And I Am Sure Of This

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And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. ~ Philippians 1:6 (ESV)

 

Ever feel like a FAILURE ? An outright no good can’t do it right failure ? (yes, I am aware that I just wrote a run-on sentence )  Yeah? ME TOO. 

Examples of feeling like a FAILURE  (may or may not be MY personal examples..just sayin’) : 

- Trying to be obedient and encouraging and then not being very “encouraging” with your (my) spouse.

- Having a negative attitude.

- Not sticking to what you said you weren’t going to do anymore.

- “Falling off the wagon”

- Not being as successful in your own eyes as you want to be.

- Not shining Jesus.

- Not meeting the expectations that others place on you.

- backsliding

 

You get the point.

 

That is when I am even more grateful for the mercy and grace my Jesus FREELY lavishes on me! Ahhhh! Don’t you agree with me?

SO. DO. NOT. DESERVE. IT.

 

That is BEAUTY my friends. Real life down to earth BEAUTY.

Grace is beauty.

Mercy is beauty.

Forgiveness is beauty.

I’m sure of it.

 

Satan says (I am guessing) : “You have sinned and you fall short. Take your ‘damaged goods’ stamp or sticker or tattoo and give up sister (or brother). Just lay down and have yourself a good ole whiny pity party. Better yet, stay there.”

 

God says (as is written in HIS Word, THE B. I. B. L. E.  and what scriptures say and yes I am paraphrasing,  *scripture reference below)  :“All have sinned and fall short. Accept my GIFT of forgiveness and redemption and walk WITH me. Take your ‘REDEEMED by the blood of JESUS’ stamp and STAND my child. You are loved. You are precious. You are MINE. I am not finished with you yet. Trust me, nothing you have done or will do surprises me.”

 

* For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ. ~ Romans 3:23,24 (ESV)

 

I don’t know about you, but I prefer God’s truth over Satan’s lies.

 

When you fail, and you will, don’t lay down and roll all around in it. Get up and brush your self off and start over. Stand up.

 

AND I AM SURE OF THIS :

HE IS NOT FINISHED.

HE keeps on keeping on and offers us mercy and grace that is so stinking beautiful. Like rainbows on a cloudy day beautiful.  Like the sunshine peeking out after days and days of thunderstorms beautiful. You get the picture.

It is almost too hard to believe it.

Failure is only failure when you give up. Failure is only failure when you don’t learn something from it. Isn’t that how we learn? By making mistakes? (I am not saying that you should fail on purpose. No, not giving you permission to do that.) Just don’t lose HOPE and do NOT give up. STAND UP and rest in JESUS.

 

You might want to listen to this…

07 Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave :

 

 

Striving to SHINE,

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Without JESUS

I’ve found that with grief comes moodiness. Some days I’m more irritable than others. Some parts of the day I’m “ok” and at other moments I’m not.

Not many people see those sides of my grief. Or if they do, I don’t even realize it.

Truth is, I don’t know when the low moments will occur. Anything can trigger them. They may last 5 minutes. They may last 5 hours.

I’m learning that it’s part of the process. Riding the waves of grief. Learning to swim in it. Getting better at holding my head above the waters so that I don’t drown in it.

If I drown in it then I’m not shining Jesus like I should.

As the saying goes: “My lifeguard walks on water.”

I’m so thankful for this TRUTH.

Without JESUS I’d surely drown in grief.

I don’t share these truths for pity. I share them so you’ll know that you are not alone. Everyone will experience their own losses.

We are all appointed once to die. Eternal life is a gift promised to all who believe and call upon The Lord to be saved.

Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. (John 6:47 NIV)

That’s where my hope rests.
That’s where my source of peace is found.
JESUS.

Without JESUS I’d have no hope.
Without JESUS I’d have no peace.

Grief is real. You never “get over” the loss of those you were closest to. You just don’t. Nor should you. They are a part of you. You just learn to swim in the ocean of grief. Sometimes the water is calm and sometimes the water is choppy. You just learn to navigate through and soon it becomes your new normal.

With JESUS it is possible to smile through the tears and shine through the rain.

For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 116:8, 9 NIV)

Believe me. It’s true. But only WITH JESUS.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13 NIV)

Striving to SHINE,

Heather

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To SHINE or Not to SHINE

 

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Ever had one of those moments that make you realize the real deep stuff down in your heart?

The “man, I sure do need Jesus. Because I still have dark in my heart” kind of moment.

The moments when you slip and flesh comes out in your attitude?

NO? Really?

Well, I do.

I think I am walking in the light and shining and something rubs me wrong (maybe my husband or my children or even a complete stranger) and self wants to be a sarcastic smart mouth or even (shhhh) snaps.  Maybe they were really wrong. Maybe they weren’t. Either way, it is always a choice to SHINE or to not shine.

Ever happen to you? Just me? Really?

It is in those moments that the Holy Spirit convicts me, and thank goodness for that gift. It is a gift. Even though we sometimes feel like giving The Holy Spirit an eye roll. (that is self again)

We battle self every single day. I battle self every single day.

 

Self has to die y’all. (Yes, I said y’all. I am a southern girl.)

 

It is in these moments that I am reminded again that nothing I can do will make me deserving of Heaven, and that my salvation has nothing to do with me. It is in these moments, these “self” moments that I am all the more grateful for GRACE and MERCY.

Jesus loves me. I don’t deserve it. But HE does.

 

I want to SHINE Jesus even when “self” is tempted to be dark with an ugly attitude. Light and Dark are total opposites. May we always remember that truth. May we always listen to HIS voice, HIS nudge, and the conviction of The Holy Spirit.

 

Matthew 5:16 ~In the same way let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Striving to Shine,

 

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Our Daddy

For those who knew our Daddy.. For those who didn’t.. Below is WHO HE WAS and a little of what we (his children) wanted to share about him.

How do we even put into words, the depth of love we have for a man that modeled unconditional love and was the picture of love?

We were not ready to let him go, we were not prepared. But are we ever prepared to let the ones we love go?

He was a family man, a man who was humble and never complained. A true gentleman and a gentle man.

He worked hard his entire life and loved tinkering with all kinds of projects. If we needed something fixed, he could do it. If we needed help of any kind, we could always count on him.

He was always there for his family. We were always there for each other. That’s what family does, and that’s what our daddy taught us.

He loved to laugh. He loved to just be with his family and people, in general. He was a strong, brave, and beautiful man. Strong hands that could build, fix, or handle anything. Gentle hands that wiped away tears, hugged tight, and held us. His smile, his hugs, his laughter will be deeply missed. Pray for us as we try to figure out how to walk each day without him here.

The only thing that brings us peace and comfort is knowing that this is our temporary home. We are just passing through and heaven is home for those who believe in Jesus and have a relationship with Jesus.

Daddy loved God and loved people. He had a servants heart and a humble spirit. He made a difference in his time here on earth. He left big shoes to fill and a beautiful legacy. He was the toughest and strongest person we have ever known.

Daddy believed in living life to the fullest. He could literally do anything he set his mind to, possibly due to his hard-headed streak that he passed on to his children. :)

He never took for granted each moment he was given. He was a fighter, and that was clearly evident in the last day of his life. He fought hard. He fought the good fight. He loved us so much, we know this, and we loved and will always love him. None of us were ready to let him go. In the blink of an eye, everything can change.

Don’t waste yours…love with all you’ve got. Spend time with your family, because time is more valuable than anything else. When everything changes, your memories may be all you have left.

When looking through our Daddy’s bible, we found where he wrote in the front of his bible: “I hope I am never able to say no to those who need and ask for help.”

That is who he was.

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I Hear You God

I recently spoke at a “Girl’s Night Out” event that was held at  Redland Baptist. Not because I am a “speaker”, but because of a youth director’s obedience to God and because I knew that when she asked me to do this that it was definitely God wanting me to. Like I said, I am NOT a speaker by nature. I’m a writer. I was totally relating to Moses…the Moses who said “I’m not eloquent of speech..please send somebody else.” (paraphrased from Exodus 4:10 and also from Exodus 4:13)

However, God had been whispering to me that one day I would be “up there speaking and bringing HIS message”. HAHA! I of course replied with: “who? ME? Pshhhh. No. Thank. You.” When I was asked to do this, I immediately said out loud, to God : “I hear you God. You told me.” 

That’s not all I said either. Hahaha! You could say that I was scared to death. Not about speaking in front of people. Not about looking stupid. Not even about the fact that my audience was to be teen girls. Well, yeah, that WAS a bit unnerving. I was so afraid that I would mess up HIS message.

Anybody relate?

This was a FIRST for me. Sure I had taught sunday school, sang solos when I was a teen, led Women’s Bible studies, and put myself out there for HIS glory by writing and blogging. BUT…giving a message to a group of impressionable teen girls, from the pulpit, like for real, this was a FIRST.

I learned through this experience that GOD is so faithful. He provides. HE provided prayer warriors, friends and family who lifted me up and interceded on my behalf, time  to prepare for this day, and HE provided the message. God provided the girls to be there and for their hearts to receive it! God provided the music that fit perfectly with HIS message. HE provided!

(Oh, and I also learned that a 20 minute message can turn into a 40 minute message real fast. LOL)

Hearts were changed and touched that night. Mine included. There is nothing more beautiful than to see girls at the altar, praying alone, praying together, lifting their voices in song.  And honestly the most beautiful thing was to see the love that their youth pastors and leaders and volunteers have for them.

God speaks to us. We just have to listen.

Obedience and Surrender are scary sometimes.

Stepping out of your comfort zone is scary.

What’s even scarier is DISOBEDIENCE.

I am so very thankful that everyone involved was obedient. Obedience leads to blessing. I was definitely blessed by bringing HIS message to those precious girls. I was definitely blessed by their response to HIM.

Wanna hear something funny? Now I can’t wait for another opportunity to bring whatever message God wants to whatever audience HE wants. I am not afraid anymore. I know that MY GOD provides. I am actually praying for opportunities because honestly, my heart’s desire is for others to know Jesus and know that HIS grace really is enough.

I will be sharing the message (that I shared with them) with you all on the next blog post. I’d love for you to tune in and check it out!

I leave you with these questions:

Are you listening to God?

  Are you being obedient or are you trying to tune HIM out?

Joshua 22:5 ~ “But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord gave you: to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to keep his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Until Next Time,

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Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13 ~ I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

  

Knock Knock

Heather Dawkins Photography

Heather Dawkins Photography

During my morning Bible study/quiet time, I read and soaked on Revelation 3:20.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. ~ Revelation 3:20 

Let me give you a little background on this verse. Jesus was speaking to the church of Laodicea. It was a rich and complacent church. One that seemed to have no worries or troubles.

They had trouble though. BIG trouble. Their lack of noticing their NEED for Jesus. They were happy just as they were.  Plenty of material possessions, food, and whatever else.

What they DID NOT HAVE was Jesus Christ’s PRESENCE among them.

Yet, HE clearly stated in REVELATION 3:20 that he was KNOCKING on the door.

Why couldn’t they hear HIM?

Was the music up too loud? Were there too many distractions? Did they not realize that the pleasures of the moment were not going to last? Were they too obsessed with SELF?

If God, His Word (the BIBLE), and church are of no interest to you, that means that you are shutting HIM out.

He is knocking.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

Patiently waiting to spend time with you.

Knock. Knock. Knock. Knock.

He won’t force HIS way in. You HAVE to open the door.

The only way to have lasting joy and peace is to open the door and let HIM in.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

He is NOT ONE who forces us to love and accept HIM. He gives us the choice to open the door.

Until Next Time,

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New Year New Me

Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13-15 NLT)

It’s been quiet here on the blog. Not because my mind has been quiet.. Because it has not. My mind and soul have been overloaded lately. When that happens, I still write, I just don’t publish. Sometimes it’s quiet on here because God is allowing me some time to learn and grow and even rest.

Learn and grow … I’ve definitely been doing that.

Last year God pulled me back from leading a women’s bible study. I wasn’t quite sure as to why at the time. I still obeyed. Around that time, our oldest daughter, a high school sophomore, began expressing an interest in being in a private school or being homeschooled. She’s a wise teen with big plans and dreams for her future. We looked into both, prayed about it, and sent her back to the public high school.

Still praying. Still growing. Learning new things about myself. Learning that boundaries were biblical and good and healthy. Studied a book called Boundaries by Henry Cloud / John Townsend. I did some bible studies on my own, and completed reading and studying through the entire Bible for my first time ever.

Through the last half of last year, I had shingles.. Which was very rare for someone my age. Stress can cause them to appear to anyone who has ever had chickenpox. I was definitely under some stress. My husband had a back injury that had him confined to the bed and then with a walker for several weeks. Things fell apart in different areas and other things fell together.

I got well, He was healed while on vacation. I mean healed. Instantly.
God was good and always faithful.

We also suffered a tragic loss of a family member in December of 2013. God has been faithful and good to our entire family through that as well. Our family’s faith in God is what has sustained everyone. I honestly don’t know how those who don’t have a relationship with God survive the hard, tragic, and trying times in life.

Now on to 2014. After much prayer and research and more prayer, we signed our oldest up with a wonderful Homeschool group… Classical Conversations. She had her first official day of school this Thursday and we couldn’t be more pleased! Never say never… No, really.. Because that’s what I had always said.

God orchestrated every event and meeting and circumstance in a way that led me to meet with a fellow blogger, friend, and homeschooling mom. Which in turn led to us following HIS call on our life. To begin this journey with one of our children. Praying that our youngest will decide on her own to join as well.

Oh, I forgot to mention something. I was asked in the fall to speak at a girl’s conference at a local church. Talk about out of my comfort zone. The thought scared me to death. Me? Yes, HE said.. me. So, after much prayer and seeking wisdom from other Godly women, I agreed. Why? Because praise GODHE uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. Thank goodness, HE also equips the called. AND… Because I don’t plan on speaking MY words. I only want to speak HIS. If one girl’s life is impacted, then I can handle a little stage fright.

I’ve learned to balance my life. Put my husband first, after God. I’ve learned that it’s okay to say no. That it is NECESSARY to eliminate stress. I’ve learned that it’s okay to set boundaries. I’ve learned that I do not have to allow negative opinions to affect me. I’ve learned that sometimes God requires me to do things that make no sense to me or anyone else at the time. I’ve learned that I do not have to make everyone happy and that I can’t. I’ve learned to be still and bridle my tongue. I’ve learned to set limits. I’ve learned to trust HIM more.

I can’t wait to see what else I learn this New Year!

It’s a New Year and each day HE is making a new me.

As a quote I found yesterday on Pinterest says: “I may not have always known what I wanted to be, but I’ve always known the kind of woman I wanted to be.”

I’m on my way.

I’m living for God.

I’m not backing down.

I’m not entertaining negativity.

I’m seeking HIS WILL in everything.

I’m stepping out, even further out, of my comfort zone.

I’m NOT feeling guilty for saying no to negativity or drama or for eliminating stress.

Lots of new changes this year. One homeschooled by me, one still in public school ( middle school). A 16 year old with a driver’s license… (Learning the real meaning to praying without ceasing). Speaking at an event for the first time, (In front of teen girls). Who knows what else.. I do know that whether it be good or tragic, God is good and will hold me and my family in the palm of HIS hands.

One last thing, I wrote a list of my goals for this year in my journal. Maybe you have already done the same thing, if not, maybe you should.

Just know this… Your goals are great but be willing to let God interrupt your plans. For HIS plans are much better. Even if we don’t always understand them.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. (Isaiah 55:8 ESV)

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)

Seeking HIS Will,

Heather

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Thankful Thursday ~ October 17th 2013

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A wise person once said:

” Every day may not be good….but there is something good in every day. “

It is only 6 WEEKS until Thanksgiving! Here in South Georgia the extremely hot days have turned into 80s on some days. That’s better than 100 though! Leaves are falling. The skies are looking more fall like. There’s a slight breeze on most days. Fall decorations are going up outside of homes. Fall is in the air. Even if the air is still a bit warm and humid. :)

Time to do the weekly Thankful Thursday posts again!

Thanks Giving should happen daily. There is no way to be sad while expressing gratitude. There is JOY to be found in giving thanks.

Everybody has something that they can be thankful for. I’m asking you to think of your top 3 things. If we are unable to think of anything then we have a serious reality problem.

Have you heard of the saying: “If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.” ?

See, everyone has STUFF. But, everyone has some good STUFF too!

It’s a matter of perspective. How we choose to look at life. Life is a gift. Each day is a gift…each breath is a miracle. That in itself is something to be thankful for.

The next time you are feeling grumpy or aggravated ask yourself why? Could it be that you have chosen to look at things negatively? Could it be that you haven’t thanked God for anything that day?

God tells us to GIVE THANKS IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Why do you suppose He commands that of us?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ~ Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Maybe when we THANK God in the hard times and even for the hard times…He is pleased and it shows our trust and faith in Him. Faith that He will and can if He so chooses…make all things work together for good for those who are the called, according to HIS purpose. He wants us to trust Him. AND….it plainly says that “this is God’s will for you”.

Some days it is easier and more natural to give thanks. Have you ever given thanks when you didn’t like the situation? No, I don’t mean FAKE thanks. But…thanking God for being there for you when you were not happy. Telling HIM that you don’t understand but you do trust HIM. Thanking God when you were sad or disappointed.

How? By trusting HIM.  Thanking HIM for never abandoning you. He will never abandon HIS children.

Psalm 37:28a ~ For the Lord loves justice, and he will never abandon the godly.

That is something to be thankful for.

Now for my list!

Here are 3 things that I am THANKFUL for today:

1) A husband that loves others with compassion and treats all people with the love of Jesus and equally. So proud to be his wife.

2) Grace from God and family and friends. For loving me when I least deserve it. For loving me when I am unloveable.

3) Family devotions 2 nights in a row. One led entirely by our oldest daughter (picking the topic, verses, etc.. and sharing) and one last night by my husband.

What 3 things are YOU thankful for today?

Share them by replying to this post…or write them in your journal.

Giving thanks is contagious and addictive. A GOOD thing to be addicted to!

Blessings my friends!

 

UNTIL NEXT TIME,

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Looking In The Rear View

~ Short and Sweet Simple Truths ~

I have a question for you.

Are you living life looking in the rear view mirror ALL.THE.TIME. ?

We really can’t truly LIVE in two or more places at the same time. I mean LIVE. Not just survive. But, LIVE, in a way that is pleasing to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Our past mistakes and failures should be remembered.. But never dwelt on.
Dwelling means what? To dwell.. To LIVE there. Dwelling on the past means living there. Is it even possible?

If we are constantly looking in a rear view mirror, we miss the view in front of us. Have you ever just really focused on all the beauty that can be found right in front of your face? You will miss it, if you aren’t living in the present.

photo: HDawkins copyright 2013

photo: HDawkins
copyright 2013

Our past is an important part in our testimony. Our testimony should only point to God and how HE changed us. So, it is important to REMEMBER who we were…. and then press on.

Philippians 3:13,14 (ESV) ~ Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Blessings my friends!
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Don’t Be A Blessing Robber

 

Photo: HDawkins
Copyright 2013

 

There are times when we least expect it that GOD reaches out and loves on us. We don’t deserve it, none of us do, but HE freely gives us HIS LOVE. I don’t know why it still shocks me sometimes…

My FATHER GOD, HE loves me! So much that HE speaks to me in a language that touches my soul. Through the obedience of a friend that HE gave me..even though we have never met in person. As she said, ” Jesus is KOOL like that.”

Right at the moment when I needed it most, my friend sent me this poem that she wrote…right then… For ME. She said that the words kept coming and she stopped what she was doing and had to type them out. She said that she knew that I had to see it right then. That’s obedience friends! That’s using her gift to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

Here is her original work.. She’s a published author.. A talented poet:

To see the truth!!

Oh how some see it!
That look in your eyes!
That feeling of hurt!
That you try to disguise!

The smile you send!
To hide those tears!
The laughter you give!
To fight your fears!

Just be yourself!
For you are loved!
Your healing will come!
From Jesus above!

Despite feeling weak!
You are very strong!
Jesus will help you!
Find where you belong!

Your heart was broken!
Your life has been a mess!
Jesus is healing!
You are beautifully blessed!

Copyright 2013
Jeanie Burkett

Still completely blown away by how my Jesus cares. Time AND Time again. HE is SO GOOD!

My life is blessed. Even in the messy times. Even when times are tough. Aren’t we all a mess sometimes? My life IS blessed. Even on days that I feel weak, HIS SPIRIT IS STRONG IN ME. All of us have fears and All of us hurt at times.

 

Maybe this poem is for you, too. I have a feeling I’m not the only one that ever feels weak or smiles through the struggles, or has yuck days.

 

There IS HEALING in JESUS!

James 5:16 (NLT) ~ Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

Amen!

 

God uses us… HIS children, to speak to others and to serve others with whatever spiritual gifts HE has gifted us with. It’s the Holy Spirit using our bodies and the talents that HE enables us with, to BLESS others and to in turn BRING HIM GLORY.

Romans 11:36 (NLT) ~ For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.

 

I pray that you don’t refuse the gifts that HE has given you. That’s saying NO to God. That’s refusing to let God love others through you. That’s robbing others of a blessing. I’ve been guilty of that as well. I’d bet that most of us have.

1 Peter 4:10 (NLT) ~ God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

 

My hope in sharing this with you is for you to reflect on times when God blessed you through the obedience of someone. Then, I hope you will remember how you felt and use your ears to listen for when God wants you to obediently serve someone else with your gift.

Blessings to YOU!

 

Humbly HIS,

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