sing back to him in praising him for what he does in our lives. He listens with great care when we sing back his lyrics that are asking him to take care of our hurts and needs.

Many artist have turned scriptures into song. It is these songs that make us reflect on our relationship with Christ. The songs remind us of the greatness of our God and all that he can do for us if we ‘only trust him’. I know in my heart that there are certain songs that hold a special place in my heart. There are those that remind me of special people in my life, those that  remind me of special events in my life, those that have brought me comfort, and then there are those that just simply make my soul smile.

How about you? Do you have special artist, music or lyrics that holds a dear spot in your heart? Maybe you are an artist and have experienced audiences reciting back the very songs you have written and/or performed. No matter the concert, the performer or the lyrics and how much we like the music, we must never forget the true lyrics that God wrote especially for you and me.

My challenge for you today is to allow your soul to sing back to the Master artist the lyrics that have given you comfort, that have reminded you of God’s provision and/or those that put a special pep in your step as you begin your day.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; 

With singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63:5

Blessings

Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

These days it is not unusual for someone to ask “are you on Facebook?” It is through Facebook that people are finding old friends and staying in touch with new ones. As Jim and I connect and re-connect, we have found that a couple of his friends from the past are in some way connected with my friends of past years. The world just becomes smaller and smaller.  Along with these connections, we see community within a community.

Not only are we a community within a community in  Social Media but as Christians we are a community. In this community, we have the ultimate connection with others. Our connection is through our belief in Jesus Christ.  Thus, the challenge is put before us to help others become connected and sometimes reconnected with God’s family. In Philemon 6 Paul reminds us how faith sharing is of great importance. “I pray that you…

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It’s All In God’s Hands Now

Dear Parents,

Your son or daughter has done it!  They have worked through twelve years of hard work, sweat and tears to reach the moment when they walk across the stage and receive their diploma. As they walk across the stage, you see that little girl or little boy who held your hand to cross the street just a few days ago. 

Not only do you reflect back on the days of raising your child but you look ahead and dream of what your now young adult will be in life. Yes, admit it. You have your set of goals, dreams and hopes for your graduate. But, they have hopes and dreams of their very own. As the tassel is turned, the cake is cut and the celebrations come and go, it is important to remember  that God created your graduate and has his own set of dreams and plans for him or her.

Today, your graduate steps into a new phase in his or her life. You also step into a new phase and role in your young adult’s life. It is in this phase of life where I encourage you as a parent to listen with open ears and heart to their hopes and dreams. It is important that you encourage them and respect them for who they are and who they are to become. But, the most important thing you can do for your graduate is to place them in the hands of their Father. For it is the Father in Heaven who has his ultimate plan for their future. 

You have raised your child. He or she is now a young adult. It is time to allow them to “Dream On.” 

Blessings and God Speed to all the graduates and their families.


Originally posted on Thoughts From The Porch:

As summer approaches, summer plans are being made and I know there are many children and teens that will make plans to go to summer camp as part of their activities while out for school.  My son Drew, attended Camp Loucon for a week of camp from kindergarten until he was in middle school. Then his cross-country training began to take priority for him. Looking back on those years, I remember one year in particular. The year was when Drew would be entering fourth grade in the fall and he was old enough to attend Home In The Woods camp. He wanted the experience of ‘real camping’ outdoors.

It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and we took off for Camp Loucon to sign Drew in for the Home In The Woods week. This would be a week of camping in tents outdoors, cooking their own food, learning outdoor survival skills and a…

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Play It Through

This picture popped up on my Facebook news feed the other day.  Immediately, as I laughed, I recall the many times in high school band when a piece of music was put in front of the group to site read. I never will forget the moans and groans when the piece was first handed out. Before playing the piece, we were given time to look it over and our director would sometimes point out potential trouble spots. Then, the time came to play the piece for the first time. Oh, it wasn’t a beautiful piece the first time played. Over time and multiple practice sessions, however, the piece would begin to sound more like what the composer meant for it to sound. Some of those pieces that were thrown down to site read eventually became the best played and favorite pieces of the band.

In life, there are times when we are asked to site read. In other words, we are put in situations that we know nothing about but have to do something right then and there. It is in that moment that we have a choice to either walk away and do nothing or we can jump in, look over the situation, listen to our director, and play it through.

As I write this, I am reminded of the times I walked away versus the times I listened to the director and played it through. Interestingly enough, the moments I walked away, in retrospect,were sources of my greatest regrets.  The pieces given to me looked too difficult and I then missed an opportunity to grow.  But, the times I have chosen to listen to my director and play it through have become the most precious of moments in my life. Not only were they precious moments but in each one I could look back and see where God molded me and how it was in those moments of playing it through deepened my relationship with him.

Has God given you a piece of music to site read? Are you moaning and groaning because the task looks too difficult? Maybe you are debating if you should stay and play it through or just walk away. Before you decide to walk away, may I suggest that you talk  and listen to the director. There is no a doubt in my mind that God has blessings in the midst of the task he has put before you. Who knows, it could turn out to be one of the most precious memories of your life not to mention a wonderful opportunity to grow in your relationship with your Creator.

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Your Cheating Heart

In the last week, I have seen Facebook posts and comments from college students who are either gearing up for final exams or have just completed them. When I read these posts, I am taken back to my college days of one last look of notes before the professor enters the classroom and hands out the exams.

Before handing out the exams, the professors/teachers would make sure items were cleared from the desks.  Next, the professor would go over some pointers for the exam and/or explain some of the format. There were times when the exam was handed out that a professor would have an oath to sign on the first page of the test. This oath acknowledged that each student knew the consequences of cheating and that the work on that exam was indeed their own.

In the Christian life, exam time is never over. Our Professor has given us clear instructions of what is expected during this exam. Yet, sometimes a little review is needed.  One clear instruction He gives us in the beginning of instructing us in how to live our exam is in Exodus 20: 1-4; ” I am the Eternal your God, I lead you out of Egypt and liberated you from lives of slavery and oppression. You are NOT to serve any other gods before Me. You are NOT to make an image of anything in the heavens above, the earth below or the waters beneath.”

“No other gods before Me.”  In today’s society, it seems that there are many gods being worshiped and honored outside of our Creator. One that seems to be the most worshiped is money. People can’t have enough of it and/or they covet for things they cannot have because of lack of money. The mentality is; “Life will be complete if I have this or this amount in my bank account.” Yet, as the days go by, more and more people seem less and less content.

I heard a speaker the other day highlighting the world and the shape of the current economy. He gently reminded us that we are a nation that was founded UNDER GOD. But, it seems as we go through the exam, we forget that key answer to passing the exam. The speaker also reminded us that when we quit living Under God whether it be as a nation or as individuals, it will not be long before we fall. Gee, it looks like we are not doing so well. It looks like we have had cheating hearts. When we put other things before God, we are cheating on our relationship with Him.

Remember earlier when I mentioned the professor would have the student sign a statement before taking an exam saying you promised not to cheat and what the consequences were if a student did? Well, as children of God, and as Christians we have an oath we have signed with God with our heart. We are to promise we will not put ‘any other gods before Him.’ 

How are you doing with the exam? Is your heart cheating with the materialism of the world? Are you forgetting to review each morning the instruction book (The Bible)on how to live?

As each one of us goes through our day, let us remember that there is only ONE true GOD. He is our creator and our provider. May we remember money, material things and other ways of the world will not bring true contentment. The only way to have true contentment is to live the life of Christ.  So, begin each day with a review of the Good News, signing our pledge that we will allow God to lead us and that we promise not to cheat with the ways of the world. Let’s commit to walking with God to the very end.

Feeling Tall and Strong

Finally brothers and sisters, draw your strength from God.” Ephesians 6:10

A few weeks ago in my small group, we were sharing about our attitude and how we greet each day. In the midst of our sharing, one of the ladies in the group shared that she and her husband are always glad that they “woke up on the right side of the grass.” I can’t help but smile when I re-play that phrase in my head.

To go along with this thought, there is a friend of Jim’s when asked how he is doing, this friend’s response is; “I’m standing erect and drawing in air. Guess there is nothing to complain about if I am doing just that.” Again, a chuckle and reminder of being glad that God has given me another day to enjoy and experience the blessings he has planned for me.

Outlook. Perspective. Attitude. These are a few words that describe how we greet and look at each day. It is how we greet the day that usually determines how our day will go.

If we start our day frustrated, our head filled with negative thoughts and just with simple dread because of our schedule, the day will likely be a bust by noon. And, we will certainly miss the blessings God has planned for us on that day.  However, if we greet each morning joyfully and thank God for waking us and invite him into our day, more than likely we will be able to cope and deal with whatever is on our schedule or comes our way. We will also be more in tuned to experience God’s blessings.

Psalm 100 is a Psalm that expresses giving thanks to God. The writer of this Psalm reminds us that we are sons and daughters of our King. We are also reminded that God loves us more than we can ever comprehend while walking in this earthly world. I also sense a gentle reminder in this Psalm that is with us in anything and everything. For this reason, it is important to seek God’s blessings and be mindful of his mighty presence from sun up to sun down.

 Another phrase I love and get a chuckle from is one that my son says to me on occasions. Drew will come up to me and ask if I am feeling tall and strong. Usually, my response to that question will depend on my mood at the moment and/or how my day is going and/or went. But, as I share with you and read Psalm 100, I know I should feel tall and strong every day no matter the circumstances that surround me. In writing this post, I am brought to the realization that my Father is with me in ALL that I do. Whatever challenges that may come my way, I know it is his love that will see me through.

Today, my challenge to you is to thank God as you rise and shine on “the right side of the grass.” Then, thank  your Heavenly Father that you are able to stand erect and draw in air.” Last but not least, invite God into your day to walk with you so that you will be nothing but “feeling tall and strong.”


“With  God by my side, I am nothing but TALL AND STRONG!

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