Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Updates - 6/21/2017, Prayer Requests, & More Arsenal Scriptures

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

First of all, I want to PRAISE GOD for hearing and answering the many prayers YOU, dear readers,
have prayed over the past few days for the precious nine year old, little girl who has a mass in her stomach.
At the time I asked for prayer, my family did not want to disclose the identity of the little girl,
as my dear sister, Sharon, (her grandmother), had just undergone major surgery and was suffering from complications, and we did not want to alarm or worry her or add to her physical distress.
Now, that we have GREAT news, I will tell you that the little girl is none other than the one I have referred to here on the blog as "Little Miss", my niece, Kim's daughter, Kyla.

Little Miss Kyla

You may remember this sweet picture I shared with you here in 2012.

Two people SO dear to my heart, my precious Mother and sweet "Little Miss" Kyla.
This picture was taken three weeks (to the day) before Jesus called my dear Mom home to Heaven.

The doctors have determined that the mass in Kyla's stomach is BENIGN.
PRAISE GOD for this wonderful news!!
I have to believe that dear Mom is watching over us all, and the many prayers she prayed for all of us for so many years are still being answered.
Kyla does have an epigastric hernia, and she has to have surgery on July 28th. 
We would surely appreciate your continued prayers that all will go well with her during the operation.
We cannot thank you enough for your faithfulness to pray.
We realize the outcome could have been very different, and we have no words to express how grateful we are for God's mercy!


Please continue to pray for my dear friend, Priscilla's family, as they walk through these days of grief,
after the tragic and sudden death of her 26 year-old sister-in-law, Megan.
Megan died in a car wreck on her way home from work last week and left behind a husband, Josh, and a precious seven-year old, daughter, Sierra.

Josh, Sierra, and Megan

Sierra and her mommy, Megan

My heart just breaks as Priscilla tells me how little Sierra goes in and lays out her Daddy's clothes for him, and how she is so concerned with the grief of other family members.
She is truly a precious, loving, little girl, who now has no mother to love and care for her.
Dear friends, PLEASE continue to lift up this dear family in prayer.

Megan did not have life insurance, and the family is left with a lot of expenses that must be paid.
If anyone feels led to reach out and bless them in any way,
please contact me privately.

As a side note....
Many of you will remember THE BROWN FAMILY and how prayer requests and updates concerning them and their tragic August 2014 car accident were the main focus of Homespun Devotions for such a long time.
The same dear friend, Priscilla, who just lost her sister-in-law, Megan, is the same person who personally knows the Brown family and who originally notified me of their need for prayer.
Priscilla is one the dearest and truest friends a person could ever have.
She has prayed my family and me through countless trials, afflictions, and distresses,
never, for a moment, turning her back on us or shying away from standing by our side,
regardless the cost.
She is one of the most faithful, dedicated, intercessory prayer warriors I know.
She not only prays for us and others, but I happen to know that she often gives up her daily food and adds fasting to her prayers, never seeing anything she does as a sacrifice or wanting any attention drawn to it.
She was a precious, beloved friend to my dear Mom for many years, 
often calling her to encourage and lift her spirits during times of pain, abandonment, and despair.
She is one of the few people you can call or email anytime, day or night, and you know, without a doubt, you will find someone on the other end of the computer or phone who will drop everything and fall to their knees.
Through all of life's ups, downs, sorrows, and joys, Priscilla is there, she is a treasure, and friends like her are precious and few.
I cannot begin to say how much Kevin, Zachary, our extended family, and I love and appreciate her and her faithful friendship, love, support, encouragement, loyalty, and prayers through the years,
and it is our prayer that God will reach down and comfort her and her dear family now, 
in their time of need.

I would so appreciate your continued prayers for my dear niece, Kristen,
and her precious unborn baby boy, as the day approaches when they will do a C-section on July 5th.

Kristen's dear, unborn baby boy

We continue to believe with all our hearts that God will bring Kristen and her baby through
and allow both of them to be alive, healthy, and all to be well, in spite of all.
(For those who do not know, Kristen has a blood clot in her lung, has had to be on blood thinners throughout nearly her entire pregnancy, and is suffering from tachycardia.  She will be taken off blood thinning medication on July 4th, the day before the C-section.)
We ask that you will please continue to pray that God will not allow Kristen to go into labor before July 5th, due to the risk of giving birth while on the blood thinner.

I anxiously look forward to the day that I can share an amazing victory report with you, 
telling you how God has answered the many, many prayers you have prayed for so long!!

Jesus said, "According to your faith be it unto you."
Matthew 9:29

My faith says that Kristen and her baby will LIVE,
that they will be in GOOD health, 
and they will both have a HUGE testimony to share for many years to come!

Again, I believe Mom's faithful prayers over us all for so many years are still being heard,
and I feel that she is watching over us all.
More and more, I can see and come to greater appreciate the invaluable worth of a praying mother,
and it makes me want to be ever more diligent to pray over and for our own precious son.


Many of you already know about the awful trials that our dear fellow blogger and friend,
Kelly-Anne and her family are facing.
They lost their home and everything in it on June 7th.
It is just heart wrenching to see the devastating pictures and read of the pain and loss in Kelly-Anne's latest blog post HERE.
Dear friends, PLEASE PRAY that Kelly-Anne and her family can find a permanent place to live 
that would accommodate her and her family's needs, along with their beloved pets.
Surely, we know God sees all they have suffered and lost, and He has promised to supply their needs.
It is a complete miracle that Kelly-Anne and all of her family members and their pets were
able to get out in time, and that none of them were harmed.
Eight people died in the fires that swept around their home, including their little 3 year old neighbor whom Kelly-Anne and her family used to babysit.
Oh, it is so sad!
May God have mercy and open the right home for Kelly-Anne and her family in the aftermath of all they have gone through and lost.
Please pray!

What would we do without Jesus?
To whom would we turn in such times of need and grief and loss?
I am so thankful for the precious Word of God and the comfort it provides.

It is on that note that I leave you with 30 more Scriptures for your Massive Scriptural Arsenal,
along with a song that has encouraged and sustained me through recent trials.

"For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."
Isaiah 41:13

"...lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
Matthew 28:20

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Isaiah 40:31

"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, Thou wilt revive me: Thou shalt stretch forth Thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and Thy right hand shall save me."
Psalm 138:7

"The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life."
Job 33:4

"For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside Thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him."
Isaiah 64:4

"For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations."
Psalm 100:5

"Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands..."
Isaiah 49:15,16

"And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
Galatians 6:9

"But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Matthew 19:26

"For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father."
Romans 8:15

"Be still, and know that I am God...:
Psalm 46:10

"Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
Mark 11:24

"He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.  He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation."
Psalm 24:4,5

"For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the 
singing of birds is come..."
Song of Solomon 2:11,12

"And the LORD, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."
Deuteronomy 31:8

"Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.
Psalm 103:13

"And He said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest."
Exodus 33:14

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
Psalm 23:4

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22,23

"My voice shalt Thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up."
Psalm 5:3

"And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace."
John 1:16

"Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust."
Psalm 16:1

"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
Romans 8:26

"The LORD God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds' feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places."
Habakkuk 3:19

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19

"Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?"
Matthew 6:26

"In the day when I cried Thou answered me, and strengthened me with strength in my soul."
Psalm 138:3

"He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?"
Romans 8:32

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
Jeremiah 29:11

If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless you and meet any needs you have, my friends.
I love and appreciate each one of you so very much!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Building An Arsenal of Scripture - Part 2 & Update On Kristen & Two New Urgent Prayer Requests

"Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth..."
2 Chronicles 2:12

Thank you all SO very much for your continued prayers for my dear niece, Kristen.
Her three doctors have finally come to an agreement on a definite due date, praise God.
This is such a relief to all of us.
They have made the long-dreaded switch in the two medications,
and they have scheduled a C-section for July 5th.
They plan to have her off the blood thinners just one day ahead of surgery,
so if you could please pray that Kristen will not go into labor before the date of the C-section,
we would be most grateful.
Also, if you will, please pray that she will not develop other blood clots while off the medication,
and we are hoping her platelets and levels will be such that she can withstand an epidural to be able to be awake to experience the birth.
Surely, our trust is in the dear Lord, Who made Heaven and earth.
He is the Great Physician.
He is Jehovah Rapha - The God Who heals.
"And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight, and wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: 
for I am the LORD that healeth thee."
Exodus 15:26
We are believing He will show His power through Kristen's situation.
I cannot wait to share the victory report here with so many of you
who have so faithfully prayed her through this awful ordeal.

I do not have words to express how much your prayers and loving support mean to my family and me.
We feel so blessed to have all of you in our lives and to know that so many of you are praying and interceding on behalf of my dear niece and her baby.
God bless each one of you, and may He reward you for your sacrifice and meet any needs you have in your own lives.


I also have two NEW very urgent requests for prayer.

Today, I received news about a precious nine year old little girl who has a mass in her stomach.
Dear friends, PLEASE pray that God will heal this dear child and not allow the mass to be anything serious.
Needless to say, the family is very concerned and trusting God for good news.
We know God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think,
and our eyes are upon HIM and His power to heal.


Last night, I received news that my dear friend, Priscilla's sister-in-law, Megan, was killed in a car wreck yesterday evening on her way home from work.
She was only 26 years old and left behind her husband, Josh, their little 7 year old girl, Sierra, and many other loved ones.
My friend and her family are in complete shock over what has happened,
and the dear little girl, of course, does not understand and is asking so many questions.

 Megan, Josh, and Sierra

7 year old, Sierra, with her Mommy, Megan, last Saturday

I can't even imagine the pain in this little girl's heart.
PLEASE pray for all who grieve over this tragic loss.

I'd like to share several more Scriptures that God has been giving me to add to my Massive Scriptural Arsenal, in hopes that they will bless you, and you will be able to memorize them 
and add them to your own Arsenal to have on hand, at all times.

Before I do, though, I want to take this space to PRAISE GOD for bringing me through a very
rough and trying time over the course of the past several months.
The enemy has fought so hard to thwart a particularly difficult endeavor that God called me to.
We all know that wherever God is working, and whenever His purpose is being accomplished,
the enemy is not far away, doing his utmost to kill, steal, and destroy everything God is doing.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

Let me just tell you that the spiritual warfare has been intense, and I remember one night, 
when the battle was particularly fierce that I actually told the Lord out loud,
"I am NOT going to do this."

Yes, I am ashamed and sorry to admit it, but it is what it is.
I am not going to sugar-coat the truth or pretend to be someone I am not.

I was SO discouraged, so exhausted, so physically ill,
I honestly did not think I could take it one more second.
There was a very identifiable, palpable correlation between the weighty task at hand and the severe satanic attacks I was experiencing.
There was no doubt that satan was standing at my right hand to resist me.
NO doubt whatsoever.
I knew exactly what he was doing.
But, when you are sick in body, weary in mind, and diminished in spirit,
it is hard to fight.
You reach a point where you have nothing left.
(If you care to read anymore of the not-so-desirable details,
you may want to read this post and/or this post.)

Praise the Lord, even though I was strongly tempted to run away from the battlefield, 
I finally mustered the courage to pick up my Sword and fight.
All glory to Jesus, I fought clear through and finished the exacting assignment He was asking of me.
It is done.

The lessons He taught during this time of severe testing are ever before me,
and I do not think I shall ever forget them.
I hope to share more about what He has shown me concerning spiritual warfare in a future post,
if He wills it to be so.

For now, here are 20 more verses to add to your M.S.A.

"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you,
as though some strange thing happened unto you:  
But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings;
that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy."
I Peter 4:12,13

"Fear not, nor be dismayed, be strong and of good courage:
for thus shall the LORD do to all your enemies against whom ye fight."
Joshua 10:25

"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
I Corinthians 16:13

"...for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee."
2 Chronicles 20:12

"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."
Ephesians 6:10

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalms 46:1

"For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall."
Isaiah 25:4

"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."
2 Timothy 2:3

"...there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few."
I Samuel 14:6

"The LORD your God which goeth before you, He shall fight for you..."
Deuteronomy 1:30

"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him."
Psalm 126:5,6

"The LORD said, Verily it shall be well with thy remnant; verily I will cause the enemy to entreat thee well in the time of evil and in the time of affliction."
Jeremiah 15:11

"Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days."
Ecclesiastes 11:1

"For the LORD will not forsake his people for His great name's sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you His people."
I Samuel 12:22

"And My people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places..."
Isaiah 32:18

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Philippians 4:13

"Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defense, and thou shalt have plenty of silver."
Job 22:25

"The God of heaven, He will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build..."
Nehemiah 2:20

"Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David."
Isaiah 55:3

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe."
Proverbs 18:10

God bless you, dear readers!
I love and appreciate each one of you from the bottom of my heart.

This song is my testimony tonight.
I cannot praise God enough for delivering me, once again.

May He soon send deliverance to all of you who are suffering and in battles of your own.

If video doesn't load, click here.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Update on Kristen - PLEASE PRAY!!

"And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint..."
Luke 18:1

First of all, I want to say how very much I appreciate ALL of you, dear friends.
Your prayers, support, dear comments, and kindness are gifts that mean more to me than I know how to express.
God has really, really helped me.
I know you have played a huge part in that, because I have felt the weight of your many prayers.
God has answered in so many ways, and I cannot thank Him enough.
I hope to share some of the spiritual warfare lessons
God has been teaching me while going through such fiery trials.
He is giving me lots of precious Scriptures to add to the Massive Scriptural Arsenal,
and I want to share them with you as soon as I can.

Thank you for all of the wonderful verses you shared here on the blog.
Oh, was I ever blessed!
God's Word is ALIVE, and it can quicken even the saddest of hearts and breathe new life back in to places that are broken and distressed.

It reminds me of these words penned by Fanny Crosby,

"Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness,
Chords that were broken will vibrate once more."
(From her song, "Rescue the Perishing".)

If video doesn't load, click here.

I come to you tonight with yet another plea for earnest prayer for my dear niece, Kristen.
Her time of delivery is drawing very near, and there is much concern over the outcome.
She is still on the blood thinning medication, due to the blood clot being in her lung, 
and there is great risk to both her and the baby for her to go into labor while on the medicine.
Yet, there seems to be no other choice.
There is still confusion as to her exact due date, which makes this even more complicated,
because she needs to be off her current medicine and switched to another one for a certain span of time before giving birth.
Timing is everything, and with them not being able to know a certain due date,
the risk is huge.

I'll tell you the truth, my heart can easily become overwrought with fear when I hear of the comments that are being made by her doctors, as they explain the "what ifs" and gravity of her situation.
But, I must look to the One Who is in ultimate control, and Who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or think.  (Ephesians 3:20)

Please, PLEASE pray.
I know so many of you are already faithfully doing that, and I just have no words to tell you how much my family and I appreciate it.
We will all be so glad when this is all over, and we are just trusting GOD for a wonderful outcome, 
both for Kristen and for her precious baby boy.

I can't thank you enough for helping to lift them regularly to the Father in prayer.

I want you to know that I am praying for so many of you and your requests, also,
as the dear Lord brings you to mind and reminds me of your needs.

"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:2

What a dear blessing that we can bear one another's burdens and fulfill the law of our dear Lord!

I SO look forward to posting a victory report filled with praises to God for the amazing miracle He has performed for Kristen and her baby!
In Matthew 9:29, Jesus said, "According to your faith be it unto you."
My faith is believing that God will spare Kristen's and her baby's lives to a ripe, old age in good health, in Jesus' name.

May He do the same for each of you dear readers, too, regardless what you are facing in your lives.

"As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, 
Be not afraid, only believe."
Mark 5:36
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8

Friday, May 26, 2017

Building An Arsenal of Scripture

"Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses."
I Timothy 6:12

On Easter Sunday, I published this post, and in it, I mentioned this,

"God has given me an exacting assignment that is requiring every bit of my creative time and energy.
It is requiring me to press hard into prayer and moments with Jesus for much needed inspiration and help.  I have never felt more dependent upon Him or more in need of His Divine in-pouring into this very incapable vessel of clay."

I have been, and still am, very much involved in the exacting assignment God is asking of me,
and I tell you that ever since it began, I have been going through a season of severe, and I do mean severe, testing.

I will not lie and tell you that I feel victorious in this testing.
Let me just be transparent and brutally honest.
There is no sense in sugar-coating it or trying to falsify the truth for the sake of "appearances".
It is what it is.

I have not been and am not happy about these trials.
I have felt downright angry and abandoned and disillusioned more times than I'd like to admit.
Dear Lord, forgive me, but I have railed out questions to Him, like,

"Where are YOU?"
"What did I do to reap such punishment?"
"Why are You against me?"
"Lord, I am doing everything You are asking me to do, so why are You allowing this?"
"Do You not see what is going on?"
"Do You even care?"

I think I have totally failed the test.
Shamefully, I have not gone, nor am I going through this trial very all.
I have not "counted it all joy", even though, our precious son, Zach, often reminds me of James 1:2.
"My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations..."
As Zach gently reminds me of this verse, he also goes on to include the next verse that reads, 
"Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience."
Zach tells me that it is not that we feel JOY because we are undergoing such tests and trials,
but what we "count JOY" is the result of the trials.
We count are supposed to count JOY the good that is being wrought in us through our testing.

Dear Zach!
I have lost count of the times that he and Kevin have stopped what they were doing to pray with and for me.
God bless my dear, patient, loving husband and son.

It is no secret that I often have a hard time "feeling" God when I am going through such difficulties.
If you are a person who can feel Him in those places, I applaud you, my friend.
More often than not, such is not the case with me.
And, because of that, I struggle.
You can read more about my struggles HERE and HERE.

The other night, out of the blue, the dear Comforter came to me with three words.
"Arm yourselves likewise."
That was it.
I had heard the verse many times throughout life, but, for the life of me, in that moment,
I could not remember where it was located in the Bible or exactly whom it was referring to.
I kept wondering, "Arm yourselves like who?"
I couldn't wait to finish what I was doing so I could look it up and see the surrounding context and find out who we are to "arm ourselves" like.
Was it referring to Paul?

"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
I Peter 4:1

Christ, our loving Lord!
Of course, it is He we are to arm ourselves like!

The precious Holy Spirit continued to speak to me,
"Child, you are not using your armor.
You are not picking up your Sword to fight."

I could not deny His truth.
The constant battering and bruising and attacks by the enemy had rendered me exhausted,
discouraged, and near-lifeless.
I had NO strength left to fight.
No energy to pick up the Sword that lay, shamefully unused, by my side.

Whether you and I like it or want to admit it, 
we are engaged in spiritual warfare that is very real.
We can pretend it isn't happening.
We can bury our heads in the sand and hope satan doesn't discover our hiding place.
We can try to run away from the battlefield.
The truth is that when we sell out to God and determine with all our heart and mind to follow Jesus, 
regardless what it costs, we step into a raging, hostile, merciless war zone with a target on our back.
This is reality.
This is what is going on.
The more we sink into God, the more we strive to be like Jesus, the more satan perceives us as a threat.
What he perceives to be a threat to darkness, he will oppose.
The harder we try to work for God and pursue the building of His kingdom, 
the more determined satan will be to oppose and extinguish what God is doing in and through us.

"And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him."
Zechariah 3:1

"Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices."
2 Corinthians 2:11

"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
Ephesians 6:12

This is real, folks.
No doubt about it.

If you continue reading the above passage in Ephesians 6, you will find that God has provided a six piece suit of armor for us to "arm ourselves like" Jesus, so that we can triumph in this spiritual war.
 1.  Belt of truth
2.  Breastplate of righteousness
3.  Shoes of the Gospel of peace
4.  Shield of faith
5.  Helmet of salvation
6.  Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God

I find it interesting that of the six pieces of armor, five are defensive, but only one is offensive.

As the precious Holy Spirit dealt with my heart the other night,
my thoughts immediately went to the time Jesus was so sorely tested in the wilderness,
right before He began His earthly ministry, and how each time satan came to Him with such audacious temptations, Jesus overcame by wielding the Sword of the Spirit and verbally speaking the Word of God.

"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God..."
Ephesians 6:17

If Jesus conquered satan by quoting the Word of God, how can we hope to be victorious in any other way?
And, how can we quote His Word if we have not hid it in our hearts?

Psalm 119:11 says,
"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee."

How can it readily be drawn forth in the heat of the battle, if we have not saturated ourselves with it ahead of time?
Just as a U.S. Marine would never enter hostile territory without a rifle or other offensive weapon,
a soldier of the cross should never walk into hand-to-hand satanic combat without the Sword of the Spirit.

Before walking into my current battles, I knew this.
A near-lifetime of Scripture memorization has equipped me.
The Word of God is there, settled deep into my composition.
But, what good is it doing if I am not actively picking up the Sword and using it?

When the Lord whispered, "Arm yourselves likewise", I finally got the message.
The reason I was feeling so defeated, whipped, and overcome was because I was not arming myself.
I was not wielding my Sword.
The armor was there, available, but I was not taking advantage of it.

I don't know what you may be going through, but I know of a certainty that you are going through something.
We all are.
If Jesus Christ was not exempt from severe testing, what would ever make us think that we are?
So, the thing for each of us to do is to build what I call an M.S.A., 
aka as a Massive Scriptural Arsenal.

Arsenal - a collection of weapons and military equipment stored by a country, person, or group; 
an array of resources available for a certain purpose.

Don the pieces of armor...every, single day, and read the Bible.
Immerse yourself in the Word of God.
Search the Scriptures.
Absorb them.
Infuse them into every possible waking thought.
Soak your soul in them.
And, here is the most important thing...
memorize them.
This is what it means to hide them in the heart.
Deposit them into your Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
This way, the Word will be there, a sword ready to be drawn in the heat of the moment when you are face to face with the enemy.

"For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
Hebrews 4:12

In closing, I would like to share some of the stock in
  my personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal.
I hope you will adopt them and use them to start building your own M.S.A.
Trust me, my friend, and I know you already know this,
but, you will need it.
God bless you as you press forward, in Jesus' name, ever fighting the good fight of faith.

"Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."
Luke 10:19
(A dear friend emailed me this one the other day.  I had forgotten about this verse!  Oh, it has blessed me and fortified my courage!  Our dear Lord spoke this verse from His very own lips.  I have added it to my M.S.A., and it will stay there from now on, ready to be wielded, as needed.  Thank you, dear Kathleen for this reminder!)

"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
James 4:7

"Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us."
Romans 8:37

"No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the LORD."
Isaiah 54:17

"For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me."
Psalm 18:39

"If God be for us, who can be against us?"
Romans 8:31

"Not by might, nor by power, but by My spirit, saith the LORD of hosts."
Zech. 4:6

"But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one."
2 Thessalonians 3:3

"I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD."
Psalm 118:17

"The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways."
Deuteronomy 28:7

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
I John 4:4

"One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, He it is that fighteth for you, as He hath promised you."
Joshua 23:10

"Through Thee will we push down our enemies: through Thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us."
Psalm 44:5

"But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good..."
Genesis 50:20

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds..."
2 Corinthians 10:4

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
Ephesians 6:11

"Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you."
2 Chronicles 20:15,17

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
I John 1:9

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
I Peter 5:8,9

"But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
I Corinthians 15:57

"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly."
John 10:10

"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven."
Matthew 18:18,19

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
I Corinthians 10:13

"Ye shall not fear them: for the LORD your God He shall fight for you."
Deuteronomy 3:22

"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."
Romans 12:21

"Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."
Joshua 1:9

"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler."
  Psalm 91:1-4

"And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:  And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."
I John 5:14,15

"If ye shall ask any thing in My name, I will do it."
John 14:14

I would love it if you would share one (or however many you would like) Scripture(s) from your own personal Massive Scriptural Arsenal in the comments below!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Purpose Of Our Pain

"For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth..."
Job 19:25

I started following the Blind Pig & The Acorn blog several years ago.
Kevin first found them on their Youtube channel, and somehow, from there, we found their blog, written by Tipper Pressley.

We have often let their playlists automatically play on our desktop computer,
as we enjoy the amazing harmony, the beautiful music, and hearing the old-time songs we love so well.

These people have been such a blessing to my family and me.
I can't begin to tell you how sad we were when "Pap" (Tipper's father and the elderly gentleman in many of their videos) passed away last year.
Oh, my!
Even though we never met him (or any of them, personally), we almost felt like we had lost a member of the family.
It was hard to think of future videos being posted without Pap being there to sing along with his son, Paul, and other family members.

One day, back in January of this year, Tipper included a song that I had never heard before in her daily blog post. 
This song has come to mean an awful lot to me...especially right now.
It is called "Job's God", and I hope you will take the time to listen to Tipper's brother, Paul, 
sing it in the video below.
The words to this song are just amazing.
(I've included the lyrics below the video.)

I know God must have really wanted me to get the message of this song,
because a few days ago, Kevin found it, on his own, on the Blind Pig & The Acorn youtube page.
He called me in to where he was and said,
"I want you to hear this song.  It reminds me of you and what you are going through."
I had no idea what the song was, until the video began to play.
I could hardly believe it.

You can click Job's God to read Tipper's original post which introduced me to this song.
She shares her brother, Paul's words concerning the authorship and other information about the song,
including what the song meant to her father.

Tonight, I am fighting yet another battle in this ongoing spiritual war, (aren't we all?),
 and I tell you the truth, right now, I feel like I, myself, could have written at least part of the words to this song.
Because, to be perfectly honest, and, dear Lord, please know that I mean no disrespect,
sometimes it feels like God has sort of backed up and allowed satan to pounce with all fours.
Have you ever felt like that?

Another beautiful photo by my dear friend, Gentle Joy

I write to you straight from my heart tonight.
I don't understand a lot of what I am going through right now.
There are situations in my own life and in the lives of those I deeply care about, 
that I do not understand.
Perhaps, you can relate?

It is in times like these that dear Zach, aka as "Little Mr. Wisdom", often reminds me, 
"Mama, when we can't understand God's logic, we have to trust His wisdom."

I am now walking through one of the times I described in this post, and like Job must have felt when he said,
"Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him:
On the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him:  But He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."
Job 23:8-10

If video doesn't load, click here.

Lyrics to "Job's God"

I can feel the hand of Satan, 
As a tempter pressing sore;
He has been before the Father, 
Asking leave to press me more.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him, 
I shall then come forth as gold;
And I know the Redeemer liveth, 
I can feel Him in my soul.

I can hear the Father granting, 
Saying, "You'll not touch his life.
Though you crush him, he'll not falter,
He will rise above the strife."

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him,
I shall then come forth as gold; 
And I know the Redeemer liveth, 
I can feel Him in my soul.

Though I stumble, I'll not stagger. 
By His Grace, I'll make it through; 
For His Grace is all-sufficient, 
And I know that God is true.

Though I look all about me, 
And His face I cannot see;
Still I know that through the darkness, 
He beholdeth even me.

Though God slay me, yet I'll trust Him,
I shall soon come forth as gold;
And I know my Redeemer liveth. 
I can feel Him in my soul.

I hope you draw as much encouragement from this song as I have,
because the words are true.
I know that in my heart, even though the trial is hard to endure.

I think of Job, and it occurs to me that he probably never had one clue as to the fact that his severe testing and trials would one day make it to the pages of God's Holy Word.
He could not have imagined how many millions of people would read his life story and find comfort and solace in knowing that even though God allowed him to be tried beyond measure, He saw him through his trials and restored double to him after He brought him through.
I am thankful that God's providence allowed for Job's vulnerability and humanity to be revealed and his words and the expressions of his heart to be recorded upon the pages of what we now call our Bible.

Job may have found no logic or sense in the fiery trials he was called upon to walk through, 
but how many of us have turned to the pages of his book in the Bible for encouragement as we have gone through our own hard places?
Just as we draw strength from reading of how God brought Job through his trials, 
perhaps someone is finding hope and courage by seeing or hearing about what God has done or is doing for us in our situations, perplexities, and difficulties.

I wonder about the person who wrote this song, "Job's God".
Tipper's blog post mentioned that the author of the song was named as S. N. Greene.
What was he or she going through to write such heart-wrenched lyrics?
Just what sort of pain would draw such words from the soul and compel a person to write them down?
We will probably never know, just as the author of the words will never realize how much consolation their song composition is bringing to us now.

None of our trials are without purpose.
Sometimes, we go through hard things for the benefit of someone else.
As they see how God enabled us through and restored us after our trial, they are able to find the fortitude to trust God for their own affliction or distress.
He has a reason for everything He does, even though it is often unseen by us.
Sometimes, down the road, He makes it clear.
Other times, we never know or see the full purpose or scope of why He allows what He allows.
He is God, and we are not.

"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the LORD.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

I don't know what you are going through, but I trust you will take cheer in knowing that God did not waste Job's pain, and He is not wasting yours.

I also hope you will stop by and visit Tipper's amazing blog and check out the Blind Pig & The Acorn youtube channel.
You will find encouragement in both places.

In closing, I am including a video of a blessed, old song beautifully sung by Tipper's daughters, "The Pressley Girls", along with Paul.

Before you listen, though, I have to mention one more thing, 
on a much lighter note and somewhat totally off the subject.
It is no secret that I dearly love soap,
especially, homemade soap.
I think my love for homemade soap is beyond normal and is more like an obsession.
One day, while looking around Tipper's blog, I happened to notice that one of the Pressley Girls has her own Etsy Shop called, "Apothecopie".
When I saw that she sells homemade soap, I decided I had to try some.
I ordered the Lemon Poppy scent, and, let me just tell you, 
it is wonderful!
This soap is gentle, it rinses very well, and it smells amazing!
I hope you will stop by and visit Apothecopie and order some of your own!

If video doesn't load, click here.

God bless you, dear readers!
Heaven will surely be worth it all.
"...knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward."
Hebrews 10:34-35

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wasted Moves

"That in the dispensation of the fulness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him..."
Ephesians 1:10

Every now and then, Kevin, Zach, and I enjoy playing Candy Crush.
It is great fun, and we sometimes take turns, especially when we reach a level that is hard to beat.
I'm sure most, if not all of you, have tried the game, so I am hoping you will know what I mean by a "wasted move".
It happens when you are trying to "burst jellies" or make a match,
there are no possible matches where you need them to be, 
and, off in the distance, in a completely different section of the screen, you see flashing to alert you to a possible match in the flashing area.

I always get frustrated when this happens,because you only get a certain number of moves during each turn, and it seems like a waste to use one of those moves on something that does not appear to be helping to clear the level.
But, there is something interesting that often takes place if I go ahead and take the suggestion of the game and use one of the proposed moves, even though it appears to have no desired impact on what I need to happen.
As I use the recommended move, the surrounding areas are impacted.
Things start shifting around, and even though the proposed move at first appeared to have no bearing whatsoever upon the area I was trying to clear, it sets in motion a domino-effect chain of events that ends up moving things around to benefit the overall success of clearing the level.
What looked like a wasted move turns out to be the very thing needed to propel to victory.

It reminds me of life.
Have you ever prayed so hard that something would happen,
that a mountain would move,
that there would be a shift in your circumstances,
that God would allow something to take place that would bring about necessary breakthrough in a difficult situation, only to see Him allow something that appeared to be completely irrelevant to transpire?
Perhaps, in the midst of your intercessory praying, all of a sudden, He asked you to do something that seemed to be totally unrelated to the impossible hindrance in your path.
Maybe it felt like a completely wasted move, and perhaps you fought doing it for a while because it truly seemed to have nothing in the world to do with resolving the issue for which you were praying,
but, after looking around and seeing you had no other available options, you went ahead and obeyed the gentle urge God impressed upon you.
As you walked forward in obedience and did this seemingly unrelated thing,
you were amazed at the succession of events that followed.
What seemed immaterial, irrelevant, and off-point, ended up causing surrounding circumstances to shift, eventually connecting to the situation you had been praying about and shaking things up to the point that breakthrough burst onto the scene.

With God, all things are relevant.
Everything is connected and makes sense.
There are no wasted moves.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

Even when the action He bids us to take appears to be out of place and unrelated to what we are praying for, we can be sure and certain that if God is telling us to do something, it is never without significance.
That seemingly wasted move may not even be remotely applicable to the problem at hand,
but the result of our walking in obedience to God and doing it anyway may be the catalyst that will spark the very result for which we have so earnestly prayed.

In this post about feeling God-forsaken, I included the song "Just Be Held" by Casting Crowns. There is a line in this song that has been echoing in my mind for days.
"Your world's not falling apart, it's falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held."

If video doesn't load, click here.

Sometimes, as God leads us to take steps that are propelling us forward towards our ultimate goal,
it feels like our world is falling apart.
But, in reality, every questioned "wasted move" is actually forcing things to fall into place.
It is hard, if not impossible, to see, at the time, but, many times, as we look back, in retrospect,
we clearly see that there really were no "wasted moves".
That each time God rearranged a piece of our life's puzzle, He had a reason for doing so.
Just like a jigsaw puzzle requires certain pieces to be placed so that others can be added,
God has to orchestrate things in our lives in a certain order.

As I look back over my life, thus far, I see moments when my world has been shaken to its core.
Don't we all?
One such time that comes to mind happened a short time before I left home to venture out on my own.
I spent many evenings sitting alone, seated on a deserted rock, or walking along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, contemplating, considering, and praying over my future.
I was lonely.
More than anything in this world, I wanted to find the man God had created just for me and to start our life together.
Though the dear Lord walked close to me and our relationship was precious, I longed for the right human hand to hold, as I walked and took in the magnificence of the lapping waves near my feet in the sand.
Due to a chain of events, completely not my doing and beyond my control, things at home became beyond miserable.
As much as I wanted to stay with Mom and Dad and continue life with them as I had for all of my years to that point, situations at hand completely prohibited it.
I literally had no choice.
Looking back, I can see that God knew that if He allowed things to remain comfortable, I would not want to never leave.
He also knew that about 180 miles away, the soul mate He had created with me in mind was waiting, every bit as lonely as I was, praying just as hard as me, and it was time for his prayers and my prayers on the beach to be answered.
The "fullness of times" had come for us to meet, for the right human hand to take hold of mine, and for the days of loneliness to be over for both of us.
This whole situation and my having to leave home sooner than I wanted to felt like a completely wasted moved.
My world felt like it was falling apart, as I finally accepted the reality that home was no longer a place for me, and God nudged forced me to absolutely step out, leave my comfort zone, and make
 plans to move to that place 180 miles away.
Soon after I got there and just a little over 30 years ago (boy, does that make me sound and feel old!), I laid eyes on my soulmate and future husband for the very first time.
If God spares time and our lives until one special day in June, by God's amazing grace, we will celebrate our 29th wedding anniversary.
I can tell you without a shred of hesitancy and straight from my heart that it has been the most wonderful life, the sweetest of journeys.
Kevin and I have walked through fiery trials time after time.
We have laughed until our sides ached and cried until our hearts broke,
but whatever the situation, we have done it together,
hand-in-hand and side-by-side.

That 180 mile move felt very wasted, at the time.
That feeling couldn't have been farther from the truth.
Nothing, and I do mean nothing, about that move was wasted.
God knew.
He knew who I needed to walk through life with.
He knew the exact shoulder I needed to lean on,
the particular set of arms I needed to hold me when I cry.
He saw the whole picture...every bend in life's road, every heartache, every surprise,
every situation that would rock my world.
He knew that Kevin and I would never meet if I were to stay where I was.
So, through some painful, uproarious circumstances that were hard to navigate at the time, He orchestrated every necessary detail, and He took me to exactly where I needed to be.

I will never be able to thank Him enough for my dear, sweet husband, and I pray every day that God will give us many more years together.
Every second He chooses to give us and our dear son is beyond precious to me.
I praise Him for the way He has led my life's decisions and done what He knew was best,
even when it looked like a "wasted move" from my limited, inferior-to-His point of view.
I'm so grateful He does what is right, regardless how much we kick and fight.

Perhaps, you are experiencing a similar time in your own life, my friend.
Maybe it looks like your world is falling apart.
Let me just tell you this.
Regardless how it looks to you, there's a good chance that it is actually falling into place.
Just go with it.
Let God lead.
I can assure you that if you do, you will never regret it.
He always, always has your best interests at heart.
He absolutely does what is right, every, single time.
Just let Him hold you during the transition.
Lean into Him.
Trust Him with all your heart.
Watch Him fit the pieces to your life's puzzle into place.
He is weaving a beautiful tapestry, and one day, you will see.

(The 2nd blog post I ever posted here was on 10/2/2011, and it was about puzzles.
If you'd care to read it, click here.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Precious Mug Exchange, Filled and Lavished Abuntantly With Grace

"For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ."
Romans 5:17

My Saturday didn't start out in the best of ways.
I had been fighting sickness all week, and finally Saturday morning found me extremely ill.
Imagine the uplift to my spirits when I went to the post office and found a package waiting there!
Not just any package, mind you, but one that was decorated so beautifully, 
with a return name and address that I recognized immediately.
It was from our own dear Stephanie, the one who so faithfully puts this amazing Tea Cup & Mug Exchange together for all of us twice a year!

My joy was full, even before I opened the box!!
The lovely embellishments found on the outside filled my heart with hope and anticipation as to what was waiting when I peeked inside!!!
I could hardly wait to get back home and open it all up with Kevin and Zach!
Imagine the oohs and ahhs, right after Kevin cut through the tape to find all of this!!

Not only were there lots and lots and LOTS of precious gifts, 
but the wrapping!
OH, the wrapping!!
I didn't want to tear into them...they were so beautifully done.
The wrapping alone was a gift all its own!!

My favorite color in the world is lavender, and pink is a close second, so you can just imagine the excitement I felt as I gently lifted each carefully, thoughtfully wrapped gift from the box.

Dear Stephanie!!
You will never know how much you blessed me or how much you made my day!!
How can I ever thank you enough?

This, dear friends, is what I found tucked inside the box.

Two beautifully-scented gifts handmade by Stephanie's own loving hands.
Aren't they the prettiest things?

.An amazing bar of evergreen lavender soap!
(Can I just tell you how much I love soap???  I think I have an did you know, sweet friend?)

The sweetest, most dainty, little lavender bowl I have ever seen!

I immediately thought how beautiful the soap would look nesting in it...
just look!

I cannot get enough of this little bowl.
I could sit and swoon over it for hours!

Just look at how pretty it looks grouped together with these lovelies....

I'm telling you, this bowl just calls to me....was made for me....I have no doubt. 
I want to linger, but since there is so much more to share, I must move on...

These are the most darling note cards!
I love sending a card to brighten someone else's day...these are so colorful and perfect!

Then, I found the most adorable journal, with a sweet, little bird on the front.
Isn't he gorgeous?

Don't the journal and the note cards look so pretty sitting side by side?
Like they were sort of made to be friends....

And, some darling sticker embellishments to add brightness and beauty to any crafting project...

And, a precious little card with the most meaningful, kind message from Stephanie written inside...

And, guess what was hiding in yet another card tucked inside the bouquet card?
Oh, my, I am just SO excited!!!

An abundantly generous Starbucks gift card!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Venti Iced Decaf Cafe Americano with extra cream and 2 packs of honey, here I come!!!!
I can't wait!

As I kept unwrapping, (I tell you, it felt like Christmas to me.
I felt SO special, SO loved, SO pampered....
my whole day brightened up in such an amazing way!),
I found this!!!!!!

Saved by grace, indeed!
I LOVE this mug!!!
It is a nice size and will hold a large portion of coffee or my homemade hot cocoa!!
(Milk, cocoa powder, and honey, to taste, heated on the stove in a sauce pan.  It is SO good!!!)
I can just picture steam rising from this beautiful mug, as I ponder on the grace of our Savior!

I kept digging deeper into the box, and just look at what I found!!!!!!!
A beautiful coloring book, chock full of Scripture elements and oh, such lovely, pictures to color!

Here's the back...can you read it?

I love to color!
I find it so therapeutic and stress-relieving.
Oh, the hours dear Zach and I have spent at the kitchen table coloring together in his coloring books!
Then, a few months ago, my dear sister, Sandi, sent me my very first adult coloring book & pencils.
I have SO enjoyed using it...and now, I have another one to choose from!
I am so abundantly blessed.

Sweet Stephanie thought of everything.
She included some beautiful colored pencils, too!

I love the name of the coloring book...a garland of grace!
Isn't that God enshrouds each of us in?

"Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God's grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!"
Written by Julia H. Johnston

Where would be without His grace?
After serving Jesus for many years, I think I am only beginning to catch a glimpse of the true meaning of GRACE.
Oh, I do praise Him!!!!

I will think of God's grace...and dear Stephanie, such a living, breathing example of grace,
 each time I use this book, drink from this mug, and use the many precious gifts she sent to me.

And, now, for a group photo of my amazing, wonderful goodies, sent with so much love (you could FEEL the love while opening the box and gifts) from one of the sweetest ladies I know.

It could not have arrived at a more opportune time.
To God be the glory for such lovely, encouraging, caring friends and for the way He so graciously connects us through this blogging world.
My life is so much richer by being a part of it.

Again, I thank you, dear Stephanie from the bottom of my heart!

To all of you precious readers, if you have never participated in Stephanie's tea cup and mug exchange, you truly do not know what you are missing!
This is my third time participating, and it has just been a huge encouragement to me.
I SO look forward to it, and I cannot even imagine how much energy and time Stephanie pours into it.
Perhaps you have never met Stephanie or visited her blog?
If you haven't, please stop by and say hello to her, 
and while you are there, why not consider following, so you won't miss any of her wonderful posts?
She also has an Etsy Shop called Rose Petal Blessings that is just amazing!!!
I have ordered from her multiple times, and her work is unique and impeccable.
I often tell her that her creations should be sold in stores.
You can see and feel how much love she pours into every, single thing she does.
I hope you will stop by and visit her!!

"Thank You, dear Jesus, for all of your abundant gifts.
Thank You for such amazing friends.
Thank You for suffering such an awful scourging to obtain the stripes needed for our healing.
You, dear Lord, mean everything to me.
In Jesus' name, Amen."

To read about the other two tea cup and mug exchanges I have participated in, click these links:

If video doesn't load, click here.