Rules Of The Game

Spiritual Truth:
I take joy in doing your will, my God, for your instructions are written on my heart.
~Psalm 40:8

I am daily counting all my blessings for the Thanksgiving Challenge!!! Today, I’m thankful for God’s Instructions. His Rules for the Game of Life.

Over the weekend, I went out to cheer on our local hockey team, the St. Louis Blues. The whole city was a buzz this year when our very own StL Blues won the coveted Stanley Cup Championship after an amazing season of play.

Let’s Go Blues!

During the game, I was thinking about how important it is for the players to know the rules of the game. The instructions for playing a game are useful for direction, focus, and clarity. Three elements that are crucial for success.

The goal of Hockey is to score more goals then the opposing team. Each goal is worth one point and the team with the most points at the end of the game wins. A goal is scored when any player gets the puck across the goal line and inside the opposing team’s net.

When the two teams face off on the ice, it is extremely important to know which direction to skate in order to move the puck closer to the opponent’s goal. It would be a huge setback for any skater to move in the wrong direction and score for the opposing team.

In life, God give us instructions through His Word. Psalm 119:97 says, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.” God’s instructions, are our rules for success in the game of life.

God gives us instructions in His Word and through Prayer to help us understand which direction to skate. His instructions help us to stay focused on the goal when the enemy of our souls seeks to distract us. His instructions give us clarity when disagreements surface.

Who’s Winning This Fight?

There are 31 teams in the National Hockey League. Those teams will compete over an 82 game season for one Championship Trophy, the Stanley Cup.

I’m confident that God wants us to win the Stanley Cup in the game of life. 1st Corinthians 9:24 tells us, “…those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.”

Instructions are more then just rules. After a player has learned the basic rules of the game, he or she can increase in skill by listening to instructions from a coach. God gives us His rule book, the Bible, and He gives us gentle instructions and coaching through prayer and quiet times with Him.

I’m thankful today, for His goodness in giving me guidance and instructions for success.

Give Thanks in All Things: Including Pizza

Spiritual Truth:
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
~1 Thessalonians 5:18

9 Days, 2 Hours, and 15 Minutes till the big Thanksgiving Feast! Next week I’ll be eating turkey but today, for the Thanksgiving Challenge I’m thankful for Pizza!

My favorite round food, cut into triangles, then served up in a square box. Soooo Delicious!!!

Psalm 107:8-9 says, “Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” God really knows how to bring a smile to this girl!

Pizza is not just filling, but fun for the whole family. One of my favorite out of town pizza restaurants is in downtown Memphis.

God knew Exactly how to satisfy my hunger one night as I was exploring downtown Memphis with the kids. It was late, we were tired, I made the kids do a lot of walking and as we made our way back to the hotel we saw the glowing light of Aldo’s Pizza!

I was skeptical at first, then the colorful chalkboard sign with the Special, “The Wocket in Your Pocket” caught my eye.

What mom in her right mind walks away from a pizza joint that offers a Dr. Seuss themed Special?!?! Aldo’s had my attention.

As we entered the trendy restaurant the heavenly aroma filled our nostrils, the frowns turned to smiles when we each had a slice of the most amazing pizza I have ever tasted. I couldn’t be more thankful for such a great pizza memory.

Pizza Bliss

The scripture says it is God’s will for us to give thanks in EVERY THING!!! That includes pizza. What are you Thankful for today???

Sunday Rest

Spiritual Truth:

“And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” ~Genesis 1:28

I’m counting down the days till Thanksgiving by sharing things in my life I am truly greatful for. Today, I am giving thanks for days of REST. My Sunday, my Rest day, to kick back and relax. No worries or cares, just rest!

Genesis 1:28 tells us that God “blessed the seventh day” he set it apart from every other day of the week and he rested from his work. Do you take a rest day from work at least once a week?

I know that resting can be hard, especially when you have children who constantly have needs. I find that after the work week is over, as much as I want to just sit down and rest, the weekend quickly turns into a blend of chores and social events. Everything runs together and if I’m not careful, there is No established day of rest.

What’s on Your Weekend To Do List??

There are Saturday sports, Birthday parties, and events which leaves Sunday for chores! This week, I was convicted when I was reading Jeremiah chapter 17, which speaks of the importance of honoring the Sabbath and resting.

Jeremiah 17:21-22, “This is what the LORD says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers.”

I couldn’t help but think of all the grocery loads and laundry loads I carry every Sunday, after church, in preparation for a new week.

Grocery Loads, Laundry Loads.. what Loads Do You Carry on the Sabbath???

As a result, I don’t always feel very rested when I head back to work on Mondays.

God’s commands are always for our benefit. His request for us to show honor to Him on the Sabbath and set aside time for rest is really a blessing. He wants to carry our loads and give us spiritual and physical rest and I am thankful for a God who looks out for all our needs. Especially Rest!

Does God Like Surprises?

Spiritual Truth:
“If you will listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you… all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you…” ~Deuteronomy 28:1-2

Only 2 weeks till Thanksgiving! If you are joing me for the first time, I’m counting down the days till Thanksgiving by sharing all of the things in my life I am greatful for.

Today, is Day 7 of the Thanksgiving Challenge and I’m thankful for Surprises.

This morning, I surprised my kids with donuts for breakfast to celebrate all of our UN- Birthdays. You remember the song from Alice and Wonderland, right? It may just be Your UN- Birthday today too?! “So blow the candle out my dear and make your wish come true!”

Deuteronomy 28:1-2 says, “If you will listen diligently to the voice of the LORD your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you… all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you…” which to me means, the LORD likes surprises too!!!

Did you know that the word “overtake” can be translated “to catch by surprise.” God wants to find fun ways He can be good to us and catch us by surprise!

When Was the Last Time God Surprised You?

Last week, I was surprised at work one day when I received a sugar cookie in the mail! Compliments of the cookie vendor, I was more then happy to indulge!

God wants us to be constantly amazed with His goodness and mercy. We must keep our eyes open so we don’t miss the ways He works. Psalm 77:14 says, “You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate Your awesome power among the nations.”

Each day we should wake up with the attitude of, “I just can’t wait to see what surprises God has in store for me today!” It might be Donuts!

Watch for it. God doesn’t only celebrate us on Birthdays and Holidays. He is engaged 24/7, and 365 in helping us achieve our dreams!

God’s Promise of Protection

Spiritual Truth:
For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. ~Psalm 91: 11-12

It’s Day 6 of the Thanksgiving Challenge and today I’m thankful for God’s incredible Protection.

On Monday, St Louis had its first snow of the season. A snow that broke records! And a snow that took the city by surprise at rush hour!

We all knew the weather report, the rain that would turn to sleet then snow, and the falling temperatures. We all thought it would still be somewhat manageable. It was 68Β° the day before! Could things really get THAT bad outside in less then 24 hours?!?!

I watched the beautiful snowfall, and ignored my gut feeling to head home before the normal rush hour traffic.

Instead, I chose to listen to advice from a friend who said…

“Why are the weather forecasts trying to scare people? The ground is too warm from the amazing weather yesterday! The snow won’t stick or create any real hazzard!”

When I got in my car for the evening commute home, I was met with dangerous driving conditions. The black ice caught several drivers off guard creating wrecks on every major highway, in every direction!

I turned on the radio for the traffic reports and much to my dismay, I heard my worst nightmare, “270 NB Accident, 55 SB Accident, 70 WB Accident, 44 EB at Hampton, you guessed it Accident!” If I had a dollar for every accident, I could have bought the whole family dinner and dessert at the nicest restaurant in the city!

I only had a few minutes to think before I saw the break lights of grid lock traffic, and felt the swerve of my own tires on a small patch of ice. I started to pray. I thanked God for giving me a safe car with good tires.

I started thinking of all the worst possible snow scenarios…. “What if my 20 minute commute turns into 3 hours? What if I slide off the road? What if another car hits me? What if I get stranded in this dark, cold, desolate night?” I then realized I had a full tank of gas, a good cell charge, a bag of books, and a blanket in the back (just in case). I really would be fine, as long as I didn’t get hungry.

I kept praying and I checked my cell phone for an alternative route. I found I still had time to get off at the next exit before joining 4 lanes of stopped traffic ahead of me.

Yay!!! I found a way to avoid the mess on the highway, however, I still had to navigate the side roads which were just as dangerous! Driving the lowest speed possible, I made it home safely in less time then some of my friends who got caught up in 3 hour traffic jams!!

God promises in Psalm 91 He will protect us. I can buy a safe car and fill it with gas, but only God can keep that car safely on the road in hazardous conditions. He can shield me from the dangers of being hit by another car, and He can lead me to roads that are clear from gridlock traffic.

I truly believe in the supernatural world. There are spiritual forces always at work behind the scenes, we do not see with our human eyes. But take heart and commit these words to memory for it is God’s promise of protection for those who love Him.

~Psalm 91~

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.
Surely he will save you from the Fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
If you make the Most High your dwelling, even the Lord who is my refuge, then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his Angel’s concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread upon the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him. With a long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

God’s Amazing Grace

Spiritual Truth:

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. ~2 Corinthians 12:9

It’s Day 5 of the Thanksgiving Challenge and today I’m thankful for God’s great grace!! And a little bling!

I wear this ring as a reminder of how amazing and far reaching God’s grace is in my life. It is a daily reminder of God’s favor over me even when I do not deserve it.

Growing up I tried hard to be perfect. I was in church 5 days a week. I was the star in all the church plays. I spent my weekends at Bible Quiz meets. I attended church camp. The list is endless. I thought I was a good person.

I subconsciously believed that all my hard work to please God was a guarantee that my life would go smoothly, and all my dreams would come true.

The Bible is very clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 that, “…it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.” But how can one truly understand the meaning of grace until one understands the depth of one’s sin?!

When life did not go as planned, I became frustrated with good works and I let sin start to creep in. It was so subtle. I gave into bitterness, and jealousy. I let unforgiveness take root in my heart and justified those sins letting them grow into strongholds.

When I was truly confronted with my sin and how much it hurt God, when I truly began to seek out a lifestyle of confession and repentance, I was able to fully understand the meaning of the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

I definitely do not deserve God’s grace, His forgiveness, and His love but He gives it freely every day. “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23).

The good news is God knows we will sin. Isaiah 53:6 says, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” God is so powerful, He doesn’t just offer up His grace, but He can also bring good things from our failures.

He bears the weight of our sin so He can bring life from situations that should cause our death. That is true power! Let’s give God glory today for covering us with His Grace.

Praying the Word:
Lord, I want to thank you for Your great grace and mercy in my life. Help me to know and believe that Your grace covers over all of my iniquities. Help me to accept your forgiveness when I sin. Thank You that Your grace covers my weakness. In Jesus name, Amen

Spiritual Stretching

Spiritual Truth:
If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ~Matthew 17:20

It’s Day 3 of the Thanksgiving Challenge. Today, I am thankful for the many opportunities I have to stretch outside of my comfort zone and grow.

Stretching goes beyond just the physical. All throughout life we are offered opportunities to stretch ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. The question is, when the opportunity presents itself do you accept the challenge?

In order to reach our highest potential we must be willing to let God stretch us.

Stretching is a process. Growing up I took ballet. Every day I had to practice several different stretches in order to achieve greater levels of flexibility.

The ultimate goal of a dancer is to be able to do the splits in three different ways! It seemed impossible at first, but with patience and practice the muscles in my body became more flexible and I achieved my goal.

In the same way I learned how to stretch my physical body, I must learn how to stretch my spiritual faith in Christ. God wants us to move into deeper levels of faith and total commitment to Him. In order to do this we as Christians must be open to stepping outside of our comfort zone.

God is in the business of growing us up in the faith and He will never leave us in the same place for long. Just when you think you have it figured out, something will change. We will be presented with situations that test our faith and offer opportunities to stretch.

It is our choice to be open to the pains of growth or stay stuck in old patterns that aren’t working. From experience I can say that stretching pains are not always fun but the rewards are worth the temporary pain.

Praying the Word:

Lord, I want to live my life in a way that is pleasing to You. Please help me not to stay stuck in old patterns that keep me from achieving my full potential. I want to be stretched by You and step into deeper levels of faith and dependence. Help me hear your voice, and give me the confidence I need to stay strong as I stretch and grow in You.