The Puppy Principle (#recall12 series)

“Would you like to get well?” John 5:6b (NLT)

recall12-mar-tweet-1Sweating down the sidewalk past lunchtime, calvary of whiners in tow, I tried to focus on the petunias lining the lakefront streets. Aggravated by the lack of parental response, foot stomping and arm tugging ensued. The shrill demand escalated to a bossy holler each time my toddler strode past another furry friend.

Girl wanted a puppy. But her parents were not puppy people. Not even dog people. Barely cat people.

A happy life requires a walk of faith that fuels the good things meant for our future. This month’s #recall12 verse will show us how, in letting go, we grab who we are destined to be.recall12-mar2

1. Dreams are God-placed.

 Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.” John 5:4-5

Sometimes we don’t want to get well because we don’t realize our lack. Of course this man wanted to get well. But he’d been sick for so long it was hard for him to imagine it actually happening. Instead of blind faith in the possibility, the man rehearsed a life’s worth of rationalizations competing against his opportunity to be healed.

When we don’t consult our Creator before discounting ourselves, we’re in danger of missing miraculous healing. Operating outside the will of God won’t allow us to experience the good He has plan for us.

2. Dreams are too big for us to accomplish on our own.

“When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?” John 5:6

Do we want our dreams, or God’s dream for us? Our good Father created mankind out of love. We want His dream over anything we could possibly conjure up.recall12-martweet2

This verse is an important question to ask ourselves anytime we’re in faced with decision. It has the capability to reveal sickness. Sometimes we don’t know we’re sick until we look back at how we used to feel, or forward to a timeline we can’t fill in.

3. Dreams are built into the fabric of our person.

 ‘I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.'” John 5:7

recall12-mar2How often do we operate in blind trust without knowing for certain what the future holds?To stake claim on the God-sized dreams He crafted us to accomplish, we must recognize who we are and the work we have to do.

How often to we make excuses like the man in the  passage? In his defense, he may have perceived his prose as simple matter of fact. Those of us who see the healing coming wonder, “where is your faith?” No painful situation easily attaches itself to faith. It takes discipline to have faith when it hurts …and it’s hard.

4. Dreams are work we get to do.

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!'” John 5:8

The people of Joshua Chapter 3 might have missed walking through a river on dry ground, had they sat around and asked questions first …doubted that they could …or waited to see what they would get in return for their hard work.

Imagine what the man in John Chapter 5 might have become had he said, “no, I don’t think I can…” or “Jesus, that’s impossible.”

We are the image of a God who does the impossible. It’s our belief …our faith …that needs to catch up. In relationship with our Father, a privilege Jesus gave His life for, we can continually pray for guidance. Step by step, God will illuminate the work required to meander the path of our life’s purpose.

5. Dreams don’t have to wait.

“Instantly, the man was healed!” John 5:9arecall12-mar3

When we wake up each day with intention to seek God’s design for our lives, He is faithful
to answer and send His Spirit to guide our way …right away. When we walk with Christ, we live in happiness amidst the darkness. The switch can be flipped in an instant. The winds of change are swift.

Four years after the foot stomp parade along the petunia-lined streets, the “we will never have a dog” people are total dog people. Looking back, my husband and I are still shocked at the shift of our hearts. “I’m still not a dog person,” says my husband, who searched for just the right puppy …named her …and bought her a Christmas sweater.

Stay open, in prayer, for unexpected winds of change.

Happy Puppy-Principling,

Megs

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The Flash Drive (#recall12 series)

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The Holy Spirit ignites within the moment we believe in Christ, opening our eyes and ears to interpret God’s living Word. Prayer is like a flash drive containing the situational solutions to all of our problems. It’s useful to save a few key life verses on it, which is recall-12-feb-verseexactly what we’re doing here in the #recall12 series. In our struggle to find a way, God leads us to pray.

“Always pray and never give up.” Luke 18:1 (NLT)

1. Persistance 

“He told them a parable, urging them to keep praying and never grow discouraged.” Luke 18:1 (VOICE)

This month’s memory verse is a prelude to ‘The Parable of the Persistant Widow.’ Through the story of a woman seeking a judge’s verdict, Jesus taught the his followers the value in persistent and perseverant prayer.

Though our gut’s reaction is to freakishly scramble for hurried solutions, God’s presence beckons to employ a prayerful flow of continued conversation.recall12-feb-2

2. Consistence

“He paid no attention to her request for a while, but then he said to himself,“I don’t care about what God thinks of me, much less what any mere human thinks.  But this widow is driving me crazy. She’s never going to quit coming to see me unless I hear her case and provide her legal protection.'” Luke 18:4-5

If this judge “didn’t care,” he wound’t have felt it necessary to broach the topic of this widow’s plight. The prodding of his heart was not his own conscience shifting, but someone else’s prayers being upheld.

God hears us. More importantly, He tells us to keep talking. Keep praying. When frustration emerges, let’s determine to pray into it, wait for God to lead us out of it …and have faith that He will.

3. Silence 

Did you catch what this self-assured judge said? If he can be moved to act justly, won’t God bring justice for His chosen people when they cry to Him day and night? Will He be slow to bring them justice?” Mark 8:6-7

God’s determination to help His people has little to do with our resolve to act rightly. He seeks to help those who seek Him, whether or not we are privy to His reality. God is not dependent upon any human behavior to justify His response. Jesus’ death on the cross gave His believers the opportunity to cry out to the Father in prayer, and trust that He hears and answers.recall12-feb-3

Gossip hurts. Isolation stings. Injury is painful. Sickness is defeating. Loss is agonizing. God’s voice can seem deafeningly quiet to us when our situation is bleak and our hearts are broken. Though we may not see and here God the way we seek to, the promise of His presence is always present. In a conversation so personal we couldn’t describe it if we wanted to, He leads us through every season in the silent wanderings of our prayers.

4. Omnipotence

(Jesus emphasizes that the kingdom of God will not come through valiant efforts but as people pray, “may Your kingdom come,” with persistence and with humility.)” Luke 18:8 (VOICE)

Trust that God controls what we do not: healing, death, conception, time, creation and purpose. Ending our prayers “In Jesus Name,” declares our faith in His will over our prayer requests and our lives. We must be careful to pour our hearts out in prayer to Him and then let go. Grasping for control only causes us to sink further into our plight. But when we let go of the answer we want to hear and listen for the one He is laying out before us, miracles become visible. Coincidence connects answered prayer.

recall12-feb-2The conversations we have with the Father bleed out onto and into life.  He’s privy to our seat in the auditorium. Pop in the flash drive, transfer the data over to Him, and download His answer. It’s what Jesus died for …relationship with God.

Father, Praise You for Your listening ear and compassion for us. You tell us to pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1) You are powerful to trump any form of justice set upon this earth with Your omnipotent hand. God, You ARE love. You ARE grace. 

Praise for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, allowing us to pour our hearts into Your healing hands. In conversation with You, keep our eyes open and our ears attentive to Your will for our lives over our prayer requests. Surround us with Your purpose for our lives, and compassionate love when life is impossible.

Forgive us for our lack of stamina, and remind us of Jesus death on the cross. Bless Your Spirit to our hearts and minds to remember this verse today, and always. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Happy Downloading,

Megs

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Find your favorite place to hang out, and make some new friends! Link-up with us!!

Happy Link-ing!!!  Megs

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The Beats & The Books.

 The end of a matter is better than its beginning,
    and patience is better than pride.”

my-heart-2Even those who can’t hear can feel when the beat of a song is off, and it doesn’t take a medical professional to notice the skipped beat of a heart …but that’s just what happened to Julie Manning, as she tells in her book “My Heart.” It’s every mother’s worst nightmare played out, to the tune of unending grace. Julie recounts the tragic sickness of her heart, and all of the medical challenges that spiraled in to personal and spiritual challenges for her as she tried to move forward without skipping a beat for her two young sons and sweetheart husband.

Like every book I’m blessed to be part of launching, I dove in curiously wondering what God was going to use this book for in my life, and the lives of others. Julie’s bravery to recount and write down the painful memories and joyous triumphs is truly endearing …and important. When we walk close to the edge of the end of life we realize the reality of it’s fragility. 

How many of us launch into our days in a rush and continue on at the speed of light through a crammed calendar of days without stopping to linger in a few precious my-heart-reviewmoments?

“What if lunch notes, texts, and cards stopped saying, ‘Have a great day!’ and instead included a prayer over the soul and a Scripture to cling to that is Truth as they decipher through the lies heard in the hallways, on sidewalks, or next to the water cooler?” -Julie Manning, My Heart

I will write those lunch notes. As today’s verse teaches us, “the end of a matter is better than the beginning.” Better the end of a matter than the end of a life not ready to end. Pride wants us to rush through our moments, but patience allows us to linger longer.

“Jesus was an intentional memory maker. Jesus was always fully present.”- Julie Manning, My Heart 

My youngest daughter pulls out “the big book of Lo Lo” all of the time. It’s the scrapbook of the first year of her life that I spent an embarrassing number of hours putting together. I’ve always had a problem eliminating memories and deleting pictures. I make photo books for them each year, and each year the photos become smaller and smaller and the books grow larger and larger. There are five specific things I love about these books:

1. It makes me remember.my-heart-tweet

“I have hidden your word in my heart” Psalm 119:11a 

When I sort through pictures and sit there for hours, coordinating clip-art and smiles, God’s faithfulness reflects off of the screen. How I prayed for these babies, and this family, and like Julie speaks of in her book …how I long to watch them grow old and have their own babies!

2. It makes me appreciate

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:19b-20

Each experience I look back on has a ‘thank you’ attached. 365 days have the potential to hold millions of memories …and to the glory of the Lord, we’ve been able to share so many laughs over the years. As I read Julie’s story, I couldn’t help but pay more attention to my own heart. I found myself sitting in silence listening to it’s regular beat. What gift it is just to listen to a regular heartbeat.

3. It highlights the happy.

“Be joyful always.” 1Thessalonians 5:16

All of the smiles make me smile. We rarely photograph sorrow and grief. Painfully aware of it’s proximity, Julie soldiers on in her faith throughout her book …and her life. It’s admirable, and as I look at the smiling memories that pull me out of a sad slump, I can only image how precious each one is to her. Everyday life has a tendency to seem drudgery, so it’s good to refocus on the positive by gazing at some happiness.

4. It takes a while.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes 3:1

Patience is a gift of the Spirit that I struggle with. And these photo books take …not hours …not days …not weeks …but months to put together. Months. I’ve digitally crafted myself into a corner, but the slow pace of each page leaves time for each memory, and the lessons attached to it, to soak back in.

5. I love to look at them, with them.

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Snuggling up to look at our memories is like living a dream. “My Heart” reminded me to be ever so careful not to try and count the number of days or my capabilities ahead of the One who creates and sustains. It’s made me grip Jesus’ hand a little tighter, and refocused my prayers for my family and my children.

“May we turn into a generation of women who live with constant intentionality. Not just for the sake of being intentional but for the sake of living like Christ.”-Julie Manning, My Heart.

Happy Heartbeats,

Megs

You can pick up a copy of Julie’s book here!

My Heart: Every Beat Surrendered to Our Unchanging God

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The Assembled.

Grace

A virtue coming from God. Merriam-Webster 

“Girls, – one at a time,” I pleaded while the dog darted from the room with a box corner in tow. (Anything remotely paper-like …it’s ridiculous.)

“DDDAAAADDDDD!!!!!! POCKET KNIFE!!!!” my youngest demanded. (Everything must be sprung free from all restrictive packaging immediately.)

“Lauren,” her big sis noted, “you just opened two in a row, it’s my turn.”

the-assembled-tweet-1The New Year brings change, some planned, some swift. Resolutions that are well-calculated goals, and struggles that are desperately lifted up. Like a youthful Christmas morning, it’s hard to maintain composure throughout the changes of heart, or shifts in life’s direction. But grace can be maintained when intentions are drafted in the right light.

Impatient Assembly

Christ is there when the aim to achieve is beyond our ability to reach.

“Dad!” my six-year-old demanded, “please put my Lego castle together.”

Legos still send me into a tantrum. We all have our “Legos” don’t we?  The things we know need to be put together, but lack the execution required to admire a finished product.assembled-image-1

Patience must be fostered into maturity. Only the Creator, Himself can snap a resolution into fruition. Do we realize the pieces that are dumped out onto the table when we aim to grow? Our Father is astute to the steps He drafted.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thes. 5:28

Grace exudes wisdom. It doesn’t throw a half-assembled Lego tower across the room because a step was skipped. Wise people know that serves no purpose.

Lauren trusts her Dad to assemble what she cannot, because she’s seen him do it before.

God-gifted, by Jesus’ death on the cross, grace allows inquire upon God to calm reactions beyond our control.Wisdom is born from the release of our expectations into the hands of His guidance.

Patient Assembly

My oldest daughter, graduated from watching and helping her dad, now follows hundreds of steps to put thousands of tiny little blocks together.

“Do you know the best advice that Daddy ever gave me on building Legos?” she replied to my amazement, “He told me to make sure it was facing the same way as the picture in the directions.”

Grace in the face of a frustrating process is a gift to behold.

I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.”  Romans 1:7

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Paul reaches out through ancient words to bless hearts budged by the Holy Spirit. We won’t be fully assembled until we embrace our Father in heaven. Grace is not an automatic setting we can activate without the love of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The pressure is off. We’re not dysfunctional, we’re just not capable …alone.

Before setting resolutions beyond what we’re crafted to achieve, let’s ask the Father to guide our resolve. Dreams are pieces of God’s destiny. Waypoints along each illumined path. God can be trusted with our assembly.assembled-tweet-3

Look back on this past year and revel in the blocks He’s built, or dumped back onto the table to be reassembled. God is not looking to change us into different, more ‘compliant’ people. He’s looking to cover what we can’t handle with grace.

I resolve to receive the full scope of God’s grace in 2017. How about you?

Happy 2017! #greatgrace17

Megs

This post may be linked up with the following amazing writer’s:

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Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest

The Fear Fight.

Tears quickly collected in the brim of my girl’s eyes as disappointment sunk into her heart. Whether eight or eighty-eight, the sting of discouragement stinks.

“If you feel you should be included, ask …” I encouraged, and handed her my phone.

It’s the tiny bits of fear that need to be squashed before they have a chance to take root and destroy a dream. We prayed over my tiny dancer before she got out of the car, and when she skipped back happily with a piece of her heart restored, I knew the work God was doing in me had more than one purpose.

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The agonous worries that shake us awake in the middle of the night are meek to those that snatch joy. Jesus grants peace. Fear hunts it down in attempt to convince us we were unworthy of it in the first place …in the hope that we’ll simply forget that we have nothing to worry about. Fear teases us with the solitude of control. It beckons us to keep up appearances and disassociations.

Fear will fill and hijack life, unless pulled up close enough to kick out. “Fear Fighting” is a powerful punch in fear’s face.

Search. Ask. Listen

“How do we renew in a way that we can really start to think differently?” Kelly Balarie, “Fear Fighting”

One year ago I picked the word “resolve” to bring my goals for the new year into fruition. I prayed into that word and it held on by the tiniest thread as fear tried to shut every opening door. The thread didn’t snap, but my grace cracked. The “Fear Fighting” journey has illuminated my dire need for it’s restoration.

Calm, stately, pulled together grace.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.” 1 Thes. 5:28

Jesus grace. Un-threatenable …humble grace.

Fear no longer has the power to unglue my wits end over end. Resolve capped that off by pushing me through this book.

F.I.G.H.T.

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“When I avoid my own conclusion, I often find God’s.” Kelly Balarie, “Fear Fighting”

Fear wants us to circle our dreams like a vulture waiting for it to get hit by a car and die, relieving us from chasing after it’s assured “road-kill” ending. The bigger the dream, the stronger fear grips. Satan doesn’t play fair, he injects fear …hoping we’ll become addicted to a pain numbing consolation prize.

Get armed.

The Bible warns us we’ll be harassed. “Fear Fighting” provides an applicable solution to flicking fear out of our daily lives.

Forgo.Ignite. Give. Help. Treasure.

Grow Prayers

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Insecurity …quitting …overcommitting …comparison. Issues make us plainly aware of our earthly deficiency. But fear drives them all.

“What you hand over will be handed back to you tenfold, greater than your wants and according to your heart’s desires.” Kelly Balarie, “Fear Fighting.”

Each everyday worry written out in prayer and tossed into a vase released the pressure point of a struggle …a less-than  …a not-good-enough. A simple activity from a heart full of fright-empathy ushered little pieces of freedom and simplistic joy back into my heart like a warm wave of salty sea air. Fourteen things I worry about everyday. The vase was filled. I was glad to be interrupted by my six-year old to paint her “other hand’s nails.” 

That’s the eye-opening power of derailing fear. It stops in it’s tracks …and leaves.

“God takes the weaklings, the ones who think they are bottom feeders, and nourishes His sheep.” Kelly Balarie, “Fear Fighting.”

This book is a #lifechanger, freeing kidnapped corners of fear-fighting souls in each pair of hands that hold it.

Father, Praise You for Kelly, and her Spirit inspired message. You are powerful to reach into hearts that need healing through the simple pages of a book. Thank You for knowing the spaces that need to be cleared of fear, and loving us regardless. We confess our worry and fear, and lift it up to Your capable hands. Bless our hearts with courage, and bless this book to  hearts that long to be freed. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Happy Fear-Fighting,

Megs

fear-fight-tweet

kellypicI highly recommend “Fear Fighting,” to anyone who struggles with anxiety, insecurity, and control. It’s a #lifechanger. Stand up and fight back, with Kelly Balarie’s relatable struggle and Spirit filled conquering of her own battle with fear.

Kelly, a heartfelt thanks to you for your faithfulness to write this book. It set the small, everyday courses of my life, on His track. Praise for you. Catch Kelly on her blog, www.purposefulfaith.com, and be encouraged!

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Click here to buy the book.

(Just a friendly promo for a book I believe will change your life. No affiliate kickbacks, here.)

Friends! if you enjoyed this post, would you consider blessing me by  writing ‘3’ in the comments to vote for it? Many thanks, and remember …sharing is caring! I love you all! -Megs

 

If you’re a fellow writer, click the above images and join us in the Fear Fighting Writer’s Contest! Let’s fight fear together, and cheer each other on! Woot! Woot! 

This post may be linked up with the following amazing writer’s:

Mondays…Mommy Moments Modest MondayOpen Mic MondaySoul SurvivalHomemaking MondaysGood Morning MondaysMake Your Home SingInspire Me Monday Motivation Monday Motivational MondayOver the Moon, Thank Goodness it’s Monday Inspire Me Monday

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Wednesdays…#TellHisStory, OhMyHeartsieGirlsCoffee for Your HeartFrom Messes to MessagesWordless WednesdayAmanda’s Books and More LinkyCoffee and Conversation,Wow Me Wednesday,Wine’d Down Wednesday,

Thursdays…Thought Provoking ThursdayLive Free ThursdaySincerely, PaulaHeart Encouragement Think Tank Thursday, 

Fridays…Faith Filled FridayDance with Jesus, Friendship Friday, High Five for Friday, 

Saturdays… Saturday Sparks, Dare to Share, Our Mini Linky PartySaturday Sharefest