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Nov 16, 2013

TEN ways to LOVE... Devotional Series!


As I was on GOOGLE and pinning on PINTEREST, I found this poster/picture! I saved it and knew it would make a GREAT devotional blog theme series! Might just make a GREAT series for my ABLAZE JR HIGH Ministry group as well! (and a SERIES will hopefully get me to being FAITHFUL in my devotional posts as well!)

TODAY'S 'WAY 2 LOVE': "LISTEN WITHOUT INTERRUPTING"
Key Verse Proverbs 18

It has been said to me that I am a great listener, as I enjoy listening to people (sometimes fortunately & unfortunately even when they do not know I am listening). God has granted me an excellent hearing/listening ability!

Hearing VS Listening... Do you know the difference?? Some people have differing views, and mine is definitely not the 'be all that ends all', but it sums it up well for me, and others I know have a similar view on the topic.

Hearing is the passive activity that your ears were created to do -- Listening is the active activity that involves your ears and your mind! Hearing can involve noises, music, talking in a crowded room, birds, etc. Listening involves actually being involved in the conversation or the noise itself. If I can hear a bird it's sweet, I know the bird is there. But if I truly listen to the bird, I can tell you approximately where the bird is, what kind of bird it is and MORE. Listening involves your two ears and your one mind... You were meant to listen twice as much as you speak, as you only have one mouth!

This is where TODAY's MESSAGE fits in; Listen without interrupting. We all have something to say, and when we are listening to someone else talk, we just want to put our 'two cents' in. There is a difference between interjecting and interrupting as well. Interrupting involves you taking over the conversation, and sometimes its not even about the topic or theme that the conversation was about in the first place. Interjecting is also giving your opinion or view on something that someone is talking about, and you have to technically interrupt sometimes to get your voice heard, but it still remains part of the original conversation, and the first person talking should be able to just continue with what they were saying.

We all have the need to interrupt and interject. I find myself more of an interjector, and I know I have been 'in trouble' for interjecting. It is seen as a problem, as I seem to want my 'two cents' to be heard. Most cases, it's because the total truth is not coming out in the conversation, and I know there are things that should be said but aren't being said. Sometimes, it us just in fact a need to talk.

We all know SOMEONE who comes to mind when you bring up this subject of listening without interrupting... because there is always that one person who needs to be heard. They want everyone to listen to what they have to say. For example, one person I know (not naming names or sexes or places to keep it 'professional') continuously interrupts during a conversation, and so many people are annoyed by it, but it helps when the person in charge can easily bring the conversation back to where we were. Little 'bunny trails' as people like to say are alright for a brief time, but EVERY time is a little ridiculous. (Sometimes they actually have NOTHING to do with what the conversation is about).

Because I am a teacher, I strive to 'listen' to all of the children, tweens, teens and adults that are in my care. It also reflects on you as a person, if you are living the example of listening and not just hearing. But it is also in the way that you speak that is important! Showing LOVE is the BEST way to go!

That golden rule always comes back into play -- 'Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!' How would you want others to respond and listen to you when you are talking.

I found this GREAT picture online when googling hearing vs listening:


PROVERBS 18:13 says: "Answering before listening
    is both stupid and rude." (The Message Version)

The MOST important person that you need to HEAR and LISTEN to is GOD! When you just HEAR words, you do nothing with them. But when you are actually LISTENING to the voice of God, or to the WORD of GOD when you read the Bible, then you can ACTIVELY participate in God's plan for your life.

BE BLESSED!
~Mitzi

"Sorry I've been gone so long!" - Devotions are important!

The only time FACEBOOK time should come before GOD time is in the DICTIONARY!!


DEVOTIONS have been slacking, as time goes by. Does this sound like anyone you know? You awake, hit the snooze button (maybe 2-3 times), jump up, get ready, and you are out the door to tackle the day! Problems come, and problems go... you might say a few prayers through the day... 'help me Lord'... you say your grace at meals, you share the love of Jesus (when you can)... you come home, relax, watch TV, read a book, check facebook... head to bed... oh and say a prayer before sleep (unless you fall asleep too quick).

I had a chat with my Pastor and he was letting me know (something which I did already know, as I have been an Assistant Pastor's wife, and observed situations myself in churches, as I've been in church since I was little) that there are people in the church who 'blame' Pastors for not getting 'fed'. Our Pastor's job is not to feed you daily, he feeds you ONCE a week (maybe twice if you go to a mid-week group like our church). It is OUR responsibility to keep up with devotions, or listen to CDs/DVDs, or watch Christian programming, etc through the week to keep us fed spiritually! I know I have been slacking, but I never ever blame my Pastor or Elders or other Church Leadership.

I realize that this devotional that I share here can touch MANY, as you never know who may stumble upon your webpage/blog. I want to truly apologize, as I know some of you have been faithful readers, faithful to come check if there's something new, and I haven't written anything here since July! It is now November! What kind of witness is that?? So for those of you who are reading now, I pray that you will get into a REGULAR routine with JESUS! You will want to see what HE says, if HE has a message for you before you check out your tweets on Twitter or your Facebook newfeed/timeline. I am reminded of that each and every time that I think, 'ooh I wonder what so and so thinks' or 'is there a message for me, and who is it from', etc. GOD always has a MESSAGE for us, we just have to be ready to listen and hear it!

I was also reminded by a faithful encourager in our church that I haven't been posting devotionals, as she also reads them, and she messaged me to say that she misses them. So, here is my attempt to get back to writing my devotional blog posts. I know I have said it in the past, and I have said 'Sorry I've been gone so long' many times before... but ONE thing I know, is that even when we prove somewhat unfaithful, our GOD is ALWAYS FAITHFUL! He is always there, and even if I don't have a 'quiet time', He still finds ways through the day to speak to me, if only I stop to listen! Each encouragement, idea, inspiration, etc I give credit to Holy Spirit! My life is run by Holy Spirit, and only He can sustain me and grant me the grace (through God the Father) to get through each day!

So I pray for you my readers, that you will be BLESSED as you TAKE TIME OUT FOR JESUS, because HE TOOK TIME OUT FOR YOU!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BjsM3EJ0zE

"If you find yourself slipping then the thing to do, take time out for Jesus, He took time out for you!" Just one step back gets you there... no matter how far away you think you are!

Remember, if you don't have this beautiful relationship with God -- Learn your A,B,C's...
ACCEPT, BELIEVE and CONFESS.

**If you have never prayed the 'salvation prayer' before or experienced the peace & EVERLASTING LOVE that is spoken of above, then here's your chance today. The only thing you are giving up is things that aren't going to last long anyway -- which if you don't give up, will only make your own life not last as long as it could (which is eternally). --- You've already made the first step known - admit to God that you are a sinner, because after all - all of us are sinners. (Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God") After that you need to believe that God is God, and that Jesus is His Son. He sent His Son to die for us, so that we as sinners didn't need to be condemned to death. (Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, bu the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.") Then do as we did above, and Confess your sins to Him and ask for forgiveness -- and then confess aloud that JESUS IS LORD. (Romans 10:9-10 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.") We need to daily ask for forgiveness, because we are human and we will always mess up in some way or another. God is willing and able to forgive us, and welcome YOU into His family. I don't like to write out a prayer to say word for word, as this important step is something that you need to tell God in your own words. Just tell Him what's in your heart - you're a sinner, you want to believe in Him but it may be hard, you want Him to forgive you of what you've done, and you want to choose life with Him through His Son Jesus. It's as simple as that. **

GOD BLESS YOU!


Jul 14, 2013

An Everlasting Love...

"The Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you."

Jeremiah 31:3

This was the 'daily verse' in one of our Bible programs which I read this AM before church, and when I first read it, I began to sing the song, I guess it's by Don Moen, but I have it on another CD. I think it's way back from Youth Group time in Dallas Texas at CFNI. WOW!  Here's a link to the old school song... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_uqZFnrJN4 - by Don Moen

Anyway, then I realized the first line which I never really hear when this verse is referred to. 'The Lord appeared to him from far away'. It got me thinking, God is NEVER far away from us, so the person to whom He is speaking to obviously took steps away from God. Which is important for us to remember... that even when we are NOT faithful, and walking with God, He still loves us with an everlasting love, and He remains faithful to us no matter what.

Sometimes I think of myself as unfaithful, because some days, I certainly don't feel like I deserve this everlasting & unconditional love of the Father. Some days I don't stop to read the Word, or listen for His voice, I do pray through the day, but wonder if He actually listens when we don't do our other parts to stay true to Him. I try to do my 'devotional' daily, but sometimes its just a quick view of words on a page, it doesn't sink in and I don't meditate on it. Other days, its refreshing and I can see God's hand at work in my life. I do know that He is faithful, and He will prove faithful in my life. Times where I feel like I have failed Him, He's just there with open arms reminding me of my worth in His kingdom.

I know that I have had a 'relationship' with him since I was very young and just began to speak and understand the Word of God (this is part of the reason I believe that I have such a strong passion for loving kiddos and teaching/training them in the ways of the Lord). From the young age of 3, I began to seek Him, because I heard of the faithfulness of God in the biblical accounts that my Mom, Pastor & Sunday School teachers shared. In my tweens & teens, I wasn't blessed to be a part of a strong youth group,  as we switched churches a lot. I did however join several youth activities, but they weren't really 'experiencing' the true God & His Holy Spirit as I read of in the Bible. When I was 19 & 20, we went back to our Pentecostal church (where I came to know Jesus) and I was basically 'too old' for youth group, but was welcomed in with open arms (as I am very youthful - LOL!) to the youth group at our church. After some AMAZING experiences with Holy Spirit, and a visit to 'Youth for the Nations' at the 'Christ For the Nations Institute' we finally experienced the true God for ourselves. WOW! I was then baptized by water & fire in the same year. What a difference between 'knowing of' (having biblical knowledge) and 'knowing' (having true relationship with) GOD. I'm thankful so much for the teachers who have been in my life since I was that young 3 yr old making the decision to serve JESUS.

Through the years He has certainly proved faithful, and led me through different paths where I have increased my FAITH in Him. I gained a TRUST in Him like no other. I can say that I made it through the many temptations in High School and come out with very few 'scars'. I had friends who were involved in many different things that a 'Christian' wouldn't, and I was the 'solid' one... I am thankful for the Lord's faithfulness in my life. In my college years, I gained more of an understanding of the calling to 'teach' when I graduated from Early Childhood Education. Although it's not a Christian view of things, I stood firm in my beliefs and my faith. However, there were things done in these years that I am not proud of, but I made it through those temptations & sins, and repented of those, because of my Faithful God! It's in desperate times like those, where you are single, and have no children, and hear the promises of God in your ear, where you try to do things on your own... like Abraham and Sarah when she chose to let Abraham sleep with Hagar to get a child. Now, I never did those things... LOL! But sometimes you think you should 'settle' with what is given, instead of pressing forward to the promises that God has for you. We try to do things in our own ways, in our own strength, and try to 'help' God of course, but really those things take us further from God's will.

God's everlasting love has proved faithful, and through that time of 'waiting', God was preparing me for the man of my dreams, and was preparing him for me. Excitedly I moved into a marriage (almost 10 years ago now -- WOW!) and now we are 'waiting' on Him again for the fulfillment of promises.

Because of my love for God, and wanting to prove him faithful to the next generations, I am excited to be a part of our Children's Ministry and Junior Youth programs (and still have a special spot in the hearts of our Sr Youth). It's possible to stay strong, and true and follow Jesus. Even in times when we seem to 'walk away' from Him, His faithfulness stands true, and His love is everlasting! Showing them that He can and will do what He says He will do is an important part of our walk. But even more so, we want others (LIKE YOU) to see that He is faithful. It doesn't depend on whether you believe in evolution, abortion, etc... it depends on your RELATIONSHIP with a God who is real, who has a SON who died for YOU and the sins  you did commit, are committing right now, and even the ones you haven't even committed yet. It also is a relationship with Holy Spirit, who is the person with us here on earth. He shows us and guides us into righteousness. He comforts us, disciplines us, rebukes us, corrects us and is there for us. We can LEAN ON HIM, and know that He will ALWAYS be there to catch us! Then Holy Spirit will lead you into the TRUTH on subjects such as evolution or abortion. (No matter what science or the medical field says or rules upon).

GOD does love us with an EVERLASTING love, He will incline to us, He will embrace us, He will prove FAITHFUL in all that He says! No matter how 'bad' you think you are, He has the best plans for you, we just need to accept them.

I apologize to my friends and family for not always shining the light, or diffusing the fragrance of God, or correcting in love, or being the example that I should be. I know I don't do a 'terrible' job, but we all can use some work. Thank You Lord for Your forgiveness and Your Holy Spirit that helps guide us into all TRUTH! :)

THANKS for 'listening' to me... may YOU be blessed beyond belief by the faithful everlasting love of the Father. Even those of YOU who have never experienced a true father's love like I have on earth with my Pops. Choose today to turn back to Him.

Remember, if you don't have this beautiful relationship with God -- Learn your A,B,C's...
ACCEPT, BELIEVE and CONFESS.

**If you have never prayed the 'salvation prayer' before or experienced the peace & EVERLASTING LOVE that is spoken of above, then here's your chance today. The only thing you are giving up is things that aren't going to last long anyway -- which if you don't give up, will only make your own life not last as long as it could (which is eternally). --- You've already made the first step known - admit to God that you are a sinner, because after all - all of us are sinners. (Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God") After that you need to believe that God is God, and that Jesus is His Son. He sent His Son to die for us, so that we as sinners didn't need to be condemned to death. (Romans 6:23 "For the wages of sin is death, bu the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.") Then do as we did above, and Confess your sins to Him and ask for forgiveness -- and then confess aloud that JESUS IS LORD. (Romans 10:9-10 "If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.") We need to daily ask for forgiveness, because we are human and we will always mess up in some way or another. God is willing and able to forgive us, and welcome YOU into His family. I don't like to write out a prayer to say word for word, as this important step is something that you need to tell God in your own words. Just tell Him what's in your heart - you're a sinner, you want to believe in Him but it may be hard, you want Him to forgive you of what you've done, and you want to choose life with Him through His Son Jesus. It's as simple as that. **

GOD BLESS YOU!




Apr 27, 2013

'Bridging the Generation Gap'... "so the next generation would know"

"Generations behind will be stronger if they see it lived out in us" ~ Dr. J. Johns


There are so many people in the world today, differing in gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, religious beliefs, faith-based relationships, and there are MANY things that are not being passed down from generation to generation, that should be. Common Sense no longer really exists, and it is something that is learned, yet also gained through experience and understanding of others around you. There is a LARGE Gap between generations, and through the power of the CROSS and the hands & feet of ALL generations we can connect to each other again, and bridge the gap. We can stand in the gap, and cry out to God to restore us as a people.

Not all, but alot of 'young people' today are being blamed for a lot of things (some yes, it's understandable), but for a lot of it, it is because they are NOT seeing it lived out in the generations before them (Me included).  Things like HONOUR, RESPECT, WORK ETHIC and INITIATIVE are being replaced with SELFISHNESS, EGO-TRIPS, LAZINESS, and 'SOMEONE ELSE CAN DO IT' or 'IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM/I DIDN'T DO IT' attitudes. For too long we have let things slip in teaching, training or just in our living out with the generations behind us.

Things like TRUTH, JUSTICE, FREEDOM, WISDOM, FAMILY VALUES, MORALS, TRADITIONS are not being taught to the generations behind us. (This goes for ALL generations -- because even generations 2 under you are watching you.) Now is the TIME to take back our 'kids'... but even more so, 'Kids' be an example to the Generations before you...

The BIBLE is GOD'S WORD, and it is TRUTH. Jesus Himself, is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. The words in the BIBLE are TRUE, they are not just fables or stories told long ago, passing through generations. They are HISTORICAL ACCOUNTS of things that happened and people that lived long ago. Their life accounts can be applied to our lives today... their flaws and sins are found in our lives today, their regrets, failures, tests, character flaws, worldly desires, etc can be found in the people of the world today. But the TRUTHS of God's love and faithfulness, and restoring, forgiveness and help can also be shown. God is the SAME, yesterday, today and FOREVER! Their relationship with GOD our Heavenly Father, can and will show us the way to live and not to live. The BIBLE is NOT just a book of religious commands, and 'don'ts', but it can and does show us the things we can do or live out for the generations behind us. No longer can a room full of people rhyme off 'The Lord's Prayer' because they don't 'know' it - have never heard it or learned it {let alone not get 'into trouble' for saying it.} No longer can people say 'well you know, like in the life history of Jonah, who disobeyed God...' because you will have those asking who Jonah is. No longer do parents sit with their children and share the truths that were passed on from their parents and grandparents. {Yes, it is true that some families do share time together, and that is great. I am thankful for family time with my family, and my 'family-in-love'.}

NOW is the time to grow and learn TOGETHER. Each generation sharing with the one after it, and even sharing with the ones before. We can ALL learn from each other. Yes, the world is changing. Yes, the world is getting younger, but it is still getting older. Yes, we need to focus on the 'youth' of today and tomorrow, and make things flashy and fun for them... but we cannot lose faith in the generations of yesterday, in the timeless hymns and traditional values of the past. They are needed to show the example of love, faithfulness, loyalty, honour, grace, God's goodness through the years, and more! We have to remember we are still training and teaching them, and they us. We need to be applicable to ALL generations... if that means flashyness with large print, then so be it! :) HONOURING ALL generations is important, as the generations behind will see it, and live it out!

I am so glad that I am able to participate and glean from the teaching, training and just plain 'living out' of the 'teachers' & people who have imparted and do still impart into my life... but I am also glad that I myself, am blessed to be a part of training the next generations behind me. I have the ability (thanks to God of course for the giftings & talents, but also to my church and my career) to teach, train, and be a 'living example' for babies (0-18 months), children (18 months - 8 years), tweens (9 yrs - 12 yrs), and teens (13+). I see this as a challenge, yes, as the WORD OF GOD says that teachers will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1) "Do not be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life." (The Message) But most of all I see it as a BLESSING. I have a large SPHERE of INFLUENCE, who will learn and grow, and then teach the next generations behind them. Therefore, I need to live my life by example as well. For not only are the children watching and learning, but their parents and other adults are as well.

One of my 'LIFE VERSES' that Holy Spirit has shown me, and definitely one of the reasons why I do what I do {teaching & training the next generations} is found in Psalms 78 (verses 1-8) {"Listen, dear friends, to God’s truth, bend your ears to what I tell you. I’m chewing on the morsel of a proverb; I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, Stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee. We’re not keeping this to ourselves, we’re passing it along to the next generation— God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done. He planted a witness in Jacob, set his Word firmly in Israel, Then commanded our parents to teach it to their children So the next generation would know, and all the generations to come— Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, Never forget the works of God but keep his commands to the letter. Heaven forbid they should be like their parents, bullheaded and bad, A fickle and faithless bunch who never stayed true to God." - The Message} Verses 6&7 highlighted above, are the ones that stuck out.

"That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;" (Psalms 78:6-7 NKJV)

"...so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands." (Psalms 78:6-7 NIV)

Living a life of love and being an example in all you say and do... that is a challenge and a half... there is always faults in everyone, and through God we can change and renew our lives to be more Christ-like. It's easy to fall into traps of temptation and sin, and to 'talk behind someone's back', to 'sneer' or 'roll your eyes' at someone, to speak words of hurt in bitterness, etc... but it's even easier to just take ONE STEP back to Jesus, and lay it all at His feet, and let Him renew and restore your heart and mind. It takes alot to remember that others are watching (especially if you are a teacher of any kind) -- and it is a 'slow fade', it doesn't happen all at once... the temptation/sin or the redemptive process... It's not an IMMEDIATE action to fall into temptation and sin, and it's also not an IMMEDIATE action to be renewed and restored. The CHANGE from the TOUCH of GOD's hand on your life is immediate, but you still have to make the right choices to do right, and our "thoughts invade, and choices are made" as in the words in the song 'Slow Fade' by Casting Crowns. All the words to the song are powerful -- but one line always hits me, "Be careful little feet where you go, for it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow".

BE AN EXAMPLE and if you know me, HELP ME to BE AN EXAMPLE, "so the next generations would know".

May you be BLESSED as you go, and remember there are always 'little eyes' watching you... (did you know that your eyes supposedly stay the same size as you grow -- so all eyes can be considered little?) Live it out, so that we produce stronger generations behind us.


Here's a video to SLOW FADE on Vimeo...
http://vimeo.com/7474108







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