Tag Archive | Scripture

In Memory ~ Rich Hollinger

What a difference a week makes LORD!  What a difference 24 hours make!  A reminder that our time here is very short and precious.

I want to yell, scream and stomp my feet.  Why?  Why Rich?  Why now?  He was so full of life.  He made the world a better place just by living each day with so much joy.  He went out of his way to help people:  family, friend, coworker, neighbor or stranger it made no difference. He lived a life of service.  He cherished Amie and his daughters.  They were his life and his world.  I can still see the way his eyes lit up any time he talked about them.

And then there was his work!  Or as I like to think of them……the 3 Musketeers.  Nick, Larry and Rich.  all three very passionate about the work they do.  All three giving the best of themselves to build a company that is known for integrity, honesty, doing what’s right and where the customer is the priority.  That says so much about the character of each one.  They not only lived it, they held each other accountable to continue living with those values.  They respected each other but above all they considered each other family.  It doesn’t always take blood to be brothers.

So I have to ask why LORD?  Why Rich?  Why now?  He was too young, he had so much more life to live, he had more years of being Amie’s husband, more years of being Lexie and Anna’s dad, and there can’t be a 3 Musketeers with only 2!!!

It makes no sense LORD!  Yet, I can imagine how big Rich’s smile was when he heard those most glorious words we all long to hear:

“Well done good and faithful servant, well done!”

His smile lit up any room here on earth, I can imagine when he received his eternal reward, for his servant’s life, it was bigger and brighter than the sun.  And knowing Rich I can believe he probably yelled out “HAIL YEAH!”

His work here was obviously done but how do those left behind more forward, how do we go on without him here?  How does Amie, Lexie, and Anna begin to put back the pieces of their without their husband and father?

I know Your Word says: Your ways are not our ways; Your timing is perfect; Your plans are to prosper us not to harm.  I know Your Word always bears fruit and will be there for them but LORD honestly right now I don’t want to give them a Bible verse.  Show me a way I can be of help to them, to be the hands and feet of You.  To live out Your Word instead of repeating Scripture in their time of need.

I ask for Your mercy LORD.  Wrap Your arms around Amie, Lexie and Anna; every member of Rich’s extended family and his Manor Roofing family let each one feel Your presence in a deep comforting real way.  Let peace come into their souls, hearts, minds and bodies.  Remove all worries from them LORD and replace it with You.  Place on their hearts and minds good memories of Rich so that instead of crying through the pain they can laugh through the tears.  Help them to celebrate the man You created in Your image.

In the days, weeks and months ahead I ask for Your servants to be there in the time of need for Amie, Lexie and Anna – just to be there for them in the way they need.  May the three cling together in their grief and not allow this to divide them.  Help them to be patient, understanding, kind and forgiving not only to one another but to themselves as well.  LORD, my heart breaks for them.  I just ask You to hide them in the shelter of Your protective wings and let no more harm come to them, only Your rich blessings.  Remind them that they are strong through You.  In Jesus’ Name I Pray ~ Amen.

“Strong Enough”
by Matthew West

You must
You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through

Well, forgive me
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

I know I’m not strong enough to be
everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
For the both of us

Well, maybe
Maybe that’s the point
To reach the point of giving up

Cause when I’m finally
Finally at rock bottom
Well, that’s when I start looking up
And reaching out

I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Cause I’m broken
Down to nothing
But I’m still holding on to the one thing
You are God
and you are strong
When I am weak

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

I can do all things
Through Christ who gives me strength
And I don’t have to be
Strong enough
Strong enough

Oh, yeah

I know I’m not strong enough to be
Everything that I’m supposed to be
I give up
I’m not strong enough
Hands of mercy won’t you cover me
Lord right now I’m asking you to be
Strong enough
Strong enough
Strong enough

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My Thoughts or His Thoughts

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.  ~ Isaiah 55:8-9

Ever thought you knew more than God?  Thought you were smarter than Him?  If you are like me you probably are thinking “Yeah, been there, did that, have the t-shirt.”

Whenever I look back at the confusing moments in my life it’s easy to see He was there all along.  That His plan was so much better than anything I could have dreamed.  Yet each new “moment” causes me to fall back to thinking I know best, saying “Let me show You LORD how to fix it.”  I know how that line of thinking ends.  I get knocked down flat, finally uttering “Ok LORD You are in charge.”

I have entered a season of confusion. I want to fulfill a dream that I have had since I was a little girl.  Only in the last two years have I admitted I had a dream.  One that I believe was placed on my heart from God.  Yet I allow my thoughts of inadequacy, fear and rejection to stop me.  When things don’t go according to my plans, feeling like a failure, I want to give up.

“…and My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”

How foolish we are to try to make His plans and purpose for us fit into our ideal box.  How much better would it be to openly embrace His ways, believing He has far better in mind than we could ever imagine.

I want to encourage you today to stand on His word.  When your “moments” take a left turn when you wanted to go right, trust His ways.  Sit back, enjoy the view knowing He will take you further than you ever dreamed.

Dearest LORD I want to boldly proclaim Your word into my life.  Give me wisdom to offer up to You not only my thoughts by my dreams and my future.  When I want to give up remind me of all the marvelous ways You have already spoke into my past and present.  Give me a spirit of joy and peace.  In Jesus’ Name .  Amen!

Walking in Truth

Dana Pittman, my dear She Speaks sister is guest posting today.  I am so thankful to God for all the wonderful sisters I have met through She Speaks – and we haven’t even met in person yet!!!!  God is so faithful, always!!!  Please leave a comment for Dana and then visit her website.  

I. Feel. The. Pressure.

The pressure of time…

The pressure of life…

The pressure of deadlines…

The pressure of me…trying to fit, squeeze, push, pull, scream, shout, cry my way forward instead of trusting.

Trusting God has me. God will keep me. God will sustain me.

Trusting not by my will but Your will be done.

I am running myself to near exhaustion when walking will do.

I am preparing for a wonderful opportunity to attend She Speaks Conference and in my eagerness I began to work. I saw the potential to realize a calling on my heart for years. I recognized the blessing provided and became determined to not let a moment pass me by.

My zeal overwhelmed me. It all seemed so great…so grand. I started viewing my “wonder opportunity” as a cumbersome list of To-Dos. But this all changed as I sat to work on my book proposal. I let my time at the computer be an outpouring from my heart to His.

remembered why in fact He has presented this chance…to bring Him glory.

For from him and through him and to him are all
things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Romans 11:36

I still intent to work like an ant–steady focused progress. Praising and giving Him glory.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my
children are walking in the truth.
3 John 1:4


Question: Where in your life are you running, when you should be walking in God’s truth?

About Dana Pittman

Dana is married with children residing in the Houston, TX area. She is a writer, speaker and Bible teacher slowly penning her next novel. You can read her blog and follow her on Twitter and Facebook. To learn more visit www.danapittman.com.

A Confident Heart ~ Week 2 Thoughts, Part 2….

As I drove to work I felt lighter and happier then I ever have before.  I never realized the weight I had been carrying around, how it was dragging me down and making me tired.  As I was driving I was continued talking with Him and telling Him “I will give you all the control in my life, I can’t do it, so You direct me.  I want to follow Your will for my life.”  My friend kept popping into my head and I kept remembering how she said she would trust Jesus even though it hurt, she would follow Him.  I felt God prod me and say “tell her.”  But I dismissed it (see how quickly I took back control, lol).  I got to work and I felt Him say “tell her.” I dismissed it.  I felt it again and I said “look God I am not writing a message to someone that is a FB friend and never really talked to, that’s crazy” but all morning long so I finally said “FINE, I will write the message but I am NOT sending it”  So I wrote the letter and then 15 minutes later I felt a tap (kid you not, freaked me out a bit) no one was there.  So I said “I am NOT sending it Lord, she will think I am crazy or a stalker!”  Well I couldn’t get any work done and I was tired of being bugged so I sent the letter, I did put in the letter, I am NOT a stalker!!!

Almost immediately a reply came back that said “thank you!  Your letter was an answer to my prayer.”  I learned from that – always do what God asks of you!  He may be using you as an answer to someone else’s prayer. 

That weekend at church I saw in the bulletin that the Diocese was looking for an Executive Secretary and I had all the requirements.  So I took that as a sign.  I submitted my resume and said “God I am not going to stress about this, it’s in Your Hands, whatever comes, comes.  I thank You for the chance though.”

By November I had some wonderful godly girlfriends, I felt God’s presence in my life and I had an interview.  It was less than one month since my retreat!

I hadn’t interviewed in over 16 years and I was so nervous.  As I was leaving my parking lot to go to my interview I hit a car in the parking lot.  The city had recently repainted the lines at the parking lot and it was more narrow and very tight, a truck in the first row didn’t pull all the way into the space and was hanging out, but I thought I could squeeze past the car next to me.  No such luck I hit it pretty good.  I looked up and said “Really, God!!!”  No one was around, no one saw it and there was no damage to my SUV….this is when faith steps in.  I left a note, with all my contact information and went to my interview.  I thought I bombed that interview, I was nervous and then they asked the question “what does integrity mean to you?” and I told them about hitting the car.  They said we won’t call any of your references unless we offer you the job and we still have several people to interview.  Which to me said – thanks but no thanks.  As I left I was okay with it.

Next day I go into work and my supervisor said “I got a call for a reference for you”  I couldn’t believe it.  After I was offered the job, I spoke to my boss, my boss of 16 years and said “I have been offered another job, at the end of the week I will find out all the details.”  He looked at me and said “what can I do to keep you here?  Why are you leaving?”  We had a long conversation and I spoke to from my heart telling him the issues I was having and why.  He said “think about it, I want to keep you.”  Now I had two job offers and I didn’t know which way to go.  I prayed “Lord, where do you want me?” 

In the end for a variety of reasons I decided to stay at my current employer and I haven’t regretted my decision.  When I declined the other offer, I apologized for wasting their time and explained the whole story to them and how my boss reacted when I said I was leaving.  She said “that is better than any reference or resume, I definitely want you on my staff now.  Tell your boss I will keep trying to get you.” 

The Lord answered every one of my prayers in a way that left no doubt who was in control!  The past year has still been filled with heart ache and troubles, some I am going through now.  I have had my days and nights filled with tears and thinking my heart would break but I remember I asked for that too! 

I asked for healing and God led me to the Hidden Joy Bible Study.  I asked for godly women friends and did he ever deliver:  there are the 3 musketeers or 3 stooges – we aren’t quite sure which one we resemble, lol.  There are my Fun Bus gals.  My Hidden Joy girlfriends and some new friends from A Confident Heart and my friend who although miles apart has always been there for me ever since we met in an AOL chat room almost 12 years ago!

So as I get ready to leave this morning on my Silent Retreat again I thank God for all that He has given me this year and to let Him know I will meet Him in the middle of the labyrinth again this year.  We have more talking to do but this year – I will do all the listening!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

A Confident Heart, Week 1 ~ Day 4

Thursday (9/22/11) Assignment:  Answer questions 4 – 7 from Chapter 1.

4.  Describe what happens in your heart when you read God’s Word:

  • Those who hope in Me will not be disappointed (Isaiah 49:23)
  • See, I am doing a new thing! (Isaiah 43:19)
  • And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love HIm, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)
  • All things are possible to her who believes (Mark 9:23)

I feel hopeful and encouraged.  I feel peaceful when reading these verses, no matter what’s going on around me.  I just imagine that I am sitting in His lap and His arms are around me.

5.  What do you think hinders you most from living with God-confidence on a consistent basis?  Is there a promise listed above that speaks to your greatest need right now?

My greatest hinderance is my mind.  It can talk me out of all my good intentions and causes me to think I am too tired, too far gone, too hard to change, etc.  I will say:  “See I am doing a new thing!” when my mind starts telling me I can’t.  I can say but it’s a new thing through the LORD.  I can use “All things are possible to her who believes” maybe I really haven’t believed if my mind can bring me down. I need to believe in my heart, soul and MIND!

6.  How would you describe a woman with a confident heart?

Hmmm, this one puzzles me at times.  The Webster Dictionary definition of CONFIDENCE is: 1. A feeling or consciousness of one’s power’s or reliance on one’s circumstances.  2.  Faith or belief that one will act in a right, proper or effective way.  3.  A relation of trust or intimacy.  So putting this together look at what happens:

  • A feeling or consciousness of God’s powers and reliance on Him in one’s circumstances.
  • A faith and belief in God that He will act in a right, proper and effective way.
  • A relation of trust and intimacy with God!

So to me a women with a confident heart knows who she is and is secure in God.  She may get knocked down but she will always get back up again.  She has an intimate relationship with God and she trusts in His ways.  She relies not on herself but has total reliance in God and His powerful ways.

7.  Read Jeremiah 17:7.  What does this verse promise and encourage you to do?  Think of one situation where you could live in the power of this promise and describe what that would look like this week.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD; whose hope is the LORD.

I looked up the definition of Hope and Trust in my Bible Dictionary.  I foudn this interesting for HOPE this is what it says:  “….this hope represents a search, an absolute confidence and a concentration of all one’s energy flowing from God’s covenant with Israel.  It does not rest on human resources and initiative, but on the all-powerful Presence of God (Psalm 18:7).  Christian hope takes its character from this absolute witness of love and God’s fidelity to His Promises.  (NAB)

HOPE – Confident trust with the expectation of fulfillment (NLT)

TRUST – to hope, to place one’s confidence in… (NLT)

This verse encourages me to trust not in myself or other people but only in the LORD, by trusting in the LORD I will have a life that is fruitful and pleasing to the LORD.  Being hopeful in the LORD means I will be strengthened through Him; in times of trouble it means when I am weak He isn’t.

The situation I choose:  Letting go of my thoughts that I am not good enough as a wife and mother.  letting go of my perfectionist tendencies so that I could enjoy my role as wife and mother.

My week would be one of enjoying my family and not waiting for the “other shoe to drop”, taking the day as it came and not trying to control everything.  Being secure knowing my house is clean enough, my meals are good enough, laughing when things go crazy instead of having a meltdown.  Being able to look at my children and husband and know that my job and role is very important and not needing constant approval.

Okay this is the verse for the week, with no peeking and no correction, let’s see how I do:

So do not throw away your confidence; you will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you do the will of God you will receive His promises.  Hebrews 10:35-36

 

The correct:  So do not throw away your confidence, it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

Listening for the Lord…..

This morning as I awoke the word “grace” was on my heart, as I read my Bible for different Scriptures on grace, another word came to me “intimacy.”  I was directed to a Scripture that was perfect (as always the LORD is) ~ Song of Songs 4:15.  After reading the Scripture and notes I was more in awe of the LORD.

You are a garden fountain, a well of living water, as refreshing as the streams from the Lebanon mountains. ~ Song of Songs 4:15

Notes:  Solomon’s bride was as refreshing to him as a fountain.  Could your spouse say the same about you?  Sometimes the familiarity that comes with marriage causes us to forget the overwhelming feelings of love and bliss we shared at the beginning.  Many marriages could use a course in refreshing.  Do you refresh your spouse, or are you a burden of complaints, sorrows and problems?  Partners in marriage should continually work at refreshing each other by an encouraging word, an unexpected gift, a change of pace, a surprise call or note, or even withholding of a discussion of some problem until a proper time.  Your spouse needs you to be a haven of refreshment because the rest of the world usually isn’t.

When I read that I instantly thought of all the times I have been a burden to Larry after he has worked a long hard day and probably needed me to be his refreshing haven.  All the times he needed me and I turned him away, consumed with what I needed and my own selfishness.  And for the first time I saw a glimpse of how awesome and wonderful the intimacy of marriage is – how it’s a very awesome and amazing gift from the LORD.  Only we tow can give this gift to each other.  For the first time I saw this area of marriage as a true blessing and not something to be endured.  I saw God’s hand in continued healing for me in this area ~ even though the Hidden Joy study has been over for almost 3 weeks my healing is continuing as I come to Him everyday and allow Him to lead me.  My prayer:

Dear LORD allow me to be my husband’s safe haven.  Continue to show me how amazing this gift of yours is to our marriage.  Make our marriage stronger than ever before through You.  Help us to grow closer to you as a married couple and as individuals so that we always give You glory.  Strengthen us LORD and change our hearts that when we need a safe haven our spouse is able to be that for us.  That as we run into the arms and love of each other we are feeling Your arms wrap around us as well.  That what we are giving to each, we are also giving to You.  Remind us that 2nd to You our marriage is the most important thing we have.  In Jesus’ Name I pray ~ Amen!

It was an amazing time with the LORD this morning.  He opened my heart, eyes and ears in a new way so that I can continue to heal but also so I can live fully.  So I was equally in awe when I picked up my Jesus Calling devotion and read this morning’s devotion.  But let me backtrack a little. 

When I woke up with the word “grace” on my heart. I thought this was in relation to my son and the issues he is facing.  I still believe that ~ I am thinking God is leading me to offer my son my grace instead of my usual “if you would listen to me, things for you would be better” (because God could say the same to us).  All I know is that my son is broken – his relationship with all of us has taken a downward spiral and he needs a lot of support.  What has happened in the incident of this week is just a part of his issues I believe. I believe there is so much more to this – not with the incident but with what my son is feeling and the things he is thinking.  Right I think he blames us (or at least me) instead of focusing on how his actions got him to this point.  He refuses our phone calls, he is angry when speaking to us, he has no interest in the most important thing in his life until now – his cat!  I think he is hitting rock bottom or close enough – so I really thought this morning was about my son and how to help him through.  But now I think the LORD is showing me things are going to get worse before they get better.  The LORD is telling me “you will need to find a safe haven to refresh yourself, you need to strength your bond with your husband so that you two together can weather this storm.”  And that’s as it should be because I can no longer even attempt to control my son and whatever decisions he makes – good or bad – I give over to the LORD, asking the LORD to have mercy on him and his choices.  This morning’s devotion that blew me away:

I am a God who heals.  I heal broken bodies, broken minds, broken hearts, broken lives, and broken relationships.  My very Presence has immense healing powers you cannot live close to Me without experiencing some degree of healing.  However, it is also true that you have not because you ask not.  You receive the healing that flows naturally from My Presence, whether you seek it or not.  But there is more – much more – available to those who ask.

The first step in receiving healing is to live ever so close to Me.  The benefits of this practice are too numerous to list.  As you grow more and more intimate with Me, I reveal My will to you more directly.  When the time is right, I prompt you to ask for healing of some brokenness in you or another person.  The healing may be instantaneous, or it may be a process.  That is up to Me.  Your part is to trust Me fully and to thank Me for the restoration that has begun.

I rarely heal all the brokenness in a person’s life.  Even My servant Paul was told “My grace is sufficient for you,” when he sought healing for the thorn in his flesh.  Nonetheless, much healing is available to those whose lives are intimately interwoven with Mine.  Ask, and you will receive.

Pretty powerful, isn’t it?  All the key words placed on my heart this morning were in the love letter from God!!!  He hears, He knows, He is guiding me, leading me and has me safe in His hands.  He has been leading me here to this time and place for almost a year.  Looking back I can see it:  my desire to truly know Him as my LORD and Savior, placing godly girlfriends in my life to support me, encourage me but more importantly to remind me to laugh (thank you to my special group of friends – you know who you are but you will never realize the impact you have made).  My participation in the Hidden Joy study and the wonderful friends that I made through that study – thank you to you girlfriends, you too will never know the impact you have made, even though we have never meet I feel a special connection with each one of you ladies.  My healing through the Hidden Joy study to once and for all heal from my sexual abuse; thereby allowing my marriage to heal and strengthen, to see my husband as my safe haven when, not if, but when the storms come.

And seeing all of that I know without a shadow of doubt, with full trust and faith He will bring us through this too – no matter the outcome.  My only request is that my son have a  close and personal relationship with Jesus, serving Him with his life when this is all said and done.  I pray too that our family grows closer and stronger to each and Him through the trials we are about to face.  I won’t ask that this be removed from us – I just ask that we grow in love and respect for each other.  It is through the trials, that we grow, that we seek Jesus and that we come out stronger.  His death on the Cross is proof of that.  Hold us close dear Jesus, strengthen us and show us Your mercy.  In Jesus’ Name I ask.  Amen!

Bible Study ~ Hidden Joy ~ Day 45

Adding something new today to our Bible study, check it out at Melissa Taylor’s Blog!

For God gave us a spirit of love, courage and self-discipline”

My attempt at the Scripture without looking at the blog……how did I do?  Let’s check and see:  God has given us a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline.  Not too bad!