I’ve been thinking about joy and writing about joy and reading about joy this month, but some of my most valuable lessons about joy seem to just hit me out of the blue.

I had just finished ordering school books and supplies for next year, switching out loads of laundry, and was in process of cleaning up lunch and hastily loading the dishwasher.  I had been moving from one task to the next all morning, trying to get all of the STUFF done so that I could get some ‘real, important work’ done.

I have an article that needs to be written and a digital magazine to put together and all of this STUFF (making meals, preparing for school, caring for my family’s needs, etc.) was keeping me from getting to the important things that I really NEEDED to do.

As I turned around to take a stack of plates to the cabinet I caught a glimpse of our little furry girl, Rosie, doing what she does several times a day…sitting at the widow, longingly looking outside at all that she’s missing out on by being cooped up in the house.

Never mind that she’s pretty much the queen of this castle.  She has a full food bowl, cold water, treats, people to play with, and an endless supply of snuggles.  Still.  She often goes to this window in our kitchen and gazes out at all the places she’s rather be.

Maybe she’s imagining that she’s chasing the squirrels or rabbits or birds that she sees scampering outside, just out of her reach.  Maybe she’d considering what it would feel like to run wild out in the field.

I smiled.  Then it hit me, like a sucker punch to the gut.  

I’m totally pulling a Rosie.

But worse, you know, because I’m a person who should know better.

 I felt like an ungrateful jerk until grace flooded in and washed that ugly thought right out of my head. 

I’m moving through the tasks of my day, longingly looking ahead to the things I feel like I’m missing out on, while all of this good stuff of daily life surrounds me. 

And it’s stealing my joy.

Isn’t that how it works sometimes?

We get so consumed looking at the things we wish we had, the things that we wish that we were doing, the places that we wish that we were; that we miss out on the good stuff, the joy, that surrounds us.

Our joy is being hijacked right out from under our noses because we are too busy dreaming about the ‘what ifs’ to notice the joy right around us!

Rosie could be playing fetch with Gavin, whose sprawled on the floor in the living room reading a book.  She could graze from her food bowl or she could curl up in the little patch of sunlight streaming through the window and enjoy a warm nap like our other furry girl, Lilly, is doing.

Instead, she’s longingly look out at what she’s missing out on.

Kind of just like I was doing when I rushed from one task to the next, not engaging in the moments or with the people around me, barreling through my morning with my eyes longingly looking ahead to the “important” things; missing out on the joy all around me.  Kind of like we all do sometimes.

Ouch.  I know that realization hurts a little.  It did for me too, but remember grace, friend.  

You see, I should know better, because one of the things that I have learned about joy this month is that when I’m actively looking for it, I can almost always find a reason to be joyful in any moment.     I bet you can too.

Even in the mundane, we are all so blessed.  Even in the hard moments, there is always a glimmer of joy to be found.  Even in the messy, imperfect moments, there are reasons for joy.

The more we look for joy, the more we notice it in the everyday moments, right where we are.

Unless we pull a Rosie.

Sweet friend, if we are constantly looking out at the things we wish we had, the places we wish we were, the things we wish we could do; then we miss out on the joy that is all around us. 

Goals, dreams, wants, desires; they are good and healthy.  Heck, I even think they are necessary.  I’m a big dreamer.  However, when we get so focused on what we are missing out on that we forget to engage in and enjoy the moments that happen right in the middle of our every day, we miss out on so much joy right where we are.

I don’t want to miss out on the everyday joys, and I don’t want that for you either. 

So, I’m taking a big, deep breath.  I’m pausing from the tasks to curl up on the couch next my kiddo and type this.

I’m letting gratitude for this lesson and for the joy that sits right there in the middle all of the messy, imperfect moments sink in to my heart.

I’m enjoying this space instead of resenting it. I’m extending a little grace to myself.  I’m keeping my eye out for the joy around me.  I’m being grateful.

Maybe you will want to do the same if your joy is being hijacked by the what ifs.

And, just so you know, Rosie gave up her window post to drape herself over the cushion behind my shoulders and she’s snoring contentedly in my ear.

Maybe we are all learning lessons about finding joy right where we are today.

Love and blessing,

Bobbie


 

This is Easter a few years ago with my sisters. Who even knows what I’m laughing at, but these two bring out the laughter in me!

Joy.

If I sit and think about what joy should look like, my mind wanders to those memories that I’ve tucked away where I feel blissfully happy.

Like snapshots, I thumb through them.  I see the places and the people that I love the most.  I see birthday parties and anniversaries and holidays and celebrations and family gatherings.  I see the grins of my boys and the smile of my husband.  I hear the laughter of my family.

A smile spreads across my face as I recall those moments, but a twinge of sadness shadows them because all they are now is just that.  Moments.  I’ve tucked them away and can turn to them for a smile and the warm, fuzzy feelings that they bring, but the experience of them is in the past.

Memories.  Moments.  Fleeting.  Temporary.

That’s when truth glimmers and hope pushes in.  I’m reminded of what I’ve come to know to be true.  Those feelings aren’t joy.  They are happiness.

The two are different.

 

Those feelings aren’t joy.  They are happiness.  The two are different.

 

What’s the difference?

I’m glad you asked.

Webster says that happiness is:  a : a state of well-being and contentment b : a pleasurable or satisfying experience.

A state.  An experience.

Joy is defined differently.  Webster gives one of the definitions for joy as : a source or cause of delight.

Joy is a source.  Joy is a cause.

 

That is what I was to dig into this month.

Joy. 

Joy that lasts.

Joy that endures in hard seasons, in sadness, in trials, and in struggles.

Joy that is present in good times and in bad, in plenty and in want.

 

But how is that even possible?  How in the world can we have that kind of joy?

We can have that kind of real, deep, soul penetrating, enduring  joy because Joy is a source.  Joy is a cause. And we know what the source and cause of joy is!

Habakkuk 3:18 NIV reminds us of the source and cause of our joy, “Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

“Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.” Habakkuk 3:18 NIV

 

 

Let’s dig in to how this kind of joy looks in our everyday lives.  Let’s see how knowing that this kind of joy is available to us changes everything, because we all want happiness in our lives, but what we really need is JOY.

 

We all want happiness in our lives, but what we really need is JOY.

I’m excited to really dig into the theme of joy this month!  I hope you’ll join me over on Facebook, on Instagram, on You Tube,  and here on the blog!

Need some resources to help you dig into joy?  Subscribe to my newsletter HERE!  I’m going to be sending out some things that may help!

 

My friend, Lauren Gaskill will be joining me as well!  You’re going to love her!  You can get to know here HERE.

This month, let’s really explore how to Honor Him through JOY, even in the Craziness of our lives!

 

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


Do you know what I love about the month of March?  March brings a gentle reminder that after persevering through the cold and harsh reality of winter, hope awaits.   We have faith that Spring is on its’ way.

We see that as new life bursts through all around us.  Green things sprout up from the soil.  Flowers and trees begin to bud with new growth.  Baby animals are born.  The sun, which seems to have been hidden for so long, finally peeks back out.

March reminds us to keep holding on to hope, to keep persevering, and to keep pushing forward,

because we can have faith that the fresh, new hope of Spring is just around the corner.

Faith is all about trusting in the promises we hold true.  We know that Spring always follows winter.  It’s fact.  It’s true.  It’s a promise we can trust if we just hang on through the hard times.

That idea of holding on, persevering, and pushing forward is the thought that kept penetrating my heart as I prayed about and pondered over a theme for March.  In January, the focus was on putting First things First by being intentional.  In February, the theme was to Love Well by loving one another.  As I looked at March, one word filled my thoughts.

Faithful.

      Webster’s Dictionary defines faithful as (1) steadfast in affection or allegiance, (2) firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty, (3) given with strong assurance, and (4) true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original.

I found this verse and immediately knew it was the verse I wanted to press into this month.   

 

Psalm 86:11 NIV 

Teach me your way, Lordthat I may rely on your faithfulness

give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

 

 

 

     I’m not sure about you, but if there is one thing that I feel these days, it is divided.

     I feel pulled in many different directions all at the same time.  My to do list is long and my attention span is short.  I’m multitasking, splitting my time and attention between ALL OF THE THINGS, yet still the to do’s don’t quite get done.

     You feel me?  Have you been there?

     We are trying to do it all and all we’re left feeling is a little scattered.  What our hearts really crave is to feel FAITHFUL and UNDIVIDED.

Just like we can count on the fact that Spring comes after winter,

we long to be that steadfast and dependable.

We want to be found that faithful instead being found frazzled.

That’s what I want to explore this month.  I want to dig in to what it means to be found faithful.  What is faithfulness?  What can we have faith in?  How does it look to be undivided?  Is it possible or is it a unicorn that only exists in myths and legends?

Not only that, but let’s look at the one who is always found faithful.  Let’s set our faithful Father as our example and look at the part of His character that never falters or fails us.

This month, will you join me?  Will you come along side of me as we explore faithfulness?  

 

~Prayer for March~

Father God,

Help us to dig deep into your word

to explore and understand faithfulness. 

Replace our frazzled selves with faithful servants. 

Give us an undivided heart 

that we may fear your name.

Be our example.  

In Jesus’ name, we pray.

Amen.

     Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


We all want to be great.

Isn’t greatness something we all long for?  We all want to be recognized and celebrated as someone who is worthy and valuable.  Many of us made New Year’s resolutions to help us achieve steps toward the purpose of greatness in 2018.  I know I did.  I made goals and set a plan in action to help me be more intentional with this one life God has given me.  I want 2018 to be my best year yet.

I talked about that in my Not Just Another New Year’s Post

I want to be a better version of myself this year.  Don’t you?

We want to be better wives and better moms.  We aim to be better friends and better at our jobs.  We work for better health and better happiness.  Those are common goals that many of us are working towards, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to be great at hose things.

It is healthy to want to grow.  It is good to want to improve.

People have always wanted to be greater, even Jesus’ disciples.  Now, they made not have made resolutions, goals, and plans toward the purpose of greatness, as many of us do, but they obviously had the desire to be recognized as worthy and valuable.

This morning, my quiet time had me in Matthew 18.  It is a very familiar passage, but today, it resonated with me in a whole new way.

What does Jesus say about being great?

Matthew 18:1-5 ESV  “At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Doesn’t that seem upside down?

I’m not sure how you define greatness, but when I conjure a picture of greatness up in my head, it typically doesn’t look like a child.  It more closely resembles someone who is successful in this world, like a CEO or a celebrity.  However, in Jesus’ upside down economy, things are never defined quite like the the world defines them.

The least is the greatest.  The servant is greater than the master.  The baby is the King.  The rejected is the Messiah.  In this passage of scripture, Jesus says that the greatest in Heaven will be like a child.

I’m sorry, what?  What does that even mean?

What does greatness look like?

That got me thinking about the characteristics of a child.  We know that a child like faith is something the Bible says we are to have.  Children also trust, without reservation.  They are dependent and rely on their parents to meet their needs.  They are obedient and under the authority of their parents.  Children do not know it all.  They need their parents to teach them and instruct them.  They look to their parents for protection, direction, help, and provision.  They love their parents and are devoted to them.  Children often want to please their parents and desire to be with them.

The more I thought about the characteristics of children, the more I can understand why Jesus says that we need to be like a child if we want to be great in the kingdom of heaven.

What about my resolutions, goals, and plans?

Our resolutions, goals, and plans are good.  It is a good thing to want to be great at something.  What we might need to do is shift our thinking, just a tad, on what achieving that greatness might look like.  We may need to run it through the filter of Matthew 18:1-5.

Do our resolutions require us to trust and depend on God or our own power?  Are we obedient to what He has said and what He’s asking us to do?  Are we staying under His authority or chasing our own dreams?  Are we looking to His word to teach, lead, and guide us?  Does our direction in 2018 allow us to love Him, to be devoted to Him, to please Him, and to spend time with Him or does it drag us away from those things?

Don’t freak out!

This doesn’t mean that we drop everything and live in a convent with our Bibles in our hands and our eyes lifted to Heaven 24/7.  It does mean that we take the time to consider Jesus in our daily plans and we line up our direction with His.  We need to be in His word and talking to Him in prayer.  We lean in to what He calls us to instead of running ahead of Him to reach greatness.

We can’t step on the people He loves to elevate ourselves.  We can’t bite and scratch and claw our way to greatness.  We listen to the little God nudges that tell us to love others, to be kind, to help a friend, to be generous, to be patient, to show grace, to give mercy, and to not always put ourselves first.

Like children, we go to our Father, daily, when we need guidance, help, direction, protection, and provision.  We trust.  We have faith.  We obey.  We willingly let Him lead.

That sounds like greatness to me.

If we all look at working towards our resolutions, goals, and plans in that light, that sounds like greatness to me!

I know I need to sit down and praying through my great plans for 2018 and check them against what these verses say.  What are your resolutions, goals, and plans for 2018?  How can you run them through the filter of Matthew 18:1-5 so that your idea of being great lines up with Jesus’ idea of being great?

Let’s commit to really being great this year.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


Well, the New Year is in full swing.  Resolutions have been made.  Goals have been set.  Plans have been put into action.  Words have been claimed.  All the things that are intended to make this new year our best one yet have been determined, and we are here, a week and a half into 2018, knee deep in the follow through.

That is my my favorite place to be though, because knee deep in the follow through is where the rubber really meets the road.  It is the place where we decide if we really do want 2018 to be the year that changes things for us.

I’m going to be really honest here.  I’m a rebel at heart.  If everyone is doing something, I choose not not to, just for the sake of opposition. I’m not usually one to jump on a trendy train, so when people began choosing their words for the year and setting their goals and resolutions, I didn’t.

As usual, when my rebel heart makes a decision, God intervenes and presses on my stubborn heart to soften and to change it.

My word for 2018 is intentional.

God persistently laid this word on my heart beginning around Thanksgiving and has continued into the new year.  He was so dogged in His determination to continually lay this word on my heart, in my path, in my reading, and through the words of others that it began to burrow its way into the depths of me.

Obviously, I gave in.  Intentional, it is.

God made it clear that He was asking me to be intentional with this one life He has given me.  That word, intentional, began to permeate everything.

I felt a longing to be more intentional about my time in prayer and in God’s word.  I wanted to be intentional with my relationships with my husband and boys.  I desired to be intentional with my relationships with my family, with my friends, and with the people that God has placed into my life.  I yearn to be intentional with the calling I feel in my heart.  I longed to be intentional in my work and also in my rest.  I need to be intentional about self care and health.  Over and over, this word, intentional, peppered everything.

In the last few days, I’ve felt a slight shifting.  I began to feel the whispering that being intentional in those areas wasn’t all that God had pressed into my heart.  Those were all well and good, but above all of that, there was something that I was missing.

In my quiet time this week, I finally realized what that was.

I’ve been reading through the Bible and am currently in Matthew.  I came upon Matthew 16:14 (NIV) this week and it stopped me in my tracks.  The verse has tumbled around in my head for days.  I know that I have read it countless times before, but something about it prodded my heart in a new way this time.

Here is Matthew 13-16.  “When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his desciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?”  he asked.  “Who do you say I am?”  Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

“BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU, BOBBIE?”  HE ASKED.  “WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”

It was a challenge to be intentional in a whole knew way.  This was an invitation to find out who I really say that Jesus is.  Who is He to me?  Who do the scriptures say that He is?  What is His heart?  What did He have to say?  What did He teach?  What is He teaching me?  How is He evident in my life and in this world?

I’m going to answer His question in 2018.

I’m going to be intentional about a lot of things in 2018, because I feel like that is what God is asking me to do.  First and foremost, though, I’m going to be intentional about my relationship with Jesus.  I feel like we are pretty close already, but there is so much more that I want to be able to say when He asks me, “But what about you, Bobbie, who do you say I am?”

It feels like a goal that is a little too lofty, but I know that He will meet me in the seeking and questioning.

I’m reminded of a trip I took recently with two friends.  We were good friends before our trip, but by intentionally spending focused time together, our relationship changed.  We got to know each other on a much deeper level and I’ve come to love these two friends in a much richer way.

I’m thinking this journey of intentionally spending focused time getting to really know Jesus is going to be a lot like that, only better.  I’m looking forward to looking back at 2018 and seeing how this year changed my relationship with Him.  I can’t wait to know Him better and love Him in a richer and deeper way.

2018, you feel like a game changer.  I’m jumping into you with intention.

I will be intentional in my relationships.

I will be intentional in following my calling.

I will be intentional in work and in rest.

I will be intentional with self care and health.

But above all, I will be intentional in seeking the answer to the question Jesus asked me.  “BUT WHAT ABOUT YOU, BOBBIE?”  HE ASKED.  “WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?”

Does 2018 feel like a game changer to you, too?

I’m going to be sending an email out to all of my friends who are subscribed to my email list.   I’m going to share some resources that I’m using for 2018 as well as some more thoughts on getting to know Jesus.  Follow this link to my sign up page so that you don’t miss out on that.  Click Here

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mini blog:
Lessons about Faith that I’ve learned from Rosie: Back to his Feet
* Rosie is about the orneriest little sweet thing ever. She’s a handful and doesn’t know her manners or the rules very well, but she’s learning. Mostly. She’s a boundary tester. A natural wanderer. We have that in common.
*One thing that Rosie does know is right where I am. All of the time. If I’m in the bathroom, her furry little paws are stretched under the crack of the door. When I’m in the shower, her little black nose is pressed right against the glass. If I stand still for longer than a second, she curls herself up into a little ball and lays right at (or actually, ON) my feet.
*She’s never far from my side. Even though she gets herself into all sorts of situations when she wanders, she knows that the best place for her to be is right at my feet. It’s the one place that she isn’t getting herself into trouble. It’s a place of peace, safety, and love.
*That is a lesson I’d do well to remember sometimes. Wandering is problematic for me. For all of us. When we wander we often find ourselves getting into trouble, but when we plant ourselves right at the feet of our Father there is peace, safety, and love.

Did you know that I post daily inspiration just like this over on my Instagram and Facebook page?  I’d love for you to join me there each day to take some time and honor Him in the craziness of our daily lives.

 

 


 

Bible Verses for Anxious Hearts

 

*Psalm 94:18-19 (NIV)

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.  When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.

 

*1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

 

*Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

*Psalm 27:3 (NIV)

Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

 

*Psalm 91:4-6 (NIV)

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

 

*Isaiah 41:13New (NIV)

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

 

*Isaiah 43:1 (NIV)

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

 

*Lamentations 3:57 (NIV)

You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”

 

*Romans 8:14-16 (NIV)

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

 

*Deuteronomy 31:6 (NIV)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

*Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

*2 Samuel 22:3 (NIV)

My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation.  He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me.

 

*2 Samuel 22:18 (NIV)

He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.

 

*Psalm 9:9 (NIV)

The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

 

*Psalm 31:24 (NIV)

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.

 

 

 


I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that I am no longer who I once was.  I was recently reminded of this as I waited to board my flight at the airport.  I walked away from my husband in search of a piping hot cup of coffee and returned to find him chatting with a man at our gate.

The man was an old high school acquaintance of ours.  I recognized him immediately even though it has been more years than I care to admit since we all went to high school together.  He looked exactly the same.

It took him a little longer to recognize me.  The years have definitely changed me.  I don’t look much like I did in high school.  I’ve lost the pony tail, bangs, and cheerleading uniform that were so familiar back then.  My hair is cut short now and, thankfully, I don’t have to wear that cheerleading skirt anymore.

After a brief time to catch up, we parted ways to catch our flight.  As the plane took off, so did my thoughts.  I began to think about just how different I am from that girl that I was in high school.

The difference is actually pretty shocking.  The biggest changes, though, are probably not ones that my old high school acquaintance could even see during that short encounter.  Sure, my appearance has changed, but greater still is the change that has happened in my heart.  It is unrecognizably different.

I’m reminded of Colossians 3:9-10 ESV that says …”seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.”

The next verses in Colossians say that after we’ve put off the old self, there are some things that we need to put on.  Colossians 3:12-17 ESV tells us that our new self wears the knowledge that he/she is holy and beloved.  The new self that we put on when Christ moves into our hearts changes us.  We become compassionate, kind, humble, meek, patient, forgiving, loving, peace filled, and thankful.  Verse 17 says that whatever we do in word or in deed we do in the name of the Lord Jesus.

I’m glad that my old self has been put off.  She wasn’t always kind, humble, meek, patient, or forgiving.  She definitely didn’t have the love and peace of Christ in her heart because she didn’t even understand who He was.   That is the way we are before Christ intervenes.

That moment we accepted Christ the old self died and the new self, with a new heart, was born.  Everything about us is changed in that instant that we believe in Jesus as our Savior.

That doesn’t mean that our new self is perfect.  I’m going to be honest.  I don’t look like that high school cheerleader anymore, but I don’t look exactly like that person described in those verses from Colossians either.  Like most of us, I am learning to intentionally put on the new self each and every day that bears the image of my Savior.  Every day I look more and more like Him as I learn to love, follow, and obey Him.  He is constantly at work in me and He is constantly at work in you.

This side of Heaven, none of us will be perfect.  But, we do have the promise of Philippians 1:6ESV that says that he who began a good work in us will bring it to completion.  As we continue to grow in Him, we will continue to look less and less like the old selves that we used to be.

Honestly, I hardly recognize the girl that I use to be.  That is because I have been changed from the inside out.  I am a new person with a new heart.  I may not look like a cheerleader anymore, but I look a whole lot more like my Savior and I think that’s definitely progress in the right direction.

*This article is featured in the June issue of Faith Filled Family Magazine as

Out With The Old Man In With The New Creation

You can read the article or see the whole magazine here:

https://indd.adobe.com/view/befd5796-7daf-48ba-9a0e-2acdb904229e


“Reaching my hand into the dark soil, I could feel that the roots had gotten deep. I had to put my weight into the pull to unearth something I had spent weeks tending. I felt a little discouraged; I’d invested my time and attention into something that had proved to be working against the growth I was seeking the whole time. I also felt a little frustrated that I’d been so easily deceived.”

God is constantly teaching me valuable lessons through everyday life experiences.  I had the opportunity to share a particularly powerful lesson that I learned recently at iBelieve.com about recognizing spiritual weeds in my life.

Pulling out that weed and the others like it that day in my garden caused a slew of thoughts to start circulating around my mind. As Christians, how many weeds have taken root in our lives? How many things have we poured our time and attention into that are choking out the Spiritual fruit we are trying to grow? How can we tell the difference between a weed and fruit when it is so easy to mistake one for the other? Am I watering weeds?

Do you want to know how to recognize spiritual weeds in your life?

Join me over at iBelieve.com by clicking the link below to read the full article!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/how-to-recognize-spiritual-weeds-in-your-life.html

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


“When life gets a little too busy, doesn’t it feel an awfully lot like The Scrambler ride at the fair?”

I’m becoming less and less of a fan of the chaotic, busy lifestyles that seem to be becoming the norm.  That kind of hectic pace makes me feel all too much like I’m on a spiraling, spinning Scrambelr ride.

I want to enjoy a life that is productive, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m being slung from one thing to the next, missing out on the people, experiences, and relationships that God has placed in my life for me to enjoy.

Today I’m sharing my plan to live unscrambled this summer over at Exhale Women.

https://www.exhalewomen.org/blog/2017/5/29/life-on-the-scrambler


Psalm 95:7b-8a “…Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…”

One thing that I am constantly trying to do is to listen to that still small voice that stirs my Spirit.  I’m trying to be attentive to its’ whispering.  I’m trying to keep a tender heart that is willing to obey.

Do you want to hear a “true confession”?  Before I became a Christian, when I heard someone say something about the Holy Spirit, I thought they might be just a tad on the crazy side.  It all sounded a little too far-fetched for me.  Even early in my Christian life, I never fully understood the Holy Spirit because I leaned too heavily into the rules and the law.  They were black and white.  I could understand them easily and they left little room for interpretation.  Honestly, I was a little uncomfortable with the freedom the Spirit gave me.  I didn’t trust myself enough to let go of all of the rules and rely on the Holy Spirit.

The longer I’ve been a Christian, the more I’m learning to listen to, to appreciate, to trust, and to obey that still small voice that stirs my soul.  I’ve learned that it isn’t about trusting myself, but about trusting Him.  I’ve also learned that it is very easy to harden my heart because those little promptings of the Spirit nearly always push me outside of my comfort zone.

My friend Jodi Snider at www.Overwhlemedwithgrace.com and I always tease that we are going to have t-shirts made that say:

“Jesus always got me like 😳”

I’m not sure I can even begin to count the number of times that I’ve felt the Holy Spirit asking me to do something that feels a little uncomfortable.  Writing is a good example.  It’s a little bit awkward to just type out your deepest thoughts about what Jesus is laying on your heart and throw it out into the world for anyone to see.  Leading groups, teaching breakout sessions, participating in ministry; they are all things that push me a bit outside of my comfort zone.

I’ve learned something, though.  Every time I obey the Spirit’s prompting, I am blessed.  The blessing may not always look like I expect it to, but listening to that still small voice helps me to trust, to press in to Jesus, to rely on Him instead of on myself, and it usually blesses me in an unexpected way.

One example of that was this weekend.  I was teaching a breakout session at a women’s conference.  After my second session, I stood in the room as the women filtered out.  I chatted with them as they headed into the last session of the conference.  When the last woman left, I pulled out my phone to quickly check in with my family.

After the call, I didn’t put away my phone.  I checked Facebook for a minute or two and then was going to log into Instagram when I heard that still small voice.  “You aren’t here to be on your phone.  You are here to build relationships.  Go out and talk to people.”

Honestly, I would have rather just stayed in the quiet room for a few minutes.  I knew very few people at the conference and was content to stay tucked away for a little longer.  That’s not what the Holy Spirit was prompting me to do, though.

I put away my phone, grabbed by bag, took a deep breath, and headed out into the main area where everyone was browsing vendor tables, getting snacks, and socializing before the last session.  There were three ladies standing in a group talking and one stopped me to comment on my session.  That comment led into a discussion that lasted long enough that we missed nearly all of the closing session.

We had a deep and much needed conversation for both of us.  We prayed together and had a time that really ministered to both of our hearts.

I am a relationship person.  Quality time is a love language of mine and connecting with people in a meaningful way fills my heart.

I would have missed that opportunity if I would have hardened my heart and been unwilling to get just a little uncomfortable.  I can tell you story after story like this one.  I could share how I met some of my dearest friends by obeying the Spirit’s prompting to reach out or be vulnerable.  I can tell you about time after time that He asked me to get a little uncomfortable and the result was a beautiful, unexpected blessing.

Unfortunately, I can also tell you about time after time that I hardened my heart and was unwilling to step outside of my comfort zone.  I wonder how many opportunities have passed by or how many unexpected blessings I’ve missed because I didn’t listen to the Spirit’s prompting.

Maybe you can relate?  Maybe you’ve felt your heart stirred or have heard that still small voice, but have been afraid to trust it and obey it?  Maybe getting a little uncomfortable isn’t always easy for you either?

Will you join me today in praying for an attentive and tender heart that listens and responds when He speaks?  It’s worth it.  Obeying that still small voice is always so worth it.

 

Father God,

Give me a heart that is attentive to your voice.  Keep my heart tender to the Holy Spirit’s stirrings. Help me to recognize your voice, to listen, and to obey.

In Jesus’ name.  Amen

 

Love and blessings!

Bobbie


I need to tell you about my sweet friend Katie Reid. I haven’t actually met Katie in real life yet, but we are social media besties.

She reached out to me a couple of months ago on voxer and we chat All The Time.  She truly is a gift and has been such an awesome encourager, a listening ear, and a sounding board for all of my dreams and plans.

Not only is she an amazing friend, she’s an inspiring writer, a talented worship leader, and singer, as well as a hard working mama!

I had the privilege of guest posting on Katie’s blog today.  I was able to share what grace looks like to me and how I’m learning to recognize and even seek out grace in the everyday.

I’d love it if you would pop on over to her blog and see how you can see grace in the everyday moments of your life.  While you are there, say hello and browse her blog.  I know she will be an encouragement to you!


It’s become a bit of a tradition to choose a word for the New Year.  This word is supposed to be one specific word to focus on all year.  Honestly, I’m not big on this.  It feels a little like boxing myself in.  My mind goes one hundred miles an hour in a hundred different directions.  How on Earth do I choose just one word to represent all that I want to embody in a whole entire year?  That just seems plain impossible.

Unless, of course, God writes that word on your heart countless times over the last several weeks.  It seems every time I turn around one word keeps being presented to me.

GRACE

Let me get a little wordy nerdy and define it for you.  According to Oxforddictionaries.com, one of the meanings of grace is “(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”  It’s synonyms are:  goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, beneficence, and indulgence.

That definition, that deep truth behind the meaning of grace, has lodged itself in the forefront of my thoughts for weeks.  It has taken up such real estate in my thoughts that I wake up at night pondering God’s unmerited favor and his constant bestowal of blessings in my life.

I’ve been thinking back to trials and struggles in my life and have been sifting through the evidence of God’s grace through it all.  His goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, and indulgence is overwhelming.  Just focusing on finding the obvious ways that His grace has been present in every situation has caused a perspective shift in my heart and mind.

Looking for grace is simply seeing glimpses of His little gifts, evidence of His love and favor, in everything.  Keeping my eyes open for it makes me humble and grateful.  It keeps me attentive to God’s goodness and blessings.  Hunting for grace in each moment allows me to see the hand of God at work when I might otherwise miss it entirely.

My blog has always purposed to talk about honoring God in the craziness of our lives.  I truly believe that no matter how messy, how chaotic, how absolutely crazy our lives get; we can choose to honor God by the way that we live it.  That’s why my little tag line has always been “Honoring Him in the Craziness of Life”.

I still firmly believe that, but I’m adding on to that thought in 2017.  I’m narrowing my focus, or maybe broadening my view, depending on your thinking.

In 2017, I’m choosing to honor him by looking for evidence of His grace in every moment of this crazy life that I’ve been given.

This verse has been etched in my heart.  I’m making it my focus verse in this new year.  John 1:16 ESV says, “For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

GRACE UPON GRACE

What a beautiful truth!  I want to be more aware of His grace.  I’m going to search for evidence of His grace upon grace in every situation, in every moment, in all of the craziness of my life in 2017.

If you would like to join me, my social media posts and blog will feature the hashtags #honoringhim and #graceupongrace in 2017.  When you see evidences of grace, use these hashtags and share it with me.  I’d love to see how you experience His grace upon grace this year!

Love and blessings!

Bobbie


Maybe you are a little like me and getting into the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer has been a struggle for you.  It was always something that I knew should be a part of my daily walk.  I knew it would draw me into a closer relationship with my Heavenly Father.  I also knew it was one of the most powerful ways to really connect with the heart of God.

But knowing and doing are two totally different things…

It took lots of trial and error to find the way that I was best able to really make my quiet time meaningful.  I’m so glad I took the time to figure out what works best for me, because cultivating that daily time has been the biggest catalyst for change in my heart and in my life.

As this New Year dawns, many of us are looking for resolutions that will truly change our lives. I encourage you to consider making a daily, meaningful quiet time spent in Bible reading and prayer one of your resolutions in 2017.

I had the opportunity to share my Top Ten Tips For A Better Quiet Time at iBelieve.com.  I encourage you to click the link below and see which of these might work for you.

God’s word will not return empty.  Time in His Word is not wasted.   It will accomplish what He desires and will achieve the purpose that He intends for it to achieve. Committing to time spent in God’s Word each and every day is so powerful and will change your life!

Click the link and join me in making 2017 our most meaningful year with God yet!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/10-tips-for-a-better-quiet-time-in-2017.html

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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I just love new beginnings and fresh starts.  I love the opportunity to wipe the slate clean.  Today is the first day of a new month.  We are in a new season.  Change is in the air.

And I’m so ready for change.

My heart aches for it.  My soul longs for it.

I want to truly grasp Christ’s love for me and rest easy in my identity in Him.  I want His love to overcome all the muck that weighs me down.  I want to understand the character of God and trust in Him fully.  Just like the seasons are visibly changing, I want to see real, evident change in my heart and in my life.

Don’t you?

I’m a tough nut to crack though, and change doesn’t come easy for me.  I’ve learned that on my own, I tend to just make things a big ol’ mess, so I’ve come up with a plan.  This time, I’m turning to the one agent that always produces a truly changed heart and a changed life.

I’m turning to God’s word

I want to invite you to come along on this little journey of change with me.  I’m committing to reading and praying God’s word EVERY DAY during the month of October.  I’m going to let His word sink deep into my heart and pray that over myself and my circumstances.

I’m trusting in the power of His word to bring about a change in me.

Come with me.  Let’s walk this road together.

I’ve created a Facebook group here:  31 Days of Change Facebook Group

so that we can really walk through this together.  I’d love it if you would join me.

Change is in the air and it’s going to start with you and me.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


Does your life ever feel a little bit small? It’s a good life and your grateful, it’s just not quite what you expected. In general, you are happy. Life is just a little less glamorous and a little more ordinary than you thought it would be. You know you felt the Holy Spirit’s insistent tugging on your heart. You knew that God was calling you to rise up and step into something, but you just weren’t sure what it was. You knew one thing for certain though, it felt BIG. Now you look at where you are, and you wonder...Is this all I will ever be?

 

This article was originally published in Faith Filled Family Magazine

Just this morning I was sitting down to have my quiet time and my phone buzzed with an incoming message.  It was a dear friend who is walking through something very difficult.  My heart just ached for her as I tried to think of ways to help her through this trying time.

I’m just little old me and I’m not really sure what I can do to help anyone.

Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever felt like you were too small or too insignificant to make a difference?  Have you ever wondered if the things that you are doing really matter?  Friend, they do.

You are a salt shaker.  You are a shining light. 

Each and every one of us has the ability to make a difference in this world.  We have each been placed in our particular set of circumstances with our particular group of family and friends because we have the ability to make a difference.  We are called to be salt and light.

In the Message version of the Bible, Matthew 5:13-16 puts it very plainly in a way that really hits home.   “Let me tell you why you are here.  You’re here to be salt- seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth.  If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness… Here’s another way to put it:  You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world.  God is not a secret to be kept.  We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you?  I’m putting you in a light stand.  Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand- shine!  Keep open house; be generous with your lives.  By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.”

How?  How do we make a difference?  How do we bring out the God-flavors of the earth?  How do we bring out the God-colors in the world?  How do we shine?

I’m glad you asked?

I’ve got a few fool proof methods that always seems to work for me.  When someone comes to me with a need, I know I can’t rely on myself.  I would probably let them down.  Instead, I do my best to shake a little salt and shine a little light.  Here are three ways I believe we can do that no matter how small or insignificant we feel.

 

THREE WAYS TO SHAKE A LITTLE SALT AND SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT

  1. Pray

My first response is always to bring any situation or any person before the throne of God and cover them in prayer.  He can do more to help in a situation than I could ever dream of doing.  Prayer moves mountains, friends.  James 5:16 CEB says, “…The prayer of a righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve.” Matthew 18:20 CEB reminds us that “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.” It is powerful.  Don’t ever underestimate the value of praying for someone.

  1. Use Life Giving Words

This life can be a hard one and there is no shortage of trials, but when someone comes along and lifts you up with an encouraging word from the scripture, things seem just a little easier.  There is so much power in our words.  They have the power to hurt or to heal.  They have the power to lighten a load.  They also have the power to point someone to Jesus.  Have you ever been really struggling and someone spoke life right into your weary heart?

When I don’t know what to do or what to say, I just use scripture.  I’m notorious for texting or messaging scripture verses that relate to a situation and can give peace and perspective when my own words would fall short.  Hebrews 4:12 CEB says that “God’s word is living, active, and sharper than any two-edged sword.  It penetrates to the point that it separates the soul from the spirit and the joints from the marrow.  It’s able to judge the heart’s thoughts and intentions.  No creature is hidden from it, but rather everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of the one to whom we have to give an answer.”

  1. Be Real

C.S. Lewis’ quote on friendship is a favorite of mine.  He says, “Friendship is born at the moment when one man says to another, “What!  You too?  I thought no one but myself…”  This world is full of the fake and the edited.  We often only see the very best of a person. People can easily get caught in the trap of comparison.   It can be disheartening to someone who is struggling.  Counteract this.  Be real, open, and honest about your life and your struggles with the people in your life.  Help them to see that they aren’t alone and that they have a true friend in you.

These three tips have been tried and true ways that I’ve found to make a difference in the lives of others.  I pray that they are helpful to you!  I hope that you will use them and go forth and shake a little salt and shine a little light!

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


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There are days that seem really long and my patience is running really short.  My attitude isn’t right and I just don’t feel like being in a good mood.  Things quickly turn ugly and I find myself in far different situations than I had originally hoped to be in when I planned my day.

We all have those days, right?

That is when we need a do over.  We need to be able to hit the restart button and just have a new beginning.  I found myself in that place, that place of just really needing a do over, a couple of times this week.

I needed a do over with my husband.  We had been planning a date night all week and I was so excited for the opportunity to get away and spend some time together.  All was well as we were preparing to head out the door, until he said something that just rubbed me the wrong way.  It wasn’t intended to be hurtful, and truth be told, I was being far too sensitive and getting upset over nothing.  It didn’t feel like nothing at the time though, and I was mad.

My husband is pretty amazing at reminding me that we shouldn’t get upset over little things and apologizing and moving on.  I’m not.  I tend to stew.  So I did what any mature Christian woman would do when he suggested we just start the evening over.  I pouted and sat there with my arms crossed over my chest as we drove to dinner.

Gently, my husband said, “I don’t want this to ruin our time together.  I’m trying to save our evening and let this all go, but it doesn’t seem like you are.”  He was right.  Our evening needed a fresh start.

I took a deep breath and reached for his hand, and took the opportunity to claim a do over.

Something similar happened with my kids this week.  A late night last night meant tired and grumpy boys this morning.  I had planned a fun day for the three of us to take advantage of these last few days of summer vacation.  However, the kids kept arguing and complaining and whining.  The morning wasn’t going well for any of us.  A big part of me wanted to just scrap the hole day and send them to their rooms to go back to bed.

Instead, I thought about what my husband said last night.

Maybe instead of just continuing down the wrong path, we could just hit the restart button on our day.  We could all take a do over.

I called the boys in and sat them down and shared this all with them.  I told them that one of the things that I love most about their daddy, and one of the things I love most about Jesus, is that they both offer the opportunities for do overs when we need them.

Lamentations 3:22-23 says that his love and compassion are new every morning.  Ephesians 2:4-5 reminds us that God is rich in mercy because of His great love.

Another great verse is 1 John 1:8 that tells us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.

Do you see that?

He just asks us to confess and repent and all is forgiven.

It is an opportunity for a do-over.

My kids had already come to me and apologized.  They knew what they had done wrong and we had discussed it.  I took a deep breath and looked into their discouraged faces.

And I gave them a do over.

Just like Jesus has done for me COUNTLESS times before. 

Just like he does for me every time I mess up.

No matter where you are or what kind of sin is in your life, there is always an opportunity for a do over.  There is always a chance at a fresh start.  You can never be too far gone that you can’t come to Jesus with a heart of repentance and confess and ask for a clean slate.

We can, and should, do it with the big things in life as well as the little day to day things.  If you need a do over today, just ask.  He is faithful and just to forgive and his mercies are new every morning.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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To the Woman Who Feels Alone,

On the outside things looks just fine.  No one knows the hurt that is constantly bubbling just under the surface.  No one understands just how hard you have to work to keep it hidden.  Your smile is firmly in place but your eyes show a tenderness that I recognize.

I see how you keep your friendships superficial so that people can’t get too close.  People seem safer at an arms’ reach, but I remember the loneliness that kind of distance creates.  It feels like it should be freeing to not have anyone really know you, but after a while the solitude begins to feel suffocating.

Maybe your business or your marriage or your dreams have failed.  Maybe you have some shameful secret that seems to be consuming you.  Maybe you are just desperately insecure and fearful.  Maybe you’ve been hurt one too many times in the past.  It could be a multitude of maybes.

Whatever the reason, you have been hiding behind a mask and it is wearing you out.

The loneliness and the hiding is exhausting.

It is time to shake off the shackles.  Don’t let them weigh you down anymore.  Shame and guilt have no power over you.  Insecurity and fear cannot hold you down.  You were not meant to carry that weight.

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Romans 8:1 “So now there isn’t any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

No Condemnation.  None.

If you are a sinner saved by His boundless and abundant grace, you are no longer a slave to all of those old things that use to weigh so heavily of you.  You have complete freedom to live a life released from sin’s bondage. 

Come out of hiding. 

Live in the light.

1 John 1:7-9 CEB tells us “But if we live in the light in the same way as he is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, cleanses us from every sin.  If we claim, “We don’t have any sin,” we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong.”

It sounds like it’s too simple to be true, but dear woman who feels alone, it isn’t.

 It really is that easy.

 And it is less lonely than you think because the Bible says we’ve all missed the mark and fallen short.  Every one of us.

Matthew 11:28-30 CEB says “Come to me all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest.  Put on my yoke and learn from me.  I’m gentle and humble.  And you will find rest for yourselves.  My yoke is easy to bear, and my burden is light.”

Easy. 

Light.

Doesn’t that sound so refreshing?

If you haven’t ever trusted Him as your Savior, what is holding you back?  What do you have to lose by letting go of it all and trusting in a God who loves you enough to give His Son as payment for your sin so that you could walk in Freedom?

Galatians 5:1 says that Christ has set us free for freedom. Therefore, we are able to stand firm.  We don’t have to submit to the bondage of slavery again.

Think about it for a moment. 

Wouldn’t it feel so good to walk in the light?  Wouldn’t it feel so good to stop struggling beneath the weight of it all.  It would feel so freeing to hand your burdens and struggles and sin and shame and pain to the only one who can help you bear it. 

Christian woman who feels alone, release it.  Claim your name.  You are Redeemed.

Lonely woman who doesn’t know Jesus, meet him.  He is the game changer.

I see you, woman who feels alone. 

Because I’ve been you. 

But now, I’m learning to choose freedom.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

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I have a fun little herb garden out by the side of my home.  It’s made from old pallets and leans back against the house in our flower bed.  My hubby built it for me last spring and we filled it with lots of fun little herbs.  Last year I enjoyed fresh basil, dill, mint, and oregano.  It was wonderful to go out and harvest all of these fresh little herbs to add into some of my favorite recipes.  I enjoyed it so much that when winter rolled around and all of my little herbs died off, I was a little sad.

I had a little surprise though, because when spring came around again, so did my mint.  It came back tall, and strong, and abundant.  In fact, it has out grown its little pallet planter and is spreading out into my flower bed.  I’ve even got a few little shrubs that have sprigs of mint peeking through their branches.  They are like little ninja mint shoots that are popping up in rather unexpected places.

My mint has already gown so much that I had to prune it.  I climbed into my flower bed one day and began to pull up some of the plants that were intermingling with my flowers and shrubs.  As I pulled and tugged on this hearty little herb, I began to expose this vast system of roots that had spread through a fair amount of my little bed.

You see, during the season when it looked as if my mint had withered and died, it was busy doing something meaningful and productive that I couldn’t see .  Down deep, where important things happen, my mint was growing roots.  Because of these well established roots, I had a rather had a hard time loosening their hold on my flower bed.  I would tug and pull out the little green herb and then up would come what seemed like an endless root system.  They were stronger, stretched out farther, and were much tougher to unearth than I would have imagined.

In fact, after some serious labor, I thought I had taken care of them all, only to look a week later and find new shoots springing up from the ground.  The root system was established so even when I pulled up most of the plants, they were still able to keep growing.  It almost looked as if the pruning had made the herb stronger.  The fresh, new shoots were popping up everywhere.

Can you see how this really isn’t about mint?

This morning I was reading in my Bible in Colossians 2:6-7 “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in him, ROOTED and BUILT UP in him and ESTABLISHED in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

As I read this verse, thoughts of my mint and its root system flooded my mind.  This isn’t about mint at all, its about being rooted, built up, and established in our faith.

Do things to grow roots.  Establish a habit reading God’s word.  It’s like fresh water and fertilizer.  That habit will help your root system be strong so you can stand firm.  Pray.  Connect with a good community that will help build you up.  Get established and keep growing stronger.

Harsh seasons may come but as long as we are growing those deep roots, we will be hard to unearth.  We will come back even stronger that before.  Not only that, but as we grow and  establish our roots, we may start to influence those around us.  Maybe our faith will spread and pop up in unexpected places as well.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 


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Good morning friends!

This morning I was reading out of the book of Daniel and a sweet little nugget of truth just jumped out at me!  It was an encouragement to me and I wanted to share it with you.

Daniel 3 is the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  Most people are familiar with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar, the big golden idol he created, and three Jewish  friends who refused to bow down and worship it.  Most people are also familiar with the story of how the King threw these three into the firey furnace and a fourth man with the appearance  of “a son of the gods” delivered them from the fire with out even the smell of smoke on them or a hair on their bodies singed.

I love this story for so many reasons, but this morning I thought about it a little differently.  This morning my heart picked up on the important message that God is showing us about the value and influence of good and Godly friends.

These three men stood strong and untied against a King who wanted them to renounce their God.  Their lives were at stake, yet together, they had the courage to stand up for right and truth.  We have so much power when we join together with other believers. Matthew 18:19-20 says, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”  He definitely  showed up for these three friends!

One of our greatest and most underused weapons are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They are our adversaries who should come along side of us and encourage us to stand strong.  Together, we can have such a beautiful influence for God’s kingdom.

Just look at what happened when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood together.  They changed the heart of one of the most powerful kings ever.  Their influence was amazing!  Daniel 3:28 says, “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.”

This morning I am so thankful for the community of believers that God has put me in. They lift me up, strengthen me, encourage me to stand strong for Jesus, no matter what is going on in this world.  If we all looked at ways to do that for one another, we could be a powerful influence for the kingdom!

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


 

imageI’m a little bit of a country girl at heart.  We always had some type of livestock that we were raising when I was a kid living at home.  I can remember having cows, hogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, and more.  I grew up in the country where raising and caring for animals just kind of came with the territory.

We never owned sheep, that I can remember, but I imagine it is much like owning other livestock.  When you are responsible for the care and well being of livestock, they are completely dependent on you for all of their needs.

I can remember my Dad and my brother getting up early and going out to feed and water in the mornings before school.  Before dinner, they would make another round to tend and care for whatever animals my dad was interested in raising at the time.  (Side note on my dad:  He liked to hop around from one animal to the next depending on the year.  One year he might raise hogs.  One year he wanted cows.  We almost always had horses, mules, and chickens.  We even had a little pot bellied pig that lived in the house until it ran away!  But I digress.)

The animals required continual attention for their provision and their protection.  They depended on my dad and my brother for every aspect of their care and well being.

This morning I was reading in Ezekiel.  Most of chapter 34 is written to Ezekiel telling him to speak to Isreal and remind them that they are God’s sheep and He is their shepherd.  Much like my dad and brother (and even more so since my dad was a little wishy-washy as a farmer) a shepherd’s priority is provision and protection for his sheep.  God was judging those people who had led His sheep astray and was telling them that He would be their good shepherd and was giving them a promise for their future.

I just selected a few verses from This chapter to give you an idea of what God is saying here:

Ezekiel 34:4, 11-12, 16, 31 “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”  “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  “You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Wow!  I was a little overcome as I remembered my dad and my brother chipping away ice from the horse trough on a frigid winter day, or cleaning the barn in the brutal heat on a humid summer day.  No matter the conditions, with no regard for their own comfort, they cared and tended their animals.  Because that’s what a farmer and a shepherd do.  They provide care for the livestock in their possession.  How much more so will our good shepherd care for us?!?

Father God,

Thank you for being the good shepherd.  Thank you for understanding that I’m a little sheep easily led astray and prone to wander.  Thank you for your loving guidance, your tender care, and your divine provision and protection.  Help me to trust you more and to fully rely on you as my shepherd.  Help me not to stray, but to stay safely by your side.  Father, I look to you for my needs.  I know that your love for me is true.  You truly are the good shepherd and I’m so thankful to be a sheep in your pasture!”

Amen!

Blessings and Love,

Bobbie

 


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I don’t often write “How To” posts, but I’ve been repeatedly asked how I do my quiet time and how I make time to write.  This always makes me smile, because I love a good, well laid out plan for some things.  I also really enjoy the chaos of flying by the seat of my pants.  And I’m a little bit of a drama queen.  My quiet time just happens to be an interesting, quirky mix of those characteristics.

As a warning, before I share my morning game plan, I want to point out a few obvious things. First, I’m not any type of professional at Bible study and prayer.  Secondly, what works for me, may not work for you.  And Third, I know that this is going to sound a little odd, so just humor me and go with it.

Ok.  Here it is.  My game plan.

The Night Before:

As I mentioned, I’m an odd combination of OCD, chaos, and drama.  The OCD in me really enjoys an organized, regular, predictable plan.  I love lists and journals and organized approaches in some specific things.  I like to start my quiet time in a very predictable, well planned out way the evening before.

Before I go to bed at night, I lay out all of my materials.  When I have my time in the morning to study and pray, I like to have my journaling Bible, my binder, my journals, my pen, and my coffee.  I have one of those amazing coffee pots where you can make your coffee the evening before and set it to start brewing at a specific time.  I set mine for 5:10.  That’s 5 minutes before my alarm goes off.  That means that when I wake up in the morning, I can already smell that delicious Three Story Coffee percolating in the kitchen.  It’s pretty glorious!

Those are my necessities.  They each have a purpose that facilitates my time and how I use it.  When they are all lined up like that on my kitchen table, they are very hard to ignore in the morning.

The Drama:

Here is where my drama queen tendencies really help out my morning routine.  It’s also where I start to sound a little crazy, but hey, we all do what works best for us.  I like to imagine that I have a little coffee date with Jesus in the morning.  I’ve set my spot up and I picture his spot right there beside me.  I know he really does meet with me there each morning, so I go ahead and take the liberty of imagining that it’s our daily little coffee date.  (I don’t think He minds.)

I set three alarms five minutes apart.  5:05, 5:10, and 5:15.  (I really like my sleep, ok?!?)  when my last alarm goes off, I tell Jesus good morning and that I’m on my way.

I am aware that all sounds a bit silly, but here is why it works for me.  I am a super relational person.  Friendships and relationships are supremely important to me.  I would NEVER make a date with a friend and not show up.  I want to be a good friend, and Jesus just happens to be my best friend.  I dare not miss our morning coffee dates!

How I Study:

As I said, the OCD in me loves to wake up to a perfectly laid out table and a steaming coffee pot, but the chaos in me like to have a loose approach to the way that I actually do my study time.  There are a few standards that I like to follow, but my actual routine is flexible.

I always begin my time praying.  It’s not a big, deep, scholarly prayer.  Most often, my prayer is often just a little “thank you for meeting me here again this morning Jesus.  I’m ready to listen to you speak”. After that, I dive in to my Bible reading.  Currently I’m reading the Bible through from front to back, so I just pick up where I left off the day before.

I like to use a journaling Bible so I have space to underline, jot notes, ideas, and verses.  Beside my Bible is my journal.  I keep it open and as I’m reading through my Bible, I like to write out specific verses that jump out at me.  Reading them and then writing them out really helps me to to solidify them in my mind and store them in my heart. I learn best by doing, so I write a lot as I study.

I don’t like to have a specific reading schedule.  I read until I feel like God has spoken something to me.  When He has, I stop.  I make notes in the margin of my Bible.  I think on it a bit.  I write out the specific verse that struck me in my journal.  That’s it.  It’s not rocket science, but it has been what works for me.  Sometimes I will read chapters and chapters before something specific really grabs at my heart and sometimes it’s much shorter.  I try to just be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.  When He prompts me to think about something, I take the time to really consider it and then I process through it by writing out notes.

That consideration usually culminates in my prayer time.  Along with the OCD tendencies, I’ve got some serious ADD tendencies as well.  I get distracted easily and prayer can be difficult for me.  My mind wants to wander.  My solution is to write out my prayers.  It keeps my mind more focused.  I simply flip to the next page in my journal and write out whatever is in my heart.  It’s like my coffee time conversation with Jesus.  I write it as a letter to Him.  I have found that it is the easiest way for me to have focused prayer time.

I also keep a journal of prayers specifically regarding my hubby and my boys.  When there is something that I feel like requires specific prayer on their behalf, I pull that journal out and pray for those needs there.

The Rest of the Plan:

I’m a fan of lists and I love my handy dandy binder.  It’s like my little organizational hub.  I keep our weekly and monthly calendar in my binder along with our dinner menu, our weekly chore charts, info on work and homeschool projects, and my ever important to do list.  After my quiet time, I like to take all of this before God.  I thumb through my plans and look them over to get my bearings for the day.  Then I flip to a my blank To Do List for today.  I say a quick prayer asking God to give me a vision for what I need to do and then I jot down my priorities for the day.

Writing:

This is may all sound a bit out there, but it’s how I like to start each morning.  I intentionally get up a couple of hours before my kiddos and even before my husband.  I spend some focused time alone with Jesus and then I plan out my day.  It is what works for me and it seems to bring the level of crazy in my day down to a more manageable level.

I also have a hard and fast rule that I force myself to stick to.  I don’t allow interruptions during this time unless it’s an emergency.  (That’s easier to enforce because everyone in my house is often asleep.). I don’t look at my phone until after this time is over.  I don’t check Facebook or Twitter or my email or anything else until I’ve had my quiet time in the morning.  After I finish my quiet time and my to do list, then, if I feel inspired, I write.  That’s when I may log in to WordPress and blog.  I might log into Facebook and post on one of the ministry sites I help manage.  I may log into word swag and create some memes for social media ministry. My creative juices are usually flowing after some sweet time with Jesus and my mind is calm enough to write after I’ve tackled my daily plan.

The Challenge:

I’d love to encourage you to make your own game plan for each day.  I’d also love to hear about how you spend time with Jesus and how you start your day.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


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I saw this quote floating around on the Internet and I loved it for so many reasons.  A blank page, depending on your view point, can be a cage to imprison you or wings to give you your freedom.

I love to write so I’m pretty familiar with the feeling of sitting down and opening up to a blank page.  Honestly, sometimes, I can let that page tie me up and hold me hostage.  It can be a little intimidating.  There it sits, a wide open space, just waiting for me to fill it with whatever I chose.  That blank page can be scary if I start to wonder what people will think about me and what I write.  I can let their opinions shape the words I’m putting on the paper.  I can start to feel insecure and limited.

The pressure to make this blank space into something worthwhile and beautiful can weigh on me as well. I want to be relevant and encouraging. I want to show love and character.  I want my words and the use of this page to matter.  That beautiful blank page can become like a cage to imprison me, if I let it.

Or I can shift my perspective.

I can look at that beautiful blank page as wings to give me freedom.  That blank page is mine.  I can dream, hope, think, process, and connect with people through that page.  I can shake off the insecurities and the fears.  I can kick aside the expectations.  And I can just write about the things that I hold dear.  I can express myself and enjoy the freedom that comes from just putting pen to paper.

Each time I open up my notebook to a fresh, new, blank page; I get to make the choice as to which perspective I will view it through.  In 2016, I choose to fill my blank pages with the murmurings of my heart.  I choose to not be improsioned by my own or someone else’s thoughts.  I choose to use the blank pages as wings to fly!

Love and blessings!

Bobbie


Man, sometimes life can be difficult!  It seems like so many people that I love are under attack right now.  I’ve been under attack.  Sometimes things get hard.  It can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the chaos and strife that is just an ugly part of life.

Sickness, loss of loved ones, hurt, discontent, job loss, distraction, discouragement…  The list can go on and on.  And it often does.  Sometimes the casualties of life just pile up and we lose heart a little.

I was reading in 2 Samuel today and just felt really connected to David.  He just struggled sometimes.  This poor guy has gone through it all. He came from a poor family.  He spent the better part of his life under attacks from his king, his enemies, even his own family.  He failed God is some pretty big ways and had to deal with some pretty big consequences as a result.  He lost loved ones.  He was shamed and ridiculed and his people turned against him.  He just seems to be constantly dealing with life.  He had every reason to get discouraged and lose heart.  But through it all, God stood beside him and walked him through his trials.  God loved him, disciplined him when necessary, and blessed him when he did right.  And through it all, David kept his eyes on God and never forgot who He was.

This morning as I was sitting here just honestly feeling a little overwhelmed, I came upon 2 Samuel 22.  Phew!  If you ever need a little pick me up or some encouragement, read it and let it remind you who God is.

David reminded me this morning that God is flawless.  He is my rock, my shield, and my salvation.  He is alive!  He is my savior who delivers me and preserves me.  God is mighty.  He arms me with strength and stoops down to make me great.  He is God and He is worthy of praise.

He is my fortress, my refuge, my support, my stronghold, my salvation, my rock, and my shield.  He rescues me from my enemies.

He is faithful.  He is blameless.  He is pure.

With My God, darkness is turned to light.  With Him, I can advance.  With Him, I can scale the walls that hold me back.  He avenges me and gives me victory.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me.  He drew me out of deep waters .  He rescued me and delights in me.  When I call out to Him, He hears me.

God lives.  He is my rock.  He is exalted.  He is my savior.  He shows me unfailing kindness.

When I sit and read 2 Samuel, I’m reminded that He is in control of the chaos.  He brings beauty from ashes and He works things for my good because He loves me.  He is on my side and fights for me.  That discouragement and distraction that I was feeling just flee in the face of who He is.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie