Well, my birthday is this month.  51.  Yeah, I know.  In some situations that’s not really that old.  In others, I went over the top of the hill a long time ago.

In my getting older, it dawned on me just how fortunate and blessed I am that my mother and father are still alive. They live in Florida and on my most recent visit, I realized that they really like it when I’m there. Sure, we’ve talked on Facetime about once a week, but that doesn’t hold a candle to physically seeing me, and hugging me.  We can have face to face conversations!

They are both in the they’re mid-late 80’s and I think they were happy to have me do some things around their house.  I spent part of the trip cleaning and dusting. I reworked some of the grout on their outside patio and realized that it’ll look a lot better if I just redo the whole thing. That’s another bigger job that’ll come during a future visit.

I’ve made it a new goal of mine, to go down and visit them about every 3 months.

I think my favorite part of my recent visit was the time I spent going thru some old photo albums that my grand-mother owned.  She lived with us while I was growing up. So it’s like I had two moms at home.

Looking thru old pictures of her, soon after being born in 1915.  Seeing pictures of our family including my great-grand parents, all thru the years.  I had seen these before, but it had been a lot of years.

I’m heading back down for another visit, this time, for Christmas. This time my wife Adrienne is going to get to go with me.  I’m going to pull out those old photo albums and show them to her.  Share some old stories and maybe even a few laughs.

As I’m starting this new decade in my life, I’m starting to appreciate the past. Being thankful for where the Lord has brought me.  And believe me, He brought me. But I’m also looking to the future, with hope.  Knowing that He’s had me in the past and He has my future. I pray that I’m strong enough to continue to trust in Him and see what amazing things He has in store.

One day children were brought to Jesus in the hope that he would lay hands on them and pray over them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus intervened: “Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” – Matthew 19:14 The Message

As I think of the verses above, one of the sweetest and most impactful examples of child-like faith I’ve ever witnessed transpired during Partner Invitation on The Journey.

On Tuesday, September 21, when Keely’s mom called to tell us her little girl wanted to give $20 by doing “extra chores”, our hearts melted.  Little did she know on Thursday, Jesus would inspire 41 people to give $20/month to follow her giving heart, turning $20 into nearly $10,000!

Even now, as I write about Keely’s gift, I’m tearing up.  Ok, I admit I’m a softy, especially when I think of a nine-year-old little girl who is working joyfully for mommy so she can give to Jesus and keep her station going strong during the next six months of ministry.  Look what He did to show us “…God’s Kingdom is made up of people like these!”

We never get tired of saying it – your partnership equals changed lives! 

I’m Larry Walters, radio host and friend of The Journey.  It’s truly a privilege to host Partner Invitation with Kenny and Brittany each Spring and Fall.  Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus through your generous giving, taking your station over the goal!  I’m a life that has been changed as a result of your partnership.

I heard this song a couple of weeks ago at a women’s bible study and I have not been able to shake it for some reason.

House of Miracles

I think because it is a direct reminder to me that God is within me and His power dwells within me.  I think, as humans, we limit God because it can be difficult to grasp the fullness of who He is, and therefore, we limit His ability in our lives.  I could not spend another day not reminding you today that YOU have HIS power within you.  The power that makes demons flee, the power that heals, the power that works things for good; that is within you today and every day moving forward.  You alone are a house of miracles because He is within you.  Whatever you have left at the feet of Jesus today, leave it right there.  Do not go back and pick it up.  He is able. He is capable of carrying it for you and in fact, He wants to because that frees you to go and speak of Him.

As The Journey heads into this Fall Partner Invitation, I am reminded that this message is exactly what we get to share each and every day with you, our listeners.  We get the chance and the ability to remind you that God is a chain breaker, that He brought Jericho’s walls down, and that He is moving and changing lives. We are not who we once were, and we dare people to tell us that God won’t do what He says He will do. On those really rough days we remember that God desires to hold on to us. He is within us each and every day and we have His love, mercy, joy and power within us.  This is my prayer for my kids as they go back to school; that they realize they have God’s power sewed into every fiber of their being and that He has outfitted them with His armor and that they can face each day knowing His power is within them and they can speak of Him and His goodness.

So, come alive my friends.  Go be the House of Miracles and let His power move.

Lately God’s been reminding me that even on my worst day he still loves me for exactly who I am. I’m Brittany from The Morning Journey and lately the song Who Am I from NeedtoBreathe really speaks to me.

Sometimes my bad decisions

Define my false suspicions

No one should ever love me like you do

While I’m on this road you take my hand

Somehow you really love who I really am

I push you away, still you won’t let go

You grow your roses on my barren soul

This song on The Journey reminds me that when I feel like I can’t or when I feel like I’ve failed, God can and He will. Thank you for helping provide that hope to me and others who so desperately need it. Your partnership = changed lives. Will you join the journey family by partnering with us during our Fall Partner Invitation September 21st – 24th.

Showing love and compassion should be natural to the Christ follower. We care about others…our neighbors, right? We care about family members and friends in our surroundings because we know what it’s like to be cared for. God creates and loves every single human life. We are made imago dei, in the image of God. Circumstances have no bearing whatsoever on the depth of God’s love for His image-bearers. By contrast, God’s love is constant! It is our anchor and our compass. At the end of the day, love is the bottom line and our top priority. I remember when I first got saved and couldn’t wait to tell the good news of Jesus with all I came in contact with. As the years have progressed since first giving my life to Christ, I have never wanted to waver in serving others and do outreach. It is my joy and fulfillment in this lifetime.

When is the last time you agreed with God’s nudging to do missions…outreach…serve your neighbor? My challenge would be to do it today and obey a great and mighty God who is the giver of all life. Both physical and spiritual! Share your hope with a lost and dying world. Tell the world about the treasure you’ve found.

Hebrews 6:19 – We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.

There is a plaque on my TV console that says “Life is better when you say your prayers.”

I love seeing that little plaque. It’s a reminder that prayer changes things. It’s a reminder to talk to the One who is in control; The Creator of the entire universe; my God and Father – and yours!

You know, the Bible teaches us in Nehemiah 8:10 that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

I don’t know about you, but when I’m not having regular conversation with the Lord… I can get downright cranky! (It’s hard to admit that.. but it’s true!)

Satan will try to distract us by throwing small and large annoyances and inconveniences our way. Often, our distractions come in the form of our responsibilities and our stresses. Other times, it’s life’s unexpected circumstances that try to take our attention off of the Lord and onto things (problems) of this world.

Got a flat tire? Forgot your lunch at home? Have an unexpected bill? Instead of stressing, start praying! The joy of the Lord is your strength.

Can we just break down this verse for a minute?

Who’s joy? God’s joy. Not yours or mine, but His. Who’s strength? Your strength.

God’s joy – his beautiful perfect joy… will give you the strength you need to endure whatever circumstances you’re going through. When you spend time with God, you become stronger, and, I might add? … even joyful!

So, remember: Life is better when you say your prayers. Have you talked to God today?

When I was younger, I remember wise friends trying to counsel me about “being patient” and “giving God time” and “being in it for the long haul”. It was difficult for my young, eager heart to accept those words. I wanted success in my career, in my family, spiritually and in every other area of my life to be come quickly. I remember one particular time when a mentor in business told me I needed to wait on the Lord and take it one step at a time. Boy, I didn’t want to hear that. But he was right. And the ‘wounds’ of a friend can be trusted. Fast forward to now and, looking back, I now have almost 20-20 “rearview mirror” hindsight to see how God has worked out all the details, in His time, not mine, to bring me to this season of my life.

It is certainly important to “plan our course”, as the Proverb below says. We don’t want to presume upon God, as though we have no part in the process. But, ultimately, He is the One who moves the chess pieces around on the board of our lives (always seeing several moves ahead), to work and to will His good pleasure. Another lifelong friend used to say “work as if it all depends on you, but pray as if it all depends on God”.

So, if right now you are feeling as though your career is seemingly stalled, your family situation is not what you want it to be, or you are hoping to see transformation and healing in the life of someone you love, ask God for patience. And a perspective to realize that many things in life take time. Often, these types of things do not happen on our schedule. My experience has always been that, when I choose to trust what He is doing, even though it may not make sense to me, the outcome will be much more wonderful than anything I could have asked for or imagined. Today, take one step at a time, and let the on-going process of life, under God’s direction, unfold before your eyes.

Proverbs 16:9

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

We have all said things we shouldn’t have and the moment we say them, wish we could take them back. We have all done things we knew we shouldn’t do and are ashamed of. None of us are perfect. The Bible says in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”.  But do you ever find that you did something in your life that even though you are now saved and the precious, cleansing blood of Jesus Christ washed away that sin, you can’t seem to forgive yourself?  You are not alone!

Do you wonder how in the world could I do that yet the Lord finds it in His heart to forgive me? But rest assured, He has!!  Hebrews 10:17 says “I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more”.  We all fail God. We don’t mean to and certainly don’t want to, but we do. But praise God, He forgives us!

My pastor says all the time, if you ask God to forgive you today and tomorrow you could talk to Him and say Lord, remember that terrible thing I did yesterday? And the Lord will look at you and say, I have no idea what you are talking about. That sin was put under the blood of Jesus Christ and was forgiven!

Put all of your trust in the Lord. When you ask Him for forgiveness, forgive yourself. Instead of spending time and energy beating yourself up for something He has forgiven and forgotten, use that time to worship Him, to praise Him, and most important to tell others about Him!  My favorite Bible verse is 2 Corinthians 5:17:

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

BE STILL – Two small and simple words, but oh how daunting this can be! When our lives send us running in so many different directions, and we feel overwhelmed, being still is the last thing on our minds.

I can’t slow down because something is sure to be neglected. We say to ourselves, I’ll make it a point to spend some much needed time with God – at the end of the day. We’ll fit Him in when our to-do list is complete.  And if we’re honest with ourselves, we may be wondering if God is really there.

I can relate having been through the quiet moments, busily running my family household, neglecting the very One that desires my time. Any parent desires to share these moments with their child.

The God of this universe, who created the sun, the stars and nature’s beauty all around us, knows us inside and out. He sees all, knows all, and nothing comes as a surprise to Him. He is always working on our behalf, even when we ‘feel’ like nobody cares, and complete silence surrounds us. Our Heavenly Father is working things out for our good.

When our thoughts are consumed with hopelessness, discouragement, confusion, fear and restlessness, say no to the clever whispers of the enemy, and just Be Still.

When things get overwhelming in your life, grab your bible, maybe a cup of coffee or tea, find a cozy corner to escape life’s demands and just be. Listen for the voice of the Shepherd, let Him fill your heart and mind with love, hope, compassion, forgiveness, confidence, mercy and His never-ending joy as we just “Be Still” in His Loving Presence.

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

At 53, being raised in a Christian home, and receiving Christ at the age of 12; you’d think I would be able to resist temptation like Superman soars over tall buildings.  Yes, well, that would be as fiction as Superman.  I’ve been on the mountaintop many times and I’ve also been so low, I’ve thought, “does God really know me?”  These lows tend to happen when my prayer life is also low.  No matter who you are, the devil will try every avenue to distract and discourage you.  The good news is, God is just a prayer away to lift me up.  Something that baffles me, also encourages me.  To think through the thousands of years the earth has existed, the countless wars and devastating times this world has seen, and among the billions of people that have ever lived and needed His attention way more than me…. like spiritual leaders, people fighting for the lives, people making real change, and God makes time to talk to me?  He answers MY prayers?  An unimportant, simple, country-girl from Lynchburg matters?  Yes, yes I do.  He has shown me undeniable miracles and answered prayers.   He’s better than Superman… and real… and we are all important to Him.

Philippians 4:6-7 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Paul is telling Christians, not to waste time worrying. Instead of worrying, pray and worship. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness will come and settle you down.  So when I start to feel discouraged, or worry, a prayer sets my thoughts to right.

If I could only share one piece of advice, it would be to start your day with this prayer, “Lord help me Glorify you in every thought and action today.”  Physically say these words to Him.  Have a conversation and ask God to guide your every thought. It will make a HUGE difference in your daily walk and focus.

 

Some lines from a favorite song, “Lord, I Need You” by Chris Tomlin, include:

Lord I come, I confess

Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart

You’re the one that guides my heart
So teach my song to rise to You

When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You,

Jesus You’re my hope and stay!

I have always appeared to be very confident, but most of my life my confidence has been rooted in all the wrong things. I’m Brittany from the morning Journey and most of my confidence and identity have been rooted in achievement. When I was in school it was easy to feel confident because I made good grades. As I got older I started to get my confidence in my looks, and the attention that brought me. Then when I excelled in my career path I started to shift my confidence there, and most recently I have found my confidence to be rooted in my relationships, especially with friends. What’s wrong with finding my confidence in these things, is that they are empty. When I didn’t have grades, a career, felt ugly, or had a fall out with my friends it wrecked me. I found myself floundering, looking for assurance in all the wrong places, and mostly looking inward at myself instead of towards Christ.

I found myself starting to sing the Sanctus real song Confidence that you hear on The Journey. “You took a shepherd boy, And made him a King, So I’m gonna trust you and give you everything, I’ll be a conquerer, ‘Cause you fight for me, I’ll be a champion claiming your victory, So give me faith like Daniel in the lion’s den, Give me hope like Moses in the wilderness, Give me a heart like David, Lord be my defense, So I can face my giants with confidence”

Recently God led me to a post by Lynn Cowell, where she reminds us that one of Satan’s greatest tactics is distracting us from the Holy Spirit that lives inside us. That is where our confidence should come from. I have found that when I fix my eyes on Jesus, nothing can shake my confidence. It’s freeing, empowering, and something that no one can take from me. Don’t let the enemy distract you from Jesus and who he says you are!