Goals · New Year

Why I Can Be Thankful for 2020

In early January 2020, my husband and I went away for a day and a night to plan for the year. Tucked away in a secluded place, we scheduled each month’s activities, ministries and leisure times. I even had the audacity to write them in my planner in INK! I knew that the Lord would allow what He desired to come to pass…but I am pretty sure I was expecting most of what I planned to happen the way I penned it. Of course, it looked much different than we had carefully mapped out.

Am I bummed about that? In no way.

Were there disappointments? You bet! Here are some of them…

65th anniversary party
Beach vacation
Attending the Ladies Prayer Advance
Speaking at The Wilds for Ladies’ retreat
Easter services/events
Going to Dollywood Amusemen
t Park in Pigeon Forge
Thanksgiving with my parents

Christmas services/events

Like you, that’s just a sampling of cancellations, but when I look back on 2020, I learned so much that I don’t want to forget, and I experienced things I want to praise the Lord for. Here are some of those things…

  • Greater times in the Word and prayer. He taught me so much about trusting Him, not worrying and relinquishing my plans to His perfect will as I spent time with Him.
  • Having a real life visual of James 4:13-17 and seeing the folly of making plans and holding them too tightly.
    Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
  • A greater appreciation for gathering each Sunday at church. Once the doors opened again, my heart was overwhelmed at the blessing of being WITH my brothers and sisters in Christ. Zoom was nice, but it felt so wonderful to be together as a church family.
  • Creative opportunities to serve others. Delivering loaves of bread and cinnamon rolls, making “curbside visits”, sending cards, and having Zoom cooking classes were a few ways the Lord gave me the chance to serve others.
  • The Lord taught me that His plans and His ways are greater and higher than mine. He brought other times of rest than we had planned. He gave different kinds of fellowship and encouragement.
  • A reminder that we are living in the last days. The last days began right after Jesus’ resurrection, and we’ve all been looking for Him to come in each of our lifetimes. Does that mean He isn’t coming? Hardly. It means we’re another year closer to standing before Him face to face. If He doesn’t come while we’re alive, we are each one year closer to the time of our own death. That means we need to be ready. The pandemic has reminded me of the evil that will prevail during the tribulation and how gullible people will be when the anti-Christ comes swooping in to “rescue” them in their desperate situations.
The trip to the beach was not really cancelled; it was delayed, but it came at a perfect time…because God knew when we would really need it!

 Psalm 85:8I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

I didn’t enjoy some of the hardships of 2020, but it would be foolish of me to be derogatory and curse the year when the Lord taught me so much. Will I dare to return back to the folly of my “old ways?” I don’t want to be the same when this whole trial is over. Do you?

Whether 2021 is full of blessing or trial, I know this…God will be faithful…and we’re one day closer to seeing Him. Are you ready?

Happy 2021!

Biblical Womanhood · Christian growth · Goals · Uncategorized

A New Year’s Perspective

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Newly fallen snow is a lovely reminder to me of  January 1st.
Everything is fresh.
No footprints have been stomped out before us yet.
All is still with only fresh paths before us.
Each day we trod forward, one day at a time, and make our way through the year until we come to December 31.  It’s a blessing to turn around and look over our shoulder and see the path that the Lord has cleared for us and just exactly where He’s brought us.

I’m not really one to make resolutions, but I do love to look behind me and see what needs improvement and then look before me with a prayer that the Lord will help me make necessary changes by His grace.

Here are some things I’m considering that might inspire you as you step into the snowbank of 2020.

  1. What hindered my spiritual growth last year?  What moved it forward?
  2. What did God teach me last year?
  3. What did I see God do in answer to my prayers last year?
  4. To whom did I give my life the most?  Does this need to change?
  5. What activities did I participate in that I need to repeat this year?  Which activities should I consider removing from my schedule?
  6. What did I read least year?
  7. Did I spend too much time on social media, television or videos (You Tube, Netflix)? Do I need to set limits for myself?
  8. What creative outlets did I enjoy? 
  9. Did I get enough exercise?  What could help motivate me to do more?
  10. What area of my life brought the most joy?  The most frustration?

These would be some great questions to pray about and later to ask your spouse or a close friend.  Some good discussion and accountability could follow!  

Enjoy the snow (the fresh New Year) before you.  It has some wonderful opportunities to witness what God can and will do through you!

Refresh the way you approach the new year.

Happy New Year Friends!

denise a

eternal · Goals · Priorities

Two Questions To Shape the New Year

2019, Here We Come!!

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There are a ton of questions we could ask ourselves as we approach a new year.  Some of the old standard questions are still excellent ones, but I’ve been pondering just two in the last couple of weeks.  Ready?

  1. What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?
  2. What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

I think those two simple questions will really encompass all those other goals, needs, and relationships we want to make better this coming year.  It covers the priorities and the people we love,  as well as the habits and idols we need to rid from our lives.

When I asked myself those two questions, here’s what pierced my heart ~

What do I wish I had done more of in 2018?

  • Prayer
  • Scripture memory
  • Reading of books
  • Writing of my own book
  • Exercise
  • Connection with family
  • Discipling

What do I wish I had done less of in 2018?

  • Worry – The prayer could have taken care of that!
  • Screen time – Phones are needed and a blessing, but some days it feels like an appendage.  This is hard because I blog and do videos for You Tube, but it’s something I really want to get a handle on this year!

Both lists have other bullets, but these are the crucial ones, ones I’m taking to the Lord in prayer as I begin a new year.  One prayer I repeat over and over is,

Lord, I want my life to count for You.

I believe if I do more of what’s right and less of what’s keeping me idle, my life can count for Christ.

Oh that I may say like Paul, For me to live is Christ… Philippians 1:21

So, how would you answer those two questions?  Perhaps they can guide you as you ponder how the Lord would want you to live this next year as He grants us the breath to do so.  James 4:15

Refresh yourself in this new year!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

Christian growth · Goals · Saturation

Spiritual Snacking Choices

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No snack before supper or you’ll ruin your appetite.

Most mothers have had to say this to their child at one time or another.  A child may feel as though Mom is withholding good food from them, but oh, no!  She has stored away all kinds of good things for her family!  Plans for good meals are in the near future! She won’t let her family go hungry; she just wants her family to be hungry for the best foods that will help them grow.

Physical food can ruin your appetite for the right things, but have you ever considered that spiritual snacking actually creates an appetite for healthy spiritual eating?

 Yesterday I talked about making wise decisions regarding entertainment.  We get kind of “hungry” for something good to munch on while we’re working or doing a mindless tasks like getting ready for the day, riding in the car or washing dishes.  Just as we don’t stop eating just because we want to eat healthy, we don’t have to stop using media because we want good choices to nourish our minds. Why?  Because there ARE good things out there that can feed us well!!

Look what Scripture says –

The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish:
Proverbs 10:3

Our loving God knows that we need spiritual food to grow and He will not let us go without what we need.  His Word is the answer for every hunger in our soul!  He is so good to allow so many avenues today in which we can hear His Word given to us!!

The word SATURATION is my word for 2018.  I’ve asked the Lord to help me saturate my heart with Truth from His Word each day. I don’t always win at this but I want to share with you some of the ways that I “snack” on God’s Word most days.

  • Audio Bible – Each morning while I’m making the bed, I listen to the Proverb chapter the correlates to the day of the month. In order to keep my ear and heart engaged, I try to finish the verse before the audio speaks it.  I don’t have it all memorized, for sure, but I know it well enough that I can finish some of the verses. The Word is getting into me while I straighten up.
  • Pod Casts –  I have an app on my phone that fills my podcast library with episodes from Revive Our Hearts and Love Worth finding (there are many other preachers on that site as well). The word is getting into me while I’m working at home or traveling in the car.
  • CD’s of messages – I often listen again to messages from conferences I’ve attended, via the recorded message on a CD.  The truth comes back to my heart and I’m reminded of what the Lord taught me or I catch something I missed the first time! The Word is getting into me while I mop, fold laundry, iron, work on projects or cook.
  • Pandora radio – I have several stations on Pandora of music that is a blessing to listen to while I cook or while I have my quiet time in the morning. 
  • Bible memory – I try to work on new verses or review ones I’ve memorized as I’m getting ready in the morning.  I keep my memory verse cards nearby – on the counter or I take them with me in the car so I can keep working on Scripture.  Having God’s Word in my heart makes Scripture the most mobile of all apps! It’s always with me!

While the real meat and meals come from my time in God’s Word each morning, these are some of my spiritual snack foods.  They’re so wonderful that it truly does make my heart crave for more.

If you haven’t tried these delights, I hope you will, and if you have another suggestion of good spiritual “snacking food,” I would love for you to share that with us!

I hope I’ve made you hungry!

Denise Signature 150 px

 

 

Goals · Prayer

It Smells of the Lamp

I have parents that are a quilting duo! My dad, the engineer mind in the family, cuts the fabric squares. My mom, the crafter, sews them together, then Dad cuts them again to get them perfectly square. Each square gets a heavy ironing before it’s sewn again. The picture you see here is that of the pieces being laid out to see where each one should go. After placing and replacing, they will take this up very carefully, row after row and stack it the way it needs to be sewn together. Of course after the batting and backing are put behind it there’s all the hand quilting to be done. Whoa! Many, many hours go into the making of a quilt! However, when it’s all finished it’s not only warm and cozy, it is a piece of art!

This week as I was studying Proverbs 31 I read verse 18 – She perceiveth that her merchandise is good; her candle goeth not out by nightAs I studied the last part of this verse, I learned that it was often said of an elaborate piece (of art, needlework, a literary work, etc), “It smells of the lamp.” That means that there were many long hours put into making that piece – so much that it even went into the night hours. You could tell by looking at it that it wasn’t done quickly; it took much labor and effort.

When you understand the hours of labor that a quilt takes you appreciate it all the more! When I look at the quilts that my parents have made for each of their children and grandchildren I am reminded of the sacrifice of time and labor that it took to make them. They “smell of the lamp.”

While I’ve pondered that phrase for the last several days, the cry of my heart to the Lord is that my prayer life would be what “smells of the lamp.” More and more I understand how weak I am and unable to do anything without God’s enablement and power in my life. Oh, that I would wake up in the morning with the burden to pray, go into the noon hour with prayer on my lips, enter the evening with a continued heart-cry to my God, and go to bed at night and be awakened to “turn on the lamp.”

Nothing else will go lacking if prayer is the center of my life. For when I am praying my needs are met, my steps directed, my thoughts established, my heart made right, and my burdens lifted. What a beautiful thing a prayer life like that would be.

Oh, God, may my prayer life smell of the lamp!


What area of your life would you want to “smell of the lamp?”