The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Boxer

From my friend, Pat Pennington

I was surfing our cable stations the other night and stopped to watch what looked like a good boxing match. Two fighters were slugging it out just beating each other up. One fighter knocked the other guy down 2 times in one round and 2 more times in the next round—but the other guy kept getting back up and kept fighting. Guess who won the fight.

It made me think, sometimes life knocks us down. Sometimes life can be a struggle and a fight.

Like a boxer drops to one knee after a punch from his opponent, we can be struck down by insensitive or hateful people or untimely problems. A critical evaluation of our work by our boss can feel like a jab to our face. A family member or friend’s decision to walk away from us is like a kick in the stomach. Financial pressure, relational stress, physical illness and religious persecution can all take a toll on our soul. Life can just beat us up.

But even if we get knocked down or fall on our face, God’s grace lifts us up. At times we may be down, but with Jesus in our corner we are never really out. 

Also when we find ourselves down (or think we are), it means the Lord is up to something. When we are on our backs, we look up to Him for hope. When we are stressed, our Savior gives us a refuge of rest. When we hurt He heals. When we drift, He disciplines us. And what always gives me hope is knowing that our Savior Jesus will never abandon us when others walk away. Disappointment drags us down toward despair, but Jesus lifts us up and repairs our broken dreams. A transition may feel long, but He grows our faith through it. Down, but not out. 

Society's way of life and the culture today may give way to unrighteousness, but the Righteous One still reigns. The Body of Christ may suffer a black eye from our judgmental attitudes and apathy toward sin. But God’s influence has not been extinguished. The church is blemished because it is made up of imperfect people. Its reputation is bruised but the Lord’s reputation is without question. Jesus lifts up His bride, the church, to bring Him glory. 

So we look to the Lord to lift us up. God takes pleasure in the praises of His people, so we should praise Him in the middle of our troubles and problems.  As we lift Him up in worship our heavenly Father lifts us up in His love and sweet fellowship. By faith, Christ comforts our downcast soul. We can persevere through trials. We don’t give up, because Jesus lifts us up. We take a step back for Him to prepare our hearts, then we move forward confidently in His strength. People of faith can get knocked down but they will always get back up and keep fighting.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8&9 “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down but never destroyed”.

So always get up and stay in the fight!



Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Psalm 139:12

What a friend we have in Jesus

We choose friends. We choose our friends because we have things in common or because they are like us or like someone we know. We spend time with them. We get to know them. Often we come to love our friends.
Pas with any relationship, you must nurture and take care with a good friendship. 
However, sometimes, these relationships will crumble. There are many reasons why this happens. But it always hurts when any relationship is lost.
I think sometimes we do not choose our friends wisely sometimes. I have done this in the past. Also trying to be friends with too many people can cause problems too.
A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NASB)
But Jesus is a friend that will never let us down. He will never betray us. And we will always be able to trust Him.
No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15 NASB)

Sunday, July 20, 2014


My sister, Amy, works at an animal shelter. She, like me has an enormous love of dogs. She falls in love with each one.
Because of recently losing my precious little dog, she knows the heartache and loss that I feel. So she sends me lots of pictures of doggies all the time. I love it. 
I cannot own one right now because of a change in the type of job that I am doing but I still love to look at the pictures.
Yesterday she asked me about one of the pictures and I said that I hadn't looked at them yet. She said that she thought this one would've been my pick.
So when we hung up the phone I looked at the picture and fell in love.

But like I said, I cannot have one right now. So I passed the picture on to my daughter in law. She likes the same kind of dog that I do. 
Sure enough she typed back, "I am in love."
Then my granddaughter got in on the conversation. She, too, wanted the dog and by now they were calling her by her name. That cinched it, I knew they were hooked at that point.
I explained to them about filling out the forms online and getting there early to the shelter. 
You see, this dog will go fast. Someone will want her and go quickly to pay the adoption fee for her.
I hope that by this afternoon Jackie will belong to my grand kids.

God loves us. Before we were, He loved us and wanted us. He paid a high price for us and He knows our name. 
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! (Isaiah 43:1 NASB)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Curl your fingers into a fist, wrap your thumb around the first two fingers. Squeeze it. Shake it. Swing it.

Now lay your palm flat down on the table and relax. Now one by one, lift a finger and put it back down. It's pretty easy to do until you come to your ring finger. For some reason, this one seems a little harder to lift. It takes concentration and effort.

Think back to a time that you acted out in anger. Were you ashamed afterward? It is so easy to lose our temper sometimes. It is easy to let your feelings, thoughts and words to get out of control. And then the shame and the "I wish I hadn't done/said that" begins.
Yes, it doesn't make you big, bold and tough to be hurtful. 

So apologize. Say you are sorry and mean it. Go start to that person, admit your shame and apologize. It makes you big, bold and tough to be able to do this.

But yet something that seems like it should be so easy takes so much thought and effort.
Just like lifting that ring finger, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Words can never be unspoken. And words are very damaging. But apologizing will file the sharpness of the words and will let the other person see how truly strong you are. Only a very strong person can offer an apology.

Matthew 5:23-24 (ESV)
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

Lessons to learn

For all these things (what to eat and what to wear) the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. (Luke 12:30, 31 NASB)

Wow, how much time and effort we put into worry. We worry about everything and if there is nothing to worry about, well then, we worry because we are afraid we are forgetting something that we should be worrying about.
Even as Christians we tend to take our trust in God too lightly. We say we trust, but then why do we worry?
God tells us to seek Him, to seek His kingdom( which is the earthly work of the church) and to believe and know that our needs will be met.

I know that God has me in His loving arms. I know that He wants to care for me and meet my needs. I need to believe that when I make bad judgements or poor choices that I will reap the consequences, yet God will continue to teach me to trust in Him and with that teaching comes hard lessons that I must apply in my life.

Help me, Lord, to be a fast and willing learner. Help me to always be about seeking Your will and Your work so that my poor judgements and choices will happen less often.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Not an orphan

I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. (John 14:18 NIV)

In this verse Jesus is giving words of comfort. He was telling of Himself going to Heaven, and telling His followers that they need not be afraid or worried.
I can almost see Him pointing to their fearful hearts and telling them, "you won't see Me, but you know Me. You know that I am coming back for you. You are mine and I won't leave you here forever. I just have to go for now and get everything arranged and then I'll be back for you."
We are left with the knowledge that He will return. We are given some descriptions of how wonderful our life will be when finally we are with Him again, but like the orphan, we cannot fully imagine all of the goodness and blessings that will be ours at that time.
It is enough to know that Someone loves us, that He is coming back, and that He will take us to unimaginable joy.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


Do you know that word? Do you know what it means?
It means to remember a past situation, usually a bad experience, and dwell on it. It means to fix your mind on a nasty conversation, or replay a bad occurence over and over in your mind.
I have done this. We probably all have. But doing that is a huge waste of time that could be spent in a more positive manner. Dwelling on the bad just continues to make you feel bad and doesn't solve anything.
Make amends. Fix what you can fix. Be at peace with all men, and women, as much as it is up to you. 
Once you have done ALL that you can. Let it go! Let it go!
Do not ruminate.

Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8 NASB)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Lovely Words

How often do you plan your words? 
Your boss wants to see you. So you start the conversation in your head.
Your child needs reprimanded, you think about how to instruct.
You want to confide in your friend, you consider her reactions to your words.

But do you ever give thought, ahead of time, to what you want to say to God?
His desire is a relationship with us. He longs to hear our voice. He wants us to talk to Him often, through prayer, singing, praise, meditation and just plain conversation. 
He created us for worship. 
Be mindful of your words today. May they bring Him honor and glory.

May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14 NIV)