Monday, December 30, 2019

Reflecting Over 2019

Where is your focus? Are you in need of renewal? Are you looking for peace? It is time to reflect over 2019.










My word for 2019 has been Renew. Throughout the month of October, I posted a blog post every day on the topic of Rest. Be sure to scan through them. I will let you know, straight up, that posting every day, for 31 days, was challenging. But I did it :).





One of my biggest struggles, this year, has been stomach related. I felt like a ball that was being tossed back and forth between doctors. My primary care doctor was of no help to me, what so ever. So, I took the issue to my gynecologist who started testing me for ovarian cancer ( which, praise the Lord, I do not have ). Then, through her, I was referred to a gastroenterologist who set up a colonoscopy and an endoscopy.





Through the colonoscopy, I found out that I have diverticulosis. Through the endoscopy, I found out that I have esophageal something or other which I am now treating with prilosec. I also found out that my c rings are flattening. This is a sign of celiac's disease. Praise the Lord, I do not have celiac's disease. Although, I have found that by going completely gluten free, I feel so much better. I can now eat again because I feel hungry. Before, I only ate because I had to take pills.





So praises that my stomach issues have now been figured out. Woop, woop!





I just recently went to my endocrinologist and we decided to only do an mri of my pituitary if/when there are any changes with my vision. I talked to her again about my bad headaches. I told her that I have at least two really bad headache days a week. Meaning, I wake up with this bad headache and have it all day long.





She suggested trying to take a small dose of hydrocortisone at bedtime to see if that helps. I do not want to jinx anything, but I have only had a couple of headaches since I have been doing this. And, and, and, only one of them was a bad one.





Now, it is time to start looking ahead, into 2020. My word for the year is Focus and no, believe it or not, I didn't pick the word as a play on 2020.










I struggle with depression, anxiety, negative thoughts a lot. I hope to spend more time this year "focused" on the Lord than on negative things. I hope to focus on being more positive, more thankful. I know, right now, that I am going to need help with this. Care to ask me, from time to time, "Hey, Leigha, where is your focus"?





I have picked out two verses for 2020. Oh, but there are so many others.






Philippians 4:8 GNT 





In conclusion, my friends, fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise: things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.





Colossians 3:2 TLV 





Focus your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.






Blessings to you through 2020.




Prayer:




Dear Father,




It is my prayer that you will help me to focus my mind on things that are good and deserve praise; things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely and honorable. Help me, Father, to focus my thoughts on things that are above and not on things on the earth ( Philippians 4:8, Colossians 3:2 ). Thank you for everything that you helped me through in 2019 and for all of the blessings you revealed. I pray that your will be done in the coming year. In Jesus' name, Amen.















Could You Trust?


Humble Beginnings


Remember, You Are Seen


Farewell 2018



















Where is your focus?
Are you in need of renewal?
Are you looking for peace?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.





























Bonus****





I have put together 6 printables for you. If your word for the year is Hope, Faith, Trust, Peace, Renew or Focus, then feel free to grab your Freebie :).





      



















Thursday, December 26, 2019

Could You Trust?

Do you remember the first time that your child spent the night away from you? Do you remember his/her first vacation away from you? Have you had any children leave home?










I remember a time.....





I was pregnant with Taylor. We were at Walmart and I was tired. After being there a while, T and I look around and realized that Phillip was not with us. Can you say "panic central"?





I searched in a short location, since I was so tired, and Tim did a wider search of the store. Finally, one of us decided to check the area at the front of the store. I think it is called a vestibule, but it is the area with the game machines. We had told him that he could play something on our way out. I guess he couldn't wait because that is where he was when we found him.





Now, fast forward to his packing up his car and leaving home. This time, it wasn't panic central, but I was depressed for days after he left.





Okay, let's read Genesis 22:1-18 about Abraham being told, by the Lord, to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.





Genesis 22:1-18 NIV 





Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” Early the next morning Abraham got up and loaded his donkey. He took with him two of his servants and his son Isaac. When he had cut enough wood for the burnt offering, he set out for the place God had told him about. On the third day Abraham looked up and saw the place in the distance. He said to his servants, “Stay here with the donkey while I and the boy go over there. We will worship and then we will come back to you.” Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and placed it on his son Isaac, and he himself carried the fire and the knife. As the two of them went on together, Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abraham replied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham answered, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” And the two of them went on together. When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied. “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.” The angel of the Lord called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, “I swear by myself, declares the Lord , that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.”










I can't help but wonder what must have been going through Abraham's mind. Was he feeling panicked at the thought of what he had to do?





However, he followed through. He trusted that the Lord would provide.





When I look at this situation, it causes me stress just thinking about it. What if I were in that position and the Lord asked me to sacrifice one of my children? Could I follow through? Would I be able to trust that the Lord would step in and provide?





Thank goodness that we no longer live in a time where we need to make sacrifices. Jesus was our sacrifice. God willingly offered Him for us. He provided for our needs.





Prayer:





Dear Father, 





Thank you for Abraham. Thank you for stepping in and providing that ram. Thank you for offering your only son, Jesus, to provide for my needs. He died to take away my sins. He died so that I could be forgiven and have a way to reach you. Thank you so much. In Jesus' name, Amen.












Humble Beginnings


Remember, You Are Seen


Joseph Followed Through


Don't Miss The Boat


















Do you remember the first time that your child spent the night away from you?
Do you remember his/her first vacation away from you?
Have you had any children leave home?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load. 






















Photo credit: sasint on pixabay.com 

Monday, December 23, 2019

Humble Beginnings

When you reflect over the birth of your children, what is something that stands out the most to you? Is it the memory of all the fear and worry you had about giving birth? Or is it an intense feeling of awe as you just brought this little being into the world?










Oh, I can reflect over the birth of each child and remember the pain. However, what stands out the most to me, is the fact that I was allowed to bring this little creature into the world. I get caught up in the miracle of it all and feel overwhelmed by it :).





Today, we are reading Luke 2:7. This is about the miracle that is the birth of Jesus.





Luke 2:7 ESV 





And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.





When I stop and think about this humble scene, I wonder what Mary thought. Was she scared? Did she feel that a stable was not "clean" enough for her baby? Did she worry about germs from the manger?





Now let's focus on that manger. It is a feeding trough for animals. It is an instrument that is used for serving purposes and now it holds our Messiah.





The manger must be a mistake, right?










God could step in at any moment, right?





However, we are told throughout scripture that Jesus came, not to be served, but to serve ( Mark 10:45 ).





Also, as we look at Philippians 2:6-8, we can see how even though He were equal with God, He gave up that advantage and emptied Himself. He made Himself as nothing, a servant, or less than a servant as He were born in a stable and placed in a manger. As He was human, He humbled Himself to death, even death on a cross to take away my sins and your sins.





Yes, it was such a humble beginning. No, the manger was not a mistake.





I know that to look at this scene as if it were today, we would be disgusted. We would feel discouraged, disheartened. We would be scared by so many things. The uncleanness, the germs, etc. However, we can look back on that scene with wonder and awe that is the miracle of the birth of Jesus. We can also look back on the birth of our children and be thankful to live in a time with so many medical advancements.





Prayer:





Dear Father, 





Thank you for Mary. Thank you for the stable that she was able to use to give birth to Jesus. Thank you for the manger which served as His first bed. When I look on this humble scene, help me to remember that Jesus did not come to be served, but to serve ( Mark 10:45 ). In Jesus' name, Amen.













Joseph Followed Through


The Best Gift Ever


She Names Him Immanuel


Feeling Unqualified? Remember Mary























When you reflect over the birth of your children, what is something that stands out the most to you?
Is it the memory of all the fear and worry you had about giving birth?
Or is it an intense feeling of awe as you just brought this little being into the world?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.




























Ps. Here are an index card and bookmark to go along with this week's memory verse.



Blessings from my heart to yours.
















Photo credit: skeeze on pixabay.com

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Remember, You Are Seen

Do you have the power of invisibility? You know what I mean. Everyone around you prattles non stop about a topic that you know nothing about, so you cannot contribute. This in turn, leaves you feeling invisible.










This is something that I am dealing with ( a lot ) lately. The topic around here is music, band related things, information about band members. The list goes on.





Jacob, our youngest, is in a band and this has inspired T to start going out to watch other bands perform. He is becoming friends with some of these people and talks a lot about them.






I don't go clubbing. It is just too overwhelming for me to do. Can you say
" sensory overload "? So once he gets to talking, I feel lost and then when he and Jacob start talking, I feel invisible.






Do you struggle with any of these same things? It is something that I am trying to work on. I will say it is a work in progress.






Now, let's read Genesis 16. You will see how Hagar was feeling mistreated and invisible to the point that she ran away.






Pay attention to the part where the angel of the Lord appears to her.






Genesis 16:1-16 NIV 






Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.” Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.” “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her. The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?” “I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered. Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.” The angel of the Lord also said to her: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers.” She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi ; it is still there, between Kadesh and Bered. So Hagar bore Abram a son, and Abram gave the name Ishmael to the son she had borne. Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.











Yes, even after hearing that her son would be a "wild donkey of a man" , Hagar's focus is on the fact that the Lord has seen her.






That is an amazing thought. Stop and let it sink in for a moment.






No matter what you are facing, the Lord sees you.






He is there with you always. Take comfort in that knowledge.






I know that no matter how invisible I may feel, at times, the Lord is always there with me. And He sees me.






Hmmmm, maybe the next time I find myself in the middle of a conversation that I cannot contribute to and I start to feel lost and invisible, I can slip away for some quiet time with the God who sees me.






Prayer: 






Dear Father, 






Thank you for Hagar. Thank you for blessing her. Thank you for sending the angel to speak to her and give her comfort. Father, when I find myself in a situation where I feel lost and invisible, thank you for being the God who sees me ( Genesis 16:13 ). In Jesus' name, Amen.













Joseph Followed Through


She Names Him Immanuel


Hold On Tightly


Peace & Tranquility





























Do you have the power of invisibility?
You know what I mean.
Everyone around you prattles on non stop about a topic that you know nothing about, so you cannot contribute.
This in turn, leaves you feeling invisible.
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.






























Ps. I am adding a couple of free printables for you. Just as I  did last week, they go along with this week's memory verse. One is an index card size and the other a bookmark.



Enjoy!
















Photo credit: darksouls1 on pixabay.com 

Monday, December 16, 2019

Joseph Followed Through

Have you ever planned for something and then end up with things falling apart? You spend so much time thinking, dreaming, planning for this " event" and for one reason or another, it all just goes wrong.










Read through today's verses about Joseph to see how he handles things when his plans do not work out. Be sure to pay attention to how he reacts after the angel of the Lord appears to him.





Matthew 1:18-25 NIV 





This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about : His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.





We can see that things were not going the way that Joseph had planned. He and Mary were to be married, but now she is pregnant. And the child is not his. The child is God's. He must have felt disheartened.





One of his first thoughts was to quietly divorce Mary, to save her the public ridicule that she was likely to face. However, God had other plans as He sent an angel to speak to him in a dream. And, once he wakes up, he follows through with the angel's command.










Things in life, in our marriages may not always go as we planned, but we can always trust in the Lord's plans. Place your trust in Him and He will help you with your plans ( Proverbs 16:3 ).




Prayer: 



Dear Father, 



Thank you for Joseph. Thank you for sending the angel to speak to him to give him guidance and courage. Father, I know that my plans may not always go the way that I had hoped. However, I do know that if I place my trust in you that you will help me with my plans ( Proverbs 16:3 ). Thank you for all that you do. In Jesus' name, Amen.














The Best Gift Ever


She Names Him Immanuel


Feeling Unqualified? Remember Mary


Bible Reading Plan; Christmas Story



















Have you ever planned for something and then end up with things falling apart?
You spend so much time thinking, dreaming, planning for this "event" and for one reason or another, it all just goes wrong.
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.






























Photo credit: 683440 on pixabay.com 

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Don't Miss The Boat

During the storms of life, are you likely to go into safety or stay in the storm?









As you take a minute to think about the storms in your life, give thanks to the Lord for bringing you through those storms. I know that we all have struggles. Financial, marital, parenting, health, so on and so on.



Pick one, think about it. Now what if someone had come up to you, at that time, and said, "I am building something that is going to take away all of your struggles." What would you have thought of that person?



Honestly, I would have thought that he/she had lofty goals. I would be one of those, "Yeah, I will believe it when I see it type of person." As sad as that is to admit.



Now think about Noah and his building the ark.





Genesis 7:16 NIV 




The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.




I can just picture Noah working hard on the construction of the ark. Everything needed to be perfect, just as the Lord had commanded.





As Noah works on the ark, he is being ridiculed by everyone. Remember, at this time, it is said that there had yet to be any rain. And, he worked 120 years building the ark. Still, he continued. His faith carried him through. He spent time preaching to those within earshot trying to reach... someone. Trying to save... someone.









Finally, the ark is complete and the animals start to enter and Noah preaches. However, his words seem to have fallen on deaf ears or hard hearts.




The rain starts and Noah continues to try to reach those within earshot. He preaches safety within the ark, but still nobody listens.





Then the Lord shut him in.





To me, I picture the opening of the ark as a bridge to reach not only safety from the storm, evil people (of that time), but it was a bridge to reach God. The opening to the ark only stayed open for a set amount of time. Then the Lord shut him in and drew in the bridge.





This all relates to Jesus. He died on the cross, taking my sins, taking your sins upon Himself. He took our punishment. He did all of this out of love so you and I have a way to reach God. He is our bridge. All you need to do is believe, accept Jesus into your heart, confess your sins and you will be forgiven. You will be shut in with Jesus.




Prayer:



Dear Father, 



Thank you for Noah. Thank you for his faith in you. Thank you for the ark that was a bridge to reach not only safety, but also a bridge to reach you. Father, I pray that, when I am going through storms in my life, you will shut me in your safety. In Jesus' name, Amen.












The Best Gift Ever


She Names Him Immanuel


Bible Reading Plan, Christmas Story


Bible Reading Plan, Rest 



















During the storms of life, are you likely to go into safety or stay out in the storm?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.
























Ps: I am including some printables for you, today. Two of them go along with this week's memory verse. One is an index card, the other is a bookmark  :).




The last goodie that I am adding is January's Bible Reading Plan.



Enjoy!




















Photo credit: dimitisvetsikas1969

Sarah, The Mother Of Nations

What struggles are you facing? Are you struggling in your marriage? Are you focusing on God and looking for His blessings? It w...