Posted in Christian Living

Redeeming Love: Unconditional Love Exemplified

I stayed up late last night finishing this book. Gosh, I just love it so much. I’ve read this book several times before. I discovered it back when I was in high school. I’ll never forget. I was at the local Books-A-Million browsing through the Christian Romance section when another girl approached me. She looked a bit older, like maybe she was a college student. She introduced herself kindly, struck up a conversation with me about our favorite Christian authors, and then she recommended this book. I’d never read one of Rivers’ books before, but the way my fellow peer gushed over it make me want to read it. I thanked her and purchased the book.
 
When I began reading it, I was riveted. This is one of those books that changes lives. I loved it back then, but after reading it fresh more than a decade later, it hit me anew. I can identify with Angel so much more now, and I found tears moistening my eyes in many parts. This is a such a raw, heart-wrenching book that truly exemplifies the way that God loves us unconditionally.
 
Rivers did an amazing job illustrating how only God can truly heal the soul. So many women (and men) look to their partner to be their everything, just as Angel did. Michael showed her God’s unconditional love, and she got lost in him, but only the Lord could truly heal her. I love how Rivers brought this issue to light. It’s so easy to look to a man (or woman) to heal our hurting souls, but a fellow human can only do so much. God wants us to look to him first. Once we do that, all else will fall into place.
 
I highly recommend this book to anyone – especially to those with broken souls. It will change your life.
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Posted in Christian Living

Scheduling God In

In today’s busy world, it can be difficult to manage our time. There are only so many hours in a day, and it’s oftentimes hard to find time to do all the things that we want to do while still seeing to our responsibilities. That’s when prioritization comes in.

Priorities Affect Scheduling

Because we have limited time, we must pick and choose what takes precedence. Those of us who have to work usually prioritize that first. We must get up every morning and go to work. Those who have certain medications to take make it a priority to schedule time for taking them. Parents who have to see their children off to school make sure they schedule time for that. The list of responsibilities goes on.

Time Management Requires Sacrifice

I am not always the best person at managing my time. There are so many books I want to read that I haven’t gotten around to yet. I have unopened DVDs with the plastic still on them waiting to be watched. I have videos that friends have sent me that I still haven’t found time to watch. I have so many unwritten story ideas sitting in the Notes app on my iPhone. I have craft supplies that I bought and haven’t gotten a chance to use yet. However, there is a reason for that. I haven’t scheduled time for those activities yet because there are other ones that take precedence over them. I usually have some days where I  have some down time, and then I’ll pick some of these extracurricular activities to engage in on those days.

Yesterday’s InTouch devotion really struck home with me on making time for God.

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God has allotted us 24 hours in a day. It is up to us to prioritize time to spend with Him each day because each day is a gift from Him. He understands our physical limitations in that we need sleep, food, shelter and so on because He made us. If it wasn’t possible for us to do everything that we need to do and still  have time for Him in 24 hours, then I believe He would have given us more time.

Scheduling Time for God is a Responsibility

I’ve always been bad about not reading the Bible every day, and the reason why was because I wasn’t making it a priority and scheduling time for it. I was placing it at the end like it was an extracurricular activity, an elective, when really I should have been treating it like what it should be: a responsibility.

When you come to think of reading the Bible and praying as responsibilities, it will help you schedule time for them. There are certain activities that you make sure you do every day. Add these to those, and then you’ll begin to grow closer to God and stay closer to Him.

The way that I scheduled Bible reading in is by adding it to my morning wakeup routine. I always have to have cup of coffee in the morning. I usually check emails and scroll through Facebook a bit while sipping my coffee. I also write my Poem of the Day (usually every morning…I’ve missed a few lately). I made a conscious decision to add Bible reading/devotional reading and morning prayers to my routine, and I cannot tell you how much it has helped me. I cut back on the amount of time spent scrolling through Facebook, and I do my reading and prayers before I do my poem writing or anything else. It helps me start my day out right and apply what I’ve read to that day.

However, everyone’s schedule is different. You might not be able or willing to schedule extra time in the morning for Bible reading. Maybe your time would be better at night right before you go to bed, during a break at work or even when you get home from work. It doesn’t matter when you do it, so long as you do it.

Multitasking is great skill for when you don’t have any empty time slots. Read while you’re eating lunch, while you’re taking a bath, while you’re walking or whenever. Even reading just a couple of scriptures and meditating on them throughout the day can make a huge difference in your outlook on life.

Pencil God into your day. It’s a responsibility that we should prioritize as much as (actually even more so) than work.

Do you have a dedicated Bible reading time? Please feel free to share how you schedule God into your day in the comments section below.

 

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful For My Gifts

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God gives us all different gifts, as we’ve talked about in other posts on this blog. One of my gifts is writing. Another is forgiveness in that I tend to forgive easily. Another is kindness. Yet another is compassion.

You might have an artistic or creative gift, or you might have a number of types of spiritual gifts. Maybe you’re a speaker or a leader. Maybe you’re a listener. Maybe you have a beautiful singing voice. Sit down and try to make a list of all the gifts you believe you possess.

Regardless of what our gifts are I think it’s important for us to be thankful for them and to try to utilize them to the best of our abilities to serve the Lord, so today that is what I am thankful for: my gifts.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Health

Today I want to thank God for my good health. True, I could exercise more and be in better shape, but overall I’ve always been relatively healthy. I rarely get sick enough that it puts me out of commission, and when I have gotten that sick, I’ve usually recovered very quickly.

I pray that I continue to be blessed with resilient health and that others are too.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Memories

When I was growing up, we took lots of home videos. You remember the ones that were taken with those huge camcorders that you had to hoist onto your shoulder? They made you feel like the director of a movie. Lol. Over the years, the video camcorder got smaller and smaller until there was one that you could record with by simply holding it up in the palm of your hand with a strap secured around the backside of your hand. That’s the last kind of camcorder that my paternal grandparents had. Of course, nowadays we have cell phones.

My family always made a point to record the big events: holidays, birthday parties, graduations and vacations – and we even had some times in between when we recorded a day in the life of our family just for fun.

Since my grandmother’s death, I’ve been slowly transferring all her old VHS and camcorder tapes to the computer where I’ll eventually rip them onto DVDs. I let the home videos transfer in the background as I go about my editing, and every now and then I glance up and see snippets of those days gone by, and I am so thankful that I have these tangible memories to look back on.

Which brings me to today’s Thankful Thursday: Today I am thankful for my memories, both for the tangible representations of them and the intangible ones that I have locked away inside my head. Old photographs, home videos and other family heirlooms and memorabilia are all great for remembering loved ones and days gone by, but the memories that we keep locked away inside us are the most precious ones because they are the ones that can never be taken from us, and I just so thankful that the Lord allows us to keep those memories – both the good and bad, for the good fill us with happiness while the bad provide us with learning experiences.

What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Best Friend

Today I’d like to express my thanks for my best friend. Those of you who know me probably expect me to list my best friend as my childhood bestie or my mother. Indeed, I had a childhood best friend, and as I got older, my mother came to be my best friend. I also have a couple of very good friends who live far away from me who I consider besties now.

Yet there is another best friend I came to have, and He takes precedence over all the others (even my mother). On December 3rd, 2014, I met my truest best friend: Jesus.

While other best friends can fail you and come short, Jesus never will. He is the best friend I never have to worry about not being there for me.

Try as they might, sometimes our most well-intentioned friends simply cannot be there for us. Then there are those friends who are only our besties when times are good and who tend to take a step back when the going gets rough, or they’re only our besties as much as it benefits them.

Jesus is not like that. He is there with us through the thick and the thin, the good and the bad. He’s ALWAYS there. He’s not a fickle, fair-weather friend who will leave you in times of trouble when you need him most. In fact, I know that during the roughest times of my life when all others had seemed to forsake me, He was there even though I didn’t know it. It is only because He was such a good friend and never gave up on me that I am here today. And when I finally acknowledged His presence and met Him, He greeted me with open arms.

You don’t have to wait for Him to arrive because he’s always by your side. You are never truly alone. He’s always there to talk to. That’s kind of amazing to think about, and I just want to thank Him for everything that He has done to protect me. I am thankful that He watches over me and that He is always there whenever I need someone to talk to.

Who is your best friend? I hope it is Jesus. Unlike earthly friends who can only handle one or two best friends, Jesus can be a best friend to all. Of course, I think we can still have our earthly besties, but Jesus should be our number one.

What are your thoughts?

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Pets

Some people might find being thankful for your pets silly, but I truly am thankful for mine. I believe we can thank God for anything (and should thank him for everything), and my pets bring such comfort and happiness to my life.

Any of you who follow my Instagram or are connected to me via Facebook or Twitter probably get annoyed at how many pics I post of my pets. Lol. #sorrynotsorry Yet I believe that sometimes God sends us pets when we most need them.

While I’ve purposefully went out and gotten a pet before, I’ve had many pets that I did not go in search of. Instead, they simply wandered up to the house and became a part of my life. I happened upon some of my dearest pets this way, and I truly believe that God placed them in my life. Even with the pets I set out to adopt, I think it was God who placed the thought in my head.

Our pets become like our family members, and they are wonderful companions. Oftentimes when no one else can cheer me up, a nuzzle from Mixie, Trixie, Tom or Jerry can.

So this Thursday, I tell God, “Thank you for sending your animals to me and allowing me to care for them. Please help me do so to the best of my ability, according to your will.”

Do you have any pets you are thankful for? If so, feel free to discuss them below or post pictures.

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Job

This week I am thankful for my job. God has blessed me tremendously by making it so that I can work from home and set my own schedule. I don’t have to worry about losing my job since I’m my own boss, and I can work around family emergencies and obligations as I see fit.

Granted, my job is not always the easiest one out there. It takes dedication and determination to stay on task, but with God’s help, I can make a living and have all my needs met by working with the skills that He gave me.

It doesn’t matter what type of job you have. You should thank God for it because He is ultimately the one who gave it to you in order to meet your needs. No matter what you do, do it as if you’re doing it for God only, and watch how it changes your outlook on your job.

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Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Friends

Last week’s Thankful Thursday mentioned my family, so it only makes sense that this week would mention my friends. Another cliche answer, I know, but I am very thankful for my friends: both near and far.

In fact, some of my closest friends, the ones who prayed with me when I needed it most and were most supportive during hard times, are those who live states away from me.

You don’t have to live close to one another or see each other often to be good friends. A friend is simply someone who accepts you for who you are, wants the best for you and supports you in whatever way he or she can – even when the going gets tough.

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What are you thankful for this Thursday?

Posted in Christian Living, Thankful Thursdays

Thankful Thursday: I’m Thankful for My Family

It’s been a week of new beginnings here on my blog. I migrated all my blogs into this one and separated them by category, and I implemented a new feature yesterday called Writing Wednesday. Today I’m adding yet another feature that I’ll call Thankful Thursday.

Basically every Thursday, I’ll write about something that I’m thankful to God for. Not only will it be a good writing exercise for me, but (most importantly) it’ll help me to remember all that I have to thank God for.

Today I’m going to start with the quintessential, “I’m thankful for my family.”

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My parents, sibling, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are all wonderful and supportive. I couldn’t ask for a better family, and I know I’m very blessed to have them. There was once a time when I took them for granted, and I missed out on so much when I lived states away from them, but like the father of the prodigal son, they welcomed me back with open arms when I returned home.

I know that not everyone is blessed to have such a family as mine, and I thank God for allowing me to be a part of such a loving family that practices love and forgiveness.

What about you? What are you thankful for this Thursday? Please feel free to leave your answers in the comments below.