Can’t…

I taught Pound class last Saturday morning and found myself talking to one of my friends after the workout. I was, once again, belly aching how “I can’t” seem to get my act together on making better eating choices and how “I can’t” seem to string more than a couple of days together, and how “I just can’t” seem to lose this weight! My friend looked me right in the eye and said with complete sincerity, “Can’t? That’s funny, I don’t consider you a can’t person.” WOW! She stopped me in my tracks and sent me into some serious soul searching for the rest of the weekend.

You see, I have never considered myself a can’t girl. Quite honestly, I was not raised to be a can’t kinda person. Honestly, I don’t think I even realized the fact that I had said can’t three times in that conversation. Words have such power and they often dictate our strength or weakness. My internal dialogue had shifted to all the reasons that I can’t get my act together instead of focusing on the straight truth, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I verbalized that morning the problem: there is no can’t in Christ!

How many times in our lives do we allow the internal “can’t” to manifest externally and stop us from achieving our goals? How many times in our lives do we allow the lie that we “can’t” stop us from making progress toward I can? How often do we allow our words to defeat us instead of boldly claiming the victory we have in God’s Word?

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NIV

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NIV

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16‭-‬17 NIV

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NLT

Christ turns every situation we face into I can every time! And He has given us His Word, His Strength and His Companionship to accomplish good goals for Him! He also gives us people to remind us along the way who we are and who He created us to be! Glory!

I dare you to turn your “can’t” into can today! And then claim your victory!

Be joyful!

How Can I Help…

Wouldn’t our lives be so different if we approached every situation with the simple question, how can I help? I watched the show, New Amsterdam this week and was struck by this simple question that occurred time and time again during the show. The interesting part is that each time the question was asked, it was sincere and was asked in a way that made you believe that the intention of the person inquiring to help was genuine, encouraging and willing.

You see, I think we live in a culture that glazes over the importance of eye to eye, sincere communication. We isolate ourselves from each other with busyness and a lack of real human concern and empathy. I’ve said it before; but it merits saying again here: often we spend so much time with our head and eyes down on those small cell phone screens that we miss EVERYTHING.

How can I help my daughter achieve her goals and dreams for her life? How can I help my friend who suffered a death recently? How can I help my husband feel supported and appreciated? How can I help that stranger feel noticed? How can I help that stay at home mom feel valued and encouraged? How can I help this broken world find light and truth?

Helping starts with pausing, focusing, listening, and asking. How many times in life do we set out boldly to help with a situation, never even asking how indeed we can. Jesus said in Matthew 7, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” He was showing us the way to approach helping right here in His precious Word. Helping requires getting our focus off of ourselves and onto someone or something else.

So, let’s be diligent today to open our eyes and ears to those people and situations around us. Is help needed? First, we have to notice. Then, we have to ask. And then? Well, then you have to stretch out your arms and give it every last bit of your energy. Ask, seek and then open that door, meaning jump into action. It’s what Jesus would do!

Be joyful and more like Him!

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20 NIV

Every Single Day…

The question showed up on my Facebook wall yesterday and literally brought me to my knees. You see, I consider myself a relatively thankful gal. I express and show appreciation often. I feel that my blessings are abundant and think that I live my life accordingly. But, how am I measuring up on daily, expressed thanksgiving to my Father in heaven? Do I take time to truly inventory all the things that I have to be thankful for?

The truth? If I woke up today with what I expressed thanks to God for yesterday, I would not have even woke up. You see, the very breath in my lungs is a gift for which I rarely give thanks. These feet that swing out of bed each morning and touch the carpet….nope never gave thanks. The bed, pillows, sheets, carpet, water, plates, cups….the list goes on and on and on. It is actually quite sickening to realize how many things I have that I take for granted. Things that I need to thank God for. Every. Single. Day.

But, not just things. Do I really express thanks for the mind that God gave me? Do I thank Him for the spiritual gifts that He has given me? Do I realize that the perspective that He gives me is also a blessing and utter thanks? My very personality which enables me to lead an aerobics class or the eyes that I have to enjoy the expressions on my husband’s face. These are all items that I need to thank God for. Every. Single. Day.

Speaking of my husband, what about the people around me? Friends, family, even strangers who cross my path, do I give proper thanks? Or have I gotten in the habit of my prayers being rote and full of requests? Do I thank God for His Son, His Hope and His Grace. Every. Single. Day?

So today, I come to my Father with a heart and mind bubbling over with thanksgiving. I will make it a new habit to truly stop and ponder blessings anew each day. And I will be thankful. Every. Single. Day.

Be joyful and thankful!

And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 5:20 NLT

I Won’t Worry ‘Bout a Thing…

I struggle with worry. It creeps into my thoughts even on the brightest of days. The worries can be small, “is so and so mad at me?” or “why did I eat all of that ice cream?” to bigger worries like “what would I do if something happened to my mom?” or “what if my daughter gets in a car accident?” Big or small, daily worries can add up and leave us mentally exhausted. Have you ever noticed that worry can cause our thoughts to spin out of control? Before you know it, that small mole hill has become Mount Everest. It’s no wonder that God tells us so often in His Word not to worry.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. ‘Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.'” Matthew 6:30‭-‬34 MSG

I love this version of these assuring passages in Matthew. It would do us all some good to steep our lives–hang out and soak up–some God-reality, God-initiative and God-provision. The definition of worry is to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. In essence when we worry we are putting blinders on, zeroing in on the trouble at hand. When we allow God’s Word and Hope to penetrate that worry, we allow God to remind us of His reality, His love, and His peace. And just like that those blinders come off and we can see Him, in all of His radiance. He is bigger than any trouble. Stronger than any worry. And He is in complete control. Glory!!

So, let me put some assuring lyrics into your heart that we learned this summer at Shipwrecked VBS. And I encourage you to sing along the next time worry tries to take over…

Free like a bird in the big blue sky. Not a cloud or a care for a million miles. I won’t worry, worry ’bout a thing.

God loves me and He loved me first. He rescued me when I was in a lurch. And I won’t worry, worry about a thing.

To the left I’ll fly, fly, fly.

To the right, I’ll glide, glide, glide.

No, and I won’t worry, worry ’bout a thing!

Gonna scoop down low, low, low.

Gonna soar up high, high, high.

And I won’t worry, worry about a thing.

Be joyful and don’t you worry ’bout a thing!

You are enough.

Let me take some time this Saturday morning to remind you that you are enough. You are precious to your Father in heaven. His love for you stretches as far as the east is from the west. There is absolutely nothing you could do or say to make Him love you more or less than He does right now!

He sees you and He has designed everything about you in His image. You are uniquely and wonderfully made, no mistakes. Your outward appearance and inward personality is a reflection of His beauty and goodness. You take His breath away. Quite literally, He breathed very life into your frame!

He chose you to serve Him during this time in history. What you do with the life He gave you matters to Him. You are part of the biggest love story known to man. You are extraordinarily part of His story. And you have what it takes to serve Him mightily!

You are strong, mentally and physically. Your Father’s strength fills you up. You do not face the trials of this world alone. He is mighty to save and you can rise above any challenge with Him as your guide!

God keeps every promise. He will never let you down. He will never give up on you. He will never turn His back on you. He is faithful, honest, and true. Every time. You can rely on Him!

You have His approval. Because of His precious Son, Jesus, you stand blameless in His sight. You are forgiven. Cherished. And you have eternal life. Now. And forever.

You are enough. Because He is everything!

Be joyful this weekend!

It’s an Opal Kind of Day…

It is a beautiful day here in my part of Texas, bright blue skies and white, billowy clouds fill the sky. My Grandma Hart would have loved it. I will always remember her on days like today.

My Grandma had a wicked sense of humor; was always up for a game of Yatzee; loved to eat breakfast on the beach (a little sand in your eggs makes it authentic); made the best tuna salad; grew kumquats in her backyard; and would take me to the mall and to Captain D’s during every visit. I loved spending time with her! Isn’t it fabulous how something as simple as blue skies and billowy clouds can unleash a flood of fond memories?

At Vacation Bible School we encourage the kids to share God Sightings, those things in every day life that make them think about their Father in heaven. I wonder how different this Labor Day weekend would be if we looked around with open eyes and heart, seeking to find Christ around us? And then allow our thoughts about Him to bring back a flood of fond memories and ways that He has and continues to touch our lives. Surely it would change our hearts, our perspective and provide a peace that surpasses all human understanding.

I’m in! Are you?

Be joyful!

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV

73 is the new 43….

I just spent ten glorious days with two of my favorite people: my mom and dad. They both turned 73 this year; but, you would never know it. Their genuine zest for life and overall health could put me and some of my friends to shame. I have always admired them; but find the older that I get the more that admiration grows. I want to be like them when I grow up. 😉 So, I thought that I would share some things that I have observed about them.

Put God first in everything you do: your life, marriage, home, vocation and decisions. Do everything for His Glory. Remember it’s not about you. It’s about Him. Always.

Surround yourself with things that you love. My parents have pictures of family everywhere. They also have family heirlooms, cows, crosses, lighthouses, positive affirmations and other things that they love around their house.

Take time to prepare a good meal and sit down to eat it family-style.

Climbing stairs is a good thing. My parents house on the river is only accessible by a flight of stairs. And their bedroom is up another flight of stairs.

Spend some time gardening. Both of my parents are Master Gardeners and they love to grow flowers, vegetables, and herbs, which means they spend time outside tending to their garden. (Oh and those good meals mentioned above involve lots of homegrown, seasonal vegetables.)

Give back to your community. Volunteer and promote commerce, fellowship and service within your city. Roll up your sleeves and work when help is needed.

Games are good for your soul and a great way to keep your mind active and alert. My mom is an avid bridge player and is involved in playing cards each week with other women. We love to play board games when we get together as a family.

Take time to sit outside and soak in God’s creation. Watch birds. Enjoy the sunshine. Float on the river. Watch stray kittens play. Ha!

And no matter your age, keep dreaming. Look forward to what God has in store for you next. Talk about the future, make plans to travel and imagine amazing things for your life. In every season. You see, eternal life begins now in Christ. What are you waiting for?

Be joyful!

I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God. Ecclesiastes 3:10‭-‬13 NLT