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


If you don’t already know her, I am so excited to have the opportunity to introduce you to my sweet friend, Katie M. Reid.  She is someone you will want to get familiar with.  Her encouraging words and practical teachings have quickly become a favorite of mine!

She has become a very dear friend and someone that I just love talking to because her heart for God and for people is just impossible to overlook!

Today, in her guest post, she is sharing how we, as Christians, can have hope even in the hard days.  I know that you are going to love her and her words as much as I do!

Hope for the Hard Days

By: Katie M. Reid

 

Where do you turn in times of trouble? How do you excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand? When the earth seems to give way to fear, how do you find the strength to stand?

 

Besides eating copious amounts of ice cream, hiding under layers of covers, or putting our heads in the sand—how do we uncover light to pierce the darkness?

 

How do we adopt hope in uncertain times, when the world seems to be spinning out of control?

 

Through Jesus, by faith, we hope.

 

My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand.*

 

 Jesus.

 

The Son of God—fully man, fully God—came to bring hope to the hopeless, rest for the restless, and peace to the chaos by bringing salvation to the sinner.

 

Faith.

 

Faith is not a weakness, band-aid, or fluffy ideology. It’s hope with skin on—skin and bones that came to walk the planet** so that we wouldn’t be suffocated by dread or buried in darkness.

 

When darkness seems to hide His face, I rest on His unchanging grace. In every high and stormy gale, my anchor holds within the veil.*

 

Hope.

 

Hope is the assurance that comes from knowing that even if it gets darker, Jesus has already overcome that which threatens to take us under. We rise. We stand. We follow the lead of the One who sits on the throne.

 

Our faith isn’t flawed, fake, or fandangled.

 

It is the lifeline that is thrown when we are in quicksand. It is the anchor that holds us steady in the midst of wind and waves. It is the breath in our lungs, the song on our hearts, the comfort that upholds us.

 

His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay.*

 

Where do we find hope? Upon the Rock.

 

Isaiah 44:6-8 The Voice (VOICE)

 

6 The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies,

King of Israel, who paid their ransom, has this to say:

 

Eternal One: I am at the beginning and will be at the end.

There is no God except for Me.

7     If you know any God like Me, tell it now.

Declare and demonstrate any who can compare to Me.

Or if you know and have announced events before their time,

told what is to come, then speak so now.

8     Don’t be afraid. Let your minds be clear of fear.

Haven’t I announced events and revealed what is to come?

From the earliest days, I have done so. You know it—you have seen and know.

So, go ahead, My witnesses: is there a god out there other than Me?

Witnesses: There is no other rock like God. I don’t know a single one.

 

These are not fighting words, these are cool cup of water words. These are not burning coal sentiments, they are a roaring blaze for those groping in darkness. These are not weak words, these are words to bolster and provide balm for the hurting. These are not words of judgment, they are words of life, of grace, of freedom.

 

The world cries out. The people mourn.

 

O God, may You excavate hope in the midst of sinking sand. Like you called Lazarus from the grave, may You call forth Your church to rise from the ashes and come forth, as gold. Like You were raised from the dead, may we witness the resurrection of Hope.

 

You don’t change. You don’t leave. You don’t abandon us. You don’t lack. You Are. You remain. You dwell within. You are enough.

 

Jesus, we desperately need You, every moment—good and bad. Forgive us for turning against one another. Forgive us for misplacing our hope. Forgive us for throwing stones and bypassing grace. Forgive us for being wise in our own eyes and misrepresenting you to a hurting world.

 

God, we need You. Set us straight with Your Word. Purify our lips with Your Truth. Deliver us from apathy, prejudice, and complacency. Return our hearts to Yours.

 

Restore our unity with You and one another. Heal our land. We have dirtied ourselves with blood, pride, and idol worship.

 

Lord, help us! We have turned our back and we feel the harsh reality that comes from distancing ourselves from You. Help us remember Who You are. You are Love. You are Peace. You are Holy. You are Just. You are Perfect. You are able to do anything!

 

We take a moment and bow before You Jesus.

 

We stop.

 

We turn back to You and we find hope.

 

It might just be a glimmer at first, but as we return, like the Prodigal, the light of Home becomes brighter as the Father’s arms open wider and we find Grace in the eyes of the One who calls us His own.

 

When He shall come with trumpet sound, oh may I then in Him be found. Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.*

 

Now, let’s go forward…through Jesus, by faith, with hope!

 

*”On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand” hymn by Edward Mote.

 

**I heard this phrase “Jesus put skin and bones on and came to the planet” on an album of Judah Smith’s messages.

 


Do you feel the tension that seems to permeate the air of this world lately? Things just feel heavy. Hearts are hurting. People are discouraged and dissatisfied. It seems as if this whole world is worn down from the struggles and it would be so very easy to just give in to the pull of weariness and discontent.

In the middle of the strife and struggles, we can start to feel overwhelmed, worn, and just plain weary. When these feelings come, and they linger far past their welcome, what can we do to keep our heads up? How do we remain hopeful when things just seem so difficult?

We might get angry and feel like being loud to drown out the noise of others or fighting back harder to win the war. We might get fearful, worried, and just want to withdraw and hide our heads in the sand to ignore the strife around us. Or maybe we don’t even know how we feel or how to respond, but we do know that we are called to be set apart and to shine as lights in the darkness of a weary and worn world. We are called to be the salt that seasons the bitterness around us and makes it a little more palatable. Because we know these things, we need a plan to stay in the battle when weariness starts to overcome us.

Maybe a good place to start is to look at someone else who was weary in the battle and see how they overcame it. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat is facing a multitude that has come against him. He’s going to have to fight his enemies, however, when he seeks God’s battle plan, he sees that it is a little different than the one he might have been considering.
Maybe like Jehoshaphat, God’s plan to overcome our battles looks a little different than ours.
When Jehoshaphat took the fear, discontent, worry, and strife that he faced because of his battle to God, the Lord sent a message to him. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ESV says, “Do not be afraid or dismayed…for the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not need to fight this battle…Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.” Those verses outline a battle plan that ultimately spells victory for the believer.

This is a truth God has been continually pressing into my heart lately. There is so much peace that floods my soul when I realize how much easier God’s battle plan is than the ones that I have been using. His plan is a plan that can breathe hope into our weariness.

5 Steps to Hope for The Battle Weary
From 2 Chronicles 20:15-17

1. Don’t be afraid- Fear is such an instinctive response to trials. We allow ourselves to be afraid of what may or may not happen. We allow ourselves to fear how circumstances might turn out. We also allow ourselves to be scared that the battle may never be won. That is not what God calls us to. He tells us not to be afraid.

2. Don’t be dismayed- Discouragement plants deep seeds of bitterness that can grow into anger, depression, hate, or hurt. Discouragement can fool us into thinking that the battle isn’t worth fighting. It can make us want to give up. God wants us to keep hope, to trust in him, and to have faith.

3. Let God handle the battle- It is in our nature to struggle and fight for victory over the battles that we face or to try to avoid them by running and hiding from them. God calls us to seek Him continually and rest in the fact that He is not only working in our hearts and in our lives, but also our situations.

4. Stand firm and hold your position- We can get a little wobbly when the battles rages. The things going on all around us can seem to pull us in all directions and make us doubt our stance. God calls us to stand firm in His truth and to hold the position that He has called us to.

5. See the salvation of the Lord- God is at work in everything. The victory is His in the end. The fact that in the battles, He draws us closer to Him is proof that he is doing a good thing, even if the overall situation doesn’t look like it. God calls us to believe that, ultimately, He is working all things together for good.

Read the rest of the article and find even more encouragement at iBelieve.com by clicking the link below!

http://www.ibelieve.com/faith/5-steps-to-hope-for-the-battle-weary.html

Love and blessings,
Bobbie Schaeperkoetter



Sometimes doing wrong isn’t deliberate. Sometimes it is simply the lack of focus on doing right. At least that is usually the case for me. I don’t know about you, but I don’t often set out to make a slew of bad choices, but occasionally (or often, depending on the week) I find myself in a place where I am standing, dumbstruck, wondering how I ended up in the situation that I am in. Does this just happen to me?
I think it is safe to say that it probably doesn’t. I found the explanation for it this morning in my Bible reading in 2 Chronicles and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 2 Chronicles 12:14 ESV says, “And he did evil, for he did not set his heart to seek the Lord.”
This verse is talking about Rehoboam, King of Judah, but it might as well have had my name in the text. Maybe yours could have fit there too? I think this is a truth that applies to all of us because we don’t typically end up in a mess because we plan to. We usually end up in our messes because we forgot to seek God in certain situations and followed our own way instead. We didn’t set our heart and our focus on staying on the right track so before we knew it, we were on the wrong one.
Man that sounds super familiar! I can tell that I have gotten on the wrong in a few areas in my life lately. It reminds me of what I’m always saying to my boys. When they get a little out of control and are headed toward bad choices, I’m known to say, “Rein it in, boys!” They know that means to check their behavior. I can feel God telling me to “Rein it in, girl!” in a few areas in my life.
1. Being Content
Way too often, I just forget to be content with what I have. Everything that I have, everything that I am, and everything that I do is a gift from God. It is evidence of his grace poured out in abundance in my life. In turn, I should be grateful for all he has given me. Instead, I’ve continued to strive for more instead of being content.
I add more to my schedule. I add more to my closet. I add more into our budget. I add more into our lives and I often do it without even stopping for a second to consider God at all in those decisions.
Here is a very embarrassing example. I felt like I really needed to declutter, simplify, and cut out the excess. The place I decided to start was in my closet. I love to shop. Like, I really love it. It is usually at thrift stores because I love a great bargain, but it has gotten a little out of control. My closet was prime evidence of that. I’m not even going to shame myself by admitting how much has amassed in my closet.      That isn’t good stewardship. It is excessive and wasteful and selfish. I need to reign in my desire for more and learn to be content with all that God has already blessed me with.
I’ve really felt convicted this year to focus on the amazing grace that God has lavished on me in every situation and circumstance. If I’m focused on his gift of grace then being content and being thankful comes as a natural result of that. It has really helped me to see that I have all I need.
2. My Words and Attitude
Here is another not so flattering truth I’m seeing about myself these days. I am not sweet and loving and kind by nature. I’m just not. I know this about myself. I tend to be a little sarcastic and snarky. I’ve always just kind of chalked that up to my personality. I’m not mean and I am usually pretty funny, so it all balances out, right?
I’m not so sure. God’s grace is so evident by the amazing people that he has lovingly put in my life. I’ve been feeling very convicted for my words and attitude to match my gratitude. I want to show just how blessed I feel to have these wonderful people in my world. I’m a work in progress. We all are, but I truly desire to do a better job of building up, encouraging, and loving. I want my words and attitude to reflect a heart overflowing with thanks for these gifts of grace.
3. My Time
Oh man. At the risk of sounding like a total slacker, I will share this last area that I want to rein in. I’m turning into a recluse. I could easily stay in my house, in my pajamas, on the couch, with a good book for days. I don’t do that. Much. But I could. Very easily.
I really enjoy being at home and homeschooling my boys, but without a real effort on staying involved with people and with the work God has called me to, I could very easily just keep my focus on what is right in front of me in my own home.
I know in my heart of hearts that isn’t what God wants for me. I firmly believe He has called me into relationships, into community, and into works that He has chosen specifically for me at this time. My time isn’t mine to hoard and use in whatever way pleases me the most. It is a resource and a tool to do the work God has called me to and I want to be a better steward of the time God has blessed me with.
Getting off track in these areas wasn’t deliberate. It was simply a lack of focus on seeking God and doing the right thing. I took my eyes off of God and put them on my own ways for a while and before I knew it, I felt God saying, “Rein it in, girl!” 2 Chronicles 12:14 was like a palm to the forehead. What a call to refocus and put God back at the front and center!  What a gift of grace that He allows us to see our messes for what they are and gives us opportunities to change them!
Are there any areas where you feel God asking you to rein it in and put your focus back on him? I’d love to hear from you!
Love and blessings,
Bobbie


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


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My friends and I been putting in work each and every day this October over on my Facebook group called 31 Days of Change and it’s been amazing!  I’m loving the community there and the way that we all encourage each other and can share and talk about how God is working in our lives this month.  What I’m loving the most, though, is the way that God has been working on me!   I’m learning so much as I study the scriptures and write the posts for each day.

Today we talked about renewing our mind.  This is something that’s always been a little bit of a challenge for me.  OK, it’s been a BIG challenge for me!

I can be my own worst enemy when it comes to my thought life because I’m driven far too much by my emotions, feelings, and the thought patterns of my past.  I let myself get trapped in that cycle way more than I’d like to admit.  Renewing my mind when it’s stuck in that place is hard.

I’m learning to trust what’s God’s word says about who He is, who I am in Him, and what I’m capable of as HIS beloved child.

I was challenged by today’s post and I hope you will be too.  Studying the verses for today and praying over them was powerful for me.  I’d like to encourage you to give it a read if you’re at all like me in this area.

Here is a little peek into what we are discussing over in the Facebook group.

Change Is In The Air: 31 Days Of Change

Day 21:
Prayer:
Father God,
I am ready to put off my old self that was driven by my past, my feelings, my emotions, and my own desires. Renew my mind so that I can fully embrace the new identity that you’ve given me as your child. I want to be more Christlike.
Set my mind on the things that are above and not on the things of the world. I don’t want to be someone who is consumed by worldly thoughts and desires. I don’t want to be conformed to this world. Lord, transform me by the renewing of my mind so that I’m more closely attuned to follow after your good and acceptable and perfect will.
God, fill my mind with thoughts that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. Help me to put aside thoughts that are selfish and self serving. Let them be replaced by thought of things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Those are the things I want consuming my thought life.
Your Word says that you will keep me in perfect peace if my mind is focused on you and I believe that promise. You did not give me a spirit or a mind that is a slave to fear, shame, hurt, anger, bitterness, or worry. You adopted me and gave me a spirit and a mind full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. The moment I cried out to you and became your child, I became a new creation. The old things lost their grip on me in that moment.
My thoughts and feelings don’t have control over me. I submit my thought life to you, Lord. I don’t want to be double minded and live a life focused on fulfilling my own selfish desires while claiming to follow after you. Father, renew my mind every time it turns from you. Help me to love you with all of my heart, with all of my soul, and with all of my mind.
I ask this in Jesus’ holy name.
Amen

Bible Verses:
Ephesians 4:22-24 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:2-3 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Isaiah 26:3 You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”
Psalm 119:113 I hate the double-minded, but I love your law.
Matthew 22:37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

Discussion:
Is your thought life surrendered to Jesus or do you still let the your feelings and emotions control you? How can we renew our mind every time we feel that familiar push of our past thought life creeping in?

 

If this hit home for you, you may enjoy joining one of my online small groups.  Be sure to like my Facebook page to see when there are more available!

http://www.facebook.com/bobbieschae

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

 


 

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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Life is full of trials, stuggles, and stress.  It’s so easy to get bound up in all of the things that are out of our control and to just anxiously toil and struggle our way through.

This morning, while reading in Exodus, I was reminded, yet again, that isn’t God’s plan for His beloved children.  He has a better way for us.  He calls us to trust in His plan, to rest in His provision, and to believe that He is working on our behalf.

I know not everyone is as in love with the Old Testament as I am, but, trust me people, it is so full of applicable truth and encouragement!  Stick with me for a minute and listen to this example.

My reading this morning was centered around the time when the Hebrews were fleeing from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  It must have been chaotic.  The people left in a hurry without much time to prepare.  It also must have been terrifying to leave all that they had ever known for an unknown wilderness.  In the midst of all of that, their enemies, the Egyptians, were in hot pursuit of them.  Fear and doubt were running high!

Have you been there?  Maybe you’ve not been feeling from your enemies into the wilderness, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ve experienced fear and doubt.  I would guess that you’ve felt like you were struggling looking for answers.  I’m sure you’ve looked into the unknown and wondered how on earth God could have led you to the place you found yourself and how in the world you could safely make it through the trials you were facing.

The Hebrews sure felt that way and they let Moses know about it.  Yet, right there, in the middle of the chaos, God gave Moses a simple command for the people.  It’s one that’s just as applicable to us today.  He said, “Fear not.  Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

That’s about as simple as you can get, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to do.  It must have been so hard to trust God and walk across that sea, but as always, God came through.  He stood between the people and their enemies.  He provided an escape.  He crushed their enemies.  He kept his promise and fought for them.  All they were required to do was to trust Him and obey His command.

Lord, help us to be able to do the same.  Help us to be able to claim that promise in the middle of seasons of chaos, fear, and doubt. Calm our hearts.  Help us to cast out cares at your feet.  Remind us to not be fearful but to stand firm because we know that you fight for us.  Give us the wisdom to not anxiously toil and struggle, but to be silent and trust in you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


Have you ever felt like you didn’t quite fit the mold?  Have you ever felt like you didn’t fit in?  I had the wonderful opportunity to share at iBelieve.com about how I’ve felt that way and what I’ve learned about being a part of the body of Christ.

Read more at iBelieve article


 

Matthew 14:22-33 is a lesson on faith from Jesus. He teaches Peter about real faith in the face of danger.

Source: Why Did You Doubt?

This article is my most recent post for Grace Centered Magazine.  It addresses issues of fear and doubt, something that I sometimes struggle with.

Why Did You Doubt?

Fear is the enemy of faith. We’ve heard it said a hundred times and it is so very true. I can feel God speak something into me during my quiet time with Him in the morning and I am fired up and ready to tackle whatever it is that He has for me. As the day goes on, and life’s troubles come at me, fear sets in, and my resolve wavers.

Have you been there in that moment when fear starts to creep in and dissolve away your commitment? I know I have and I also know I am not the only one. No doubt, you have been there. Peter has been there too.

The story of Peter stepping out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus is one of my very favorite passages in the New Testament. I just really love Peter. He’s a little rash and bold. He is a little impetuous and reckless. Maybe that is why I like him. I can relate to him. He loves Jesus in a way that is beautiful and powerful, but he tends to act a little irrationally. Yep. That hits close to home. I also think there are a lot of practical applications that we can make about fear, our response to it, and Jesus’ response to it. Let’s take a look at Matthew 14:22-33 and see what we can learn.

I’m going to summarize that passage from Matthew. This is the Bobbie revised version.

Peter is in the boat with the other disciples while Jesus is alone praying. The waves and the wind have kicked up enough that the boat has drifted far from the land and is being tossed about. It is late and it is dark. I’m sure the disciples were getting a little nervous out there on the sea just waiting for Jesus. They may have even been squinting out into the distance wondering how on earth he could get to them.

Then they see a little movement and rub their blurry, sleepy eyes. They may have even wondered if their eyes were playing tricks on them due to the hour and the conditions. They look again and realize they were right. Someone or something is walking across the sea, right to them. They tremble in fear because they are sure it is a ghost. They were scared enough that Jesus had to tell them not to be and to calm down because it was only him.

Then, Peter acts in true Peter fashion. “Prove it Lord! If that really is you, call me out to walk on the water too!” Jesus obliged and called to him. So, out of the boat jumped Peter.

I can just picture it in my mind. He hops out and begins confidently walking towards Jesus and he is thinking, “This is awesome! I would follow Jesus anywhere and do anything that he told me to do.” But then a big wave crashes close to his feet, distracting him for a second. As he watches that wave, he notices the other waves around him. His ears become alert and he hears the waves crashing against the boat behind him. He hears the wind howling around him. He shakily looks down at his feet and fear over takes him. The more afraid he gets, the quicker his feet begin to sink into the sea. Sheer panic sets in as the fear of all that is going on around him overtakes him. Then he remembers Jesus. Out of desperation he cries out to him.

He raises his eyes from his situation and looks. There is Jesus right beside him. Jesus is close enough that all he has to do is reach out and take hold of Peter. Peter is pulled back up above the water and Jesus just gives him that tender look and says, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Jesus is basically telling Peter, ‘I’ve got you. Don’t worry. Just trust me. You don’t have to be strong because I’m strong enough for the both of us.’ Then hand in hand, they walk together to the boat where all of the other disciples are just standing there in sheer amazement of the mighty power and sovereignty of Jesus.

Obviously, I have taken a little liberty in the retelling of this section of scripture. I do that on purpose. I think we sometimes look at these disciples and think that they must have been holy and perfect men of God. We make them unrelatable and think we can’t learn from them. That is far from the truth. These men were everyday people and they often had to be corrected and taught by a patient and loving Jesus. That is exactly what happened here. Peter needed to be taught about fear and faith. His story is one that can serve as a model for us.

Here are some things that this passage of scripture can teach us about fear and faith.

Life is going to get crazy. It’s pretty much a given.
When we are trusting in Jesus, we don’t have to fear. We can just jump out of the boat.
When we take our eyes off of him and start to look at all that is going on around us and our inability to fix it, we get distracted and fear sets in.
If we give fear a foot hold, it can sink us pretty quickly.
When we get overwhelmed, our best bet to get out of our mess, is to cry out to him.
He can pull us out, no matter how desperate the situation.
He is strong enough to hold us and keep us steady.
He is capable of walking us through the trial.
Trusting him in spite of our fear not only builds our faith, but it builds the faith of others and brings glory to God.
Jesus doesn’t get mad at us when fear creeps in and we stumble a little. He gently reminds us that He’s got a hold of us and will bring us through.
I am so very thankful for this lesson. It is one that I need to remind myself of often. I tend to be a little like Peter. I dive into things with full faith. Sometimes, though, the troubles of this world distract me and for a moment and I take my eyes off of him and focus on my own incapability to fix things. It isn’t long before I cry out to Him because I can feel myself starting to sink. Every time, he is faithful to reach out his hand, hold me close, and walk me through.

I pray that if you are facing something that has you feeling like you are sinking in fear and helplessness, that you will focus your eyes on the one who can save you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie
bobbiescahe.com


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I’m a home school mama. (Yes, that’s me in all my yoga panted, head banded, hoodied glory on a typical day.)   I have two sweet, wild, chaotic boys that I am beyond blessed to spend my days with.  Every Day. I love it.  Really, I do.   But, can I be honest, just like any other job, sometimes it is HARD WORK!

These boys refine me and test me and try me.  They challenge me and make me a better person, a better mom, and a better Child of God.  They question me… about EVERYTHING… and make me really think about things.  They stretch my patience to the limits.  They make me laugh and sometimes they even make me cry, because being a mama is a tough job!

Can I be honest again?  Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it right and if it’s worth all the effort.  I know I fail a lot.  I know I get a lot right too.  I hope that the scales balance and that these boys get the best I have to offer more often than not.  These challenging and amazing fellas have been trusted to me by my Father and I desperately want to do right by them and by Him, so I just keep pressing on and praying hard and leaning on God for my strength.

But did I mention that it is hard work?

Things that matter typically are hard work!  Things that are meaningful take a lot of effort. They are difficult because they are shaping us, growing us, and challenging us to be and do better.  They require us to lean into Him for encouragement, support, and help.  I think that is kind of the point.

Do you know what I just love though?

When things get tough and I get weary and begin to question myself,  it is just like my loving Father to send me a little “hang in there girl, you’re on the right track” message.  He did that this morning.  (He does it a lot, but sometimes I’m too caught up in the craziness to notice.)

I was sitting at my usual morning spot, reading my Bible and writing out a verse in my journal that spoke to me, Zechariah 13:9 ironically enough, when my sweet 9 year old walked in with his Bible and sat down beside me and began reading from his.  He didn’t interrupt me.  I got a quick smile from this dimpled cheeked, bed headed cutie and he opened God’s word and dove in.  It was just what I needed this morning to give me that boost to keep on keeping on!

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Zechariah 13:9 “And I will put this third into the fire,and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested.  They will call upon my name, and I will answer them.  I will say, ‘They are my people’; and they will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’”

So today, whatever it is that you are pushing through, whatever work God has called you to be faithful to; I just wanted to give you a little encouragement.  It can be tough.  It can make you weary and you may question yourself.  It is hard work and it is suppose to be.

Hang in there.  You’re on the right track.  Keep your eyes open for little messages of encouragement from God.  Keep on keeping on because he is refining you, growing you, stretching you, shaping you, and teaching you to lean into Him.

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


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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