When I was small, my grandmother used to complain a lot. I mean, a lot! She was the one that if it was a sunny day, she would look for clouds. Nevertheless, she used to tell me a lot that I should count my blessings. Now, I seldom attended church when I was young. My mom took us on special days like Easter, but otherwise, Sunday was just another day of the week for me until I met my new neighbor Sharon and she started inviting me to go to church with them. I enjoyed the Sunday school classes and the way the church service followed the same pattern week after week. That is the first time I heard about God and I was in my teens. But I still didn’t know what it means to count my blessings as my grandmother had told me to do.

When I went to college, I was busy, overwhelmed really with new things. I was away from home for the first time and got involved in my studies and my campus job. I dated some, but not much because I was really shy. I didn’t attend church, but I was aware that God was around somewhere because my roommate attended church regularly and seemed to like going. Again, I don’t recall counting blessings. I was more likely to count the days until I had an exam or a break at home.

It was after I finished college and started my first job that I began to see how alone I was and was feeling discouraged, even though I had a new fiancé and a new job and my own place to live. When my apartment neighbor introduced me to Jesus, I began to see that He was what I needed all along. Finally, finally, I began to count my blessings! The blessing of being loved by a good man, the blessing of finding a good church and making new friends, the blessing of having a neighbor who befriended me. I was beginning to understand what my grandmother was telling me. Life is hard and throws some real curve balls sometimes, but God is always good and you can always look for the blessings and find them.

Now that I am much older, I see blessings everywhere. I see them in the garden outside my window, in the beautiful sunrise and sunset, in the faces of my children and grandchildren, in my husband’s patience with me. The list goes on and on. There isn’t enough time to enumerate all of my blessings, but God continues to bless me, every day in more ways than I can imagine.

I don’t know why my grandmother complained so much, but I do know that somewhere inside her, she recognized that all the good in her life came from God. She told me to count my blessings and that advice has remained steadfast in my heart for over six decades now. I think of nanny and I smile, knowing that she loved me enough to tell me a truth about life. When you are busy counting your blessings, you don’t have time to complain!

Count Your Blessings

Praise and Relationship

Remember the first time you started a relationship with someone? If the relationship is going to last, the two of you need to communicate with each other and trust each other. One of the ways to build that open communication is to honestly say kind words of appreciation to each other. Gary Smalley calls it “The Love Language.” The Bible tells us to build each other up, to encourage each other. Some days, after my husband has done one irritating thing after another, it’s hard to find something kind to say, but I look and there it is! Kindness leads to communication which leads to more kindness, appreciation and love.

Did you know that God desires us to worship Him? Not because He needs our worship but because our praise opens the doors of communication with Him. After all, our relationships on earth are a small mirror to what our relationship is supposed to be with God. So, praise should be a natural outpouring of our love for Him. We show our appreciation to the Lord for all He has done and our love for Him in our words of adoration and praise.

If you can’t find your own words to praise God, read the Word. It is filled with praise for our Mighty Creator. No one is like Him and no one deserves the praise that is His just because of Who He is.

A creature is a created being, one created by God. The creatures in Revelation know to praise God, the One who was in the time of creation and all of the patriarchs, the One who is fully present in our lives today and the One who is coming again to rule and reign forever.

Holy, Holy, Holy-Audrey Assad

Watching Over Me

When I was a new mother, I found myself frequently just sitting and watching my new baby breathe, assuring myself that she was indeed okay. As she grew, I continued to watch over her, guiding her away from cars that she didn’t notice or other possible dangers. Now my children have all arrived safely at adulthood and no longer live close to me so I cannot watch over them as I once did. However, my prayers go with them wherever they are and Someone much more capable than I am watches over them and over me.

God is always watching, always attentive to what is happening in our lives. He knows when our hearts need to be strengthened and when we need encouragement and He sends it, at just the right time. It may be a call from a friend or a note from someone new. This week, after months of medical tests and no real answers, I got an Encouragement Card from a new online friend. With a poem that is meaningful and scripture verses encouraging me to persevere. How did Sara know that I needed this? Because God is watching and He whispered to her heart.

We need to be as attentive to others and their needs as God is to us and our needs. We need to listen carefully when He calls. He may not be sending an answer to our prayer, but He may want to use us to help answer the prayers of someone else. Fully committed to God? Yes, with all of my heart and mind and soul! And I know without a doubt that He is watching over me, saw my discouragement and decided I needed a push back into positivity. Sometimes I encourage others and sometimes others encourage me. That’s how this Christian walk of faith works. God is leading and we follow His lead.

Watching Over Me-Jason Upton

The ACTS Prayer Pattern

“A” stands for “adoration.” I believe that every prayer should start with adoration for God for Who He is.

Praise Ye The Lord

“C” is for confession. There should never be a time when you have not willingly confessed your sins to the Lord. All of us are sinners saved by grace and we need to remember where we came from, what He brought us out of.

Forgive Me, Lord

“T” is for thanksgiving for what the Lord has done in your life. Everything we have and all that we are is from Him.

Thankful Heart-Petra

Finally, “S” is supplication. This is telling God what you need and most of us usually start and end and even have this part of prayer as our entire prayer. It is the last thing that we should be approaching the throne for. After adoration, confession and thanksgiving, then we tell God what our needs are, the ones that only He can meet.

Hear My Cry-Maranatha

I generally end my prayers with thanksgiving again, but the pattern above is one that is easy to remember and to follow. I am not saying that all should follow this pattern because I am not a legalistic. I am just suggesting that whatever you pray and however and whenever, you need to remember to include praise, confession and adoration along with your requests. God is your Father, not Santa Claus who brings all the goodies your heart desires. He is your Father who wants what is best for all of us. He may not answer our prayers right away, but His timing is always perfect.

Be Strong

How does one go about getting strong so you can be strong? The physical trainer will say that exercise is the solution. Lift weights, use a bike or a treadmill, or join the latest fad on a Peloton. What does being strong mean? Does it mean that your brain and other faculties are working well, in sync with each other, so that you feel well and healthy? Some of the health gurus would tell you which vitamins to take and foods to eat and what you should avoid to make your body stronger. But my focus is on our spiritual body. How does one get strong in the Lord?

There is really only one way that I know of and that is to spend time with Him, reading His Word and talking to Him. God speaks to us through His Word, inspires us to personalize His Word through His Holy Spirit and makes us stronger in Him as we grow closer to Him. It’s important to spend time with God every day, not neglecting to strengthen our spiritual body, the part of us that will live forever with our Father in Heaven. Many train for marathons and long bicycle races with hours of endurance runs or rides. We are training for a race that will take us into the presence of the King of Kings, so we cannot grow weary and give up in the middle. We have to keep running that race, keep picking up our Bible daily and looking to His Word as our source for wisdom and strength. God’s power is endless, infinite as He is. In our finite minds, it is hard to conceive of a power that created the world from nothing and rules it with sacrificial love. But it is that power, that strength that we need to tap into and hold on tightly once we do. It is only in being plugged into our source of power that we can then be a source for others to get plugged in and come out know our Mighty God.

Be Strong in the Lord

Let’s Start the Month with Praise

This verse is short but filled with wisdom and a call to praise God. We are praising Him not for what He has done for us but for Who He is. I hope that you will join me today, pause and just reflect on Who God is…His names and His greatness.

Great Is the Lord-Michael W. Smith

How Great Is Our God

Awesome God-Michael W. Smith

Note: Please excuse the ads in the worship videos above. And enjoy the praise time!

My Shield

Lately, I have been going on a “Doc Tour” (a phrase coined by my brother). That means that every week I have been to see at least one physician or to the hospital for a medical test as they ponder why I have been getting lightheaded and dizzy and sometimes even passing out. I must admit that this tour has been somewhat exhausting and discouraging, but God has been with me through it all.

My enemies are not the inhabitants of surrounding lands. Rather, it seems that my own body is in rebellion against me, but God is taking care of things for me, keeping me safe and secure in His loving arms.

I know that the victory is ultimately God’s and no matter what happens to me in this life, He has always held me close to Him and helped me to stay upright with His right hand…the Lord Jesus.

I remember being with young grandchildren and playing the classic game of “Hide and Seek.” It never failed to amuse me when the youngest would come to me and hide behind me, telling me I was their hiding place and I wouldn’t let their big brother or sister “get them.” God taught me through that simple game that He is and always has been my hiding place, the one place that I can count on for total safety and security when I am feeling anxious. Not only that, but He sings His songs of victory over me, giving me a feeling of calm that can only come from His presence.

It’s difficult to be thankful for these circumstances, but I am. I am thankful that God is teaching me to be more dependent on Him and to appreciate each new day as it comes. In the midst of all that has been going on in my life, a sweet friend online received a devastating diagnosis. Less than a month ago, Susan got pneumonia and was having real problems breathing. In the hospital, they did all kinds of tests and discovered that her breast cancer that had been in remission had spread to her lungs and other vital organs. Last week, when she was once again in the hospital, the doctors sent her home with hospice care and gave her less than two weeks to live. My faith cried out to God for more time for her to be with her beloved husband and daughter. However, on Tuesday evening, Susan went to be with the Lord. The odd thing is that I did not question or ask “why” as I am wont to do. Instead, I praised God that Susan is no longer suffering but is in the arms of our Lord and Savior. I prayed for comfort for her family as they grieve and for strength for them to get through these hard days. Susan knew the Lord and depended on Him to take her home when the time is right. That has been a lesson that I have needed to learn and that God is still teaching me. I am thankful that I am teachable and that He has patience with me, even as He shields me, protects me, delivers me and hides me. The doctors may never come up with an answer to this mystifying problem, but God already knows the number of my days and has them in His hand. Thus I don’t need to fret over the things that I cannot control; instead I choose to focus on God’s goodness, grace, mercy and love.

“Through It All”-Andrae Crouch

Sunday Is Coming!

Today is Good Friday and we will see crosses everywhere today to commemorate the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. But the cross is not a symbol of death; rather, it is a symbol of new life and hope for each of us who has accepted Jesus into our lives as the Son of God.

If the Roman soldiers who mocked, flogged and spat upon Him can then recognize His deity, how can we deny it?

Jesus left His heavenly home and became a man so that He could die for our sins and destroy the power of Satan once and for all. Satan’s last stronghold is death and Jesus took that away from him. Jesus holds the power over death and the grave and by accepting Him and His power, the chokehold of fear that death has in our lives is vanquished. The last enemy of mankind was destroyed on the cross!

Jesus not only paid for each of our transgressions, purifying us once and for all before the Father, but He also was beaten, wounded horribly, so that we can be healed: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We are made whole because of His sacrifice!

No one made Jesus go to the cross. As he said, He could have called legions of angels to save Him. But He chose to go to Calvary, to die on that wooden stake of torture so that we could be saved. Jesus was obedient to His Father, even unto death. He trusted that God would do just as He said and He would be raised from the dead. Death is coming for each of us…it’s an inevitable fact of life. It is our choice to die knowing that we will live again with Jesus or to face eternity separated from our Creator. Jesus obeyed the Father because He knew and trusted Him. Can we do any less?

Sunday Is Coming-Phil Wickham


I haven’t moved any physical mountains lately, but I have seen mountains in my life fall. They are the mountains that keep me wondering what life is all about and why all the pain and suffering and all of the medical tests with no answers. They are the mountains that help me to know that God is alive and working in my life because He is actively involved in all the circumstances. He didn’t put the mountains in my life, but He will help me move them. Faith moves mountains…Jesus said it and I believe it!

“God Who Moves the Mountains”-Corey Voss

Part of the Crowd

I generally avoid crowded places because, as an introvert, I am uncomfortable around a lot of people whom I don’t know well. But I am looking forward to being in the crowd that surrounds Jesus in Heaven. He is not a stranger to me since I have come to know about Him in His Word. I am truly looking forward to the day when I will see Him face to face and be able to give Him the praise and honor due His Name.

People in today’s world seem to be hung up on diversity and accepting others from all over the world. God already does that because everyone is welcome to come to Heaven. You just have to get the passport that allows you to enter. What passport? The one that says your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. How do you get that to happen? You accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, be baptized and live for Him. May I suggest that if you are seeking salvation that you read the Book of John? It is like a biography of Jesus and the reason He came to earth to be our Savior, how He suffered and died so that we can live forever with Him. He provides the stamp on our passport that says we can be a citizen of Heaven for eternity.

God provides the way to be saved, but it is up to us to accept the free gift that He offers. If you want to be part of the crowd in Heaven, you have to open the gift.

Finally, once you have chosen to follow the path of Christ, to declare that He is your Lord and Savior, you have to follow Him daily. What that looks like for you is different than what it looks like for me. We each have our own cross to bear as we follow Jesus. For some, it may mean rejection from other family members. For others, it may mean a life of sacrifice on the mission field. For still others, it may mean giving up your old lifestyle to accept a new life in Christ. Whatever it means, it will be worth it when we see Jesus!

“I Have Decided to Follow Jesus”-Bill Gaither