God’s Got This!

Last week as I was walking, I took this picture.  The same evening my pastor asked me to put this verse in our church newsletter.   As I was searching the internet for this verse with a picture, none really spoke to me.  However,  this picture that I had taken earlier came to mind.   So I paired the two together.   I think this picture and verse go together so well.   Sometimes, all I can see are the “bare trees” in my life.  I fail to see the “Son” shining through what I consider to be barren.  Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite promises from the Lord.  When I see difficulties, hopelessness, lack of purpose, and disappointment in my life, my Lord is still declaring “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  I’m so thankful that He is sovereign, and that I can truly say “God’s got this”.   I have hope, purpose, joy… even when things are difficult and disappointing.  I have a future with my Lord!

Please know dear friends that you can claim this promise in your life too if you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior!   He is in control and has our best interest in mind!   This past Friday, I did something as I was leaving home to go to work that I considered to be really stupid on my part.   This “stupid” thing involved my car, and my thinking that something serious was wrong with the car.   So I turned around, come home and switched to our truck.    Later that evening, I realized that the “serious” problem wasn’t a problem at all.   I kept thinking about how dumb I had been until the following evening when the Lord kind of shouted out to me that although I thought what I did was stupid; it was possibly Him keeping me from harm instead.   What I considered to be an inconvenience and aggravating, could possibly have saved my life.   God has promised me that He has plans for my life.   I may not understand them all-  like last Friday, but I know He has my best interest in mind!  His good plan, purpose, and future for my life far outweigh anything I could possibly imagine!  For that, I am thankful!

Abiding in The Vine

I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

A few months back several of my African Violets were blooming, and I thought it would be fun to share them with you.   African Violets have always been a favorite of mine .  Immediately John 15:5 came to mind in planning to share my violets.   Just as these violets must have the vine to flourish with beautiful leaves and flowers, so must we abide in the True Vine to flourish in our lives.

How do we abide in the Vine?   First of all a personal relationship with Jesus-   asking Jesus to forgive our sins, and be Lord and Master of our lives.

Second, we remain attached to the Vine by spending time in God’s word, The Bible.  Study His word, memorize it, dwell on it, and apply it in our lives (Rooted and Watered).

Third, we abide in the Vine through prayer.   Prayer is so important to a Christ follower.   Through prayer, a Christ follower receives direction for life (growth), is convicted of sin and receives forgiveness (pruning),  and realizes true comfort, strength, and joy (flourishes).

Fourth, we remain in the Vine when we obey Him, and share the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ! (Bearing Fruit).

We have just embarked into a new year.   Many have looked ahead to 2021 with hope and anticipation for a better year than 2020. Whatever 2021 holds for us, the best thing we can do this year is abide in the True Vine, Jesus Christ.   Remember as we abide in Him, we will be rooted and watered.  We will grow, be pruned, flourish, and bear fruit for Him.  After Jesus talks about abiding in Him, He talks about joy.  Was your joy lacking in 2020?  Listen to Jesus’ words in John 15:11   “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”  Let’s abide in Jesus this year, and experience true joy!


Jesus Is Essential


We’ve heard a lot about essential things, essential workers, etc., over the past few months.  What really is essential?  Just the other day, I saw an advertisement for a t-shirt as I was scrolling through social media.  The message on the t-shirt was simple but so true!   “Jesus is Essential”  was the message displayed in simple letters on the t-shirt.

There are a lot things that we consider to be essential such as our spouses, family, homes, food, clothing, transportation, and the list could go on.   Honestly, though, Jesus is the only true “essential” for our lives.

2 Chronicles 14 tells the story of King Asa who did what was “right in the sight of the Lord his God.”  King Asa commanded Judah to seek the Lord God.   The Amplified version explains to seek the Lord God as “[to inquire of and for Him and seek Him as a vital necessity].”    A “vital necessity”- sounds “essential” to me.   King Asa, and the people of Judah did indeed seek God and they observed the laws God gave to Moses.   As a result of seeking God and realizing Him as essential to their lives, and obeying His commandments, their kingdom experienced rest-  their kingdom was undisturbed.  No one was at war with them during this time.

King Asa was quick to give credit to God for this time of rest.   King Asa says “we have sought Him [longing for Him with all our heart] and He has given us peace on every side.”  Oh, how we need the kind of peace that comes from longing for God with all our heart, from seeking Him as our “vital necessity”- peace that comes from realizing Jesus is essential in our lives.

Later on in 2 Chronicles 14, an Ethiopian army comes out against King Asa and the Kingdom of Judah.  King Asa then does something very important as he comes out in battle formation he “called out to the Lord his God, saying, “O Lord, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and the weak; so help us, O Lord our God, for we trust in and rely on You, and in Your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; let not man prevail against You.”

He called out to God!   He placed his trust in, and relied on God as they come against the multitude of the Ethiopian army.   He begged God not to let evil prevail.   There is a lot for us to learn from this.   First, we have come up against a “multitude” the past few months as the Coronavirus has come against us, and as tension, hatred, and sin seems to have gripped our country.  This is a massive situation unlike anything we have ever faced.  What should we do?  I pray that we respond  by calling out to God to help us just like King Asa did.     Second, but not least, we need to recognize Jesus is essential to our lives.  Third, and certainly not least, we need to give credit to God, to worship Him and give Him glory and praise for how He is working through this time unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.   We need to thank Him for giving us rest and peace.   We need to thank Him that we can call out to Him when we are faced with a “multitude” that has come against us.

Call out to God- He desires us to call out to Him!   He’s waiting for us to call out to Him, to humble ourselves before Him, ask for forgiveness, and long for Him with all our hearts!

Jesus is essential!

Foundations 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family

Ruth Chou Simmons, one of my favorites, has teamed up with her husband, Troy, for another wonderful book that I would like to share with you!   Foundations 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family is a must read!   Ruth and Troy share 12 foundational truths from God’s Word that are not only for families but for individuals or couples.   These foundational truths are an encouragement to Christ followers to really dive into God’s Word, and realize the significance of God’s Word in our every day lives.   Loving God, sin, hiding God’s Word in our hearts, encouraging each other, are some of the foundational truths they share in a short format suitable for individual quiet times or family worship times.   One of my favorite quotes  is:  “God’s Word is not a magic pill that keeps you from sinning.  Instead, when we store it up in our hearts, it floods us with truth, filling us up with the gospel’s good news melody–so much so that it’s the one song we sing.”  Do you want this to be your “one song”?   I encourage to you to get a copy of Foundations and start applying these foundational truths today!

Foundations releases tomorrow, March 3.  There are some great pre-order bonuses, and if you order by Friday, March 6, you can still get the pre-order bonuses by submitting your receipt info here.  Also, please see my early release review on Goodreads below.

969109: Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family
By Ruth Chou Simons & Troy Simons / Harvest House Publishers


My early release review on Goodreads:

Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family

Foundations: 12 Biblical Truths to Shape a Family by Ruth Chou Simons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Foundations by Ruth Chou Simons & Troy Simons is such a wonderful book about laying foundations in God’s Word. Whether you are single, married, have children, or no children, I highly recommend Foundations! The basis of Foundations is laid out in the introduction where Ruth is sharing how she was “flustered and angry” from exhaustion from a child who was a horrible sleeper. Ruth shares how she would see “Troy getting out of bed to spend time in the Word”, and she asked him “How can you afford to get up and read your Bible? I’m so exhausted and fed up with the lack of sleep!” Troy’s gentle answer was “Babe, honestly, I’m not sure if I can afford not to.” This is so important because Troy has hit the nail on the head…We desperately need God’s Word daily applied to our lives.

Ruth and Troy share 12 foundational truths from God’s Word concerning loving God , sin, hiding God’s Word in our hearts, being an encourager, thinking of others as God does, etc. Very important truths that every Christ follower needs to hear and apply in our lives. Another favorite quote…”God’s Word is not a magic pill that keeps you from sinning. Instead, when we store it up in our hearts, it floods us with truth, filling us up with the gospel’s good news melody–so much so that it’s the one song we sing.” Do you want this to be your “one song”? I encourage to you to get a copy of Foundations and start applying these foundational truths today!

View all my reviews

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The One Who Crowns the Year

Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy new year!   God is good and He has blessed me and my family in so many ways in 2019.  I’m excited to see Him at work in 2020!   Psalm 65 is a joyful Psalm of thanksgiving for God’s provision and salvation!  Here the Psalmist shares of the goodness of God.   Verse 11 says You crown the year with a bountiful harvest; even the hard pathways overflow with abundance.” Friends, it’s my prayer that you know the God who “crowns the year”.  It is He who has provided for our salvation.   Verse 3 states Iniquities prevail against me;  As for our transgressions, You will provide atonement for them.”  First and foremost, God has provided for the forgiveness of our sins through giving His son, Jesus, who paid the penalty for our sin.   Secondly, Psalm 65 attests to how God provides for us even through the hard times we may experience!   As we begin this new year, may we stand in awe of God, be joyful, and be encouraged by His goodness and provisions in our lives.  

Old Man’s Rubble

I had the opportunity this past week to serve at Shelby Mission Camp once again.   I always enjoy going to Shelby Mission Camp.   David and Janet Brown who operate Shelby Mission Camp are great hosts!  We were only able to stay one night this trip, but God blessed with a great day of serving as we went out to work on reparing a room at a ladies’ home that was damaged from a major roof leak.   Another group before us had already re-roofed the house.   Our job was to tear out the old ceiling and insulation, and install new sheetrock ceiling and insulation.  As you can imagine tearing out the old ceiling and insulation created quit a mess.   Old moldy, mildewed sheetrock, insulation, and alot of DUST lay around us.  A big pile of rubble surrounded us!   As we began, to carry out and sweep out all of that rubble, a song from my teenage years came to mind.  Old Man’s Rubble  was wrote and sung by Amy Grant, and also sung by The Imperials.   The song lyrics asks Are you living in an old man’s rubble; Are you listenin’ to the father of lies; Are you walking’ with unnecessary burdens; Are you trying to take them upon yourself; If you are then you’re living in bondage; And you know that’s bad for your spiritual health; And are you trying to live by your emotions; Are you puttin’ your faith in what you feel and see; Then you’re living just to satisfy your passions; And you better be careful, ’cause you’re being deceived; Are you living in an old man’s rubble; Are you listenin’ to the father of lies; If you are then you’re headed for trouble; If you listen too long, you’ll eventually die.”  

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.   As the song lyrics continue they proclaim the wonderful truth of 2 Corinthians 5:17 “If you’re living as a new creation; If you’re listening to the Father of light; Then you’re living in a mighty fortress; And you’re gonna’ be clothed in power and might.   

It’s my prayer today that you are living as a new creation- that you are listening to the Father of Light, and not living in an old man’s rubble full of dispair, lies and bondage!   If you are, come to Jesus today!  He stands ready to rescue you from an old man’s rubble!


My Recent Ecuador Trip


Chapel at Camp Chacauco

I have been a little quiet here on the blog this past month due to my trip to Ecuador.   I left on my 11th trip to Ecuador the first of August for 8 days.    After several months of preparation and fundraising, 12 of us headed out in anticipation of what God would do during our time there.   We had been focusing on Ephesians 3:20 –  “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.”  I want to share that God really did more than we could have imagined or asked!   He blessed in so many ways!  God’s presence was so evident even in the smallest details of our trip.    From the smoothest travel this year driving, and in and out of the airports, to guiding us through some health issues that some of our team experienced;  God’s Hand of mercy and grace just seemed to be upon us in a powerful way.   We were blessed to hand out Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes again this year, we led Vacation Bible School in the sweet community of Apatug again this year, and we were able to help some at Camp Chacauco where we stay.   We spent time with our missionary Steve Thompson, and the camp staff all of whom we have come to dearly love!   We’ve also made great friends from Texas over the past 4 years who we love!  The following verse in Ephesians 3 says “to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  (vs. 21).   I would just like to say “to Him be glory!

Now for the picture overload…

Our first day in Ecuador with the city of Quito behind me.

Ecuador is a beautiful country with beautiful flowers.


beautiful waterfalls


and of course, volcanos… This is the Tungurahua Volcano located very close to Camp Chacauco.

lots of farming – here, onions as far as you can see.

and quite possibly the biggest carrots in the world!


The following pictures are related to the different ministry opportunities of our trip.

Sunday morning worship in Ambato


Distribution of Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes in a community with no Christian influence.

Diana presenting the Gospel to the children receiving shoeboxes.


One of my favorite pictures from our trip -the oppportunity to share the Gospel that the

distribution of OCC Shoeboxes provides!

We had the opportunity to visit the seminary at Camp Chacauco.  We have seen this seminary grow from the foundation up over the past 11 years.   Although there is still some work to be done on the building and grounds, it is now a functioning seminary!   Our missionary, Steve Thompson who designed the building, is standing in front in the picture.  PESCA stands for Proyecto Evangelistico y Social Cubriendo la Amazonia (Evangelistic and Social Project Covering the Amazon Jungle.)

Steve sharing more about the seminary inside one of the conference rooms.


Sweet Jessica who handles all things administrative at the seminary.


One of the beautiful doors coming into the Seminary from the lower level.


Some of the work at the camp included the girls helping clean and organize the pharmacy,  and the boys pouring concrete for a retaining wall.   Pictured above is Emma from our group, whose nursing skills helped greatly with organizing of the pharmacy!

Andrea preparing some first aid bags to go to the jungle camp the following week.

Vacation Bible School in Apatug – We love the community of Apatug, and have been going there for several years.

the sweet children of Apatug

Spinners we made from repurposed cd’s!  They make wonderful spinners!

We have seen these girls grow up!

Craft time!


Two Betsys – One from our group (left), teaching the Bible lesson, and Betsabe (right) from Ecuador, translating.  We had the blessing of working with Betsabe last year and this year both!


The last day of VBS, our lesson was on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.  We were blessed to have around 300 pairs of socks to take with us this year, and following the lesson we washed the children’s feet and placed the new socks on their feet.   This was one of the most special and meaningful times I have experienced in 11 years of going on “mission” to Ecuador.


Group picture last day of VBS.


When you have the opportunity and blessing to enter into partnership over several years , special friendships and “family” are the result.  Pictured below are a few:

Mauricio- my adopted son!

Mauricio’s Mom – Mariana

Our dear friends – Esteban (not pictured), Diana & son, Pablito


Susana –  she has been such a sweet blessing over the years!

A dear friend from Texas, Stacy!

New friends, Iveth & Lissette!


And our dear missionaries Steve & Carol Thompson (Carol was in the states with her mom).   Steve sharing Biblical wisdom and encouragement with our group, and just the way He invests in our group during our time in Ecuador is one of the greatest blessings of our partnership!



Threads of Encouragement – Looking for the “Big” Turtle


Design by Red Gremlin Design


Our theme verse this year for our mission trip to Ecuador is Ephesians 3:20.  Several months back, I heard a devotion from Habakkuk 1:5  “Look among the nations and watch—Be utterly astounded!  For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.  In verses 1-4, the prophet Habakkuk is questioning God’s judgements, and verse 5 is God’s answer.   When I heard this verse it reminded me of Ephesians 3:20, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.  

A couple of weeks ago I was taking my Grandaughter, Gracie to school when I saw a big turtle in the road.  Not far from our home, there are a couple of good size ponds beside the road, and the turtle was in the road beside the ponds.  So I stopped in the road (not much traffic on our road), and was trying to show Gracie the turtle.   However, Gracie just couldn’t seem to see the “big” turtle.   She kept saying “I don’t see it”.   I even opened the sliding door so she could see from her car seat easily, and she still said “I can’t see it”.    See, I think Gracie was looking for a small turtle, and overlooking the “big” turtle while looking for a small one.   Isn’t that so much like us to be looking for the ordinary things God might do, or ways we think God might work, or  people we think God might work through.   So many times God works in ways we can’t imagine.   More often than not, we don’t even ask Him to work in “big” ways because we limit His works to what we think possible.   Folks let’s be “utterly astounded” by what our Awesome God wants to do in our lives, through our lives, others lives, and for some of us, a mission trip to Ecuador.   Let’s not only be looking around for the small ordinary works, but let’s look for those “immeasurable more than all we ask or imagine” works our God has to show us.     Why? –you might ask– to give Him glory!  To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Ephesians 3:21.

Gracie did finally see the “big” turtle!

Threads of Encouragement – Elohim, The Supreme Creator


“so that all may see and know,
consider and understand,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.”   Isaiah 41:20

I have been so continually amazed this spring at the beauty God has created.   Our Loving, Glorious, Creator God (Elohim) blesses us daily with the beauty He as created!  His creation is full of splendor and majesty.   Artists and creators down through the years have created wonderful masterpieces of art, but none compare to what our Supreme God (Elohim) has created, creates each day, and continues to create.   He creates with such detail, such brilliant colors, and such beauty that we cannot even begin to comprehend.  God reveals His glory to us through flowers, sunrises, sunsets, plants, trees, water, mountains, animals, the smile of a child, and through so much more of His creation.   I thought I would share some photos of the beautiful creation He has created this spring, and I encourage you to look daily for His glory through His creation!   Hope you enjoy!







Weekly Threads of Encouragement – True Love


(Shared by 106.9 The Light FM)



For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”   John 3:16

The Light FM (106.9) shared a great graphic for Valentine’s Day this week on their Facebook page, and I wanted to share it with you all. Yes, you all are probably thinking that I’m way too late with a post about Valentine’s Day.   But truly, this is a post of Encouragement for Every Day Living.    It’s great to celebrate Valentine’s Day – I certainly enjoyed celebrating with my little granddaughters this year!  My sweet husband knows the way to my heart with a sampler cheesecake, some really sharp cheddar cheese (anything cheese, and I’m happy!), and flowers.  I had a great time putting together my valentine tree for my family to enjoy also!    But, love is not Valentine’s Day.   True love is that God so loved us!   That He gave His One and Only Son as a sacrifice for us.   That whoever would believe in Him would not perish but have everlasting Life!   Everlasting Life with Him in Heaven!   That’s something to get excited about!   It’s truly something to celebrate each and every day!