Fear not, for I am with you

Have you ever had a dream about something but then when you wake up you only remember bits and pieces of it and not the whole dream in detail?  I’ll wake up and recall a dream about something or someone but have no clue what it was about. However, this was not the case years ago when I had a very detailed dream and woke up with a clear understanding of the meaning behind it.

I don’t recall exactly what was going on in my life, whether I was happy, sad or fearful about something.  I can tell you that my husband and kids mean the world to me and I’d be lying if I said that I don’t worry about their safety whenever they leave the house. As a cancer survivor, I have to be diligent about going in for my annual checkups and necessary scans.  My mother who is in her 80’s has heart issues, and the usual ailments that come with old age.  I guess all these events bring about a sense of worry and fear. Like I said I worry for my husband and kids safety.  After all we live in an age where workplace and school violence is in the news far too often.  I worry about having cancer again.   I worry about losing my mom.  I worry about losing my job. And the list goes on. When we worry, we have a fear of what may come. What awful thing will we be forced to face and what dreaded card will we be dealt.

I am very good about preaching to my family and friends about how they shouldn’t worry about stuff and to simply trust in God and to have faith in His will for us. But yet I’m the one who often worries and has unending fears about what may or may not happen. I don’t know if the dream I had was the Lord’s way of telling me to let go and let God.  All I know is that in my dream, I was a passenger in a moving car. Sitting quietly, I looked out the passenger side window and took notice of two girls (my daughters) walking side be side with their arms around each other’s shoulder, in a protective comforting way, taking care of one another.  Then when I turned to say something to the driver, I realized there was no one there!  I panicked and started screaming and tried exiting the vehicle but was unable to. I thought if there is no driver, then the car will surely crash.  But then suddenly I had a sense of peace overcome me as I realized that the car I was riding in was not swerving or drifting or speeding out of control.  It was going at a safe normal speed and I was panicking for no reason at all. What frightened me was the empty driver seat. Who is driving this car? I thought, when the realization hit me.  It was then that it occurred to me that the very God that I pray to and ask protection from, is always with me. He is in control and always in the driver seat even when we can’t see Him.  God is the driver, the pilot and the author of my life.  He wrote my story before I was even born and knows me better than I know myself.   He protects me and like my two girls walking side by side with a protective arm around each other, He also has His protective hand on me and my family.

This is the only dream I can recall with great detail.  I know the Lord was speaking to my heart through this dream and I feel blessed to be able to share it.  I pray that whatever circumstances  that you are facing, that you find hope in God’s promises.

Philippians 4:6-7 ~ “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.

Psalm 34:4 ~ “I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears”.

Hebrew 13:6 ~ “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Deuteronomy 31:8 ~ “And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you.  He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed”.

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Love Always

What a crazy last couples weeks I’ve had. Between trying to keep up with the work flow at my job and having to wear a heart monitor for 48 hours so my doctor can figure out why I’ve been having heart palpitations, lets just say I’m happy it’s the weekend and I really hope this much needed three-day weekend goes by super slow.

Had a really cool day today with my mother-in-law.  We decided to use our 60 minute massage Groupon that my husband got us for Christmas. After our amazing massage we stopped at the  front desk on our way out so we could check out only to find out that the Groupon we had was for an entirely different spa.  Yes we went to the WRONG spa and ended up having to pay. It’s a long story on how the mixup occured but the bright side is that we enjoyed our massage and we still have our Groupon to redeem …LOL! Sometimes you just have to laugh things off and just be thankful for the moment and for the experience. Enjoy it, smile about it and move on. Hey it’s what Jesus would do, right?

So tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.  Without making this a super long post or getting too wordy, I want to share with you my thoughts about the meaning of the “L” word.  We all know that Valentines Day is  a day of romance and taking time out to really love on that special person in your life.  I don’t know if it’s because the older I get, the wiser I’ve become or if it’s because my walk with the Lord has really opened my heart and made me more aware of the true meaning of what love really is.

Yesterday while at work, I took a call from one of our volunteers. She had a question and as we started talking she asked if I had a any plans for Valentine’s Day. I told her my husband and I would likely spend time together, go out to dinner and catch a movie.  Her response was “good, spend as much time together as you can, love each other and tell each other how you feel because one day you may not have that chance”. I know why she said this.  Years ago she lost her precious husband to cancer and it just devastated her.  She took time off to grieve and was back volunteering after several weeks. Although it was hard, she pushed on and busied herself with her community of friends.  I thought long and heard about what she said and it’s so true. We NEED to tell each other how we feel, how much we love one another. Tell our husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers and fathers and anyone who has touched our  lives in a profound way how much they are loved and appreciated. And not just wait for one day out of the year to say these things but to say them often.  Leave a sweet note on the bathroom mirror or in a lunch bag.  Believe me, there is nothing sweeter than to find a love note from your spouse or kids telling you how much they love you.  Those are priceless gifts and much nicer than a box of chocolates (although a box of chocolate covered almonds are always welcome  :-))

Have you ever considered that the bible is like God’s love note to us.  It’s like a life instruction manual for us to read and follow but often times we close the book and look the other way.  I am not throwing any stones here because I am guilty of this myself.  But if you really stop and think and read the love-filled scriptures you can’t help but see that the Lord is truly crazy about us.  There really is no greater and no purer love than that of our heavenly Father.

I think the following scripture says it all…

Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV) ~ Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

How awesome is our Lord to gives such sound, loving instruction on how to navigate through this crazy life.  Much like how we as parents guide and instruct our kids on how to behave, how to treat others and love their friends, family and even their enemies.

Here are a couple of bible verses that really speak to my heart.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) ~ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Peter 3:8 (NKJV) ~ And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

Love each other not just on Valentine’s Day but everyday. Say it, express it, write it, pray about it and most of all, mean it!

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How I study the bible using the S.O.A.P. method

I don’t know about you but studying the bible can be difficult at times especially if you are in a noise-filled environment. That’s why for me, it’s easier to grab a few precious minutes in the morning while I’m having breakfast before I leave for work.  Studying in the evening after dinner is almost out of the question unless I retreat to my room, put ear plugs in and hang a do not disturb sign outside my door.  Another problem I have while bible studying is sometimes understanding and really absorbing the scriptures and the meaning behind them. So I searched  “bible study methods” on YouTube and found a very informative video which I will link down below.

All you need is a bible, a notebook or journal and pen.  Basically what you do is select a verse that you are drawn to or wish to gain a deeper understanding of and follow the SOAP method. By following this method you will write out the the word SOAP vertically in your notebook. Each letter should be spaced out evenly like in the picture below.  I’ve outlined below the meaning for each letter…

Scripture    –    Read through the scripture and really take it in. Don’t just skim through it but really absorb every word and really think about what it means. Then write out the verse in your notebook.

Observation    –    Think about what you’ve observed in this passage and write it down and share what you feel God’s message is through this part of the scripture.

Application    –    This is where it gets personal in where you write down how the verse applies to you in your life today or how you identify with a specific bible character and how you plan to apply what you’ve learned.

Prayer    –    This is also personal. It’s a message from you to God so don’t stress about getting the words down right. Just speak/write from the heart and remember that God always listens to you and already knows your needs. He just wants to hear from you.

Feel free to check out the video How to Study the Bible Using the SOAP Method as it is very basic and clear and I love how Asheritah Ciuciu (love her name, don’t you?) explains things.

I pray the SOAP Method helps you in your walk with the Lord and brings you closer to Him than ever before. God Bless!

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