Friday, March 31, 2017

i don't know what's wrong...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."  Matthew 11:28

Mrs. Ginger was in the library early printing needed materials from the computer.  As i walked over to turn on the remaining computers on, she told me, "I don't know what's wrong with that computer, i couldn't get..."
As i clicked the monitor on she laughed, "Oh! You have to turn that on too?"

It was a sign... we are desperate for Spring Break.  My go-to line for the week is from the play, "If i only had a brain."

Life... tiring, demanding, stressful, full of stuff to do, especially the week before a break.  Aren't you thankful we have God and each other to lean on for support, help, guidance, encouragement and laughter.  I know i am!
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:   If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.
And wherever your Spring Break takes you, i hope it's a safe, wonderful, memorable one.

Just remember, there is no place like home.

See you in a week, friend!

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!


Thursday, March 30, 2017

lions, and tigers and bears -- OH MY!

"Surely the Arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor His ear too dull to hear." Isaiah 59:1 

Chased or hunted by your fears, doubts and uncertainties?   Run, don't walk, into the Arms that are big, strong, long and powerful enough to wipe them all out with a single swoop. God hears and cares about every tiny whimper we exhale.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

keeping following and trusting...

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." 1 John 4:4

Destruction, disaster, witches on your path?  Fear not, His loved ones!  Our Father who is in you is greater than whatever and whoever you may face on this side of heaven. 

The "Son" will out last, out do and out blast  any blockades on our way to Him.  Keep trusting and following Him.
Thank You, Father!

we are loved and chosen by God, 
may be live like we believe it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

can we survive this?

"'Come now, let us reason together,' says the LORD." Isaiah 1:18

Yesterday was just the beginning of a week of CraZineSs.  As i glimpsed the massive cast preparing for Oz... i could only imagine how their teachers were surviving.
Then i heard the small, yet strong Voice of our Father reminding me, with or without a brain, He has us all the same.  We need only trust and come to Him.

Thank you, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Monday, March 27, 2017

do you really wanna dance?

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3

The countdown is on!  We are a day closer to our school's awesome production of The Wizard of Oz... a day closer to a much needed Spring Break... a day closer to the exciting NCAA basketball finals.
I'm looking forward to all these countdowns.  But as a believer, our homecoming countdown is the reason for the grandest dance of all... because there's no place like "home"!

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Friday, March 24, 2017

clean your ears

"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a Voice behind you saying, "'This is the way; walk in it.'" Isaiah 30:21

Three times i sounded the warning, "only 5 minutes left to check out...", then 2 minutes, and 1.  Right on time, Mrs. Fields returned to collect her class from library.  Jill popped up from the computer to look for a book, only to be told she'd miss the opportunity to check out.  Her class had another activity to attend, and she'd have to return later.

Missed opportunities... we all have them.  At times we become so wrapped up in our own agenda, we miss wonderful opportunities God has sprinkled around us.  If only we'd stop and listen.

Father, please pass me a Q-tip; i want to always hear You. Life is a mission field, and we are surrounded by others in need... in need of a gentle touch, a smile, a caring voice, a helping hand. I don't want to miss the chance to make a difference in someone's life for You.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ Friend

"One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24

Father, may no one stick closer to me than You.  True, trustworthy, honest, devoted -- You are the kind of friend i want to have and to be for others.
Thank You for always being there for me... no matter what.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

am i the only one??

Elijah cried out, "I am the only one left..." 1 King 19:10

Panic hit.  I drove up to school, and everyone looked normal. My mind was rushing.  Did i misread the email?  I thought it was crazy sock day in support of World Down Syndrome Day... BUT the only crazy socks i saw were on my feet.  Embarrassed and running late, i had no choice but to keep moving. So, i quickly crossed (and stopped) school traffic in my glowing socks.
Once in school, i finally spotted some fellow crazy-socks people.  I felt sweet relief, for my crazy feet.

Isn't that the way life is? Sometimes when following directions, we wonder if we got the message confused. There is no one coming up along beside us for support, and we feel like we are on a deserted island. 

We can be doing what's right in the eyes of our Father, yet worldly attacks can shred our faith and plant seeds of doubt and fear. It is then we have a desperate need to hear God shout out words of encouragement.  But as the story in 1 Kings remind us, God's  assurance sometimes come in a whisper.

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
We are not alone on this journey.  It is bumpy, full of sharp turns and at times questionable.  As we keep moving, listening, looking up and trusting God Peace happens. God hears us, leads us and carries us forward, surrounding us with the right people in His perfect time.  

Stand strong in the LORD, we might be found wearing crazy socks some days, but because of Him we are not alone.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ dance

"Praise the LORD.  Sing to the LORD a new song... Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him with tambourine and harp. For the LORD takes delight in His people..." Psalm 149:1, 3-4

Going to the big dance? Got something to celebrate?  Save your best song and dance for the One who never stops pursuing you, devises a plan for your future,  and loves you unconditionally. 
Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Monday, March 20, 2017

at a lost

God said...
"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me." Isaiah 49:16

2 years, 3 months and 22 days... and she still remembers.

"Did you ever find your bracelet?"  she asked.
"No, i didn't."
"I still look for it when i'm straightening up the store."

To say i was surprised by her question and remark is an understatement.  I don't even know her name. I only know her as a sales lady at the store that i revisited when searching for my lost bracelet. Yet, she has not forgotten me nor my painful ordeal.

Feeling overwhelmed, isolated, rejected, misplaced or lost?  Don't worry, God has you and knows all your heartaches and pain. He has not forgotten you or your situation. He is working things out for your best and His glory. 

My lost charm bracelet is not forgotten, but more importantly, God's lost or hurt children are not forgotten either As my children's names are engraved on my charms, so we are engraved on the palms of God... forever.

Father, even when we don't feel at peace or see it, may we have just enough faith to know it because we know you.  Year-by-year, day-by-day, minute-by-minute... You are our Peace.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Friday, March 17, 2017

faith of gold

"In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:6-9
May your faith of gold flow freely and continually even as it traverses through difficult decisions and circumstances in life.  As you boldly stand in your faith, i pray His glory shines through you for others to see and be filled with His love, peace and comfort too.

In the words of an old Irish Blessing--

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we love like we believe it!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ kindness

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:23
I believe the roads in heaven are paved in gold, reflecting the kindness of His children poured out on others. 
Thank you for being the hands and the feet of our Father.  In all you do, He shines through.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

and then i remembered...

"But he/she who trusts in the LORD will prosper." Proverbs 28:25

Fed the dogs my leftovers...
Couldn't decide what to wear...
Disappointed my car isn't a self-start...
Frustrated pet hair is everywhere...
                                                   and then i remembered.

What did i remember? 

... the still-hungry child sneaking extra bites from the teacher's snack box.
... children in worn-out, ill-fitting clothes and oversized shoes.
... students walking to school in cold, wet weather.
... the boy checking out a book on roaches because he had many at home.

And what i remember most is their constantly smiling faces, in spite of their hardships or difficulties. How can i not always be grateful?  
The real gold in life is not found at the end of the rainbow, but in the heart of the believer who trusts in the Lord.

God, how come those with less sometimes have more peace?  Is having less best -- reminding us we need only to depend on You for everything? Is this the key to peace? From what i see, i believe it is.

God will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ blessing

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but a person is tested by the praise they receives." Proverbs 27:21
You are changing lives... just look at the faces around you.  They feel lucky because they know you care.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Monday, March 13, 2017

ruff week too...

"So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever." 2 Corinthians 4:18

Rough weeks come in many forms.  For my dog, her ruff week centered around surgery to remove a tumor from her paw.  Based on her behavior, we didn't even realize Bella had a tumor until my husband spotted it.  The vet said removal was necessary to assure her health and safety; there is a 50% chance of it being cancerous.  
As we wait for the results, the immediate discomfort of the surgery is greater for her than the hope of extending her life.  Whereas, we, her "parents", can withstand her immediate discomfort better... trusting and hoping in due time, we'll be jumping, running and yelping with joy for many years to come.

Father, unexpected bumps and news can knock the wind out of us.  And when it does, i pray Your Peace and Power come rushing in, filling us with the HOPE we have from You.   May we trust You, our Great Physician, who knows precisely what healing is necessary from pain, sickness and hardships. And through it all may we bring greater Hope, Joy, Comfort and Love to others as Your glory shines from us.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Friday, March 10, 2017

rough week?

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25

The only thing normal about most school days is that there is no normal, routine day.  Special activities, interruptions, changes and events are a constant part of the week.  And if that doesn't take a little punch out of you, the flu and stomach bugs crawling around the building will.

If you are feeling a little green around the cheeks, i hope you find the time to stop and rest this weekend. Even though we are an hour short Sunday, God has the power to fully restore.

we are love and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Thursday, March 9, 2017

open wide

"I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt/(out of your bondage).  Open wide your mouth and I will fill it." Psalm 81:10
Trusting the One who has the power and desire  to free us from everything that tries to chokes the life out of us.  Thank You, Father.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

i give up

"And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it." Luke 12:29

"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?" Luke 12:25

Unexpected changes and future uncertainties are a rich breeding ground for worry. And i am standing knee-high in a pile of nasty worry-weeds.  It made last week's decision on what to give up for Lent easy.  

For the next 40 days, i am committed to give up worry. I am choosing to consciously pull out the doubts of my heart and turn them over to God.  With so much up in the air, i am guaranteed to keep God in the forefront in my mind and heart every hour, every minute by giving up worry.  

I believe this is one purpose of Lent, to give up something that causes us to depend and focus more on God.  With one week gone, i can honestly say by doing so, i feel an increase of His Peace.  I have no answers or solutions to my circumstances, but growing trust in God.  He has this for the next 40 days... and for my entire life.

God hath not promised skies ever blue,
Flower-strewn pathways always for you.
God hath not promised Sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain;
But He hath promised strength from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying Love.

we are love and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

a Mighty Word ~ shine

"Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..." Philippians 2:14-16
Some things i should have done yesterday... like read this verse.  May reading and doing today allow His light to shine in all we do.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Monday, March 6, 2017

the sweetest part...

"Be kind and compassionate to one another..." Ephesians 4:32

Book Fair... it's over, and i'm not crying.  Honestly though, it was a good and hectic week, well worth the extra work in many ways. The change of pace was fun, volunteers were wonderful and students' joy overflowed.  As i reflect over the week, one incident soars above all others.

Our Book Fair policy is all students receive a book, meaning some "win" a book on Friday.  We don't second guess the winners submitted by teachers, just honor.  Friday, by chance, i got to witness the passing on an act of kindness by an unlikely candidate.  One of our winners slipped a dollar from his pocket in our donation box to help students. A touching act of kindness multiplied.
Many we never question a chance to help another, but trust our heart and our Father. In helping another, we even help ourselves. My heart grew Friday with this sweet reminder, and i pray it never stops.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Friday, March 3, 2017

what are you up to?

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

For all you have been up to lately, i have something to say.

Thanks for following up, staying up, loving up, waiting up, praying up, getting up and doing up. It's been a good, but busy week. Yet I must say, i am looking forward to packing up the Book Fair today and putting up my feet afterwards.
Happy Friday, friends; it's time to rest up and look up to our Father thanking Him for His abundant blessings.  May we never give up on what our God can and will do.  He's always up to something good.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Thursday, March 2, 2017

what is your name?

And the Lord said...
"I will also give you a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to you who receives it." Revelations 2:17

Helping the kindergarten teacher fill out her student wish lists at Book Fair, i encountered an awkward moment.  I asked her where John was; she replied there wasn't a John in her class.  I looked back at her in disbelief.  I looked down at the paper where i had scribbled his name and said, "The boy I am helping told me his name was John." 

 And she replied again, "I don't have a John in my class." 

 With a raised voice, i called out, "John". 

We both turned when a boy behind me answered.  "Oh", she chuckled, "that is Paul." 

Paul?? With wonder, i looked at him. "I thought you said your name was John."
"Well, you said to give you my first name."  

His teachers have taught him well.  He knows the difference between first and second.  Although his FIRST name is John, he is known by his SECOND name.

John Paul Brown is not alone.  Many of us have several names, and it can be confusing... legal names, pet names, nick names.  

As believers, we can each expect still another new name... one given to us by God and known only by Him and us. We will always know with certainty when He is calling us. I don't know about you, but i get chills just thinking about that.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

monster unleashed...

"But He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-11

The frenzy and craziness of Book Fair this week has the power to turn me into a nasty monster....

But thankfully God's power is greater.  

Anything driving you crazy?  God will see and carry you through it.

we are loved and chosen by God,
may we live like we believe it,