A Letter to God

The Spirit of the Lord

A few years ago my husband was a part time pastor in PA and had decided to extend a spiritual learning challenge to members of our congregation. He handed each person an envelope. There were two things inside: a letter from God and $10. They were instructed to find someone that week who they thought needed their help in some way by using the money that they were given and to report their results back to the congregation the following Sunday.

Many used the money to purchase items such as groceries, hats/gloves, a meal for a homeless person, or gave a donation to a worthy charitable cause. Many were touched by their generosity and blessed by their outpouring of love. They had made a difference in someone’s life that week.

The letter inside the envelope began with “My Child,” and contained many scripture verses taken from the promises of God in His Word. It was signed “Love, Your Dad–Almighty God.” This reminder of God’s love blessed not only me, but members of the congregation as well who read it and claimed God’s promises.

It was because of this letter that I wanted to write a letter back to God to thank Him for His promises. My letter is as follows:

“Dear Father God,

Before the world began, you knew me. You created the world one day at a time and then you formed me in my mother’s womb at just the right moment so that I could become your child.

You gave me a purpose and a direction to follow, as well as strength to go through any unwanted circumstances that came my way. I was not alone. You walked by my side and continue to walk with me every day. My life has been changed because you love me unconditionally.

Your love reaches higher than I could ever imagine and your Spirit lives within me to continually guide me in the knowledge and wisdom from above. Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ….”

Thank you for saving me, and allowing your Son to die for me, so that one day I will be able to meet you face to face and spend eternity with you.

Your Grateful…Thankful…and Blessed Child”

What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to serve a mighty God who tells us throughout His Word that He does care about us more than we could possibly imagine, and that it is important that we share that love with others and “make a difference in Jesus Name to all those who are hurting and who are unaware that they matter to God”. Let us make a difference in someone’s life today.

May the Lord bless you, keep you, and make His face to shine upon you forevermore.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Secret Things Uncovered

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29

Several years ago Rhonda Byrne wrote “The Secret”, followed by “The Power” and “The Magic.” Her intent was to impart “the secret” to millions of readers so that they could believe it’s principles, learn them, and use them to gain whatever they “attracted” from the universe. After all, “you are what you think”, right?

Dr. Henry Cloud then came out with a book, “The Secret Things of God”, written to “unlock the treasures reserved for everyone” but found in the Word of God. Although his book was not intended as a “Christian argument for or against “The Secret”, he pointed out that her book affirmed “the deep spiritual hunger” that a number of Christian’s were seeking but could not find. His intent was for Christians to go to the Word of God and seek out God’s commands for every day living and to listen to them.

When I was a child, oftentimes when my friends wanted to get my attention, they would ask, “Do you want to know a secret?” and would whisper something in my ear. We would end up giggling over what this secret entailed. Adults tend to play this game by whispering something in their friend’s ears from time to time.

Growing up in the 60’s and as a star-struck teenager, I often listened to music by the Beatles, a popular boy band, who wrote a song entitled, “Do You Want To Know A Secret”, which was a love song. The one thing you had to do was “listen to the secret and promise not to tell.”

As a Christian, I am often reminded of how Satan tries to whisper in our ears by making a lot of promises in order to get us to do something contrary to our very own Christian principles. A perfect example is how he tried to tempt Jesus in the wilderness but Jesus knew the scriptural teachings and did not succumb to the many promises Satan enticed him with.

Let’s take a look at some of the “secret” scriptures in God’s Word in order to understand it’s definition. (NIV translation)

  • Job 15:8: “Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you limit wisdom to yourself?”
  • Psalm 25:14: “The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.”
  • Psalm 27:5: “For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.”
  • Psalm 25:21: “My integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in you.”
  • Matthew 6:6: “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Another song that I really enjoy singing is “In The Secret…I want to know you. I want to hear your voice…I want to know you more.” Shouldn’t this be the desire of every Christian–to truly know God and to hear and listen to His voice no matter what is happening in our lives.

Psalm 18:30 tells us that “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him.” This is a reminder that God will be with us no matter what circumstances we come up against in our lives. He is our strength and shield.

Psalm 18:2-3: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise and I am saved from my enemies.”

Let us all seek out the teachings in God’s Word with an attitude of gratitude and being thankful for all that you receive from God whether great or small, good or bad. He is our refuge, our strength, and shield in whom we trust. This is a “secret” uncovered by untold millions who listen to His voice, His teachings, and His direction and drown out the wrong whispers.

May the Lord strengthen you as you read His Word and continue to follow Him daily.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: eXtraordinary Women (A-Z)

Women of faith and action

Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary definition of extraordinary:

  • Going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary
  • Exceptional to a very marked extent
  • Employed for or sent on a special function or service

For several weeks, I have written about a list of extraordinary women who had a personal story to share about how God spoke to their hearts about making a difference where they lived and/or around the world. Many of you could probably identify with one or two of the characteristics from each of their personal stories because of your own experiences. These extraordinary women included:

  • A: Awesome Annie
  • B: Believing Betty
  • C: Compassionate Charlotte
  • D: Determined Debbie
  • E: Effective Emily
  • F: Forgiving Fran
  • G: Grateful Gwen
  • H: Humble Helen
  • I: Intentional Iris
  • J: Joyful Josie
  • K: Kindhearted Kathryn
  • L: Loving Lily
  • M: Mature Martha
  • N: Neighborly Nancy
  • O: Obedient Opal
  • P: Patient Pam
  • Q: Quiet Quinn
  • R: Respectful Rachel
  • S: Steadfast Stephanie
  • T: Trusting Tammy
  • U: Understanding Ursula
  • W: Wholehearted Wendy
  • Y: Yielding Yvette
  • Z: Zealous Zelda

Each of these women had three things in common:

  • Each woman had a calling on their life;
  • Each woman prayed and asked God’s direction for their life (purpose); and
  • Each woman put their faith in action and trusted that His will would be done.

Let us all be fervent in prayer asking for God’s continued direction for our lives, and let us be faithful by putting our “faith in action” as we continue on the journey that He has set before us.

My prayer is that each one of you have enjoyed reading about these incredible, eXtraordinary women, and that their stories have touched your life in some special way.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Zealous Zelda

Do all things for good

Scripture: Romans 12:11–“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of zealous:

  • Marked by fervent partisanship for a person, a cause, or a belief, or an ideal
  • Filled with or characterized by zeal

Phrases and/or quotes for zealous (Goodreads.com):

  • Living a daring life is zealous pursuit.
  • Be zealous for good works.
  • Truly, it is easy to sing that we would follow Jesus regardless, but all that zeal is lost at the slightest sign of inconvenience for some.

Z: Zealous Zelda’s Story:

“Zelda patiently stood in line behind a woman with a young child at the grocery store checkout, when all of a sudden the woman burst into tears. She heard the clerk tell the woman that her total bill was $27.72. As the woman frantically searched her purse, she could only come up with $25.10. She frantically looked at the items she was about to purchase and was trying to figure out what could be taken away so that she could quickly pay her bill and get out of the store.

At that moment, Zelda walked up to the woman and handed her a five dollar bill so that she wouldn’t have to leave any of her groceries behind. Shocked by Zelda’s generosity, she reluctantly took the money, thanked her, and quickly left the store. Zelda was not far behind the woman and caught up with her just as she strapped her child in her car seat.

As soon as Zelda approached her, she threw her arms around her and proceeded to tell Zelda the story of how her husband lost his job and they were desperately trying to make ends meet; but this particular week her child had been sick and needed medication which took a big chunk of their grocery monies. Before leaving, however, she promised to pay Zelda back. Zelda enthusiastically told her that she did not have to do that and began to tell her the following story of how someone had helped her out when she needed it the most.

‘Zelda was told that she could pay her back by being “zealous about doing good works”–by paying it forward to another person who needed help. From that time on, Zelda began doing and showing random acts of kindness to whomever needed her help. Without wanting or asking for anything in return, Zelda began helping her neighbors by bringing in their garbage cans, sending get well cards when they were ill, picking up groceries for them, and occasionally helped with babysitting for mothers in her neighborhood who needed an occasional, well-deserved break.’

Zelda’s zealous attitude to “do good works” and pay it forward without asking for anything in return gained her many friendships and wonderful memories with everyone.”

Being zealous for the Lord and doing good works by showing kindness and having an attitude of concern for each other is what we are commanded to do. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind; and love your neighbor as yourself” is what Jesus has commanded us all to do.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Yielding Yvette

When God changes our lives, we yield completely to His calling in our lives.

Scripture: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of yielding:

  • Productive
  • Lacking rigidity or stiffness
  • Disposed to submit or comply

Phrases and/or quotes for yielding (Goodreads.com):

  • Yielding your inner life to God will empower you to live the kind of outer life that honors the Lord and blesses others.
  • When you yield yourself in complete and wholehearted obedience to God, He can do great things through you.
  • True wisdom is marked by willingness to listen and a sense of knowing when to yield.

Y: Yielding Yvette’s Story

“Yvette listened intently as her pastor talked about the importance of ‘yielding your life to God so that He could empower you to live the kind of outward life that would honor the Lord and bless others.’ She had been trying to do this by volunteering at the soup kitchen once a week, but somehow she felt something was missing.

After much prayer and getting advice from her parents, Yvette decided that she wanted to go on a short-term mission trip to Haiti with a group leaving from her church the beginning of June and returning back to the U.S. the end of September. She discussed her desire and willingness to do so with her pastor and he suggested she contact the trip’s group leader.

He was pleased that she wanted to join the group and explained that each person going along would have to raise their own funds: round trip airfare, hotel accommodations, and food expense monies. She also had to apply for her passport. Since Yvette only had six months before they would depart from La Guardia Airport, raising funds and getting her passport on time would be cutting it close. Since Yvette’s parents had gone on several missions’ trips, they helped her send out fundraising notices to family and friends and helped her apply for her passport at the nearest Consulate.

As Yvette prepared for her first assignment, she learned about the Haitian culture and the people. Everyone in the group would be helping to build a small church in a village where there was a newly appointed missionary who had been there for less than a year. Assignments included assisting with small group Bible study, VBS for the children, helping with music during worship, and giving personal testimonies.

With the Lord’s help, Yvette raised all of her funds and her passport came one month before her departure. She left on June 1 for Haiti. It turned out that ministering in a small village in Haiti was exactly what Yvette had been missing in her life. She made so many memories with everyone and vowed to return to Haiti again the following summer.

Yvette’s willingness to yield to God’s calling on her life and then follow through with His leading proved to be the start of her continued working with the Haitian people for a number of years.”

One small act of “yielding to God” can turn our lives completely around and change our lives forever. We may not be called to be a missionary in a foreign land, but God commands that we love our neighbors and be willing to help those who need God’s love. May we yield to His calling in our lives by telling others about the Good News.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Wholehearted Wendy

Crosscards.com
God is love

Scripture: Colossians 3:23–“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for wholehearted:

  • Completely and sincerely devoted, determined, or enthusiastic
  • Marked by complete earnest commitment: free from all reserve and hesitation

Phrases and/or quotes for wholehearted (Goodreads.com):

  • Do everything with your whole heart, or not at all.
  • Loving a single person wholeheartedly is like putting all the eggs in one basket.
  • The most important job in life is to find out the purpose of your life, and go for it wholeheartedly.

W: Wholehearted Wendy’s Story:

“For years Wendy and her husband talked about becoming foster parents, but after their daughter was born, they decided to put that option on hold. After all, it had taken over 18 years for Wendy to become pregnant even after seeking medical advice and going through a battery of tests. After the first five years of marriage, her doctor was unable to find out the difficulty they were having, but he was always supportive by presenting other options such as adoption, foster care, and the IVF process. Wendy and her husband were Christians and believed that “all things worked together for those who loved the Lord” so they decided they would continue to wait and allow her husband to complete his education.

While attending school in the mid west, Wendy’s husband began working for the state as a caseworker and then took a government test which gave him opportunities for promotions within a small government agency. They moved a number of times and after living in Georgia for five years, their daughter was born. God had answered their prayers even after 18 years. When she was five years old, they moved back to their home state to be with family and friends. It wasn’t until their daughter was 11 years old that the idea of being foster parents came into light once again.

After months of paperwork, interviews, and training classes, Wendy and her husband were officially approved as full-time foster parents. Their caseworker talked with them about the type of child they would prefer, and because of their daughter, they decided to take in a girl. However, in the middle of July, their caseworker called saying they had a 12-year old boy who needed a home. After talking with their daughter, they agreed to take him.

Nothing could have been more right as this smiley young man came into their lives. Wendy believed that if you are going to do something for the Lord, you are to do it wholeheartedly. This young man attended middle school, high school, and then went on to college. Their daughter, although skeptical at first because he was one year older than her, decided that he would and could be her brother.”

This is my personal story. I have shortened it considerably, but after we took in our first foster son, we also had others who came to live with us on short-term placements. Our first foster son continues to keep in contact with us. He is married, has a child, and is working as a caseworker and attending school to get his Masters in Social Work. God had a definite plan and purpose for allowing us to wait for His purpose and will to be accomplished in our lives. We are immensely grateful and we continue to serve Him in a special congregation where my husband is now a part-time pastor since retiring from the corporate world.

God’s timing is always right. He knows what we have need of before we even ask and knows what the future holds to fulfill His plan. We are continually blessed and want to serve Him with our whole hearts. I pray that you will allow God to fulfill His purpose in your life today.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Victorious Valerie

Victory in Jesus

Scripture: I Corinthians 15:57–“But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of victorious:

  • Having won a victory
  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of victory
  • Evincing moral harmony or a sense of fulfillment

Phrases/quotes pertaining to victorious (Goodreads.com):

  • A victorious life is a result of a correct way of thinking.
  • A Christian’s mindset should be a victorious mentality.
  • God created us to be victorious.
  • Each victory with God can bring a reassurance once more that the ones born of God are victorious.

V: Victorious Valerie’s Story:

Valerie grew up in a very creative home. Her mother was a seamstress; her father and uncle were carpenters and in business together; her brother learned carpentry in school as well as an intern under her father’s supervision; and her sister was a mural artist with a very lucrative business.

Everyone was surprised when Valerie announced that she would be majoring in social work in college and would pursue a career working with children in foster care. Her mother was very supportive and told Valerie to pursue her dreams and not base her career on what she felt the family expected her to be. It was her God-given choice to listen to His voice and to her heart.

Valerie volunteered at the local children’s home during her summer’s home from school and got to know the social workers and the children quite well. Part of her responsibilities included teaching the children how to garden and she dreamed of building a greenhouse on the property for year-round growing of fruits, vegetables, and flowers.

After Valerie completed her undergraduate degree, she was hired at the children’s home as a full-time case worker and continued her master’s degree online for two years. She continued to work and study hard and was respected by all those who knew her. Valerie also became President of The Garden Club at the local Community Center, and her classes on gardening were well attended by the community.

One night at one of the regularly scheduled meetings of The Garden Club, a member brought up an idea that would change the heart of the community. She recommended that members, as well as carpenters in the community, build a greenhouse to benefit the children’s home. They could plant fruits, vegetables, and flowers to sell to the community year round. Excited and amazed at this suggestion, Valerie and all of the other members unanimously approved of this idea. Valerie couldn’t help remembering similar thoughts she had had about building a greenhouse as well and knew that God had given her a “little” reminder.

Valerie enlisted the help of her family and everyone in the community who was willing to help build the greenhouse. After raising the funds for this project, the greenhouse was built and the blue ribbon cut. Everyone was so excited and the children couldn’t wait to plant and harvest all the fruits and vegetables and sell them back to the community to benefit the children’s home.

That Sunday in church as Valerie listened to the children’s choir sing, “Victory in Jesus,” she recognized that God often plants a thought in our minds and hearts so that it can be fulfilled for His purpose and in His time. The greenhouse was God’s fulfillment of an idea He put into her mind and Valerie was reminded of that idea through another individual at her Garden Club meeting; and she recognized God speaking to her heart once again. She just had to listen and remember.”

God oftentimes puts a thought into our minds and sometimes we recognize Him speaking to us and sometimes it takes another time or two before we finally realize what He is asking us to do. We just have to listen and then act accordingly. This is Faith in action.

May we be open and willing to act on faith when we hear God speaking to our hearts and minds in a still, small voice. What a blessing we could be to others if we would just keep ourselves open to His leading and direction.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Understanding Ursula

“Your words give understanding to the simple.” Psalm 119:130

Scripture: “A patient man has great understanding but a quick-tempered man displays folly.” Proverbs 14:29 (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of understanding:

  • A mental grasp; comprehension
  • The power of comprehending
  • A mutual agreement not formally entered into but in some degree binding on each side
  • Explanation; interpretation

Quotes on understanding (Goodreads.com):

  • Any fool can know. The point is to understand.
  • Understanding is the first step to acceptance, and only with acceptance can there be recovery.
  • Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
  • Those who know, do. Those that understand, teach.

U: Understanding Ursula’s Story:

“Dr. Ursula, as she was affectionately called by her patients at the Valley Newman Nursing Home, listened carefully to Mrs. Jones as she described her recent physical concerns. She noticed that since her last visit the week before, Mrs. Jones appeared to be more agitated and frustrated as she described her symptoms to Dr. Ursula. She wondered what had caused such a sudden change in Mrs. Jones’ normal quiet demeanor.

By the end of their conversation, Dr. Ursula concluded that her patient’s son had not come by to visit her in over a month and that this seemed to have caused additional stress on Mrs. Jones’ otherwise positive outlook . Even the nurses noticed a difference in her happy-go-lucky personality as well and were concerned.

Throughout the day as Dr. Ursula talked with more patients, there appeared to be a similar pattern among all of them: a son, daughter, or relative had not come by to visit in a while. This had become a concern at the nursing home as well. Patients stopped attending their normal daily activities, except for eating and sleeping.

Dr. Ursula wondered how she could help remedy this apparent concern with her patients. She asked the nurses for their input and asked for creative ways that would help bring up the morale for everyone. One of the suggestions was to have high school students come by on a weekly basis to visit with them. The more Dr. Ursula thought about it, she concluded that what they needed was an “Adopt A Grandmother Program.” She had heard of this type of program at another nursing home and how well it was accepted by the residents.

After gathering all of the pertinent information, Dr. Ursula introduced this new program idea to the residents at Valley Newman. Everyone was enthusiastic and wanted to know when it would begin. After presenting this program to the high school principal and then to the students, twenty students signed up to participate. Parents enthusiastically signed the appropriate permission slips.

After two weeks of preparations–matching students with “grandmothers”–the program got underway. Mrs. Jones couldn’t wait to see Dr. Ursula to tell her how happy she was with the program and her new “adopted granddaughter” as well.

Guided by the Holy Spirit and her Christian principles, Dr. Ursula opened up her heart by listening to the concerns of her patients; she understood their concerns and comprehended what needed to be done. Other counties in her state began adopting this program as well, and five years later the programs are still in existence within a number of states.”

Sometimes all it takes is for one person to listen to someone else’s concerns and then rely on the Holy Spirit to guide you in an appropriate solution for their need. One act of random kindness shown to someone leads to another and so forth.

May we be open to the Holy Spirit’s guidance as we open up our hearts in listening to others and helping to solve their needs.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Series: Trusting Tammy

Trust the Lord

Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (NIV)

Dictionary.com definition of the word trusting:

  • Inclined to trust;
  • Confiding;
  • Trustful

Quotes on the word trusting (Goodreads.com):

  • Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
  • The best way that you can find out if you trust someone is to trust them.
  • Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
  • To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
  • The most important form of trust we can have is our trust in God.

T: Trusting Tammy’s Story:

“As a young child, Tammy can remember her camping and hiking vacation trips with her family. She enjoyed hiking up the mountain side toward a waterfall and climbing over the huge rocks from time to time along the trails. She could remember her dad encouraging her to take her time and to put one foot in front of the other to maintain her balance in walking along narrower sections of a trail. Whenever Tammy would get tired, her father encouraged her to hold onto his hand as he guided her up the pathway to the waterfall.

Tammy loved the outdoors; hiking became a part of the norm during the summer vacation time with her family. She joined camping and hiking groups during high school and even in college so that she could continue her adventures.

As a young adult, Tammy joined a newly formed group in her community: The Trailblazers. Their local chapter discussed the possibilities of expanding their hiking experiences by “climbing a mountain.” Tammy was so excited that she looked up the best beginner mountains to climb and presented them to the group during their Spring meeting.

The first mountain was Yosemite Park’s “Half Dome”–This mountain was a granite peak with an elevation of 8,824 feet (2,695 meters). It was a 17-mile round trip climb and would take approximately 10-14 hours to complete.

The second mountain was near Colorado Springs: “Pikes Peak”–On the east side was the ‘Barr Trails Route.’ It had an elevation of 8,000 feet (2,400 meters) and was a 13-mile round trip climb. This was the most popular route of the two listed, as it had no hard terrain to tackle and was accessible by road–someone could pick you up at the top instead of hiking back down.

The Trailblazers decided to tackle the “Half Dome” at Yosemite Park in July that summer and Pike’s Peak in early October. Preparations began as soon as the meeting ended. Since Tammy worked from home, she could take her vacation weeks at her own discretion. She was ready to tackle mountain climbing at this time in her life. She began an exercise and eating program so that she could be fit to hike both mountains.

‘You got this,’ she heard her dad say. ‘You can do anything you put your mind to. Don’t ever let go of your dream and trust in God to help you along the way.’ Tammy needed these encouraging words more than ever as the days drew near to conquer both mountains. The Trailblazers were able to conquer both mountains that July and October and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment during their followup December meeting.

What was next? The Trailblazers decided to go international and selected Mt. Fuji in Japan. Mt. Fuji has an elevation of 12,388 feet (4,000 meters) and is the tallest mountain in Japan. The climb to the top is a manageable 10-hour climb and more than 300,000 people trek to this Summit, making the stratovolcano one of the most climbed in the entire world. The trails are well-marked and you can rent a mountain hut along the way to watch the sunset. Since July to mid-September was non-snow weather to climb Mt. Fuji, the group decided to hike this mountain in September.

With all the preparations made, including travel arrangements and up-to-date passports secured, the Trailblazers set out for their trip to Japan. On the day of the climb, everyone was in awe of the magnificent view of the mountain and the excitement mounted as they headed to the foot of the climb. Before they began their trek, Tammy suggested that they pray and ask God to be with them once again as they set off on their new adventure. With hearts filled with anticipation, the Trailblazers began their most exciting climb to the top. All fears were alleviated as they trusted and put their confidence in God who created everything.

When they returned from their trip, the group was asked to share their experiences with another hiking group. One of the first questions asked was ‘what next.’ As the Trailblazers looked at each other smiling, one thought was on their minds: Mt. Everest anyone?”

We all have those mountains/trials in our lives that we need to tackle or climb and sometimes fear holds us back from actually getting started. Trust in the Lord today to help you with whatever obstacles are standing in your way and that are keeping you from realizing a goal/dream that you may want to accomplish. Pray and ask God to help you trust Him and believe that He will do a good work in your heart and life.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Steadfast Stephanie

The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever.

Scripture: Isaiah 26:3-4–“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition for steadfast:

  • Firmly fixed in place
  • Not subject to change
  • Firm in belief, determination, or adherence

Quotes (Goodreads.com) using the word steadfast:

  • The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever
  • Remain steadfast
  • God’s laws do not change and His word is steadfast
  • Pray, work, be steadfast

S: Steadfast Stephanie’s Story:

“Stephanie could hear her dad yelling from the bleachers as she rounded the track during her two-mile trek. Breathlessly, as she took her final lap, she crossed the finish line winning the race, with her best friend Julie coming in second. Her mother was unable to attend because she was at home under hospice care for a debilitating disease, but Stephanie knew that she was there in spirit.

Whenever Stephanie would get discouraged and have thoughts that she could no longer continue a race, she would hear her mother saying, ‘Now Stephanie, you know that you need to be persistent, strong, confident, and persevere to the end of the race. After all, Paul talks about “pressing toward the goal” in Philippians 3:13: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’ (NIV)

It wasn’t until a few years later that Stephanie would remember her mother’s words even more as she endeavored to train for the Boston Marathon. She and her best friend, Julie, would begin their training next week and would follow the Boston Marathon plan as adopted by the Boston Athletic Association. Their schedule would be as follows:

  • Level One: Run an average of 4 days/week–25-40 miles/week
  • Level Two: Run an average of 5 days/week–30-45 miles/week
  • Level Three: Run an average of 6 days/week–35-55 miles/week
  • Level Four: Run an average of 6-7 days/week–35-60 miles/week

The step-by-step in daily weekly mileage was designed to challenge the runner and minimize the risk of training too hard. It would help to maximize a runner’s potential.

Stephanie and Julie would adhere to the above schedule for the next few months so that they could endure the 26.2 mile long run in Boston. Their persistence and steadfastness in training would prove to be useful in running the race.

On the day of the race, and having felt confident that they were prepared, Stephanie and Julie checked in and got their shirt numbers before the race. They stretched and ran in place before getting in the overcrowded group of all those running the race. Along the route, volunteers were prepared to hand out bottles of water and spectators were there to cheer their loved ones on to victory. Stephanie’s dad was there to cheer for her along the way as well.

Stephanie remembered her mother’s encouraging words during the race and when she finally crossed the finish line, she could not help but smile knowing that her mother was probably looking down from heaven and cheering for her daughter as well.”

It was Stephanie’s steadfast determination that helped her cross over the finish line. Paul tells us that we need to “forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead, pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Let us all be determined and steadfast to run the race that God has set before us in order to obtain the prize of eternal salvation.

Blessings,

Yvonne