Friday, December 23, 2011

O Christmas Tree

Many of my blogger friends have been sharing pictures of their Christmas trees, mantles, tables, etc.   So, today I am posting a picture of our tree.  The tree is my favorite decoration during the Christmas season!  I love the ornaments (my favorites are the ones that my boys have made over the years) and the white lights on our tree!  The white lights create such a peaceful atmosphere that you can't help but to relax and stare at it for hours. :)  My absolute favorite part of our tree is the star!  Everytime I look at it I am reminded of the star of Bethlehem and Jesus!  He is the reason for the season!

Our Christmas tree....

From our family to yours....MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Mother's Treasure

When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Luke 2:17-19

Can you imagine the joy Mary had as she listened to the shepherds share of what the angel(s) said to them?  Think about the honor that she must have felt when she realized that the shepherds and wise men had dropped everything they were doing just to come see the Christ child that had been born--her baby!  With so many visitors and gifts for her baby, I am sure that humility covered Mary's heart and soul as she rejoiced over the birth of Jesus.

As Mary held baby Jesus in her arms, I am sure she thought about the long journey that lead to that day in the stable.  From the gossiping tongues of Nazareth, to the decree that was issued that brought them to Bethlehem-the town with no room for its King, I know it was all worth it to Mary as she held her baby.

As she looked into his eyes and imagined him growing over the years, do you think it crossed her mind that his future would lead to a Crucifixion?  As she watched everyone ooh and ahh over her baby, did she know that He would walk on water or make a blind man see?  As she kissed her baby's face, did she consider that he would one day rule the nations?  Oh Mary, did you know???

Irregardless of what she understood or didn't, Jesus was her son and a mother's love runs deep for her child!  She treasured her gift from God and trusted Him for his future.

Today, I am sharing a video of the song "How many Kings?"  I pray you listen and allow the words to speak new meaning to you during this Christmas season. 

How many fathers (mothers) gave up their sons for me?....Only one did that for me and you! Thank you Lord for the relationship you made available to us through the birth and death of Your son, Jesus Christ. 

Today, I unwrap the gift of our Lord, the Great I AM, who became the least for me.  May we all celebrate Jesus' birthday with a new appreciation and understanding this year. 

Happy Birthday Jesus!

I wish you all a Merry Christmas!!!

Unwrapping His gifts,

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Baby Changes Everything - Part 3

Angels visit the shepherds

Luke 2:8-18

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.       
9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Today, when a mom gives birth, birth announcements are usually sent by text message, facebook status update, blog post, article in a newspaper, or by mailing newborn picture cards announcing the new addition to the family.  This modern technology is so cool and appreciated, but it does not compare at all to the birth announcement that our Savior had!
Shepherds were keeping watch over their flock at night when an angel of the Lord appeared before them.  The King James version tells us in verse 9 that the shepherds were 'sore' afraid when the angel appeared.  Merriam-Webster gives the following definition for sore:
                                                                   a.  causing pain or distress
                                                                   b.  painfully sensitive
These shepherds were painfully terrified!  Can you imagine yourself in a field tending to flock, minding your own business, and all of a sudden an angel appears before you with the glory of the Lord shining all around?  Yeah, I think WE would be scared to the point of pain as well! :)

The shepherds were terrified, but their fear quickly turned to joy as the angel shared the greatest birth announcement EVER; the birth of Christ the Lord!  The angel proceeded to tell the shepherds that the baby had been born in the town of David.  But how would the shepherds know which newborn baby would be Christ the Lord?  Well, the angel gave specific details in what the shepherds were to look for.  The angel described that the baby would be wrapped in cloths (VERY common for newborns) and lying in a manger (NOT common for newborns).  Now, that is the sign to remember!

Then the heavenly choir showed up!  A multitude of great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel and began praising God.  Can you picture this revival?  It's the middle of the night in a field with sheep, angels are present with an angelic glow as they sing praises to God, and shepherds have their hands lifted toward heaven in worship of our Savior's birth!  What a sight to imagine!!! 

The shepherds were so overwhelmed with joy and excitement that they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, lying in a manger!  The shepherd's mission was accomplished and they shared the great news with everyone! 

Today, I unwrap the gift of  our GREAT and GLORIOUS God humbling himself through the unlikely package of being born in a stable, lying in a manger!  He deserved so much better, but chose the lowly setting of a manger for our King so that His glory would be clearly displayed.

To be continued...

Unwrapping the gift of Jesus,

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Baby Changes Everything - Part 2

An Angel appears to Joseph in a dream.

Matthew 1:18-25

18 This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit.
19 Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.
20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
23 "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"--which means, "God with us."
24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.
25 But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Mary, while just engaged to Joseph, is found to be with child as a result of a miraculous conception by the Holy Spirit. Can you imagine the gossip that probably traveled among the enemies of Jesus once they found out about this virgin woman giving birth to Jesus? Oh, I bet there were a LOT of whispering conversations with glaring, judgemental eyes in Mary and Joseph's days.

Joseph was having a hard time dealing with her news of pregnancy. He was a righteous man and did not want to marry someone that had been unfaithful to him. He decides that he will divorce Mary quietly to keep her from public disgrace. (Remember, the engagement was binding in the Jewish culture, so Joseph would need a divorce to break the engagement). I can only imagine the worry and distress Joseph went through at this time, but God would soon deliver a message to him.

God sends an angel to speak to Joseph in a dream. The angel shares that the child that has been conceived in Mary is of the Holy Spirit. (It seems that Mary had not disclosed this little bit of information to Joseph. How would you explain such a thing to anyone? I guess that's why God sent the angel to explain it to Joseph). The angel gives Joseph instruction as to what to name the child and that he is being sent from God for a reason. This baby to be named, Jesus, is being sent to save his people from their sins. (Whoah! Thank you Jesus for meeting us in our sins, but mostly for your purpose of saving us from them!) 

When Joseph awoke, he had a whole new understanding of Mary's pregnancy. He took her home as his wife. He had no union with her until she gave birth to a son and just as the Lord commanded him, Joseph gave the baby the name Jesus.

Today, I unwrap the gift of a miraculous conception and birth of Jesus. I praise God for the awesome marriage counseling that he delivered through the angel in Joseph's dream!

Rejoicing in these gifts,

A Baby Changes Everything - Part 1

A post from a fellow blogger has sparked an interest in me to "unwrap" Jesus in a new way this Christmas season by being fully present with Him and allowing every one of my senses to come alive so that I may receive everything that He has for me. 

I will be blogging a multiple-part series of posts titled "A Baby Changes Everything" over the next couple of weeks.  I pray that God will bless and encourage us both as we go through this "unwrapping Jesus" journey together this Christmas season!

Luke 1:26-63

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,
27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.
30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.
31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.
32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David,
33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.
37 For nothing is impossible with God."
38 "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

God sent the angel, Gabriel, to Mary.  He informed Mary that God had favor upon her and that she would give birth to Jesus.  Mary had to put forth a LOT of faith and trust because she was a virgin and I am sure she was somewhat worried as to how she would be sharing this news with Joseph of a baby.  At this time, did you know that Mary was betrothed to Joseph?  There were 3 stages to a Jewish wedding back then:  engagement (a formal agreement made by the fathers) betrothal (the ceremony where faithful promises were made) and marriage (appoximately a year later, the groom will come for the bride at an unexpected time).  Mary and Joseph were just in the (promise ring) stage of their relationship and she was still a virgin, but she was to be with a baby.

To be continued....  

A Baby Changes Everything - Faith Hill


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What's Mine is Mine...Or is it?

Acts 4:32-33 "Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.  And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all."

This scripture paints a picture of a sharing heart in the early church.  Christians were united and regarded people more important than things.  They acknowledged God's ownership of everything and shared everything to meet the needs of others.  These Christians were not saying "What is yours is mine; I'll take it", they were saying "What is mine is yours; I'll share it." 

The lessons we can learn from the early church!  Some people may say that this radical sharing of possessions among the early church was a mistake.  Others will say that it was an awesome blessing and act of Godly love.  For me, I say that in today's church, we need to heed to the lesson being taught in this scripture and share the love. 

Why would we NOT desire to help a brother or sister in need?  You know, the one sitting on the same pew with you that you KNOW is need of clothes, food, shelter, money for bills, or even gifts for Christmas.  We all have possessions that sit in a cabinet, closet, or storage building that we keep just to store.  We don't really need these items, but for some reason we don't want to part with them.  Why not take those items and bless someone that could really use them?  Sometimes, we Christians just need to clean out our closets, literally! 

Grace is God's favor, His smile from heaven, and it was upon the Christians of the early church.  I know God was pleased with their attitudes of putting God first, people second, and material things last.  I pray that we all would seek this same attitude as we approach this Christmas season and also continue it in our daily lives.  Be a blessing to someone today! 

I also want to mention two events that are taking place in our small town to bless others but are in need of donations from you. 
  • Kimi's Blessings - This ministry was birthed through a local, young lady that suffered from a brain tumor several years ago as a teenager.  Praise be to God, today she lives a normal, healthy, and vibrant life.  Every year at Christmas time, she gathers donations and gifts to deliver to Egleston Children's Hospital in Atlanta, GA to bless children that are not able to be home for Christmas.  New toys may be donated and dropped off at Piggly Wiggly or Central Bank in Ellaville.  If you would like to donate money to help this cause, you may drop it off at Central Bank with Kimi. 

  • Christmas for Christ - This ministry has proved to bless many families and homes at Christmas.  From the generous donations of household items from people, a local gymnasium is filled with clothes, toys, furniture, etc.  This is a free event to people in need.  People come to receive gifts to meet their physical needs, but they often receive so much more...the gift of salvation and Christ's love shining through the volunteers that are working to bless them.  Items for this benefit can be dropped off at Fripp Storage Buildings in Ellaville or by contacting Stephen Fripp.
Lord, I pray for your blessings on these two ministries as they bless others!  May you always be first and glorified in all that they do.  I pray that they minister to the heart and lives of others in your name.  May you find grace and favor upon each person that serves or receives from these ministries! Amen!

Love in Christ,


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sing A Song!

This past Sunday in Sunday School, we talked about Moses singing a song to a rebellious Israel.  Moses transposed a song from the message God had given him to share.  

Deu 31:30 "And Moses recited the words of this song from beginning to end in the hearing of the whole assembly of Israel."  (Moses recites the song in Deuteronomy 32)

Moses had been preaching, but his assembly was having a hard time understanding, you think?  So in order to teach them more clearly, he teaches them a song.  Moses' song teaches about God's faithfulness, people's sin, repentance and salvation.   Moses delivered this sermon through song!

I love music and singing (even though I don't have the best voice).  So many times, God will speak a message to me through the many Christian songs that I listen to and sing along with.  He uses song to help comfort me when I am having a bad day or gives me a song to sing when I want to shout with praise to Him.

Why do we sing songs?  Have you ever thought about that?  Songs remind us of what God has done for us and often times how we should respond to His mercy and grace on us.  Let's sing a few songs together today. :)

Click the song titles and happy singing!!!  I challenge you to listen to these songs and allow God to change your outlook today as He ministers to you through song!

Sing a Song - Third Day  (I want to sing a song for you Lord!)

Shackles - Mary Mary (Take these shackles off so I can praise You! - Go ahead, get up and dance on this one - it will definitely make you want to!!!)

This Little Light of Mine - Addison Road (Go ahead...let it shine!)

Someone Worth Dying For - Mikes Chair (Yes, you are worth dying for!)

Spirit Wind - Casting Crowns - (Struggling with dry bones? Be revived with the spirit wind of the Lord!)  And of course, I could not share songs without at least one Casting Crowns song, because they are my favorite! Lol!

The next time you feel led to give God praise...don't hesitate in lifting your hands, stomping your foot, or even breaking out with a Holy sway as you glorify God!  God created song and music to minister to us and for us to sound even sweeter when we praise Him!  :)

Praising Him through song and dance today,


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bless You!

Acts 3:26 "When God raised up his servant, Jesus, he sent him first to you people of Israel, to bless you by turning each of you back from your sinful ways."

     Bless:   1. To make holy by religious rite; sanctify.
                     2. To invoke divine favor upon.

Our 'nature' is sinful.  We all have struggles of some kind, and at times we may feel as though we cannot overcome the sin that is striving to take control of our lives but thankfully there is hope and a future for us!

This morning as I was reading my bible, this scripture literally jumped off the page at me and spoke to my spirit.  I know God sent his son to die for my (our) sins, but I have never looked at it from the point of view that He sent Jesus to bless me.  I don't know of anyone that doesn't like to blessed by others.  But why would I not see that God sent Jesus to bless me??

How does that make you feel to know that Jesus was sent to bless you; to make you holy; to sanctify you; to invoke divine favor upon you?  Oh, dear friend, He loves you so much that He stepped down from His throne to romance a world that has fallen apart.  How many Fathers do you know that have gave up their sons for you (me)?  Only ONE did that for me and you!  He did it to bless us!

I was reminded of a video that I had watched years ago not long after I had received salvation from the Lord.  This video is an awesome visual of what it may have been like for God to watch his son die for others.  Please watch and be blessed by hopefully understanding more about the love God has for you and His desire to bless you.

If you are receiving this by email, please click here to watch video.

I pray that mine and your heart may be touched and changed today as you see in a different light the action of being blessed by God. 

Thank you Lord for the many blessings you have poured out to me even though I don't deserve them.  I pray that I will consistently turn away from sin that you bring to my attention and that I would know that You are always there loving and blessing me.  Amen!

Praising our King of Kings!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

One Accord

Acts 2:1 "When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place."

Whether or not the disciples were in the temple or in their own upper room, we find they were all together in one place.   However, don't forget how often, while their Master was with them, there were strifes among them, such as who should be the greatest; but now all these strifes had ended and they were all in one accordThey all had the same goal and mission for their Lord. 

United-Believers is something that has been weighing heavy in my spirit and heart lately.  With the upcoming date for our ladies retreat, my heart's desire has been to unite 'Sisters in Christ' from different churches and communities.  We all have the same goals and why would we not come together as one for the sake of the Lord?  Why do we not fellowship or pray together more than what we do?  Could it be distractions of life?  Could it be strife of who should be the greatest?  Could it be fear of the different styles of worship?  If allowed, we could come up with many questions and excuses, but please listen with your heart to what I would like to share with you.

Do you have faith in the Lord?  Do you find hope in the Lord? Do you love the Lord? 

Corithians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." 

Brothers and sisters, this is what it's all about...LOVE.  If we love the Lord, then have to acknowledge that we are commanded to love each other.  Luke 10:27 "He answered: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." 

In Acts 2:1, the disciples display the perfect example of coming together as one accord.  Each one was unique and different in some way, but the love they shared for the Lord is what united them and allowed them to be the witnesses that they were to spread the gospel.

Lord, may we all agree to love one another, serve, and worship as your united family as we share the gospel to this lost world!  Fill our hearts and souls with your Spirit and command blessings upon us when You see our unity as good and pleasant for your glory.  Amen!

Psalm 133:1  "A song of ascents. Of David. How good and pleasant it is when brothers (sisters) live together in unity!"    

Please join us at this year's ladies retreat for a time of united sweetness with the Lord!  Click here for more information and/or to register.  Hope and pray we see you there!

Your blood-bought sister,


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Zero or Hero?

1 Chronicles 4:10 "Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request."

Who in the world is this Jabez person?  What is he doing in only two verses of the bible?  What is so special about Jabez that a man would be inspired to write a book about him?  Further more, the book became a best seller and has sold over 15 million copies?  I mean, the man is only mentioned in two verses in the bible?  What is so special about him and what can we learn from him?

My friend, there is such a profound word to receive from the this man known as Jabez!  Jabez is not known for some heroic action but he is known for his heroic prayer!  Jabez was no zero; He most certainly was a hero!  I have often heard people say that you should not pray for yourself, but only for others.  For some reason, we have the perception that praying for ourselves makes us selfish.  But Jabez displays a different picture in 1 Chronicles 4:10.

Jabez prayed for God to enlarge his territory!  He prayed for God to keep His hand on him at all times to protect him from harm and free of pain!  Jabez desired to more than just the average Christian.  He didn't want to be ordinary, he wanted to be extraordinary!  He didn't want to sit the bench, he wanted his coach to use him in the game wherever and as much as He needed him!  And God granted his request!

So, do you think Jabez was being selfish for his prayer?  Absolutely not!  I believe Jabez was being as sincere and humbled as he could be in his mighty prayer to the Lord.  What a confident and bold prayer request he made! 

I have been seeking God in prayer to be more confident and bold in Him.  Being confident and bold in Christ is more than standing up for Him in this is receiving His spirit and running just as hard as you can after Him continuously!  Jabez said a confident and bold prayer, and God granted his request.  What if we all exercised the 'Jabez mentality'?  Wow!  The blessings that would flow, the territories that would be enlarged, and the abilities that would be bestowed in reaching people that we think are unreachable!

Are you up for the challenge of requesting a sincere-heroic prayer such as Jabez?  For someone that is scarcely mentioned in the bible, his short prayer was (is) an abundant blessing!  

Lord, bless me and enlarge my territory for Your glory!  Keep your hand on me at all times guiding and keeping me free from harm and pain.  God, hear my cry and grant my request!   Amen.

Your sister in Christ,



Friday, September 23, 2011

Happy Week-End!

Whew! Happy Week-End! I must say this has been one of the busiest yet most relaxing week in Jesus's arms that I have had in a long time! I have loved spending time and sharing with each of my iStudy Bible ladies and just soaking up God's word this week! If you haven't visited Melissa's blog this morning, cruise on over there and check out her 'gotta get down' Friday video. It will certainly lighten up your morning and put a smile on your face!

Today, let's reflect back on what we have read this week and what God has spoken to each of us through His word, and pray that God will help us to apply it to our lives faithfully. This doesn't just apply to our iStudy Bible group. This is for you too my blogger friend! What have you been talking to God about this week in your quiet time with Him? What has He revealed to you? Has He answered yes or no to your prayers? Just receive whatever He has been saying to you and share your joy in Him with someone!

iStudy ladies, have you been working on your memory verse for this week? Can you fill in the blanks today? Can you recite it without any help? Give it a try and if you feel confident enough, do a short video of yourself reciting the verse and share it on facebook on Melissa's Online Study page! This task may take a little more encouragement and prayer for me...videos of myself scare me! But lookout youtube world...I'm coming soon! Ladies, we will take the weekend off, but I look forward to meeting up with you via the internet world on Monday!

So __ not ___ ____ your _______; it will be _____ _______. You _____ to ________ so that _____ you ____ ____ the ___ of ___, you will ______ what __ ___ _____.
~ _______ 10:35-36

Have a great weekend! Spend time with your family at a football game, hunting, shopping, or whatever you like to do with your loved ones!

Striving to hold onto confidence,

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bible "iStudy" Group

Do you have a quiet time in the morning with just you and the Lord? I can honestly say that on the days that I rise earlier and start my day with Jesus before anything else, it makes for a more confident and stable day in my life. What about you? Can you tell a difference between starting your day with God and starting one without Him? Now, I know that there are days that we awake very tired and would rather get that extra 30 minutes of sleep instead of rising to read the word of life. I have these kinds of days just like anyone else and I desperately need a sister or someone to hold me accountable and encourage me in my moments of weakness. That is exactly why I started what we call an “iStudy” bible group. This study group doesn’t meet once a week at someone’s house or at the local coffee shop (where I live that would be the Chevron Gas Station), or at the church. We all have busy schedules and really didn’t have time to add another morning or evening meeting to our calendars and thought that an approach with the new technology would be more convenient. So, we meet via phone, text, email, facebook, blog, etc. We will share something that God spoke to us during our quiet time to encourage each other and it will serve as a great way of using different technologies to hold each other accountable in spending time with God daily.

Our group consists of five to six women. If this sounds like something that you think you would like to participate in, give it a thought and pray for God to lead you with whom to share in your group. I would encourage you to keep your study group small (3-7 people) so that you are not overloaded with trying to communicate 20 or so emails, phone calls, texts, etc. each day. Also, keep in mind that you probably will have someone to drop out of your group at some point in time. That’s ok. Your group will change from time to time. Just look at it as God moving and adjusting for His will!

Today, I am blogging about my quiet time in my effort of sharing with my ‘iStudy’ sister group as well as you, my blogger friend.

My quiet time this morning was in 1 John 1:2. "The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us."

God came into this world as human. The disciples seen and testified of Him.  They still testify of Him today thru the living word of God.  The disciples were so blessed to have been able to physically walk and talk with Jesus! They witnessed firsthand Jesus' life and work on this earth. As I began meditating and praying over this scripture, I realized I was becoming somewhat jealous of the disciples.

At the time of John writing the book of 1 John, he was the last disciple living that had an eye witness account of Jesus. Although John had been exiled to the island of Patmos, he continued his letters of testimony and leading Christians.

John was considered the one whom Jesus loved. Can you imagine being the last person alive that had witnessed God walking the earth in human form or being known as the one whom God loved? Well, let’s give it a try. Fill in the blank with your name. _________ is the one whom Jesus loves. ________ is the one whom I wait for daily to spend time with.

When I felt that sense of jealousy creeping up inside of me this morning as I was praying, this is exactly what I heard God say to me. “Tonya, I consider you whom I love very much! Although you may not have witnessed with your eyes my life of walking the earth in human form, I am still there with you and you have witnessed my miracles and work many times. I wait for you daily to talk with me. I appear before you in ways that you often overlook, because at times you are so busy that you miss the sight of me. I am so delighted to call you my daughter and I am very thankful you spent time with me this morning. I love you, my child!”

My friend, we are a lot like John and the other disciples. We witness and hear from God daily. We are called to share our story about Jesus just like the disciples did! I pray that you slow down enough today to see Jesus and to look for ways to share Him with someone.



Saturday, September 3, 2011

Faith over Feelings

Have you ever seen the movie, Facing the Giants?  There is a scene in this movie where a football player participates in an exercise called "The Death Crawl."  The player expresses his 'feelings' of not being able to complete the task, but his coach has more 'faith' in him and encourages him not to give up.  His original goal was doing the crawl for 30 yards, his coach believed he could do 50 yards, and he finishes in the end zone!  Watch the clip from the movie.       

Last night, my family watched this movie again for like the 100th time.  Every time I watch it, God speaks a new message to me!  Recently, I have allowed feelings of fear, uncertainty, opposition and discouragement from others to consume me.  I had began to allow these feelings to overcome my faith. 

In this scene of the movie, I became overwhelmed.  I began to picture the coach as God.  I began to hear the words from the coach as words from God.  I began hearing Jesus spur me on in a time where I didn't know how much more I could do.  I began to choose and receive faith over my feelings.

Whatever troubles you may have today;  Whatever opposition you may be facing;  Whatever lies satan may be whispering in your ear; How ever beaten down you may be feeling from the ways of the world; DON'T GIVE UP!  The Lord is our strength!  He is right there beside you, encouraging and coaching you for the entire race!    

Lord, I will give you my best!  I will be the leader you have called me to be!  When I hurt and find myself in the wilderness alone, I will not give up!  Who am I?  Lord, I am yours!    

Choosing Faith over Feelings,


Monday, August 8, 2011

Call Upon His Name

Do you ever have those nights when you tuck the youngsters into bed and as soon as you leave their room they are calling out for 'mama'?  I have heard every question possible to stall bedtime from our youngest son, Camron.  Last night was a little different.  From his bedroom, I heard him call "Mama, please come here.  I need you."  When I replied back and asked what he needed, he responded with "I need to pray."  My oldest son was sitting in the living room with me and said that he would go and pray with Camron.  The love that Ryan has for his youngest brother is so pure and sweet!  It filled me with such joy to see 'big' brother stepping in to comfort baby brother in prayer.  Camron was having anxiety from bad thoughts that were filling his little mind.  As Camron led the prayer, he was asking God to protect his family, for no one to go back to the beach (shark week created this fear) and for no ants to get in our house.  I just love the innocence and faith that a child displays to God!  He was trusting God to take care of something as simple as keeping ants from coming into our home.  Most importantly, it fills me with such joy to see my seven year old calling upon the Lord in his time of need.  He was seeking his refuge in the Lord!  What a great way to end the night and an awesome way to begin his week! 
                (Ryan and Camron praying 8-7-11)

Calling Upon His Name,

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Unexpected Blessing!

Last night I had a date night with Camron.  He was so called 'starving' and wanted to eat Chinese.  I was hoping for a quiet dinner with just the two of us but things got interrupted.  The hostess sat us in a booth next to a man that was dining by himself.  Out of the blue, the man began conversing with us.  To be honest, at first I was trying to avoid the conversation but I soon felt the holy spirit leading me to go ahead and engage in talking with the man. 

As we were conversing, Camron piped in and said to the man, "My mom is married.  Do you know my daddy?"  (I couldn't help but laugh silently at his remark)  The man replied that he was not from here and didn't know anyone.  He stated that he travels through many states delivering medical equipment.  

As we prepared our plates and sat down to eat, Camron asked the blessing.  Afterwards, the gentleman asked what Church we went to.  I replied but didn't have time to ask him where he goes to church because Camron was taking control of the conversation.  Camron asked the man where he went to church and proceeded to talk about God with the man.  What a BLESSING to watch my child not be afraid to talk about God with a total stranger in a public place! 

The man finished his dinner and said goodbye.  Camron and I both encouraged him to travel safely as he began his journey on the road back home.  He walked away and Camron and I resumed finishing our meal.  After a few minutes, the man returned and proceeded to tell me that our bill had been taken care of and that he had been blessed so much during dinner conversing with us that he wanted to bless us in return.  I was overwhelmed with shock and humbled to the fact that a complete stranger would want to bless me! 

After the man left, Camron looked at me with his big, brown eyes and said "Mama, that was really nice of that man to pay for our supper."  Together we discussed what a blessing and great example this was of Jesus' love.  I guess Camron really let it soak it in about being a blessing to others because on the way home he put his hand on my shoulder and said to me "Mama, you sure are pretty with your earrings and I am so grateful for you."  Now, you talk about melting a mother's heart!  God knew exactly what He was doing when He surprisingly blessed us with Camron 7 years ago.  He brings so much joy and love into our lives and I am so proud of the young fellow that he is.

Hebrews 13:2  "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Confessions of a Jesus GIRL

Confession #1 - I may appear to have it all together, but I am still missing pieces of my puzzle!

Confession #2 - I may appear to have conquered a lot of sin in my life, but there is so much more sin to be dealt with.

Confession #3 -  I am FAR from the perfect wife!

Confession #4 - Confession #3 leads me to this...I am FAR from the perfect mother!

Confession #5 - I am not always correct. (Although, I wish I was) Lol!

Confession #6 - I strive to do the things that are right, but yet I still crave those McDonald's french fries.

Confession #7 - I may seem to be confident in who I am, but I struggle with many unbeknownst insecurities.

Confession #8 - You may think I know the bible, but truth is I will never know enough!

Confession #9 - You may think my marriage is perfect, but my marriage has its moments of struggle just like anyone else. 

Confession #10 - As much good as there is in my life, there is still plenty of bad to be corrected!

You may be asking yourself "Why is Tonya giving confession today?" To be honest, I am not real sure myself, but I believe God has a purpose for it. Sometimes we have to be humbled in order to become great! 

Humbled in spirit,

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Check out The 7-day Doubt Diet

Do you want to join me in losing the weight of discouragement and self-doubt? Renee Swope, from Proverbs 31 Ministries is offering a FREE “7-day Doubt Diet.” Just click here to enter your information in her sidebar, and you’ll receive a week’s worth of devotions from her upcoming book, A Confident Heart. Let me know so we encourage one another along the way.


Seeking to be confident of who I am in Christ,



Friday, July 15, 2011

Appreciation Days...

Last Friday, July 8, 2011, was "Cow Appreciation Day" at Chick-fil-A.  As we arrived, we were shocked at all the vehicles and busyness of this restaurant on the outside.  We parked and approached the entry doors.  It was almost like being in a dream or something as we entered.  As I looked around, I became excited and joyful with the sight of people dressed like cows!  From the youngest child to the oldest elder, there were all these cute t-shirts and costumes of black and white cows.  This particular day represented appreciation to the Chick-fil-A customers.  If you humbled yourself in dressing like a cow, then you would be blessed in return with free chicken!  I have said that Chick-fil-A has had one of the best sale pitches of all times with the whole save a cow and eat more chicken ads.  What a blessing this franchise is to people across our nation.  May God continue to bless Chick-fil-A as it blesses others!

"Food for Thought" - Everyday is 'Appreciation Day' in Christ!  He gives us the 'free' gift of salvation, water for the thirsty, and food for the hungry everyday if we choose to participate in daily living with Him! 

Matthew 5:6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled."

John 4:14 "but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Humbling myself more and more for Him,



Friday, July 1, 2011

Fire is Contagious!

Do you ever feel as though your fire has been put out?  When you find yourself having a bad day, in the middle of a tough situation, or just plain out tired of satan's mess - Trust in the Lord to see you through and find encouragement from others whose light is shining bright for Christ!  I encourage you to visit Jennifer Fripp's website and be encouraged by her latest blog.

Not all fires are made to be extinguished!

Burning Love for Christ,

Winner is Announced!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 'Heaven is for Real' book giveaway!  I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the scripture that everyone shared!  It is so awesome how God's word speaks to each of us!   May God continue to bless each one of you!

And the winner is............

Tammy P.

Tammy, I will email you with the details of getting the book to you.  Congratulations!

Love in Christ,

Monday, June 27, 2011

Billboard Conversations with God

As I drove out of my small hometown in Georgia headed to Hanceville, Alabama, I immediately began craving a Mocha Frappe from McDonald's.  The nearest McDonald's was about an hour away on my mapped out road trip.  I told myself I would surely stop then to get a Frappe to enjoy as I drove.  Well, Columbus, GA came and I kept driving because I didn't want to break the stride of my traveling.  About 2 hours into my road trip, God enticed me with a huge billboard on the side of the road that was featuring a Mocha Frappe at McDonald's.

You see, I now try to pay attention to billboard conversations from God because of a friend who didn't.  God spoke to her through billboard signs on one of her road trips and because of her deaf ears and eyes, she found herself stranded on the side of the interstate.  Now, God didn't leave her there.  He rescued her by putting people in her path at just the right time but not without pointing out her disobedience .  She didn't know if the transmission or motor was messing up in her vehicle or how she would get off the side of the interstate with six children.  It turns out that all that was wrong with her truck was that it had run out of gas.  God had shown her several billboard signs with cheaper gas prices and she even acknowledged them, but kept right on driving.  So through my sisters correction in billboard conversations from God, I am trying to pay closer attention to them.  We can learn so much from each other if we are willing to. 

Now, back to my McDonald's Mocha Frappe billboard sign.  It showed that my stop would be at exit 205.  I noticed that I was only at exit 200 and that would be about 5 more miles.  The closer I got to exit 205, the darker the sky became.  A severe thunderstorm was rolling in.  I made it to my exit and just as I walked through the McDonald's door, the tornado sirens started going off in this small, Alabama town.  Now, those of you who personally know me, you know that just the thought of a tornado and myself DON'T get along!  I made way to the ladies restroom and hung out in there until the sirens stopped.  All the while, I was having conversation with 2 other women who were waiting out the sirens in the restroom as well.  They were informing me of how God had planned it out for them to stop at that exit as well and how he had protected them from a tree limb that had blown across the interstate and hit the car in front of them.  Immediately, I thanked God for speaking to me through that billboard sign.  He knew I needed to get off the road, so he teased me with the sign for a Mocha Frappe.  The sirens stopped but it was still storming.  I went ahead and ate supper as I waited out the storm.  Once it passed, I went to get my Frappe for the road.  Did you catch the 'teased' part earlier?  Well, the Frappe machine was not working so I didn't get to get one.  I got in my car, got back on the interstate and the first thing I saw was another huge billboard.  This time the billboard read "Be Blessed!"  I started laughing and just praised God for his tactics in speaking to his children.  He knew that this stubborn girl would need that enticing sign with a mouth watering mocha frappe on it in order to get me to stop so that I could be in a safe building from the storm that was approaching.  Even though I didn't get what I intended to get when I stopped, He reminded me to 'be blessed' in the billboard sign when I left!  Now, let me enlighten you of the fact that I did stop at a McDonald's about 20 miles down the road and I enjoyed a sweet Mocha Frappe!  Yum...!!  I arrived at my destination safely and praised God for his guidance on my trip! 

Talking it up with God through billboards!

Tonya :)


Friday, June 24, 2011

Free Gift Friday! Book Giveaway - 'Heaven is for Real'

I will be giving away a free, new copy of the book "Heaven is for Real" next Friday, July 1, 2011.  Giveaway ends Thursday, June 30, 2011 at 9:00pm.  The winner will be announced on Friday, July 1, 2011 via blog post and by email.  Spread the word and best wishes to each of you!

To Enter:
  • Post a comment about your favorite verse in the bible at the bottom of this blog post.  Leave your first name with email address in each comment so that I may contact you if you are the winner. 

For optional extra entries, do one or more of the following. (Each option counts as an additional entry for the drawing.)

  • Become a Google follower of my blog and leave a comment letting me know.
  • Blog about this giveaway on your blog, and leave a comment letting me know. (Include your URL of your post that advertises my giveaway in your comment.)
  • Become a friend on facebook and leave a comment letting me know.
  • Email this post to a friend and leave a comment letting me know.

Spreading the news that Heaven is for Real,


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Coming Soon! "Free Gift Friday"

I am gearing up for my first "Free Gift Friday" on my blog.  The first giveaway will be on, July 1, 2011, which is next Friday.  My first gift to bless someone with is a copy of Todd Burpo's book 'Heaven is for Real'.  Check back tomorrow for more details and information on how to enter for a chance to win!   

Why Me Lord?!

Have you EVER asked yourself this question - Why me Lord?  Do you ever have one of those days where it seems as though everything you touch or come into contact with turns to mush?  Maybe it is a day where the kids are screaming and the only word in their vocabulary that day is 'mom' and it is being repeated every two seconds.  Or is it a day where you can't find your keys or cell phone.  Perhaps it is a day when your spouse has said something that hurt your feelings and instead of talking about it with them, you allow yourself to sulk all day and become more miserable by the minute.  Possibly, it is a day where the balance in your checkbook will never cover the bills that are due?  Do you ever have these kind of days?

God doesn't waste anything!  God uses this kind of stuff to grow us if we have willing hearts and attitudes.  He turns our 'Mess' into our 'Message'.  This may be the stuff that drives us crazy but this is the stuff that He uses to get our attention in our daily lives.  Francesca Battistelli has a song that ministers to so many and it is one of my absolute favorites!  On the days when I want to throw my hands and give up, I can always find encouragement from this song.  Watch, listen, enjoy, and be encouraged if you are having one of those days! 

James 1: 2-7   2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord.

Too Blessed to be Stressed!



Monday, June 20, 2011

I Love You This Big!

Psalm 36:5 "Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies."

Do you ever really ponder the thought of how much God loves you?  We know his ultimate display of love was his death on the cross for our sins, but do you ever just sit and listen as God tells you that he loves you?

As I write this, my mind is filled with memories of my children when they were younger. I can remember my oldest son stretching his arms opened wide and saying "I love you this big!" and our middle son would always want to be in my arms sharing hugs and kisses galore!  When our youngest son started talking, he would say 'I love you' but it came out sounding like "I - O - U."  He is seven years old now and I still have a voice mail message on my phone of him saying "I - O - U".  I just can't bring myself to delete it.

As we see families expressing love to each other, God expresses his love to us everyday.  It is just a matter of slowing down enough to meditate and hear him.  This past week, we enjoyed a few days at the beach in Florida.  As we were sitting on the beach soaking up the sunshine, I started pondering the thought of how big this ocean is.  As far as the eye could see, it appeared that the ocean was never ending.  Immediately, I heard God say, I love you this big!  God was telling me that he loved me as big as the ocean.  Do you know how much water covers the earth? A little more than 70%.  That is a LOT of water.  That is a LOT of love! :) 

As you go about your daily busyness today, look and listen for the "I - O - U" better understood as "I Love You" from God!  He is constantly displaying his love to us.  His love endures forever!

This blog may be short and simple today, but remember God loves you as big as the ocean!  His love reaches to the heavens!  There is nothing small or simple about that!

Sharing His love,



Friday, June 10, 2011

I don't 'wanna' grow up...or do I?

Can you remember your days as a child?  Do you have some favorite memories of when you were young?  My favorite memories of being a little girl were made during what seemed like endless summer days and nights, catching fireflies in a jar, swimming with my cousins all day, and the many sleep overs with my girl cousins as we talked about cute boys.  I can remember thinking "I don't 'wanna' (south Georgia language for 'want to') grow up! :)

A few years pass and then I can remember thinking that I still enjoyed those endless summer days and nights, but catching fireflies wasn't cool anymore.  Swimming all day with cousins turned into laying out all day to get that perfect sun kissed tan and we had even more sleep overs by this time only to stay up all night listening to the radio and discussing our boy crushes of the week.  I was so ready to grow up!

This teeter tottering of growing up is so evident in our christian lives as well.  We receive Jesus into our lives and become so eager to mature in Him spiritually, but when a trial comes, we start second guessing if we can endure these hard times for the Lord.  We start listening to the lies of satan and begin to believe that a godly life is too hard to live, that it's not fair compared to the way of the world, heaven forbid that we would have to change our ways, or that it is just not worth it.  We find ourselves stuck in a rut and scared to trust and move forward by faith.  We find ourselves not sure if we are ready to grow up! 

Hebrews 6:1 "So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don't need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God."

God wants us to mature as Christians.  He desires for us to stop drinking baby's milk and move on to heavier food to digest for spiritual growth just as we did when we were little for physical growth.  It is so important in our lives to move on from the basic teachings about Christ and strive to become more mature in our understanding of Him.  We should 'wanna' grow up in Christ, because if God is for us, then who can stand against us?   It simply boils down to our choice.  It is our choice to choose how far we grow spiritually.  God is always there teaching, bu are we always listening, eager to learn in order to 'Grow" up?

Isaiah 50:4  "The Sovereign LORD has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught."

Enduring growing pains,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One World...Many, Many Stories

Our youngest son, Camron, is participating in the summer book reading program at our local library.  The guest speaker today was a magician.  He told stories in a way that was captivating to the young children and adults.  He had every ones attention!  It was a great show and an interesting way to get kids eager to read. 

As I listened to the magician, I found myself thinking about the title of this program "One World...Many, Many Stories".  God has really been laying it on my heart lately about praising Him more by sharing my stories about Him to others.  I have a friend who about a year ago approached me about writing a book with her.  At that time, my response was that "I" was not interested because "I" had no desire to write about anything.  Let me confess to you that God really had to get my "I" out of the way so that "He" could work through me.  God has recently placed the desire to write in me.  I know that it is God because I am not the best writer.  I don't always use correct grammar.  I have a lot of flaws, but I do believe I can do anything in Christ who strengthens me!  The point is this simple, I CAN'T do anything but God in me CAN do anything!  I am nothing without Him! 

One World...Many, Many Stories - Whether we choose to write, speak, act in skits, email, text, phone conversations, preach, teach or however God has gifted us to tell our stories, we ALL have stories to share of His greatness!  Of all that God delivers to us, He only ask one thing in return...Go and tell others about Him.  We live in One World...But we have Many, Many Stories! 

Please pray for me as I embrace this journey of sharing my stories by writing.  My prayer is that however it plays out, whether by book, blog, magazine or however God sees fit, I pray that God will be glorified and that someone will meet Jesus through my sharing of Him!

Let me end by encouraging you to go share your stories of His greatness in your life.  Someone is waiting for you to introduce them to Jesus! 

God Bless,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Where God guides...He will provide!

Over the last couple of weeks, I have been overjoyed with God's presence.  This has been a time when I KNOW that God has been right here with me and so many others!

I have watched and witnessed God move in some miraculous ways lately.  All my praise is for Him!  I have watched Him rescue a friend stranded on the side of the interstate with six kids.  He saved a family member from drowning.  He guided a friend home that was having car trouble and had her car repaired for $10.  The repair normally would have probably cost between $300-$500.  I am currently watching His will unfold for twin infant girls that are in need of a loving home and family. 

Yesterday at church, I was amazed at God's love and strength that He covers us with.  An older member that has been really sick with luekemia was at church with his family yesterday.  He stood and praised God for all the love and compassion that people had been displaying to him.  He praised God for the strength to be at church even though chemo has been really hard on him.  We witnessed a miracle in this man's life several years ago.  He was on his death bed but God revived him because He wasn't finished with him yet.  Since then, this man has been one that God has used in helping to raise up some godly men at our church.  He has been a wonderful mentor and testimony to many!  As I listened to him praising God during this time in his life, I thought about Jesus on the cross. Through all the pain and suffering, he remained on the cross.  Even when He didn't think He could handle anymore, he remained on the cross.  Even when Jesus might have been second guessing his situation, he remained on the cross.  Just as Jesus continued to suffer for the greater cause, I see my brother in Christ suffering through his pain and still acknowledging that God is in control and that God is Lord!

I currently have an aunt that has cancer.  She has been having a hard time with this disease lately.  The disease has been causing her a lot of pain and loss of appetite.  Doctors have her on medicine for pain and the side effects are taking a toll on her.  She is going through a lot of suffering right now but the good thing is that she really is in a Win-Win situation.  She may be the result of a miracle of healing or she may be greeted at the gates of heaven by Jesus and her family members that are already there!  What a glorious reunion that would be! This doesn't make it any easier for our flesh that desires for her to be here with us but it does give me comfort in knowing that she is a daughter of the King of Glory.  One day, either way, she will be without cancer and pain!  My prayer is still that God would take this disease from her but I accept and trust His will in her life. 

1 Kings 8:57 "May the LORD our God be with us as he was with our fathers; may he never leave us nor forsake us."

No matter where you are in life; No matter what situations you are going through right now;  No matter if you are on the mountain or in the valley; Trust in knowing that where God is guiding you....He will provide for you!  His provision doesn't always come in the way that we think it should, BUT He is always there with us!

Praising Him,


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Made for More

I am currently reading the book 'Made to Crave' by Lisa Terkeurst.  God has already used this book to impact my life more than I would have ever imagined! 

I knew when I started reading this book that God was going to be revealing some painful things to me.  The first was that my love for food outweighed my love for God.  Ouch!  There are times when the 'hard truth' will just slap you in the face and this was one of those times.  It hurt so badly to admit this to myself.  I have struggled with weight loss for many years.  It was like I was on a roller coaster ride.  I would lose 20 pounds and then turn around and gain 25 back.  I was continuously up and down and I am still struggling with the whole weight-loss issue.  However, I know God is using Lisa's book to help me break through some old habits and to reform my way of thinking on the issue.  For example:  What if Jesus was standing before you?  I mean right there, looking at you, eye to eye, and he is saying to you "I want you to give up the one thing you crave more than me.  Then, come follow me".  Well, this statement did it for me!  If I don't get anything else out of this book, the thought of me craving something else more than God is convicting enough!  Why do we allow our cravings for food, money, sex, music, high-standings etc. outweigh our cravings for Him?  God never intended for us to want anything more than we want Him.  We were made for more! 

"Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial"  1 Corinthians 10:23

I know this journey will not be an easy one, but I am dying to self and picking up my cross daily!  I am determined to use the permissible cravings as an opportunity to pray for strength and to allow God to show and fill me with the beneficial cravings that only He can satisfy! 

What cravings do you need to give up in order to follow Jesus completely?

Girl craving Jesus,
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