Count your blessings

Embrace life — photo courtesy by

When our lives or those we love are challenged with a huge obstacle, it could be health or painful circumstances, we must live in gratitude. God is always good! He will walk through you the challenge. He is just a prayer request away. He is always open.

Besides prayer, worship Him in challenging times. It brings joy over sorrow. It helps refocus your mind on the stability of His goodness.

Psalm 100:2-5 NLT Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy. [3] Acknowledge that the LORD is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture. [4] Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. [5] For the LORD is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Count your blessings! Embrace the journey perhaps with new exercises. Today, start a new tradition of listing 10 blessings in your journal. Gratitude changes a poor attitude. It brings insight into all the good things often overlooked as we walk through our day.

Our mind has the ability to set the course for our day, our career, and our future. The battle for God‘s purpose for our lives and potential is found first in the mind.

Romans 12:1-2 NLT And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice-the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. [2] Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Acknowledge Him! Walk with Him! You will never be alone.

Glory to God, He is the gift giver!

Stepping up into your calling

Step into your calling photo by Mary Mesikapp

Do you know God commissions His people to a specific calling? It may take years or a lifetime to discover our purpose. But the same God who set the stars in place, can be trusted to set your life in place.

Psalm 47:1-9 MSG Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo! Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs! GOD Most High is stunning, astride land and ocean. He crushes hostile people, puts nations at our feet. He set us at the head of the line, prize-winning Jacob, his favorite. Loud cheers as God climbs the mountain, a ram’s horn blast at the summit. Sing songs to God, sing out! Sing to our King, sing praise! He’s Lord over earth, so sing your best songs to God. God is Lord of godless nations- sovereign, he’s King of the mountain. Princes from all over are gathered, people of Abraham’s God. The powers of earth are God’s- he soars over all.

He set us at the head of the line, sing songs to Him! Seek His plan for your sphere of influence. You may not feel prepared but He will prepare the way if it is His plan.

Comfort zones are okay when you are feeling weary at times, however God wants to give you an opportunity to step up and into your calling. It’s scary to move beyond your safe place. But God is a sanctuary of safety. Praying for revival can be stepping into our calling. Sometimes we called not to wait but to take steps forward in faith. Seeking His direction not knowing the future. It does not mean titles for positions inside a building. It means a supernatural in filling by the Holy Spirit and trusting God to bring awareness, and direction. If He is over all the earth and in authority of all things He will complete the work He starts.

Kim Walker Smith sang Fresh Outpouring years ago, it is a powerful song that reminds followers of Jesus to ask for a fresh outpouring of His Holy Spirit! We can’t do this life alone. He prepares those who humble themselves before Him.

Jesus prepared His disciples, they were a group of men from multiple spheres of impact; fishermen, tax collectors, soldiers, prostitutes, sinners like us who were molded into who Jesus knew they could be. There impact spans for thousands of years and we can make an impact for His Kingdom too.

Fresh outpouring Jesus Culture

Let Jesus pour into your life, His wisdom, His power, His authority by His blood. Receiving life purpose through the Holy Spirit will transform not only you but those whose lives you intersect. Glory to God!

You are known

Reach for the Son — Photo by Andre Furtado (

Guys and gals, some days you can feel invisible, stepped on, and lonely, I studied specific scriptures that expressed being Known by our Father. I want to encourage you as you put one foot in front of the other. You are known by God and He wants you to know Him more!

God knows you, He created you! Psalm 139 is filled with His thoughts on you before you were born and as you walk this earth.

Psalm 139:1-6 AMP
O LORD, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me. [2] You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do]; You understand my thought from afar. [3] You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. [4] Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken], Behold, O LORD, You know it all. [5] You have enclosed me behind and before, And [You have] placed Your hand upon me. [6] Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Declare this, O Lord, You know it all, Your hand is upon me! Help me in my unbelief, when I feel alone, remind me, You are with me! Help me to find security in you alone!

Psalm 16:5-10 NIV
LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. [6] The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. [7] I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. [8] I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. [9] Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, [10] because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.

Declare, At night when I sleep, fill my heart with your instruction. I want to rest in You! I want to learn to praise you more and fret less.

Psalm 16:11 NIV
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Lord, guide me to the path of life! Fill me with joy over fear, I want to have Your Presence above all things. Materials, money, and the enticements of the world can’t hold a candle to you. They leave me empty, I want my life to be filled with being known by You.

Psalm 86:1-7 MSG
Bend an ear, GOD; answer me. I’m one miserable wretch! Keep me safe-haven’t I lived a good life? Help your servant-I’m depending on you! You’re my God; have mercy on me. I count on you from morning to night. Give your servant a happy life; I put myself in your hands! You’re well-known as good and forgiving, bighearted to all who ask for help. Pay attention, GOD, to my prayer; bend down and listen to my cry for help. Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer.

Psalm 86 is even more personal, a one on one conversation with our Father, Savior Jesus and the Holy Spirit! He bends to hear our prayers. We may not believe we are worthy of His attention. Reach out to Him again and again, repent for sins that may be an obstacle in hearing His voice.

Psalm 91:14 ASV
Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.

His love is upon His children! He wants the best life for you. It begins with believing Jesus is your Savior, saying aloud, I want you Jesus to guide my life, forgive me of my sins, I repent turn away from the things I have done against you, I want you to rule my life, You are my God and guide me to a more abundant life. amen!

Roots go down

What is that old idiom, “Can you- not see the forest through the trees?”

What does this mean? Merriam-Webster describes: not understanding or appreciate a larger situation, problem, etc. because one is considering only a few parts of it.

We may not have a full picture of any situation, but many times we have to make our best guess. Scary proposition!!

Where are you looking for guidance? Is it built on taking steps through the forest without direction? We have to consider where we place our trust. Are our roots of wisdom found in seeking the Living water that provides nourishment to our soul and sustenance to grow our faith?

Photo by Mary Mesikapp

Just as a tree needs a good soil environment, we as humans, and as parents, need solid Godly teaching and love. If you have not had a compassionate, loving Christlike personal experience, I am so sorry. In this day and age, you can access church messages online to consider whether their instruction aligns with the Bible. It can feel like a risk to take a step into a church, I remember the fear after relocating to a different state and feeling uncertain. I asked the Lord to give me peace or show me the next option. He did, and after a few visits to different churches, I was able to choose and was blessed with sisters who were like-minded in Christ. Even though we may feel ill-prepared to parent, if we seek God to give us wisdom, He will share it.

So where do we need to place our minds, and trust to grow into the best wisdom? There is no better place than the Creator of the universe. This is a powerful scripture, Colossians 2, it has been helpful to me as a sister, mom, wife, and friend. Paul was talking to the Laodicean church, he was encouraging them to be strong in love. There are steps to grow roots of wisdom and understand God’s mysterious plan. It is not a quick process but a slow meaningful time well spent.

Colossians 2:1 - 10       I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. 3 In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.4 I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. 5 For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

Just as nature is built by Him, our lives can be molded by Him. Don’t let empty philosophies and loud voices distract you from the still small voice of God. Christ is the head ruler and authority over all things. In the end, what we put into our time with Jesus will be a great reward to our lives and for generations. We can break the generational habits that bind us to unhealthy responses and actions, with God all things are possible. I am more grateful with each passing year, God is good and His treasures are priceless.

Gray hair and toddlers

Running free? photo by Caleb Oquendo

Proverbs 16:1-3
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer.

Our way may not be the best way, however, being human means to learn the process of seeking wisdom. This is a life long process, to stop being a toddler stamping feet, screaming “No, I can do it myself!” Instead, we must stop and take deep breaths, count to ten as we tell our kids and pause. The Lord will give a better Word and the best directions.

The fruits of the Spirit( Christs’ character traits) are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, and self control. They are found in Galatians 5.

Galatians 5:22-26 AMP
But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. [25] If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage-our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. [26] We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.

Pride, challenging provocation to debate or even fight and jealousy are tools the devil uses to divide us. A Follower of Christ should be able to speak for injustice after they filter their response with Godly wisdom. We are all created in the Image of God. The devil hates us. He will insight us to hate each other. But God is love.

The Holy Spirit and our commitment to walk with Him are the keys to gaining impulse control and showing the character traits of Him to those lives we intersect. Personal integrity and moral courage do not come by our strength. Love isn’t always easy.

As a child of God I am able to see situations where I need extra help to respond as Jesus, He and His warring angels are my rear guard. I don’t have to be led as people pleaser but instead as a child covered by Jesus. New perspectives and responses can abound in better communication.

As we strive to make changes in our responses, words and actions, we can expect plenty of experiences that challenge our success to change and grow more like Jesus.

However, I remind my kids and myself, God is not finished with us yet. Everyday, we get a chance to reconnect to our Savior Jesus and recommit to letting His plan for our life to unfold. Seeking accountability from likeminded women and men can keep us growing in faith and character.

So take a deep breath, say “Jesus I need you, mold me and make me into who and what You know I can be. Thank you for loving me and dying for my sins, forgive me for my sins, and I want Your best for my life. Guide and teach me, in the precious Name above all Names, Jesus,”

Someone asked me once as they observed my increased gray hair, “will you color it or keep it real.” I replied,”Every gray hair is a reminder to me of a life lived and when I found this scripture it confirmed my emotion,” I hope it resonates with you. May we all reflect more Jesus and less of ourselves.

Proverbs 16: 31-33 31] Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life. [32] Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city. [33] We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.

Life is a test

“You can do it!” photo courtesy of

Do you remember the midterms and finals of your high school years? It’s been a while for me however watching my youngest tackle a load of classes, organizational techniques, develop her tribe, and handle the emotional stress is something.

I am so glad my school testing years are behind me. I don’t know how I would measure up to the current academic standards. I find myself glancing over her course syllabus and assignments and thinking, “wow, I didn’t learn that until college.” By the way, this is no snub to our current teachers and expectations.

In this fast-paced world, computers excelled in bringing us to another quantum level. The hard part is the individual is assessed on their capacity to keep up and perhaps not as much on the internal compass of kindness, compassion, and stillness with Christlike moral compass instead it seems the push is in taking on the world.

“In our need for speed” on many levels, our youth and young adults can be so overstimulated, overstressed, and overwhelmed on the midterm and final test day. Every day is a test.

Tests of character traits of integrity and compassion for our fellow man will bring more potential to future success than a cutthroat mentality of dog-eat-dog.

God’s way is perfect. He enables us to stand on mountain heights. He gives us opportunities for success that reflect His character and love. Even in our challenges when we feel a failure, we can grow in our faith. No one wants to fail. We can allow those times to remind us in the testing God is not through with us yet!

Psalm 18:30-35 NLT
God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. [31] For who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is a solid rock? [32] God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect. [33] He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. [34] He trains my hands for battle; he strengthens my arm to draw a bronze bow. [35] You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.

We do need to put forth effort in gaining knowledge to study and retain information. We do need to seek wisdom from wise, compassionate, eager teachers, and we do need to not expect a good grade if we are lazy. In the end, reflecting a Christlike character is a sign of success. We can be an example for Jesus regardless of the final test results. The Lord will direct our lives and develop our gifts when we allow ourselves to learn. Who is with me?

Testing one, two, three. The bell has rung. Time to get in your seat, the teacher is ready to place the final exam on your desk. Are you ready? Have you prepared?

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

The cool thing is our Teacher, Jesus, the best friend of the disciples, the good, good Father already accepts us. He loves us regardless of the final grade. Wisdom comes from above. So take a deep breath and smile at the Teacher. He believes in you.

Septic or Manure

Today was an interesting day. We live in the country with a septic system instead of the standard home plumbing system.

There are times when the frozen winter temperatures cause ice/ paper/toilet garbage to form in the pipes from home to the septic tank buried in our front field. Perhaps, the use of low flow toilets does not always provide enough water to flush contents down and out of the pipes. Maybe it’s the use of too much toilet paper.

Regardless, there are days when the pipes get clogged, the pressure increases and the sinks / toilet overflow into our home.

Are you shoveling manure? photo by Mary Mesikapp

Todays’ septic event provided a disgusting predicament. As I resolved the inner house mess, I pondered our latest relational challenge. It sure does stink. The situation feels a bit much, yet it just needs to be processed and cleaned up. Thank you to my husband the outside septic access was dug up and he cleared the pipes. Glad it was him not me.

Instead of looking at an uncomfortable challenge as a pile of manure, I am seeing an opportunity for a workout. Just as cleaning up the septic mess in my basement was an unplanned detour, I still need to get rid of relational or heart messes.

Slowly but surely, I sopped up the liquids, cleaned up the cement along with the unfinished basement and bathroom area. The sink in the shop was scrubbed. Next, I scrubbed the floors with a bleach cleaner and air dried. The stench disappeared and the area was clean again.

Our hearts can be unclean and filled with bitterness, the stench that can keep people away. The loneliness deepens and love seems an unreachable option.

I can choose pressure and to be filled up with manure or septic garbage, or I can choose to put in the effort necessary to clean up the attitude and my heart mess.

Jesus wants His children to be open to His love, His ways, His plans but we have to clear out the garbage that blocks our hearts and minds.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right and steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 AMP

No bleach needed, just an open heart and mind so get ready to shine.

Let’s Pray:
Create in me a clean heart, Lord, show me the attitudes, responses and actions that push Jesus, friends or family away. Instead, I want a shiny new heart that is open to blessing, love and filled with encouragement. These character flaws need to go. I want my thoughts to reflect a new life and a greater love that comes from seeking You.

I got plans!

Life is a puzzle

I’m not sure about you, however, I have plans for my life, my kids lives and ideas for a world of peace. The problem is in my zest for being in control I can shut down the better plans. Over the years, I have heard, “you are not in charge, you may not have the right solution.”

When I get in the way of my Creator God and His plans things can become a tornado and swirl to effect not only me but those I love. I have had to step back and let God/ Jesus/ Holy Spirit be the teacher. I need instruction and direction or I wander like a lost sheep. Can you relate?

Jeremiah 29:11-13 NLT
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. [12] In those days when you pray, I will listen. [13] If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Pausing from my want of control makes me take a step back and breathe. Take a breath right now! Ponder that circumstance or person that you want to control. Take another breath, deeper this time. Blow out the hurried anxious mindset, breathe in the Breathe of life that comes from the One who created you.

Now consider this scripture verse set and push a reset in your mind:

Psalm 20:1-6 MSG
GOD answer you on the day you crash, The name God-of-Jacob put you out of harm’s reach, Send reinforcements from Holy Hill, Dispatch from Zion fresh supplies, Exclaim over your offerings, Celebrate your sacrifices, Give you what your heart desires, Accomplish your plans. [5] When you win, we plan to raise the roof and lead the parade with our banners. May all your wishes come true! [6] That clinches it-help’s coming, an answer’s on the way, everything’s going to work out.

Did you slow down that busy brain of yours? I know I had to reread this scripture from the Message version, it’s more similar to contemporary speech. So if you have time, reread Psalm 20. It will be worth it.

This morning, I was amazed to hear a song by Rend Collective, “Plans”. The words were a great reminder that our God has plans for us. He can be trusted. Our problem is our need to control. Enjoy the pause as you listen.

Here’s the reality, in our fast paced world, we have gotten used to an immediate solution. God doesn’t work that way, He sees our lives and those we love as a finished masterpiece. Visualize a puzzle that needs to be completed. The multiple shades of color bright and dark require intricate position of the pieces. It takes time for the Masterpiece to be completed.

Sometimes our response from God can be immediate, or perhaps soon or the harder response to wait. But our God is working on each of our life stories, He needs our cooperation and submission to His plan. So let Him lead your day and be in His control it’s a more peaceful place to rest.

This thanksgiving week, choose thankfulness for the little things and gratitude to our God, the Puzzler Master, who made you. He will finish the work He starts if you allow Him.

Philippians 1:6 NLT
And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.