faith

Customize scripture, start with Psalm 23

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I saw this idea on a friend's blog and loved it! Our God is a personal god. He wants an intimate relationship with us. My friend, Melody customized the 23rd Psalm to fit what she was personally going through. We aren't changing the meaning of the Word of God only praying it over our specific needs. Just like David cried out to God, so can we. This is an awesome way to pray scripture over your life and whatever you are going through. Here is the original Psalm in the New Living Translation:

The Lord is my shepherd;I have all that I need.He lets me rest in green meadows;he leads me beside peaceful streams.He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths,bringing honor to his name.Even when I walkthrough the darkest valley,I will not be afraid,for you are close beside me.Your rod and your staffprotect and comfort me.You prepare a feast for mein the presence of my enemies.You honor me by anointing my head with oil.My cup overflows with blessings.Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,and I will live in the house of the Lordforever.

As an author, here is my custom Psalm 23:

The Lord is my publisher. I have all that I need. He lets me rest in his mighty provisions; he leads me to peaceful resources. He renews my strength. He guides me with the right words, bringing honor to his name. Even when I type and the words don't make sense, I will not be afraid for you are speaking through me. Your Holy Spirit protects and comforts me guiding me and correcting me. You prepare a platform for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with clarity. My cup overflows with blessings so that I can pour out to others in your name, Jesus. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life and for a thousand generations because of my obedience to your commands. I will live with you now in my heart and for eternity forever.

You focus may be an illness, a career, a challenging relationship or something completely different. Whatever is on your heart, He hears you. Cry out to him like David did!!

Post your custom Psalm below. Let me know if you get stuck as I'd love to help!

Why Jesus is Better Than Walmart

Jesus is Better than Walmart
Jesus is Better than Walmart

Remember when Walmart was first trying to take over the retail world, they would allow you to return anything no questions asked? Well, I have tried more than once to return things I’ve purchased or that were gifted to me, and it turns out their policy has changed over the years.

A few years back, my Christmas list was full of books! Well, it actually is every year, but that particular year my sweet husband surprised me with a Kindle. Immediately, I purchased several books from my list to try it out. Later that Christmas Day, we celebrated with the extended family. My dear aunt had gifted me the hardback version of the same books! I told her what I had done, and she said she bought them at Walmart and I could return them. I told her I would get a gift card to purchase more books for my Kindle. I was so excited about my new toy!

Until I got to Walmart that was…apparently they don’t want to return books because you might have read them. This was the day after Christmas, I don’t read that fast! I explained to the lady what had happened. I hadn’t even cracked open the books. They were in perfect condition. She said it was store policy. I asked for the manager. While I waited for the manager, I read the store policy on the sign behind the counter. It didn’t say a thing about books. When the manager arrived, I explained again what had happened. When she started to spout off about store policy, I pointed to the sign. I ended up getting store credit, but I had to work for it.

Recently, I found myself again at that counter with a gift that I was trying to return. It was a small appliance I just couldn’t figure out. The clerk started the return and then said, “Oh, I’m sorry, you can't return this because it cost too much.” Apparently, their “policy” had changed again! The lady told me they couldn’t return it, because it was over $50. I guess, I wasn’t up for the fight that day. I just took my item and left.

Before anyone starts commenting about how Walmart does this because of all the theft, let me just say I have a close friend that works asset protection and I am very aware of the theft that goes on daily. I still don’t believe that an honest customer should be penalized for the crime of a dishonest thief. Maybe, Walmart should get those cards like some of the grocery stores have that track all the money we spend in their stores. Then they might be nicer to the honest customers.

Jesus
Jesus

Where does Jesus fit into all of this? First of all, His policy never changes! He is the same today as he was 2000 years ago. His promises are the same and true for me, just as they were for the woman at the well as told in the bible. The BEST part is that He will exchange anything! Nothing is too expensive or too used! He died on the cross to exchange His life for our sin! He gladly took back my disobedience, my potty mouth, my suicidal thoughts, my selfishness, my bitterness, my divorce, my gossip…oh, the list is too long! The point is, it doesn’t matter what we’ve done. He loves us enough to take us back! To give us the full refund no questions asked.

If you haven’t fully grasped why Jesus crawled on that cross, if you haven’t taken all your returns, your sins, to Him, make this your time! If you haven’t and want to know anything about His return policy, I’d be happy to help you. We don’t have to carry around all the returns that pile up and clutter our hearts. We can let it all go, and trust in the One who has already paid for mistakes. Our sin causes separation between us and God. Jesus stands in that gap for us. Just like Walmart is the middle man between us and the manufacture of those goods. Jesus chose to be our middle man. He chose to stand in the gap for us–to take the returns upon himself and fully redeem our lives.

Remember at Walmart, how I had to work for my return with the books?  The Good News about Jesus is that we don’t have to work for our return. Scripture tells us in Romans 10:9, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Asking Jesus to come into your life is an amazing gift. Works come in when you fully understand all that He has done for you, and you can’t help but want to honor him with your life.

The truth is NONE of us will ever be good enough for a full exchange. The Good News is we don’t have to be! It’s not based on our works, or how good we are. It is based on His policy of loving us enough to die on our behalf redeeming us fully with God the Father.

 

 

Note: Some links lead to affiliate products or services, meaning if you buy them, I get a commission at no extra cost to you. Please know that I have personal experience with all of the following resources, which is why I recommend them.

I Didn't Expect These Flowers for Valentine's

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They say February is Love Month. Images come to mind of heart shaped boxes filled with yummy chocolates, pink and red flowers, cards with cupids, and romantic candlelight dinners.

That is not exactly the month I had. It was filled with love. It just looked differently.

On January 29, 2017 my 93 year-old grandmother fell and broke her femur at her hip. February rolled in while I was sitting at her bedside in a hospital five hours away from my Valentine. By the fourth we were saying our goodbyes as her kidneys couldn’t come back from all that she’d been through. It was a first for me. The first time I had lost anyone I was this close to. I’d lost loved ones before but I quickly learned that the more you know someone, the more you love someone, the more painful it is to say goodbye. Holding hands It was also the first time I had ever laid my hand on the chest of someone taking their final breath. Just days before that, it was the first time I’d ever been in a hospital room where the Rapid Response Team came flooding in ready with the Crash Cart. It was all happening so fast. My heart was breaking into a puzzle and now a piece would be forever missing. I am so thankful for each memory with my grandma. I am equally as thankful for my sister and the memories we made in that week alone.

Yes, February was Love Month! My love came in the form of holding the hand of the strongest woman I’d ever known while sitting with my sister, the second strongest woman I know. I felt love as my sister and I laughed about the pajama pants she brought me to wear for our hospital sleepover the night before my grandmother passed. One leg of the pants were smaller than the other…it was quite a scene. I wore them anyway and we laughed until we cried. Then we cried some more as our hearts filled with reality.

Love came in with my son and his wife, the next morning as my grandma decided to head home to be with her Forever Friend. The four of us counted the seconds between her breaths. She slipped off peacefully into a world where love never ends.

As my sister and I prepared her arrangements the next day, I had a feeling the funeral would be on Valentine’s Day. Sure enough, that is how it fell allowing enough time for family to arrive. I personally found it very fitting; After all, my grandmother had been one of my greatest loves. She taught me so much about life, love and legacy. I am so honored to be writing about it all in my upcoming book. I am of course saddened that she won’t be here to read it, but she lived it.

flowersThe flowers I received this year for Valentine's came when I got home between her passing and the funeral. My sweet husband and daughter had flowers waiting for me. Then of course on Valentine's the flowers were from loved ones, and a beautiful pink carnation casket spray, exactly what Grandma would have wanted. Jewelry this Valentine's was from Grandma as well. My sister, mom and cousin went through my grandmother's vintage jewelry the night before the visitation. I wore some of the pieces to both the visitation and the funeral. I could almost feel Grandma patting my face telling me how she loved the jewelry on me.

We were surprised with another gift of love when we received a phone call from the San Antonio Express News Paper. They wanted to do a feature story on my grandma. Priscilla Aguirre did an awesome job writing this article honoring my grandma.

Love continued to pour in through family and friends as we all said our final goodbyes. One man that worked with my grandma at the Elks Lodge years before, road his bicycle up to the visitation. Who does that? A man touched by my grandmother’s life, that’s who! Such love was felt from all whom attended her services, paid condolences and sent cards.

A sweet friend I call my Tyler grandma, (because we live by Tyler and she does, as well), gave me the sweetest gift. A pretty lace shawl in a gift bag covered with flowers. She said it was a bouquet of remembrance and that each time I wore it she hoped it brought sweet memories of my grandma. Love…that is love…

I am still numb, still grieving but know that as we Spring Forward (Daylight savings thing in Texas) now in March, that my grandma would want me to do the same…spring forward. She always believed that God had the solution to her problems long before she had the problems. I will do my best to spring forward. To get back to writing her book, writing here on my blog and on my hiking blog(we leave for a schedule trip Thursday!!!). I will continue to live as God has called me to knowing that would be exactly what she would have done.

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Big Fat Scary Dreams

There is nothing to writing. All you have to do is sit down at a typrwriter and bleed. I have a dream that scares me. My dream is bigger than me. It's bigger than my education. It's bigger than anything I've done before. Pursuing my dream is stretching me. I feel the tension. My words feel trapped in the thickness. Today, I am taking a deep breath and pushing myself further as I exhale.

Just like when we stretch our bodies, if we take a deep breath, we can stretch a bit further when we exhale. Try it. It's true. Exhaling is like letting go.

I am letting go of this vulnerable feeling. I am letting go of what you might think when you read this. I am letting go of the outcome. We can't control the outcome. What we can control changes and is limited. Today, I can control my actions, my reactions and my attitude. I am choosing to press on toward the goal; toward the calling on my heart.

I don't have all the answers. I don't have to. I just have to trust the one whom does and do the next right thing. My next right thing this morning was this post. Now, the next right thing is to complete a short ebook and get it published this week!

That’s a big fat scary dream…I almost deleted it. What if I don’t get it finished? What if I don’t get it published by the end of the week? Oh, but what if I do? What if I do and it inspires just one person? Either way, it has to come out. The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive! Even if it means accomplishing my dream and not one person reads it. I did my part. I followed through.

[Tweet theme="tweet-box-normal-blue"]The dream has to come out. If it dies within me, a part of me dies. I can’t afford that. I need to be fully alive!BH[/Tweet] If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I do have a bigger dream. Yes, I have a dream of publishing a best selling book, Save the Butter Tubs. Ultimately, my dream is even bigger than that. I have so many books inside my head, it’s no wonder I can’t think straight. This week, I will begin to leak those thoughts to the public; My most vulnerable thoughts. My heart will be cut open and I will share. I will take the risk because I believe you are worth it. I will take the risk because I have to. I will purge my words. I will give away a precious part of my soul that I have hoarded for so long.

Fully living is vulnerable and raw. It’s risky. It’s rewarding.

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The High Price of Unbelief And How to Pay It With Faith

(Disclosure: This post will not be about me shoving my faith in Jesus in your face. It will be about faith, beliefs and the high price of unbelief in whatever it is you are struggling to believe.)

The High Cost of Unbelief and How to Pay it with FaithBelief is complex. We can believe things because we see them. I believe my office needs a serious makeover because I see chaos when I open the door. We can also believe in things we cannot see. Faith is believing in something that you cannot see. I have faith in the brakes on my FJ Cruiser. I believe that when I push the brake pedal it will stop. Thankfully, it does.

What we believe about ourselves, our hopes and dreams work the same way. I believe that I am pale complexioned because I can look in the mirror. If mirrors didn't exist the sun would remind me in about fifteen minutes. I also believe I am capable of accomplishing things I have never done before. I haven't always felt that way.

When we don't believe we create stories in our heads. If I didn't have faith in my brakes, I could start fantasizing about all the horrible things that could happen to me. I could ignore the fact that my skin is pale hitting the beach all day with friends but the truth would be painful.

To start believing in myself, my abilities to accomplish my dreams, I looked back on my life. Now, I did share with you in the disclosure at the beginning of this that my faith is ultimately in Jesus. I believe that he will work all things together for those that love him and obey his commands. Let's just say for a moment you don't believe that, that's your choice. Either way, take a look back over your life. What things have you accomplished that you never thought were possible? Write them down. Think about how you felt before you did them. Did you believe you could accomplish them?

In 2010, I participated in a Sprint Triathlon. I will save the full story for another time but just know that I am not that kind of athlete. I was pushing myself to do something I had never done before. I didn't even own a bike! I borrowed one three days before the event. I didn't know if I could accomplish this goal or not. I was believing in something I had not seen before. Was I scared? You bet I was! Was it hard? Duh! Remember, I am not that kind of athlete. Not really an athlete at all to be honest.

Now, if I had never done that triathlon, what would it matter? It didn't shoot me to superstar status. I didn't make the Wheaties box. I didn't even get a participation medal. What I got was so much deeper. I accomplished a goal. I learned valuable lessons that I will carry with me forever. In fact, just writing this short snip bit about it gets me all fired up! It still blows my mind to this day.

I call this exercise of writing down your accomplishments your Victory Channel. (I also include my God moments. Like, the time a deer came out of nowhere almost running into the front tire of my FJ but then it was just gone, no explanation. I count those on my Victory Channel, too. They remind me that I am still here for a purpose.) When I feel my channel is stuck on the doubt station or the negativity station. I flip the switch. I read my Victory Channel list. I remind myself that I CAN do things I once doubted or at least I can try.

[Tweet theme="tweet-box-normal-blue"]I remind myself that I CAN do things I once doubted or at least I can try.[/Tweet]

What happens if you don't? If, I had never participated in that triathlon, if, I had never started this blog, what would the cost be? It breaks my heart to think of the cost. The cost is high for me and for you. Had I never done the triathlon I would be beating myself up with regret. My station would be stuck on doubt, on wondering. I would have never inspired anyone; no lessons would have been learned. No funny stories would be told. If I had not started this blog, you wouldn't be reading this. We would never meet (even if it's just over the web). My doubt station would be on. My heart would be filled with regret. My dream would be dead instead of taking off. It really comes down to the dreams in your heart. Let them out! Let them fly!

If you don’t believe in yourself, your dreams, a goal, you begin to tear yourself up. You find ways to avoid what your heart is calling you to do in faith. You make choices out a place of avoidance. Choices that can have lifelong consequences. Have patience and faith to do the next right thing that will lead you closer to your dream.

[Tweet theme="basic-white"]No matter how small, a step toward your dream is better than a step away from it.~BrendaHaire [/Tweet]

Is risk involved in believing? Sure, sometimes there is. Trust me when I say that the benefits far out weight the risks. This isn't an infomercial for one of those pills. You know the ones, grow your hair back but die of bleeding out your eyeballs... Was that too much?  You know exactly what I am talking about though and dreaming is not like that at all. The dreams are there because they are a part of you. It may be that one dream teaches you lessons to launch another. Dreams do change; however, when freed, the legacy they leave can be great.

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The High Cost of Unbelief and How to Pay it with Faith

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