Friday, March 15, 2019

Until You Have~

I stood in the back of the wooden chapel.

It was the last worship service
of a week long full
of worship services and mountaintop experiences
at a Christian camp for 4th-6th graders.

When this worship service was over,
so was camp.
When we bowed our heads and said our final "amen"
we would all be loading into vans
and heading back home -
to wherever and whatever home might be.

For the last six years,
when the last day of camp was over,
my heart would be a little hesitant to come down off the mountain
and step back into the normal routine of life again.
Always, though, the joy and excitement of returning home,
of seeing my Handsome Honey,
and sleeping in our bed,
and sharing once again in the living of our life
balanced out the longing of wanting to stay on the mountain.

Not this year.

This year when I arrived home there would be
no one to greet me.
No one to ask about my week.
No one to hug and hold.
No one to listen to me re-tell story after story of God's moving on the mountain.

Only an empty house
and the unwelcome reality
that this year was not the same as years past and never would be the same again
would be there to welcome me home.

And, the thought of not having home to return home to
swelled up inside me so fast and so furious
I had to step outside of the chapel into the expanse of mountain air
just to find my next breath.

And, then the tears came -
SO many tears.

Tears for me, yes.
But honestly, this time -
tears for them, too.

For the children who had to leave this taste of heaven on earth
and return to a world that was not so pleasant -
to a place where they experienced unrest, turmoil, bullying, or fear.

Each year before,
as we made our way out of the chapel and towards the van,
I had seen tears in the eyes of some of the children.

As we would drive the road that wound us through the mountains
and led us back to our hometown,
I would pray for God to give me the words to comfort these children,
to help ease them back into the world that was their every day.

But, you don't truly understand what another is
feeling,
experiencing,
dreading,
until you have.

Knowing this year would be no different than years past for some of the children,
I made my way down the hill from the chapel
straight to the office of a precious, precious friend.
As soon as I saw her face,
I broke apart and again,
the tears came -
SO many tears.

And, she held me.
And, she held me some more.
And I cried for all of us -
for me,
for them,
for our broken world.

After the tears subsided -
this beautiful woman of God prayed for all of us -
for me,
for them,
for our broken world.

No, you don't truly understand what another is
feeling,
experiencing,
dreading,
until you have.

But, once you have -
ah, once you have . . .

All praise goes to God, Father of our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One.  He is the Father of compassion, the God of all comfort. He consoles us as we endure the pain and hardship of life so that we may draw from His comfort and share it with others in their own struggles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (Voice)

This time,
unlike any other time off the mountain before,
I was in their shoes.

This time,
unlike any other time off the mountain before,
I truly understood.

And this time,
unlike any other time off the mountain before,
I felt the God of all comfort,
surrounding me
as I in turn,
prayed and spoke words of His comfort to surround them.

And I discovered anew,
you can't truly feel
the peace that passes understanding,
the comfort that comes from the Great Comforter,
the presence of God Himself,
until you have.

But, once you have,
you are able to give it to someone else.

And I realized once again,
that no matter how I may be feeling,
our God is bigger,
and our God is always with us.

The same God who was on the mountaintop
would come down from the mountain with us.
The same God who we felt among us
as we were among the tall pines,
would be among us below in the desert,
because our God
has chosen to make His home
inside us.

He would be with us.

His presence with us
didn't end once we climbed inside the church van
and buckled our seat belts.

No, His presence
would climb in with us
and follow us home.

(During my season of grief, God has been faithful to reveal His precious truths to me in so many ways. This - a selection from my newly released book, "You'll Be Fine, Beautiful. You've Got God." For more information and/or to purchase a copy, simply click HERE.)



~Stacy



Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Feeling Forgotten?

Have you ever wondered
if you have fallen off
God's radar?

Life was merrily rolling along
and then all of a sudden
you found yourself
in a prison,
out to pasture,
thrown in a tomb.

Joseph.
David.
Lazarus.
You.
Me.

No matter where you are.
No matter how silent you find this place to be.
No matter how unforgotten you may feel.

Rest assured.

God knows where you are.

He has not forgotten you.
In fact, chances are,
where you are
is right in the center of God's will.

When only a youth,
God gave Joseph a glimpse
of where he would one day be.
Prison wasn't it.

In fact, his journey to prison
was nothing Joseph
could ever have imagined.

From a pit, to slavery, to prison.
Where was God in this?
Right beside Joseph,
that's where.
Waiting for the perfect,
God-ordained time
to take Joseph's hand
and lead him
from the prison
right into the palace.

David was out in the pasture
tending sheep
when Samuel came calling
with a call from the Lord.

His family
may have overlooked him.
His own father
may not have thought him
worth calling for.
But God hadn't forgotten about him.

In fact, David was the reason
Samuel had come.
He was God's man
and soon everyone knew it.
The shepherd soon became King.

And then there was Lazarus.

Sick, dead and buried,
but far from being forgotten.
Jesus came and not a minute too soon.
He was right on time
and Lazarus received
a call of his own.
At the words of Christ,
life came into his body
and he came forth,
out into the light
of God's resurrection power.

Maybe where you are
is far from where
you ever thought you would be.

Looking around your life,
you, yourself, have doubts
as to where you even are.

Don't worry.
God knows where you are.
In His perfect timing
and in His perfect way,
He will come calling.

He sees you in the prison.
He is with you in the lonely pasture.
And yes, even in the dead places of your life,
the places where you can no longer
see a sign of life,
He is there.

Stay faithful to your calling.
Stay faithful to your God.
Keep trusting Him in these
dark, barren places of your life.

He is with you.
He is working behind the scenes
and one day,
it WILL happen.

The door will open.

The call will come.

The dead will spring forth with life.

As Joseph stood before his brothers,
the very ones who had sold him into slavery,
he proclaimed this truth.

You intended to harm me, 
but God intended it all for good. 
He brought me to this position 
so I could save the lives of many people.
~Genesis 50:20, NLT.

God's purpose was revealed.

David, who had been faithful
to keep a watchful eye
upon his father's sheep,
was now the one being gazed upon
as Samuel anointed him
to tend the sheep of Israel.

Then he asked Jesse, "Is this it? 
Are there no more sons?" 
"Well, yes, there's the runt. 
But he's out tending the sheep." 

Samuel ordered Jesse, "Go get him. 
We're not moving from this spot until he's here." 
Jesse sent for him. 
He was brought in, 
the very picture of health— 
bright-eyed, good-looking. 

God said, "Up on your feet! 
Anoint him! This is the one." 
Samuel took his flask of oil 
and anointed him, 
with his brothers standing around watching. 
The Spirit of God entered David 
like a rush of wind, 
God vitally empowering him 
for the rest of his life.
~1 Samuel 16:11-13, The Message

God's purpose was revealed.

Lazarus, dead, and buried,
and lifeless for four days,
walked right out of the tomb
and back into the lives
of everyone watching;
a living testimony
of God's power to bring whatever is dead
back to life.

Then Jesus shouted, 
“Lazarus, come out!” 
And the dead man came out, 
his hands and feet bound in graveclothes, 
his face wrapped in a headcloth. 

Jesus told them, 
Unwrap him and let him go!” 
Many of the people 
who were with Mary 
believed in Jesus 
when they saw this happen. 
~John 11:43-45, NLT

Lazarus walked in newness of life
and once again,
God's purpose was revealed.

The God of Joseph, David and Lazarus
is our God, too.
When it seems
God has forgotten us
or life has taken a wrong turn,
we simply need to remember this:
God HAS a purpose.

Soon, in God's perfect timing
and in His perfect way,
His purpose will be revealed
in our life, too!




~Stacy


Saturday, March 9, 2019

Hidden in the "No"~

I will never forget the conversation
I had with an elderly lady
several years ago.

We were seated next to one another
at a conference on prayer.

After the last session,
as everyone was packing up their Bibles
and leaving the room,
she leaned over and asked,
"Do you believe in prayer?"

"Yes. I do," I replied.

"I don't," she stated matter-of-factly.

Her answer caught me off guard -
so off guard, in fact,
that before my mind
had time to pray about a response,
my mouth blurted out,
"You don't? Why not?"

As we sat back down,
she told me her story.

The love of her life,
her husband of 30+ years,
had found another love.

He made no excuses,
just an honest,
"I don't love you anymore"
followed by divorce papers
and an empty side of the closet
where his clothes once hung.

For years,
(40+ years I discovered),
she had prayed night and day
for God to bring her husband
back home.

"It wasn't that we was wonderful
at being a husband,
because he certainly was not.
But, he was mine.
You understand, don't you, dear?

He was mean, uncaring, and selfish -
but he was mine.

All these years,
I have prayed.
And, all these years,
my prayers have gone
unheard by God
and unanswered.

I used to believe in prayer,
but not any more.
Not now.
It's obvious God 
doesn't care about me."

"From what you've told me,
this man caused you
heartache and grief
even before he left you.
Why would you want him
back in your life?

I'm sure the way he treated you
must have hurt God's heart.

Have you ever stopped to think
that God loves you SO MUCH
He chose not to subject you
to that abuse any longer?

Maybe what you think
is God saying 'no'
is actually God saying
'I want so much better for you'."

Her eyes filled with tears
and for a moment,
she turned away from me.

Then,
she reached out,
took hold of my arm
and began sobbing uncontrollably.

"I never thought of it like that.
Why haven't I
ever thought of it like that?

All these years
I've been so angry at God
for not listening,
for not answering,
for not caring.

Maybe God was hearing me,
after all.

Maybe, just maybe,
He was watching out for me,
in spite of me.
Thank you."

And with that,
she stood up
and darted out of the room.

40+ years this woman
had allowed a broken relationship
to hold her prisoner.

40+ years this woman
had allowed bitterness and anger
to rob her
of her relationship with God.

I'll never forget our conversation.
I'll never forget her tears.
I'll never forget the look in her eyes
when she saw God's heart
in a new light -
the light of His love for her,
in spite of her anger,
in spite of her bitterness,
in spite of her pleas.

Our God loves us
like no one ever has
or ever will.

When we don't understand His ways,
when we don't get our way,
when we pray and pray and pray
and feel as though God doesn't care,
HE DOES.

All the time,
more than we can ever know
or even imagine,
He does.

Disguised in what
appears to be silence
is a love that we can't even
begin to comprehend.

Hidden in the "no" is often
a merciful, tender,
"I want so much better for you".

Does God hear our prayers?
Every single one.

Does God answer our prayers?
Every single time.

Do I believe in prayer?
Yes, I do.




~Stacy


(Sharing again one of the most liked Heartprints of God posts - this one from April, 2013)

Monday, March 4, 2019

Our Calling~

Sometimes,
most times, in fact,
we simply don't see it,
and we simply 
have no way 
of truly knowing.

On my knees,
in front of the window
in our spare bedroom, 
a place that has become to me
my own special sanctuary,
the tears fell long and hard.

In this lowly posture,
I found myself 
overcome with shame
and apologizing profusely
to my Heavenly Father.

The date - February 4.
A date that marked 
three years
since my husband passed away.

The shame - wasted time.
Three years of "being still"
and mourning this great loss
with nothing to show 
for the passing of this time.

I know as I wept 
in the presence
of my Heavenly Father,
His comfort was there 
for the taking -
(He is the Comforter, after all),
but my own emotions 
ran so deep,
I had a hard time 
gasping for my next breath,
much less partaking of His comfort.

Eventually, 
I cried myself dry,
but the shame 
that drove me to my knees
was with me still,
as I stood to my feet
and walked out of the room.

It wasn't until a few weeks later,
on February 26th, to be exact,
that my heart,
still burdened low,
was able to hear 
the precious stirring of His Spirit.

I was holding in my hand
the proof copy of my new book,
"You'll Be Fine, Beautiful.
You've Got God."

And, without even thinking about it,
suddenly I found myself thinking about
my husband's funeral
and the words
God had so graciously given to me to share
as I stood in front of a crowd of people -
nothing written down 
on a note in my hand,
just the words flowing from my heart.

Words I no doubt 
wouldn't even remember me saying
if my husband's service 
had not been videotaped by the church
and then given to me 
as a precious treasure.

"I wish he would have known
what a difference he made.  
So many times 
he would come home from work,
discouraged and feeling down.
'I want my life to count.
I want my life to make a difference
and here I am 
just doing this piddly work 
day in and day out.'
And I would tell him,
it's not insignificant 
what you are doing.
I know that to be true
because I know you.
You couldn't be around Steve
without being greeted with
an enthusiastic hello.
You couldn't spend time with him
and not hear him 
speak words of life and encouragement."

Then - these precious words
from my Heavenly Father:

"I wish you would know
what a difference you have made.
These last three years 
have not been idly wasted away.
Every single word
written in each of your books
(and so many more
not included there)
were written during these three years.
What you spent your time doing, -
seeking me in the deepest place of grief,
sharing My faithfulness with others,
I wish you would know
what a difference you have made
because it is not 'insignificant'."

And I wonder 
how many times
you - just like me -
for whatever reason -
either through 
the voice of the world,
the voice of the enemy,
the voice of friends and family,
or the voice from yourself,
have found yourself,
bent over low,
burdened beneath the guilt 
of living a life 
that seems to you
to be insignificant.

How many times
have you questioned
if your life counts?

No, 
sometimes,
most times, in fact,
we simply don't see it,
and we simply have no way 
of truly knowing.

And I think what
both my man and my God
would have me share 
with you here 
are the rest of the words
I spoke on that day,
at that beautiful, hope-filled service,
three years ago.

"I wish he would know
what a difference he made
because it was not insignificant.
And, I wish that each of you 
would understand, too.
You may not feel
like what you're doing 
is making a difference -
but every single life counts.
Every. single. life. counts.
Every person you meet,
every place you go,
every thing you do,
is an opportunity
to bless someone else
with the blessings God has given us
to shower on other people.
He made his life count.
And, I wish we could learn from him -
and as we walk out those doors today,
to just go out
and bless our world
with the love of God
through love for each other."






~Stacy

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Exactly Right~

As soon as I open
the bathroom window,
I see them.

All of them.

Bright. Pink. Beautiful.

Our peach tree is in full bloom,
and the blossoms are
straight ahead, 
in my direct view,
only a few feet away,
as I look out the window.

And, I smile.
And yes, 
(if you've been reading here 
for any amount of time,
you know what's coming next),
I cry,
all at the same time.

And I remember
like it was just yesterday,
the brief, but oh so precious,
conversation between
my husband and me when, -
so many years ago,
I opened this very same window,
the very first spring 
after this tree had been planted,
and saw the blossoms.

Totally surprised
and completely overcome
by the unexpected beauty 
that greeted my eyes,
I had immediately called out to my man.

"Handsome!  Come quick!
Come see!  Handsooooome! Come here!"

And,
not knowing why
I was calling out for him,
my man had immediately
started making his way towards me
as soon as he had heard me calling.

"What, Beautiful?  What is it?"

But, as soon as he 
was able to see me
standing there
looking out the window,
he knew.

And, he smiled.
A huge, beautiful "I love you" smile.

"Oh!  They are so beautiful!
Look at them, Handsome!"

"I knew you would like them.
That's why I purposely planted
that tree exactly in that spot.
I wanted you to see the blossoms
each and every spring
when you opened your window."

Now,
three years after his passing,
this Spring,
like so many others before,
finds me standing at my window,
soaking in the beauty right outside.

As odd as it may seem,
when my husband 
planted this peach tree,
he had one mission in mind:
to bless his wife
with a beautiful peach blossom "bouquet"
every spring.

That's it!
That was his purpose.

And, if we happened, by chance,
to be able to harvest
a few peaches each year,
they would simply be
icing on the cake.

When considering the location
for planting this tree,
he never once stopped to ask
if the soil in this spot was rich enough,
if the yard in this spot was "sunlighty" enough,
if the spot would make a good spot or not.

And probably to those looking on, -
those who only see the tree
but not the heart or the intention
of the one who planted it -
this tree doesn't seem to be
in the right spot at all.

And yet -
for the purpose 
for which it was planted,
it is in exactly the right spot.

And I can't help 
but think about me,
and the places where
God, Himself,
has chosen to plant me.

Especially now,
when the place 
I currently seem to be
doesn't seem "right" at all.

Me, 
someone who 
avoided funerals,
avoided those who were grieving,
avoided all the 
heartbreak and all the uncomfortable
that came with loss.
here, now,
heart deep in a ministry -
that for the last three years, at least -
has been totally and completely
centered around and focused on
grief.

And what God spoke 
to me so tenderly today,
as I stood taking in the beauty
right outside my bathroom window 
was this:

To you, looking on,
it might seem as though
I never thought once about
whether this assignment was
a good fit,
a good choice,
a good spot for you to be,
but when I uprooted you
and planted you in this new spot,
I had a specific purpose in mind.

When others have weathered 
the dark and cold of mourning,
and are brave enough
to open the window of their heart
and peer out 
past the sorrow
and the grief,
and the heartbreak,
to the new season 
opening up before them,
I want them to be able to see,
directly in front of them,
right there in plain sight,
My faithfulness,
My presence,
My goodness,
My love.

I have handpicked you
and your ministry of words
to be a living "bouquet" -
showcasing to all
who I am.

For this moment,
for this time,
for this season,
you are exactly in the right spot.

The blossoms on the tree
are beautiful.
Not only do they speak to me
of my husband's love,
but also of my Creator.

I pray,
with the Spirit's help,
I, too, can bloom
in a way
that honor's my God,
that draws hurting hearts
and tear-filled eyes
straight to the Father.

And that through the words here,
through something His Spirit
types through my fingertips,
others will come to see 
a revelation of their Heavenly Father
they have not yet seen, -
a revelation that will
comfort,
encourage,
strengthen,
and heal.

Yes, this tree -
it is exactly where it
needs to be.

Lord, may I, too,
be willing to bloom
exactly where You
have chosen to plant me.

Where has God planted you?

Chances are,
you, too,
are in exactly the right place
for the purpose
for which He has in mind.

Bloom.

Allow God to use you
to be a beautiful expression
of who He is.



~Stacy


Monday, February 18, 2019

The Place of Grace~

There are so many places
we can choose 
to look out at the world from.

We can see it from a place 
of judgment, condemnation, and hate.

We can see it from a place 
of shock, disgust, and fear.

We can see if from a place 
of complacency, disregard, and indifference.

Or, we can see if from 
the place of grace.

Not a grace that 
excuses,
looks the other way,
or liberally accepts,
but a grace
that first chooses to remember this:

But by the grace of God,
I am what I am.
~1 Corinthians 15:10

We who have been blessed 
(and honestly, 
blessed is not a 
strong enough word here)
to know God,
to have experienced His love, forgiveness and grace,
to have been made new,
to have received His Holy Spirit,
to have had the eyes of our heart opened to His truth,
to have been given the mind of Christ,
only have God, Himself, to thank for this.

It was nothing we did.

If is wasn't for His grace
revealed to us,
and poured into our heart by His Spirit,
our lives would look very different.

We would probably resemble
exactly what we see
when we,
from our place of grace,
look out at the world -

broken,
lost,
deceived.

The world -
that could be you,
that could be me.

But, for the grace of God.

And the one thing 
that is going to make 
the most difference in our world,
the one thing that is going 
to bring about the change
we so long for and desire,
the one thing that is missing
in this worldly mess,
is The One who came 
to earth
as a tiny babe,
to pour His grace
on a world completely
broken,
lost,
deceived.

We can't expect the world
to understand 
"What is wrong with the world?"
until,
unless,
they, too, have received of His grace.

Until,
unless,
the eyes of their hearts
have been open 
and they, too,
have the mind of Christ.

If we as Christians
want to change our world,
we,
with humility and grace,
have to 

1. always remember and never forget -
"That could be me."

2. Introduce the world to the Giver of grace.

If we are faithful to do these two things,
God will be faithful
to do the rest.



~Stacy


Thursday, February 14, 2019

God's Heart of Love~


February 2013:
Today, when I arrived home from work, I popped into my bathroom to throw some water on my face and "freshen up" after a long day. After splashing my face, I reached for my towel and then, out of habit, I looked straight ahead at my reflection in my mirror. Only today, my reflection was framed by a paper heart.

Evidently, after I had left for work this morning, my husband had cut a heart out of a piece of paper. Then, he strategically placed the original paper - minus the heart - on my mirror in the hope that when I looked at my reflection, I would see my face framed "inside" this heart. As special as this was, it didn't compare to the words he had written on the border of the paper frame. It simply said....."Look How Beautiful".

As I stood there, smiling from my lips all the way down to my heart, I was reminded once again of the "heart game" my husband and I play with each other. I wrote about it back in March 2009 and just had to share it with you again. I hope you don't mind. Our game never grows old and neither does God's love for us. Truly, Jesus is the Lover of our soul.

**************************

Yesterday morning,
before I left for work,
I lovingly placed
a small, red plastic heart
in the coffeemaker.

Yes, you read that right.....
the coffeemaker.

I pulled out the container
normally reserved
for the filter and the coffee,
and placed "my heart"
there instead.

As I walked away
from the kitchen
and headed out the door,
I couldn't help but smile
as I thought of the
surprised look
sure to be
on my husband's face
when he made coffee
later that morning.

Before the coffeemaker,
the red heart
had been spotted when,
one evening,
I returned home from work
to find a beautiful flowering potted plant
sitting on our bathroom window sill.
The heart was propped up
against the purple pot,
in plain sight
for all to see.

Before the plant,
the red heart had surprised
my husband one morning
when he bent down
to pick up the newspaper.
Both the heart
and the morning news
were waiting to greet him
on the sidewalk
leading to our home.

Before this,
I had discovered the heart
in the refrigerator,
atop a container of leftovers
I had planned to take
for my lunch that day.

The heart exchange is something
my husband and I do
on a regular basis.
It was never discussed
or planned,
it just happened.

We have been doing it f
or so long,
I'm not sure how
it actually got started,
 but it has yet
to lose it's "magic".

The heart is a symbol
of our love for each other,
and I'm not sure
which is more rewarding -
leaving the heart to be found,
or discovering it!

As I tucked the heart
into the coffeemaker,
I thought about God
and the beautiful and faithful way
He, too,
tucks reminders of His love
into each of our days.

Sometimes God's love is seen
in the obvious,
like the beautiful flowering plant,
showcasing His love
for all to see.

Other times, however,
His heart may be tucked
into the mundane,
day to day places of our lives
like the refrigerator
or the coffeemaker.

In every situation,
and in every place,
God's love is waiting to be discovered.


In a beautiful sunrise.
In a baby's laugh.
In a promotion.
In a good meal.


These are the obvious places.

God's love is also found
in the not so obvious.


In the dark of night.
In the tears of suffering.
In failure.
In times of desperation.


In the refrigerator times of life,
when all seems cold,
and we are shaking with fear,
God's love is there.


In the coffeemaker times of life,
when the stress and demands
of day to day living
cause us to percolate
and steep in the heat
of the battle,
God's love is there.


God's love is even waiting for us
when we receive news
that leaves us
uncertain of the future.

If we just look,
we will see His heart.


Last night,
with a wink and a smile,
my husband informed me
his morning coffee
was the best
he had ever had.

That was my intention,
to sweeten his day
with a reminder
of my love for him.

Today,
keep your eyes open
for reminders of
God's love for you,
 and this day
just might turn out to be
the best today
you've ever had!~♥

Missing my husband every day, 
but oh so much today. 
 Giving thanks, always, 
for a love as precious 
as that of my husband, 
but more importantly, 
a love as precious 
as that of my Heavenly Father.
To have received love from both - 
I am so blessed.

~Stacy

Monday, February 11, 2019

Reeled In~ (Captivated - Part 2)

A great fisherman is hard to find,
but a great fisher-of-men,   
is a treasure indeed.


When I met my husband,
I was blessed to find both.


And while a wedding gift magnet       
on our refrigerator
always brings a smile to my heart,
being "caught" not only by my husband,
but by the Holy Spirit as well,
is what cheers my heart the most!

**********

It was the summer of 1991
and I had two goals in mind:
taking classes I needed
for my teacher re-certification
and finding God.

My sister,
who lived near the college
I had graduated from,
invited me to spend the summer
with her family.

So, with suitcase in tow,
I showed up June 1st.

As I unpacked my things
in the small bedroom
I would be sharing
with my ten month old niece,
I invited God
to show up in my life, too.

I had a brand new Bible
with one goal in mind:
my pursuit of God.


And, on the inside cover,
my husband to be
placed a heart sticker with this promise:
"You will find me
when you search for me
with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13

Each day,
I knelt by my bed
and prayed.

I prayed for God
to reveal Himself to me.

I prayed for the Holy Spirit
to open the eyes of my heart
to see God
in a real, life-changing way.

I prayed God
would create in me
a hunger and a thirst
to know Him more.

And each time I prayed,
God was faithful
to show up.

Little by little,
the words of the Bible
began to makes sense to me.

The more I read,
the more I wanted to read.
The more I wanted to read,
the more what I read
began to sink into my heart
and take root.
The more God's Word
began to take root,
the more I began
to hunger and thirst for more.

A God who I had
always thought to be distant,
unapproachable and harsh,
was now becoming a God
who was deeply interested in me,
loving, merciful, kind,
and all love,
all the time.

It was amazing.

The more I sought God,
the more I found Him
and the more I found Him,
the more my heart desired
to know Him more.

I was falling in love
with the Lover of my Soul.

My fisherman had been faithful
to throw out the line,
but it was the Holy Spirit
who was drawing me in.

As I studied God's Word that summer,
the Holy Spirit led me
to Paul's prayer
in Ephesians 3:14-19.
As I read the words
of Paul's heart,
they became the desire
of my own:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

I was starting to
scratch the surface of God's love
and His love,
His love was reeling me in.

And now,
twenty-eight years later,
I am totally and completely
caught -
hook, line and sinker.

Yes,
I am
totally and completely
captivated by His love.




~Stacy


Captivated~ (Part 1)

Have you ever been captivated?

Maybe that question leaves you
scratching your head
and gazing upward in contemplation.

Maybe you answered immediately
with a flat out-loud "NO".

Maybe...just maybe...
you aren't sure how to answer
because you aren't completely sure
what it means to be captivated?

I didn't know what it meant -
not until, that is . . .
I was captivated by God's love.

**********

You've got to be kidding me! 
You're joking, right?

But, he wasn't.

Instead of watching a movie
or the latest sitcom,
my boyfriend
(who thankfully became my Mr.)
wanted to watch sermons
and tune in to Christian TV programs.

Instead of "hanging out"
on a Wednesday night,
my honey wanted to go
to a prayer meeting.

Instead of jamming
to the "Top 10" on the radio,
my sweetheart was filling his
home, car, heart and mind
with lyrics that focused
our attention on God.

Instead of just simply
sitting around talking,
my love
wanted to talk
about His love,
as together we opened the
pages of  God's Word,
and read,
              and read
                          and read.


We both called ourselves "Christians",
but this man....
this man was seriously "in love" with God.

Me...
I went to church
because it was expected of me. 

And, on occasion,
I did read my Bible,
but quite honestly,
it never made any sense to me. 

And listening to sermons on TV,
well, that just didn't appeal to me. 

I was a "one-day-a-week" Christian. 

No,
come to think of it,
I wasn't even that.

I was a fraud.
Christian in name only.

In love with God,
nope,
not me.

But seeing it lived out
in the life of my
soon to be husband
created a hunger and thirst in me.

I wanted what he had.

I wanted to want God.

I desired to desire God.

I yearned to yearn for God.

And even though I didn't know it at the time,
this wanting,
this desiring,
this yearning,
was the beginning
of my own love story
with God.

When you come looking for me, 
you'll find me. 
"Yes, when you get serious 
about finding me 
and want it more 
than anything else, 
I'll make sure 
you won't be disappointed."
~Jeremiah 29:13, The Message

I didn't know it then,
but my heart,
my heart was already becoming ........
                        
captivated by God's love.




~Stacy

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Wounds of a Faithful Friend~

As I gazed into my mirror,
curling iron in hand,
I was reminded of a conversation
I had with a straightforward second grader
over fifteen years ago.

I can still hear
his soft spoken voice,
although the words he spoke
were anything but soft
to my ears
or my ego.

Each morning,
I would read a short devotion
to my class.
I was right in the middle
of the reading for this particular day,
when out of the corner of my eye,
I saw a hand shoot up,
signaling to all
this youngster had something to say.

And boy, did he!

Not wanting to deviate
from the spiritual lesson
I was sharing with these young hearts,
I smiled at this student,
assuring him I had seen his hand.

Then, I did some
hand talking of my own
as I gave him the
"hold that thought for just a bit" sign.

Instead of his hand going down,
like I had hoped it would,
his mouth started doing the talking for him.

"Teeeeeeeeeeeeacher,
I have something to tell you!!!!"

"I know, sweet heart.
Can it please wait until after
we finish our devotion?"

"No, Ma'am!!
You're gonna wanna hear about this!!!!"

"Ok. What do you want to tell me?"

"There is a gray hair
sticking straight up
on the top of your head.
I can see it from way back here!"

He was right about one thing.

If I did indeed
have a gray hair
standing straight up
on the top of my head,
I would definitely
want to know about it.

But, me?

A gray hair?

No.
This was where
he had made his mistake.

"Thank you for sharing that with me,
but I think you must be mistaken.
You see,
I don't have any gray hair yet."

"Oh, yes you do!"

The remark came from a student
sitting on the opposite side
of the classroom.

"I see it, too!"

Within seconds,
the room was flooded
with eyewitness accounts
of a gray hair spotting
in our classroom.

Unfortunately,
all reports were linking my head
with this bizarre sighting!

I immediately headed
for the nearest mirror.
And you know what I saw?

Yep!

A gray hair
standing straight up
on the top of my head.

No wonder this boy had seen it.

It was proudly
proclaiming it's arrival
in grand fashion.
As it stood tall,
reflecting every bit of light
in that classroom,
it wasn't any wonder
it had caught their attention.

After all,
who could miss THAT?!

Uhhhhhh, obviously me.

Until this honest, straightforward little boy
had so bluntly pointed it out to me,
I had been totally oblivious to it.

But be doers of the word,
and not hearers only,
deceiving yourselves.
For if anyone is 
a hearer of the word
and not a doer,
he is like a man
observing his natural face
in a mirror;
for he observes himself,
goes away,
and immediately forgets
what kind of man he was.
~James 1:22-24

I had looked in my mirror
that very morning
and had failed to see
what others could see
so plainly.

I wonder how many times
I have looked at my reflection
through the pages of God's word,
only to be blinded
to my own sins.

How often has my pride
kept me completely in the dark
about my true spiritual condition,
while those around me
can spot my need for repentance
a mile away?

The truth hurts and is never easy 
on our ears, our ego or our heart, 
and yet how we should covet 
the honest words 
of a faithful friend. 

The words of truth
that bring confession,
dropping us to our knees
and into the hands
of our forgiving God.

Nathan was that kind of friend to David.

Thinking his sin
of adultery with Bathsheba
and the consequential prearranged murder
of her husband on the battle field
were well hidden
and out of sight,
Nathan confronted him
with words that cut
to the very heart of David.

"You are that man!"


David confessed.


God forgave.


Then, David continued his journey,
pursuing the heart of God.


The truth hurts.
There is no getting around that.
But, truth also sets us free.

The pain has a distinct purpose;
to open our eyes
to the real us,
and our need for a real God.

As iron sharpens iron,
so a man 
sharpens the countenance
of his friend.
~Proverbs 27:17

When truth is given to us,
we have a choice to make.

We can resist it
and in anger
turn away from it.

Or, like David,
we can run to it,
embrace it,
be broken by it,
and be all the closer to God for it.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; 
but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
 ~ Proverbs 27:6


~Stacy

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

A God-Given Invitation~

Have you ever read something
and knew instantly
God had placed it in front of you
for a distinct purpose?

Several years ago,
God led me to this quote.

“If the size
of the vision for your life
isn’t intimidating to you,
chances are
it’s insulting to God.”
~Steven Furtick

The moment I read it
I knew God was speaking to me.

More specifically,
I knew God was speaking to me
about the vision for my life:
writing.

I love to meet the Lord at my computer.

As I place my hands
on the keyboard,
He is faithful
to place his message
in my heart.

As I move my fingers
to the beat of His heart,
words begin to appear,
sentences begin to form.

In moments of sweet communion,
we weave together His story
of love and forgiveness,
hope and encouragement,
redemption and restoration.

There is no doubt about it.
I love to write.
But, for some odd reason,
thinking of myself as a writer is very....
what is the word?

Yes!
Intimidating!

In fact,
when I think of myself
as a "real" writer,
intimidating almost isn't a big enough word
to describe all the emotions I feel.

Intimidating.

Usually when we think
of this word,
we associate it with
something that instills fear.
I think it is interesting to note, however,
this word means so much more
than just us shaking in our boots.

Dictionary.com defines it this way:
to discourage, restrain, 
or silence illegally or unscrupulously

I don't know about
illegally or unscrupulously,
but I know all too well
about intimidation being
discouraging, restraining and worst of all,
silencing.

I also know,
if I allow it to,
intimidation can steal my dream
and cloud my vision.

But that morning,
as I sat in my pajamas,
the light of the new day
just beginning to spill into
our living room,
I realized in this quote,
the Lord was giving me an invitation.

God was inviting me 
to dare to live out the dream 
He himself 
had placed in my heart.

Before I was ever formed
in my mother's womb,
God knew me.
It was God who
molded me and formed me.
It was also God who
planted the "I want to be writer" seeds
in my heart.

This passion,
this longing of my heart,
is not incidental. 

It is my invitation.

It is not meant to be intimidating,
it is meant to be invigorating.

And, it is -
when I let God
write through me.

In fact,
when God chooses to use me
to speak His words
of hope, encouragement and love,
invigorating almost isn't a big enough word
to handle all the emotions I feel.

Intimidation comes
when I forget
the words of the Lord
found in Zechariah 4:6:
Not by might, 
nor by power, 
but by my spirit, 
saith the LORD of hosts.

Remember the rest of the Steven Furtick quote?

"...chances are it’s insulting to God.”

The plans God has for my life
(and yours, by the way)
are far grander
and more amazing
than I could ever
think or imagine.

And, by myself,
they are unreachable.
Yet, when I partner with
the creator of my heart
to fulfill the desires of my heart,
they not only become obtainable,
they become the very thing
that brings life to my life.

That's the way God made it.

That's the way God made me.

He made me to be a writer;
a teacher of His Word
through the written word.

The intimidation is simply a reminder 
to never step out into my dream 
without my Dream Giver. 

It is also a reminder
to not take this gift lightly.
God has placed within me
a treasure,
His treasure,
and it is my responsibility
to utilize this treasure
so His excellency can shine forth
from this earthen vessel. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Now, I ask you.

What is your vision for your life?

Is it intimidating to you?

If so, no worries.

Your intimidation just may turn out to be the invitation of a lifetime.



~Stacy


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Testing Times of Life~

But he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, 
I will come out as pure as gold. 
~Job 23:10

"All right, class.
I need everyone
to clear the top
of his or her desk.
Today, we are having
a pop quiz."

Aah....a pop quiz.

Unlike other tests,
this is a test
that just "pops up",
totally unexpected
and totally unplanned.

As a student,
whenever I heard
these instructions
from my teacher,
I always started to feel
anxious and in some ways,
tricked.

I hadn't been warned
of this test ahead of time
and a result,
I hadn't taken the time
to prepare.
I hadn't studied.
I simply wasn't ready.

But... ready or not,
the test landed on my desk.

A while back,
I was surprised
with a pop quiz.
It didn't come
in the usual way -
a paper placed on my desk.
No, this test
popped into my life
when I found myself confronted
by an angry person.

Amazingly,
I had started my day
meditating on countless scriptures
in God's Word
that pertained to peace.
When I walked out my door,
I was filled to the brim
with peace.

Then......all that changed.

As this woman attacked me
with bitter words,
I felt anything
but peaceful.

You'll be happy to know
on the outside, (at least)
I remained
calm, cool and collected.
I responded in love
and tried to de-fuse her anger
in a gentle way.

But.....on the inside......
I was a mess!

Anger, hurt, resentment, frustration.
All of these emotions
and about a zillion more
were having their own "private" war.

When this "battle" was over,
my peace was gone.

For the next couple of hours,
I kept replaying the scene
in my mind.

What just happened there?!?!?

How could this have happened?!?!

Today, of all days,
I was going to walk in peace.
I was all "peaced up"
when I left my home.

But, where was my peace now?

Why hadn't my peace survived this altercation?

Wasn't that the whole purpose of peace in the first place?

Then, it hit me.

POP QUIZ!

Only this is one test
I should have passed
with flying colors.
I knew all the verses
about peace.
I was prepared.
I had studied for this one.

Yet....when the test came,
I failed.
Why?

It is one thing to know something.
It is something entirely different
to apply this knowledge
and make it who you are.

Teachers often use testing
as a means to determine
whether or not a pupil
has mastered a skill or discipline.
A wise teacher will use not one,
but multiple tests,
to gauge the level of understanding
in the student.

It is not enough
to simply memorize facts,
repeat rules,
or circle A, B, C, or D.
A student must 
apply the knowledge 
in order to gain the wisdom.

The child must take the information
and then use it, apply it, make it work.

I had the information,
but now I was being called upon
to use this information, to apply it, to make it work.

Peace isn't simply something
we can merely talk about.
It is something we need to
put into practice
in our daily lives.

If we don't.....what's the point?!

Peace isn't for the times
when all is hunky dory
and peachy keen.
No!
Peace is for the moments
when all of hell
is trying to break in.

Peace is to be the guard
fighting at the door
of our heart.

Peace needs to be ready
at all times.

And then,
when the heat is on,
peace needs to step up
and defend.

In these moments of the battle,
if we are prepared
and have hidden God's Word
in our heart
AND
if we know that we know that we know
peace is ours
for the holding onto
and the living in,
then we simply need
to call on the power
of the Holy Spirit
and hold our ground.

We are in spiritual warfare.
This is a 24-7 fight.
We cannot for one moment
let our guard down.
We cannot for one moment
think we have arrived!
We cannot take our eyes
off our Jesus
and place them onto
the "test of life" placed in front of us
and expect to walk away
victorious.

I shouldn't have been caught off guard.

I am not ignorant of the devil's devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11)

I know to "Be self-controlled and alert.
[because] Your enemy the devil
prowls around like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour. (I Peter 5:8 - AMP)

I also know my God.

I know that greater is He
who is in me
than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

I know that with Christ,
I can do ALL things. (Philippians 4:13)

I know when I have a demand
placed on me,
my God shall supply ALL my needs. (Philippians 4:19)

I know to be anxious about nothing,
but to pray about everything,
and in doing this,
the peace of God
will guard my heart and mind. (Philippians 4:6-7).

I know, I know, I know.

Now, it is time to live it.
Time to apply it.
Time to make it work in my life.

What about you?
Have you been tested this week?

Remember, our God is faithful.

Life is all about learning
how to live it.
Thankfully, in Christ,
we are able to sit
at the feet of the Master teacher.

Yes, indeed...

"...he knows where I am going.
And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold."



~Stacy




Monday, January 28, 2019

A Divine Appointment~

It was late.
I was tired.
My husband and I
both hungry.

As I drove out of the parking lot,
I phoned my husband
to tell him
I would soon be home.

As we discussed dinner plans,
it was decided "take out"
was our best option
and me,
the best one to pick it up,
since I was already out.

I soon found myself
at a local sandwich shop.

After placing our order,
I took a nearby seat
and began the process
of waiting.
All I could think of
was getting home,
eating,
and going to bed.

My thoughts
were soon interrupted
by the voice
of an irate customer.
Her complaints were so trivial.
Obviously, her tirade
was more about
drawing attention to herself
than to her order.

The young lady assisting her,
amazing.

Through all the verbal abuse,
unreasonable complaints
and ridiculous demands
placed on her
by this customer,
her countenance never changed.
Her smile remained
and her voice was calm
and remarkably pleasant.

As I sat there
witnessing this scene,
I felt impressed by God
to commend this young lady
for her professionalism.
As soon as my number was called
and my order ready,
I would approach her
at the counter
and pass along words
of much deserved praise
and recognition.

Impressed by the behavior
of this young lady,
my eyes continued to follow her
as she worked.
After completing an order,
she headed to the phone
and began to call someone.

I couldn't help overhearing
her conversation.

Evidently, no one had shown up
to babysit her young children
and they were home alone.
It was quite obvious
she had made several earlier calls,
just like this one,
in hopes of locating someone
to watch over her little ones
until her shift ended
and she could return home.

From the look on her face,
this phone call
only brought with it another
"No, I'm sorry I can't"
along with mounting fear
for her children.

As she hung up,
she sat in a chair,
rubbing her forehead
with one hand
while wiping tears
with her other.

My number was called
and I approached the counter
to pick up our order.

I had been waiting
for this moment
to speak with her,
but now,
now she was sitting
in the back portion
of the kitchen.

Silently I prayed the Lord
would give me the opportunity.

She looked up
and surprisingly,
I was able to catch her eye
with the wave of my hand.

She smiled
and made her way
to the counter.

"Yes? How can I help you?
Is there something wrong
with your order?" she asked,
trying to hide
the fear in her heart
and the tears in her eyes.

"No." I replied.
"I just couldn't
leave here tonight
without telling you
how much
I appreciate the professional
and kind manner
in which you dealt
with that difficult customer.

I know it wasn't easy,
but God provided you
with the inner strength
you needed.
He is always
right here with you,
and just like
He gave you the strength
to deal with that woman,
He will give you the strength
to deal with whatever
may be happening in your life
right at this very moment.

He cares for you
and He will be faithful
to provide you
with all you need.
I will be praying for you."

She smiled,
thanked me,
and handed me my order.

I walked in the direction
of the door
and she returned
to her work.

As I reached my car,
I bowed my head in prayer.

As I had witnessed
in disgust,
the behavior of
the self-absorbed customer,
God had opened my eyes
to see my own selfishness
reflected through her actions.
How my "I"-rate behavior
must disgust my Heavenly Father!
Lord, forgive me~

As I had experienced
the beauty
of the young lady serving,
I had seen my own need
for more of Christ
in my heart and life.
Lord, live in and through me~

As I had glimpsed
the deeply hidden anguish
in this young woman's life,
I had been reminded
to speak with grace,
to always be kind
and to treat others more gently,
for we never know
what they may be facing
in their lives.
Lord, teach me to love~

As I was granted
the privilege and honor
to speak words
of affirmation and encouragement
to this hurting heart,
I was convicted
to seek out and take advantage
of every door of opportunity
given to me
to share words
of hope, love and truth
with those around me.
Lord, use me to speak your words to others~

As I drove home,
I realized I was no longer
feeling upset, tired and fatigued.

Instead, I felt refreshed!

I prayed the young lady
at the sandwich shop
felt a little more refreshed, too.


~Stacy

I wrote this post
back in February 2009,
when I first began my blog.
Today, God placed it on my heart
to share it once again.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Fully Satisfied~

Once upon a time,
as I was paying the cashier
for the gas
I had just pumped
into my car,
I was approached
by a young man
in his early twenties.

"Excuse me, Ma'am.
Is that your 
little green Honda?" he asked.

Not sure who he was
or why he was interested
in my little green Honda,
I apprehensively answered, "Yes."

"Did you just fill up
at that pump?" he asked next.

"Yes, I used that pump,
although I didn't fill up.
I only purchased about eight gallons.
Why do you ask?"

"Well, I used that
very same pump
right before you
and I DID fill up.
It cost me over $50.00!

But, when I drove away,         
nothing registered
on my gas gauge.
It doesn't show
that I purchased
Running on Empty.
{Photo Credit}

any gas at all.
I think something
is wrong with that pump.

While I talk to the cashier,
would you mind
checking your gas gauge
to see if you got the gas
you just paid for?"

It seemed like an odd request,
but I nodded my head "yes"
and headed outside to my car.
I put the key in the ignition
and anxiously watched
my gas gauge.

Slowly but surely,
the needle moved away
from the "E"
as it made it's way
closer and closer to the "F".

Unlike the gauge
in this young man's truck,
my gauge showed
I had gotten exactly
what I had paid for,
about half a tank of gas.

Looking up from the gauge,
I saw the young man
walking toward my car.

"So . . . ,
did your gauge move
or is it still sitting
at the same spot
as when you drove in?"

"The pump seems
to be working fine," I answered.
"My gauge is showing
I have about half a tank,
and that's the amount
I put in.
Maybe something is wrong
with the gas gauge
in your truck."

"Maybe," he replied.
"Although, I don't see
how the problem
could be on my end.
I just bought this truck!
It's practically brand new!
I'm pretty sure the problem
is with this pump."

And with that,
disgruntled and upset,
he turned and walked away.

Satisfied with my purchase,
I pulled out of the station
and went on my way.

Later that evening,
as I was reflecting upon
the events of the day,
I thought about the incident
at the gas station.

Both the young man and I
had went to the station
for the same reason.
We had parked in the same place,
used the same equipment,
talked to the same attendant.

Yet, only one of us
left there satisfied.

Spiritually,
the same is often true of us.

Trucking through the
day to day journey of life,
we look at our "heart gauge"
and suddenly realize
our hearts are on "E".

Knowing we are in
desperate need of
a fill up,
we head to church,
or read our Bible,
or spend time in prayer.

Some walk away from this
"fill up with God"
full and satisfied,
others are left feeling empty.

Why?

Like the young man
at the station,
we often fall victim
to a faulty gauge.

Stop and think about it
for a minute.

What do you use
to gauge Christ's presence
in your own life?

Is it your emotions? 

As humans who are
emotionally wired,
this is often the instrument
we rely on.

Yet, probably nothing
is more unreliable or fickle
than our feelings!

When I entered
the gas station that day,
I had no reason to believe
I would leave there
still on "E".

Why then,
when I enter into
the presence of the living God,
the Creator of the Universe
and the Lover of my Soul,
should I believe
I will walk away
with anything less
than what my heart
needs and desires the most?

God promises those who
hunger and thirst for righteousness
will be filled.

Regardless of what
my emotions
may be telling me,
I must believe God
has filled me to overflowing
with His love, forgiveness,
wisdom and grace.

I must believe
I have been strengthened
in my inner man
to once again
run the race
set before me.

I must believe
God is at work
in me and through me.

I must believe
I have received
what I came for!

God is more than able 
and more than willing 
to dispense His power
and His blessings 
in to our empty hearts.

We simply need
to approach His throne of grace,
open our heart before Him,
and allow Him
to fill us up.

Are you in need
of a fill up?

Why not head
straight to the
King of Kings
and Lord of Lords?

Believe God
will be faithful
to meet your needs,
then head back
onto the highway of life,
happy and fully satisfied
in Him.


~Stacy



Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Even At the Door~

One of the perks of having a husband
was having my very own
small game hunter.

At least that's the way
I liked to refer to the 
man of my house.

Anytime an eight-legged creature
or otherwise unwelcome quest
was spotted,
my husband was beckoned
and voilá!
Bug be gone!

It was like having 
my very own personal exterminator.
The only problem was
my man wasn't always home
when one of these small beasts
decided to pay us a visit.

Such was the case
when I first wrote this post:

With my husband
out of the house
for a few hours,
I decided to take advantage
of my time alone
to do some household chores,
one of which was laundry.
With a basket full of clothes
tucked under my arm,
I made my way to our garage
where our washer and dryer are located.

After starting the load,
I headed back toward the door
leading from the garage
into our home.
As I reached for the doorknob,
I just happened to look up.
There,
on the ceiling
looking down at me
was a scorpion.

As our eyes met,
I knew there was only
one thing
to do.

 I darted into the house
as fast as I could,
quickly closing the door
behind me.
Then,
I calmly and casually
strolled into the living room
acting as though
this brief encounter
had never happened.

Try and I may, though,
I couldn't erase the image
of the scorpion
from my mind.

I knew it was out there. 

I had seen it
and all the pretending
in the world
wasn't going to change that.

I also knew this fella had legs.

It wasn't going to be content
to simply hang out
on the ceiling
of our garage.
Before long,
it would decide
to venture indoors.

Like it or not,
I knew I had to kill it
before it had a chance
to crawl under the door
and make itself at home
in our home.

Mustering up all the courage
I could find,
I headed back out
to the garage.
I picked up my husband's
weapon of choice,
a long 2x4 piece of wood,
and proceeded to do some
small game hunting
of my own.

After numerous shrieks
(from me, not the scorpion),
this would be home invader
soon fell lifeless
to the floor.

Mission accomplished.

As I made my way
through the doorway
and back into our home,
I was reminded of the words
found in Genesis 4:7,
"sin lieth at the door."

Remember the story?

God had asked for
an animal sacrifice,
but Cain,
a tiller of the ground,
had instead offered the Lord
a sacrifice of
fruits and vegetable.

When God didn't accept
Cain's offering,
Cain became angry.

God knew if Cain
did not squelch this anger
before it had time
to consume his heart,
sin would soon follow.

Foolishly,
Cain walked away
from God's counsel.
It didn't take long
for his anger
to take over his thoughts
and subsequently, his actions.

In the very next verse,
in fact,
we read the sad details.
Cain lured his brother,
Abel,
out into a field
and killed him.

All too often,
instead of eradicating
the sin in our life
once and for all,
we foolishly allow it
to remain at the threshold.

Sometimes,
we pretend
it doesn't exist.
We go on about our life
as though there is nothing
to be concerned about.

Oftentimes, however,
we do acknowledge it,
but in our arrogance,
we proudly parade around it
as though we are invincible
and the sin incapable 
of penetrating the walls
of our heart.

Like Cain,
when we willfully allow sin
to take root in our heart,
the following verses
of our own life
will eventually reveal
the sad details.

Sin comes packaged with consequences.

As the sin
plays itself out
in our life,
we, too,
may discover our actions
have "killed" something very dear
to our own heart.

Maybe it is our reputation
that received
the deadly blow.
Perhaps it is our marriage
that is now lifeless and dead.
Possibly it may even be
our very will to live
that is found gasping
for its next breath.

With a 2x4 in my hand,
the scorpion in my garage
didn't stand a chance.
Unfortunately,
neither do you and I
when it comes to sin.
In our own power,
we are completely incapable
of battling this invader
of our heart.

How we need a savior.

Have you checked the doorway 
to your heart lately?

Is there a sin
lying in wait
for an opportune time
to make its way
into your life?

If so,
don't wait
another minute.

Call upon your Heavenly Father. 

When we confess our sins to God,
He is ever faithful
to come to our rescue.

His weapon of choice
has always been
the blood of His precious son, Jesus,
shed for you and me
on the cross of Calvary.

As we confess
and then repent,
God covers our sin
with the precious blood of Jesus,
giving us
the ultimate victory.

With hands held high
in praise and thanksgiving
to our God,
we can once
and for all
boldly declare,
"Mission accomplished!"



~Stacy

Monday, January 21, 2019

Maybe Your Bucket is Empty~

Several years ago,
as I sat in Children's Church,
surrounded by precious little hearts,
we talked about our world
and the all too often
missing ingredient,
kindness.

We talked about bullies
and what it feels like
to live in a world
where kindness
is hard to find.

"Why do you suppose 

people are mean?" I asked.
"Why are there bullies?"

Without thinking twice, 

a five year old girl blurted out, 
"Maybe their bucket is empty."

"Their bucket is empty?" I inquired further.

"Yes. Maybe they are mean 

because they ran out of nice. 
Maybe their bucket is empty."

It made perfect sense. 


We can't give away 
something we don't have. 

And I wondered, 
right there and then, 
in the midst of these precious little faces, 
how many Christians 
are trying 
to make their way through life 
with empty buckets?

So often, 

we dart right out into life 
without first sitting 
at the feet of our Savior 
and filling up on His goodness, 
before communing first 
with the Holy Spirit 
and partaking of His sweetness, 
before allowing the Holy Spirit 
to fill us to overflowing.

All too often, 

we yield 
to our natural inclinations 
because our spiritual buckets 
are empty.

When conflicts arise,
when relationships 
push us
to a place of response,
when life squeezes us 
until we react,
we reach into self 

and the only thing we can pull out
is the fruit of self.

Instead of love, hate.
Instead of joy, despair.
Instead of peace, strife.
Instead of patience, agitation.
Instead of kindness, animosity.
Instead of goodness, corruption.
Instead of faithfulness, disregard.
Instead of gentleness, harshness.
Instead of self-control, self rules.

No wonder the world 

has a hard time 
seeing Christians as Christ-like.

No wonder the world 

has a hard time 
seeing Christ in Christians.

When our reaction 

is anything but Christ-like,
very likely,
our bucket is empty.

As you look back on the
past few hours,
past few days,
past few weeks of your life,
what kind of fruit do you see?

If it isn't the fruit of the Spirit,
maybe your bucket is empty.~♥





~Stacy