Friday, September 14, 2018

Above The Storm


As I sit on my back porch watching the driving rains come down, there seems to be nothing but the small space around me. It's raining so hard that I can't see anything. When it lightens up, I only see the dark, heavy clouds looming over my backyard. This is how life has looked recently. If I went strictly by what I could see, I would truly be depressed right now. Thinking of the future based on what I can see would not look good at all.

I remember the last time I flew to see my in-laws. It was a stormy day when we took off in the plane headed to St. Louis. In the back of my mind, I was praying we wouldn't have to deal with turbulence while on the flight. When we flew above the massive, dark clouds, the higher we went the lighter it got outside. The rain stopped and the sun started shining. From the ground, I couldn't see the light. but as we flew above the storm clouds toward the heavens, the light appeared and was shining brightly before us. I think of Isaiah 40:31. Those that wait upon the Lord will not only renew their strength, but they shall mount up with wings as eagles. It wasn't until recently that I understood why God chose eagles. I had previously thought it was because they were big and bold. That wasn't right. Eagles are the only birds that fly above a storm. When we rely upon God during our storms, He will lift us above them. When we wait for Him, he will give us His strength, so we can walk and run again!

We can't always see or feel God, and we certainly can't always see the light. Sometimes the light is hidden by the dark clouds and storms of life, but the light is always there--it just may take a while before we can see it.

I have to remember to not base everything on what I see, because that is not allowing for the divine, for God's part in things, which I don't get to know ahead of time. He wants my trust, He wants me to have faith in Him. God wants me to depend on Him, and to lean into Him for His strength, not just His wisdom. He wants me, and everyone else, to wait for Him, because He will always make Himself known when the time is right, although He already is present, sometimes we're just so caught up we can't see past our storm, just like I can't see past my porch.

Watch "Still" by Hillsong

Repost from 9/2017


Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Do It Again Lord by Max Lucado, September 15, 2001

A prayer written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 15, 2001.  It seems fitting as we remember the anniversary of 9/11 to share it once again.  Permission to copy is granted and encouraged.

Dear Lord,

We’re still hoping we’ll wake up. We’re still hoping we’ll open a sleepy eye and think, What a hor­rible dream.

But we won’t, will we, Father? What we saw was not a dream. Planes did gouge towers. Flames did consume our fortress. People did perish. It was no dream and, dear Father, we are sad.

There is a ballet dancer who will no longer dance and a doctor who will no longer heal. A church has lost her priest, a classroom is minus a teacher. Cora ran a food pantry. Paige was a counselor and Dana, dearest Father, Dana was only three years old. (Who held her in those final moments?)

We are sad, Father. For as the innocent are buried, our innocence is buried as well. We thought we were safe. Perhaps we should have known better. But we didn’t.

And so we come to you. We don’t ask you for help; we beg you for it. We don’t request it; we implore it. We know what you can do. We’ve read the accounts. We’ve pondered the stories and now we plead, Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

Remember Joseph? You rescued him from the pit. You can do the same for us. Do it again, Lord.

Remember the Hebrews in Egypt? You protected their children from the angel of death. We have children, too, Lord. Do it again.

And Sarah? Remember her prayers? You heard them. Joshua? Remember his fears? You inspired him. The women at the tomb? You resurrected their hope. The doubts of Thomas? You took them away. Do it again, Lord. Do it again.

You changed Daniel from a captive into a king’s counselor. You took Peter the fisherman and made him Peter an apostle. Because of you, David went from leading sheep to leading armies. Do it again, Lord, for we need counselors today, Lord. We need apostles. We need leaders. Do it again, dear Lord.

Most of all, do again what you did at Calvary. What we saw here on that Tuesday, you saw there on that Friday. Innocence slaughtered. Goodness murdered. Mothers weeping. Evil dancing. Just as the ash fell on our children, the darkness fell on your Son. Just as our towers were shattered, the very Tower of  Eternity was pierced.

And by dusk, heaven’s sweetest song was silent, buried behind a rock.

But you did not waver, 0 Lord. You did not waver. After three days in a dark  hole, you rolled the rock and rumbled the earth and turned the darkest Friday into the brightest Sunday. Do it again, Lord. Grant us a September Easter.

We thank you, dear Father, for these hours of unity. Disaster has done what  discussion could not. Doctrinal fences have fallen. Republicans are standing with Democrats. Skin colors have been covered by the ash of burning buildings. We thank you for these hours of unity.

And we thank you for these hours of prayer. The Enemy sought to bring us to our knees and suc­ceeded. He had no idea, however, that we would kneel before you. And he has no idea what you can do.

Let your mercy be upon our President, Vice President, and their families.  Grant to those who lead us wisdom beyond their years and experience.  Have mercy upon the souls who have departed and the wounded who remain.  Give us grace that we might forgive and faith that we might believe.

And look kindly upon your church.  For two thousand years you’ve used her to heal a hurting world.

Do IT again, Lord. Do it again.

Through Christ, Amen.

As written by Max Lucado for America Prays, a national prayer vigil held Saturday, September 15, 2001.  Permission to copy is granted and encouraged.


Monday, September 10, 2018

Storyteller by Kimberly Burnette

As a fifty-something, I have found that the Christian journey is a long, hard one. When I first found salvation I had a much different picture of Christianity. I thought that giving my life to the Lord was the ultimate step, and that life would be so much easier after that! I saw it more as a conclusion to my story than an introduction. Indeed it was the beginning of a great story that has been unpredictable and challenging.

Don't get me wrong. I would not change my decision to become a true Christian for anything in the world. The more I get to know my creator and savior, the more in awe I am. At the same time I am learning that nothing is about me. The wonderful plan He has for me isn't about me, it's about something so much bigger. When He blesses me, He does so simply because He loves me. I'm also learning that God loves me so much that He uses what He needs to teach me.

So this story that I've been in has had many plot twists and tragic events. Sometimes, it has taken a while to get to the next chapter in my tale. Parts of my story have been very dark, and  the only way I could move is with the light that my God gives. He has lead me step by step. So why would a God that loves me so much let me go through all of this? Because it makes me stronger and it teaches me how to persevere. He allows me to go through all of these things so that I can help others who go through all of these things. Interestingly, He has put people on my path who were able to help me because they went through all of these things.

So as Christians we earn our testimonies and become incredible storytellers. Not only do we have incredible stories to share, but the ultimate example is when people see us live through our struggles with grace. This is when Jesus shines at His brightest in us. So not only do we learn from what we go through, but others are blessed by it too.

The wonderful thing I have found is that God is always there with me, always. He is as faithful as they come. When I ask Him to pull me closer I can feel His love touch me physically. When I need to do something He asks and I don't feel strong enough, I can ask Him to help me do it and He will. What an amazing God!

So while it is easy to get really down when one's story is hard, a change of perspective can make all the difference. Counting one's blessings each day can bring a grateful attitude. Realizing ways we have been spared is healthy. When I think about how God created everything around me and count it all as blessings, it can be overwhelming. When I reflect on the supreme sacrifice He made of His own son, to take the sin of the world on himself to save all of us, it astounds me. I feel so blessed that I have eternity in front of me where there will never be another tear or pang of pain. When I think this way, even on bad days, I can still put one foot in front of the other and share the stories God has given me to tell. What about you?

The mountain where I climbed
The valley where I fell
You were there all along
That's the story I'll tell
You brought the pieces together
Made me this storyteller
Now I know it is well, it is well
That's the story I will tell

From the song "Storyteller" by Morgan Harper Nichols. To see the song video click here

repost from 2016

Monday, September 3, 2018

When We Don't Pray by Kimberly Burnette

Watch When We Pray

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people ~ 1 Timothy 2:1

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. ~ James 5:16

There are so many people in need, hurting, in trouble. How many people do you encounter in a day that need comfort and assurance? How many ask for help or prayer?  How many do you say you will pray for? How many do you actually pray for?

I know when I have a need, especially for a loved one, I ask for prayer. It’s nice that so many respond, but how many actually pray?

We all have great intentions, but if we don’t act on it, it’s unlikely we will. People these days say they will pray for you as easily as they say “God bless you.”

As Christians what do we do? When there are so many that need prayer, are we really doing people a service by saying we’ll pray and not doing it?

Each time we pray for someone it is such a blessing, for that person and for us. There are different approaches we can take to make sure we always pray:

1. Keep A List- Write down every prayer request and add it to your daily prayers.
2. Say A Short, Simple Prayer- Prayer doesn’t need to be long or eloquent. One sentence such as “Lord, please help Karen.” or “Father, please provide what Debbie needs” counts.
Remember, God already knows. Praying to the point can be done on one's own immediately after the encounter, or with the person needing prayer. Praying with the person can be such an encouragement.
3. Pray A Full Prayer Right Then- What a great way to help someone! I know how honored and important I feel when someone does that for me. Imagine what that could do for someone who is on the fence with their faith or someone who doesn't know Jesus yet!

None of us intentionally skip praying for someone else when we said we would. I know I've had times when I messed up. I try really hard to use one of the approaches listed above at all times so I don't miss out on doing something this important. I personally prefer to pray at the time I am asked, and usually either use approach #2 or #3.

Praying and seeking God's presence is so important. Praying for others is part of our prayer life. When we get busy, it is easy to skimp. What happens when we skimp on our prayer life? We place quantity over quality and what is of God becomes less of a priority. We become more distracted by much less important things that start to take the place of prayer and presence. And most importantly, we gradually move further and further away from God and holiness.

Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. ~ Jeremiah 29:12

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Reflect: How do you handle prayer requests or prayer commitments? If you need to use an approach to make sure you always honor your commitment to pray, which will you use?

Let us pray: Lord, thank you so much that we can lift each other up to You in prayer and you will always hear our prayers and answer. Thank you for prompting us to reach out and show Your love for others by praying for them, encouraging them and lifting them up. Help me Lord, to always honor my word that I will pray for someone, and even better to pray with them. Please give me the right words to pray. Let Your spirit speak in me and through me. You are so good God and I praise You! In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Friday, August 31, 2018

God Gave Me You by Kimberly Burnette


12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. ~ Colossians 3:12-14    


I just reconnected with an old friend who was instrumental in helping me at one of the hardest times in my life. It has been many years since we lasted talked.

I have always believed that God puts people in our paths to help us and works through them indirectly. I have prayed for the right people to put in my children's paths. With all my heart I believe that God does this and that He uses us in this way to help each other. 

Laura was not an obvious choice to be the one to be this much help to me. As so often happens, God uses us when we are hurting and struggling, and we sometimes serve the greatest purpose when we are in the valley rather than on the mountain top. This was the case with my friend Laura and also with my friend Ann.  Despite their own struggles, they both made sure they were there for me. 

If there was ever anyone who modeled Colossians 3:12-14, it was my friends Laura and Ann during my fight to keep my sanity all those years ago after some crazy things happened to me and in my life.

God has changed my life quite a bit since then, and Laura and I both no longer live in Mississippi. Remembering what happened back then is like remembering an old movie. It is of great comfort to know that something that painful can fade with time like that. I hope this can be of comfort to those who are hurting now.

When you are God's child, He will take care of you. It doesn't mean you won't go through some painful things, people have free choice. He will always provide a way, He will give care and comfort directly and indirectly through his people- special friends who are our Christian sisters and brothers.

A friend loves at all times. ~Proverbs 17:17

My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a mean he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend. ~Job 16:20-21

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other one up. ~Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~Proverbs 27:17




Tuesday, August 28, 2018

When We Don't Understand God's Plan by Kimberly Burnette

The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. ~ Genesis 39:23
When We Don’t Understand God’s Plan
When I became ill, I got diagnosed with five diseases in three years, three of them were rare. Life changed in so many ways for me, and pain became my constant companion. I had a long list of symptoms that ultimately made it impossible to continue working, and sent friends running the other direction. It felt like living through a barrage of storms, and the storms on the inside were even worse.
In weaker moments I found myself questioning what I did to deserve all I had gotten. I didn’t know anyone else in my town who had anything like me. People questioned what I had and suggested that I wasn’t right with God or had a stronghold. I pleaded with God to reveal to me what I needed to know.
I found great comfort in the story of Joseph (Genesis 37.) He was the youngest of 13 brothers who betrayed him in the worst of ways-they sold him into slavery and told their father he had died. He had God’s favor- and was made the head of the household where he was a slave (Genesis 39.) Then he was betrayed again- when he wouldn’t go to bed with his master’s wife; she claimed that he raped her! This landed him in prison. But all the while, God was with him.
So God used his circumstances and the gift he gave him, of interpreting dreams. It was ultimately someone Joseph met in prison whose dream he interpreted a few years before who told Pharaoh about his ability (Genesis 41.) He ended up becoming the second most powerful man in Egypt. Additionally, his family was reunited and restored.
What does this mean to me? God loved Joseph and used his circumstances to help an entire country. Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream lead to Pharaoh’s storing grain for a coming famine. God has a purpose, for you and for me. The Lord allowing difficult circumstances in our lives has nothing to do with how much He loves us. He is always with us, and uses everything to mold us and shape our story.
How do you see God’s hand in your circumstances?

Spirit Lead Me by Kimberly Burnette

Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground. ~ Psalm 143:10
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. ~ Romans 8:26
I love this song “Spirit Lead Me” by Influence Music because it reminds me to slow down and take the time to be quiet and listen for the spirit. What does that look like? For me, it looks like a moment of silence before I start praying, being still. It looks having quiet time where the spirit can lead me. Not by an audible voice, but by the thoughts that do not come from me that align with the Word. It comes in a knowing that wasn’t there before, that sometimes even goes against what we want answers to be. Leading sometimes looks like knowing that someone else needs us, or that there is something we need to pray for someone that we haven’t been told.
I pray that you open your heart to His leading, to receive what He has for you. He can do in and through you what you cannot do yourself. Thank you Jesus, for leaving your spirit here to help us in our weakness and need. 
The lyrics really move me:
[Verse 1]
This is my worship
This is my offering
In every moment
I withhold nothing
I'm learning to trust You
Even when I can't see it
And even in suffering
I have to believe it
[Chorus]
If You say "it's wrong", then I'll say "no"
If You say "release", I'm letting go
If You're in it with me, I'll begin
And when You say to jump, I'm diving in
If You say "be still", then I will wait
If You say to trust, I will obey
I don't wanna follow my own ways
I'm done chasing feelings
Spirit lead me
[Verse 2]
It felt like a burden
But once I could grasp it
You took me further
Further than I was asking
And simply to see You
It's worth it all
My life is an altar
Let Your fire fall
[Chorus 2]
If You say "it's wrong", then I'll say "no"
If You say "release", I'm letting go
If You're in it with me, I'll begin
And when You say to jump, I'm diving in
If You say "be still", then I will wait
If You say to trust, I will obey
Teach me how to follow in Your ways
I'm done chasing feelings
Spirit lead me
[Tag]
Spirit lead me
Spirit lead me
Spirit lead me
[Bridge]
When all hope is gone
And Your word is all I've got
I have to believe
You still bring water from the rock
To satisfy my thirst
To love me at my worst
And even when I don't remember
You remind me of my worth

Present Not Perfect by Kimberly Burnette

Watch Flawless
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. ~ Hebrews 10:14
Is anyone here a perfectionist? I grew up being a perfectionist. My mom was a bit OCD, and I wanted everything I did to be just right. I believed that would make me more worthy, more lovable- it is called being performance based.
I was never able to be perfect and I was never able to earn love! But as I grew older, I also learned that I was valuable without being perfect and I didn't have to be. I also learned and started really absorbing the fact that God always loved me just the way I was!
I started understanding what salvation really was and how incredible God's grace and mercy really were. The one act that Jesus committed, literally took all of your sin and mine- past, present and future- upon him so that we were made flawless before God!
Amazing grace- that we get what we don't deserve as sinners- in thought, word and deed.- eternal life! Mercy- that we don't get what we do deserve- harsh punishment for our sin. Sustaining grace- that keeps us going each day. How blessed are we!
We don't need to be perfect- ever! We just need to be present! Just pay attention and say, "thank you Jesus, for saving me!"
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

Friday, August 17, 2018

Purpose In The Waiting by Kimberly Burnette

Did you know that the author of “One More Step," Rachel Wojo, also writes Bible Reading plans? I find these very helpful because each one month plan has a theme and all passages correlate to the theme. Rachel’s theme for August 2018 is Purposeful Pause. My devotion is based on two passages from that reading plan and the reflections I had on these passages:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His Word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning ~ Psalm 130:15

Pausing and waiting— two of the hardest words in the English language for me.

I’ve had conversations with friends and mentors about what we call “being on hold.” When we sit on hold on a telephone ten seconds can feel like a minute, and one minute feels like five. It is very uncomfortable. We anticipate what we’re going to say and how things will go. We are eagerly waiting for answers, for a solution. Sometimes we wait for something good to finally come through.

For through the spirit by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. ~ Galatians 5:5

It is so hard to wait on God. How many times have you been waiting with plans in tow, and mind made up about how and when things should happen?

I’ve done this so many times:
    For my loved one with mental illness to get stable
    For my alcoholic husband to get well
    For my mind to heal from PTSD
    For my mental health ministry to get off the ground
    For my chronic illnesses to stabilize or heal

Sometimes what we wait for doesn’t look like what we thought it would. People don’t always have physical healing this side of heaven. And the best laid plans can fall apart. But then, sometimes, I have been absolutely amazed at what God has done!

While we may not get everything we are waiting on, we get ultimately get God’s best. When I was young, I was shy and timid. I would freeze up around more than one or two people. I had trouble even with phone calls. God freed me from that. I didn’t ask for what I didn’t think was possible. But today, I am assertive. I have taught classes, talked in front of groups, and stood up, by God’s grace.  I have also been released from all symptoms of PTSD. It took a long time, but it happened.

My loved one with mental illness is living far beyond his initial prognosis. It looked bad for a very long time, but with God's timing it eventually turned around. My mental health ministry has been going strong for nearly seven years, but it took ten years to get it off the ground.

In the case of my alcoholic husband, he never saw healing on this side of heaven. He passed away eleven years ago, but I know he knew Christ.

God always keeps His promises. And while we wait, it make me think of a tree in winter. Stripped bare of it’s fruit and foliage, waiting for the promise of spring. Winter is when it’s roots strengthen, so it can stand against the forces of nature. Much in the same way, when we wait on God, I believe He is strengthening our roots so we too can stand strong. What do you think?


Watch Find Me In The River

Monday, August 6, 2018

Trust Through Sustaining Grace

Repost from 2016

Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be moved. ~Psalm 55:22


Trust has always been a hard concept for me, namely because I have had trust betrayed many times, from the time I was a little girl. I learned while growing up that you can't trust people and yet I kept trying and I kept getting hurt. So I believed that no one was truly worthy of trust. 

Then how could I trust God? We all grow up seeing things happen that we will never understand. I never asked why because I was taught that you don't do that, but I wondered. Then came a time that I was on my knees desperate and knew that I had to trust him. He of course came through. And so my journey bega

I may have come through the back door in my Christian walk, and although I grew up in church, I knew about Jesus but I didn't know Him. It wasn't until I had to call on Him that I learned He was there waiting for me. That was when my true journey started.

Many people do not know what sustaining grace is. Saving grace has certainly saved my life and I am so relieved and happy that I know I will be with Jesus when this life is over despite being a sinner. Sustaining grace saves me time after time during my life here on earth.


Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you ~1 Peter 5:7


He has sustained me in more ways than I can name. He has provided provision in ways that don't even make sense. When I was a single mother with no child support coming in and no way to make ends meet, somehow they always did, but the numbers didn't add up. I always physically had what I needed when I needed it. So many times it seemed to come from left field. When I have been emotionally weak, He has lifted me up; He has carried me. He invites me, and all of us, to give Him our burdens, to lay them at His feet, and lighten our load. 

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. ~Phillipians 4:19


It is so amazing to me, that when I am not strong enough to do what He wants me to do, I can go to Him and ask Him to help me do it and He will. He sustains each of us by supporting us, holding us up, working in and through us when we are weak. 

All we have to do is ask. I live in His sustaining grace every day because I ask Him to work in and through me; I ask Him for His strength and His help. If I ever miss a day I suffer. 


When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. ~Psalm 56:3


What about you? Are you trying to do everything in your own strength, striving to achieve, looking to the world to fill your gaping holes? There is only one without flaws, who is absolute, unchanging, faithful and loves you in a perfect, incomprehensible way. I am trusting Him in a way that I never thought I could trust anyone, but He is not anyone. He knew each of us before we were ever born.




Give Him your life and your will. Make Him your foundation and like a tree, while the winds may blow your branches, limbs and sometimes your trunk, your roots, which are deeply rooted in our magnificent creator will hold you up and keep you from breaking. In other words, you will still have the tests and trials, but He will bring you through and you will be better and stronger than before. Watch as He keeps His promises, every one!

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Road Not Taken


One of my favorite poems is “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. It is basically a metaphor for our journey through life and the paths we choose. In the poem, the walker comes upon a fork in the road, and must decide which way he will go. He chooses the road less traveled, which to me is the more individual and unusual, but better!


I have often thought about my own journey, and the paths I have been on. Did I choose wisely? What if I had gone the other direction? It is easy to get caught up in what ifs- what if I had done things differently? What if I had not taken the road I did? What if I had made different decisions? 


The LORD guides us in the way we should go and protects those who please him. ~Psalm 37:23 Good News Translation

God does not want us to feel regretful, He wants us to repent and learn from our experiences. Just like when I get lost on a walk, and then find my way back. I remember which way to go after that! When we learn, and apply what we learn, we don't keep making the same mistakes. We know the way better.

I have learned that the walk of a Christian is a difficult one, and is most definitely the less traveled. But oh, what I would miss if I went the other, seemingly easier way!


Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


This path is long and winding, sometimes it’s hard to see. Some parts of it haven't been navigated before. But I am never alone. It may be unmapped, but God knows exactly where He’s taking me. When I have gotten off course, nothing works out! But then when I am back on the path, everything aligns once more. Isn't it amazing that we can know which way God wants us to go so easily? All we have to do is open our eyes and see the signs.

So what about the times when it is dark ahead and the road seems to end? The most obvious and easiest answer would be to go back and get on a different road wouldn't it? Do you think that is what God would want us to do? I have done that before because I got scared. Now, I try to stop and pray. I reach for Him and look for His light. I take a step at a time, and feel my way when I have to. What about you?



This is what the LORD says--your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. ~Isaiah 48:17 NLT


Do you trust God to pave a path before you? Do you trust Him to make a way where there is none? Has He ever done this for you before? Do you believe He will do it again?

Remember God is a God of the impossible. He is a God of so much more than what we can imagine and what we can see. Let Him set your path and make the way and He will lead and guide you to the places He wants you to go. Ultimately He will lead you all the way home to where you belong.


With this message: People of Israel, I am the holy LORD God, the one who rescues you. For your own good, I teach you, and I lead you along the right path. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6


Friday, July 6, 2018

Make The Most Of Your Time

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. ~ Psalm 90:12
                                                                                
Me and my youngest grandson as a baby
It just amazes me when I think about how my children are all in their thirties now. It seems like just yesterday that they were young children running around my house. Now I have grandchildren that do the same thing. Time marches on and the older we get, the more quickly it marches. 


I now have more friends and family who have passed away. I now have multiple chronic diseases. But the realization has come upon me that there are people I have known that seem to have nine lives. And there are others who were doing very great and hit suddenly with fatal injury or illness. 


Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. ~ Ephesians 5:15-16


None of us know how much time we have or what tomorrow will bring. The truth is only God knows. There is much that is beyond our control, but our God loves us so much that He has the perfect plan for each of us. So, we can stress about what we have no control over, and grieve over what we no longer have or we can make the most of each day.
                                                                                                                          Only God knows so just let go, relax and don't miss the special moments... they only come to you once. 


Each day is a gift, and there are many blessings that we take for granted. The truth is each day we make our memories for tomorrow. What kind of memories do you want to have? I think back to the times I wasted worrying and fretting about the future and the past as the time just went by, time I can’t get back. 


This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24


So what I try to do now is make the best of each day and savor the special moments. Living with chronic disease is hard, but God is good. One of the most humbling but rewarding things I’ve been learning is instead of being independent, to be dependent on God. He is teaching me to let go of my past regrets and losses, and my future worries and anxieties. When I focus on Him and stay in the moment life just looks so much better, and that’s how I want to experience it and remember it! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Just One Thing I Want You To Know

I am always with you- even to the very end of the age.
~Matthew 28:20
When the rains come             
When the storms move in
When the winds blow
And your faith wears thin
There’s just one thing
 I want you to know
 I will shelter you

When it’s so dark
When it’s hard to move
When you can’t see
Feeling your way through
There’s just one thing                                     


There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day and
protection from the storm and the rain. ~ Isaiah 4:6

I want you to know
I will be with you

When you’re scared you feel so alone
But I am always here
Though you can’t always see me
I’ll be the comfort in your fear

When it’s so hard
When no way seems right
When you don’t know
And no answer’s in sight
There’s just one thing
I’ll always come back
And I will answer you     
                                                       
The son will shine                                         
No matter what you do
Trust me and wait
I’ll help you breakthrough
There’s just one thing
I want you to do
Believe in me, I will

©Kimberly Burnette

Friday, May 25, 2018

Beautiful

How we look is so important to us, it’s what we’re taught from the time we are little. Being the right weight, conforming, being on-trend, having the right make up and clothes, looking like the characters in the stories we were read or in the movies we watched or the tv shows we followed. It has become so important in our culture that Photoshop “corrects” what isn’t acceptable in stars on magazine covers, leaving everyone with false ideas of what normal is.

The secular definition of beauty and the heavenly definition of beauty are quite different. I’ll tell you, I think the most beautiful women I know are my Christian friends. It has nothing to do with their body shape. It’s about an inner beauty from the heart and spirit that radiate from within. It shines in the depths of their eyes and on their faces; it makes them radiant. There is nothing quite like it. It is a beauty that will not fade with time, but I suspect will become all the more lovely.

When we go through the illnesses we have and as our bodies get older, we go through a lot of changes. It makes it all the more difficult to look in the mirror. But each one of us is made in the image of God, and He created us to be who we are, as we are. When I was growing up, I was one of the different ones. You know, everyone has the girls in class who have the same look. In my case, it was the girls with blond hair and blue eyes, with long hair parted down the middle, tight, bell bottom jeans that became indecent when they sat down. They all wore basically the same things, and if you saw them from behind, they looked the same. But everyone wanted to be them. Yet, there were many people who thought I was a pretty little girl. I never saw it. I was tall and skinny, with dark hair and eyes. I wanted to have more of a shape, yet others wanted to be skinny like me. None of us see ourselves as others see us.


Do we really want to be like everyone else? What defines you? Is it how your body looks, how well dressed you are, how many wrinkles you can cover? Or is it about who you are and whose you are? What do you want people to see when they look at you? A pretty woman who has a good figure, or a woman, or man, who radiates the love of God?

Lord, I pray that I become the woman that radiates the love of God. When I get caught up in my appearance, please help me to remember what true beauty looks like. Help me to remember who I want people to see when they look at me. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2018

A Love Such As This

How many of you have self-esteem issues? I've had them my entire life. It's hard not to living in today's world, where standards get higher and higher and many people have unrealistic expectations. I grew up being performance based. I just really thought if I could do things well, or appear a certain way, that I would be accepted and loved. I thought I had to earn it. It's what the world teaches isn't it? Reality hits again and again, for me it started rather young. And my God was always there, before I could even understand in what ways He was there.

I remember a movie that was quite a hit in the 70's called "Love Story." The famous line from Love Story was "Love means never having to say you're sorry." Well in real life that's not true. But, when you are loved with an Agape love, that only God himself can succeed at loving you with, that can be true.

You see my friend, there is nothing, absolutely nothing you will ever find like the love of God. It is unconditional, everlasting, eternal, nothing can separate you from His love. It is so huge it extends to the ends of the earth literally, it is beyond compare. "Agape" love is a Greek term that means charitable, sacrificial love. It is generous, it never thinks of itself. What kind of love would sacrifice a part of it's own self to save an ungrateful, miserable people from themselves, so they could spend eternity with a perfect Father? He sent His own son, made of flesh and blood to suffer for us, to take all of our horrible sin, past, present, future onto himself. Have you ever really thought about that, what it must have been like for the Father, for the Son?

This is a love that is not performance based; we do not have to measure up. When we fail, He is there to comfort us and give us strength to get back up and try again, and to redirect us. He never looks down on us, He sees us as we will one day be, not as we are right now. He sees the beauty in us that we cannot.

He knows our frail, weak humanity, He made us this way. God wants us to reach out to Him for what we need. He is happy to help us, and loves for us to acknowledge all that He does. He is my hope and my joy, everyday. Some days He is more my hope and others more my joy. It gives me such peace to know that I have Him always and that what He is preparing for me and for us, is beyond our imaginations. His love in unlike any love any of us has ever experienced. I pray that you will give yourself over to Him fully, and truly know the incredible love He has for you.

There may be people and circumstances in this world that challenge your perception of yourself, but know that you have God and He loves you more than you could imagine loving anyone. He would do anything for you. If you don't believe me, read it in the Bible, it says so!


Friday, March 30, 2018

Ultimate Forgiveness

It's so amazing to me when I hear the stories, the incredible stories of impossible forgiveness. Have you heard them?

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32

There is the story of the little boy who's parents were missionaries. His father was among a group who were slaughtered by a tribe in Equador, yet he grew up to become one of their family. You can see a version of his story in the movie," The End of The Spear." and read more about it here: http://www1.cbn.com/end-spear-true-story

Then there's the story of the mom who's teenage son was murdered by another teenager. After 6 months, she regularly visited the boy in prison and brought him gifts. When he was released, she took him into her home, and later took him as her own son. To read more about this story you can go here: http://mariashriver.com/jack-kornfield-ive-been-thinking-the-heart-of-forgiveness/ 

How can people forgive in such extravagant ways when so many of us have trouble even accepting the relatively minor things that others have done to us? How can you step into someone's life who has hurt you so badly? Perhaps the answer lies at the cross where the ultimate story of forgiveness took place; the story that many gloss over or minimize with the commercial aspects of the Easter holiday. God sent His only son to live to teach, heal and deliver, only to be abandoned and tortured. And he took the most horrible punishment for all of our sins, and still asked God to forgive us for what was done to him.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Jesus isn't just the ultimate sacrifice, but also our example. And when we ask, and are ready to surrender, we are given the grace to be able to forgive things we could not imagine forgiving. I am one who has had to do that. By the grace of God only, for it was Him through me that did the forgiving. That day I was set free from things I didn't know held me captive. My whole life changed.

Forgiveness is an act that in most cases is never known by the person being forgiven. By forgiving, we break the chains of anger, sadness and bitterness that keep us held to the past, and unable to move forward. A counselor once described unforgiveness as going through life feeling like you are juggling balls or carrying a heavy ball and chain all the time! How very exhausting and distracting that is! When we refuse to forgive, we put a roadblock in our own way to true repentance as God tells us more than once in scripture that we must forgive in order to be forgiven.

 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

I pray that you can meditate upon and reach out to God to help you forgive and be free and then experience the peace that knows no understanding.





Thursday, March 1, 2018

In Hindsight

Thirteen months is a long time right? I think it is. Thirteen months is how long it is since my husband's store closed and he was out of a job. Thank God he is part of a union! He was guaranteed a job, so he was reassigned to a part time job 90 miles away. He made enough that it didn't pay to get a temporary job waiting for a job where we lived and that is how we lived for quite a while. Meanwhile, the roof fell in. Not just figuratively as in everything seemed to go wrong, but literally as in part of our roof just fell in! Not only did it fall in, but because it was due to a faulty repair of the people who owned the house before us, our homeowner's insurance did not cover it. My health got worse, we had family illness to deal with, pipes burst, you name it and it happened.

We prayed and we prayed. People would say "I'll pray for you" and "You're in a hard season," and being the Christians that we are, we just kept going, sucked it up and had occasional meltdowns. Thank God we have our faith! What this "hard season" did for us was to bring us closer to God in a way we haven't been before. It made us focus on Him in new ways. And more than anything, it made us realize what is truly important.

When jobs didn't work out, and the savings was just about gone, we felt times of weakness and despair. Where was God? Why hadn't He answered? What did He want from us? Questions swirled around in my head. As my faith was worn down, and my strength became weakness, the most incredible thing happened. I was lifted in a way I hadn't been in a long time. I surrendered completely and was functioning fully in God's strength, feeling a renewal of hope and joy. I would wake and He would replenish my cup. He would fill my emptiness. I did not realize the striving I had done until I had no energy to strive with. Sometimes we need to get to that place of desperation to give it all to Him!

Are you in that place of need and desperation? I invite you to get on your knees and lay it down to the One who will take it and make You new. Even if you have done this before, you can do it again. You are so loved, and the Lord wants to give you the best of Him. Look at the ultimate sacrifice He made of His own son for each of us! You can trust Him with it all, and in return receive the peace than knows no understanding. I know I did.

And regarding the job and my health: my husband's company created a new full time position for him that wasn't there. I had surgery and am doing better than I have been in a long time, and the roof is no longer falling in! God is so good, and He uses everything for the good!


Saturday, January 20, 2018

In Whom Do You Trust?

Trust has always been a scary word for me; many would say with good reason. From the time I was a little girl, I had my trust violated. I grew up on an inner city block with the tough girls, but I wasn't one of them. I was always gentle and afraid of hurting people, so I was the one that got hurt. As a teenager in the suburbs, I was the victim of crime at fourteen years old. So who did I put my trust in- me! 


I grew up in church and I knew all about Jesus, but it wasn't until I was an adult that I actually knew Jesus. With a mind and a heart that was so afraid of losing control, it was so difficult to trust in God. Surrender only seemed to come in desperation. Does this sound familiar? Trust and faith are very hard things to achieve. In Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells his followers that if they had the faith of a mustard seed, they could tell a mountain to move and it would. 

Life happens, so of course over the years, the trust issues accumulated. This is something I have worked on for a long time. When I was a single mother, control was the word of the day. Self control may be a virtue, but we will never have control over everything. Having control is truly an illusion; at best we may feel in control. 


Through prayer and study of the Word, I am finally getting to the point of really putting trust in my Lord and Savior. I can honestly say I have true faith. This is something that I asked Him to help me with and He really has. 


Isn't it incredible to think that we can go to God and ask Him to help us do what He wants us to do and He will? Through looking back at all the times I needed Him and He got me through, I realized how faithful He has always been. He has never forsaken me. He has always loved me with no bounds, He has always helped me. Most of all, I have things in my life that have been resolved with no explanation, and I know that it was from Him. He showed me how much I can trust Him and put my faith in Him!



Oh what a wonderful God I serve! I lay my burdens at His feet every day. It is so freeing to not carry that weight anymore. I trust Him with it all. Sometimes I take those burdens back and I have to do it again. It's a process that hopefully will lessen over time. I never thought I could trust like this, but through Him and with Him through me I can. Not only do I trust in the Lord, but He has been healing the trust issues as well. 

My trust used to be in me, now my trust is in God. In whom do you really trust? 

____________________
Reprint from 5/2016
.

Sometimes I Wish

Sometimes I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. You set impossible standards for yourself. I see in you the person you dreamed you would be. I see the things you never thought you could do, how many obstacles you have gotten past and how many times you have overcome.

Sometimes I wish you could stop for a bit and revel in how far you have come. I want you to look back and see where you were. Remember the person you once were and cherish the incredible person you are now.

Sometimes I wish you could see past the brave, confident woman I try to portray myself to be and know that I am not much different than you are. I learned to be a fighter, I didn't have a choice. I have a perfectly molded mask I wear when the need is there. Sometimes I don't know when to take it off. That's when I wish I was more like you.

Sometimes I wish there wasn't a reason to learn all I did, as a lot of that learning came from a lot of pain. When I remember, I can feel the sharp edges of emotion like a perfect storm descending upon me from different directions. I don't believe in regrets or what if's- but sometimes I wish I could write my own story from the beginning; starting fresh with blank white pages.

Sometimes I wish all of these things, and then I realize, once more, that I am who I am meant to be, and so are you. The person who I am is a culmination of the experiences I have had, what I have learned from them and how God used it all to shape what is now a life full of meaning and purpose. Through it all, God left me with a soft heart, so I could know others' pain and support them through. I stand up for what I believe in and I fight for others who cannot fight for themselves. Yet I still have this soft heart, and when I pay a price for standing up and stepping out, it can hurt a lot. Sometimes I wish my heart didn't feel so heavy, but I praise God that it is full. I can say that I have really lived, I have known such deep pain, but I have also known incredible feelings of joy. I think back to C.S. Lewis' "Shadow Lands," the story of his own life. C.S. Lewis played it safe for many years, until the American poet Joy Gresham stole his heart. The story is one of finding true happiness; the love of a lifetime, and also of suffering the devastating loss of that love. We risk pain every time we try, every time we step out. I love his quote that pain rouses a deaf world.

And so, I wish for all and for myself, that you are brave enough to step out, open enough to dance with the wind, wise enough to step slowly but deliberately, patient enough to take one step at a time and to always remember that it isn't the destination, but the journey that matters. My journey is like climbing a mountain. Walking with my Savior and helping others in their fights is an uphill climb. How amazing it is finding that beautiful place where one can rest and look out, to see a breathtaking view. In my weakness and humanity I wish so many things, but then, I look up, find I am a little closer to Heaven, and thank God for that mountain view.
_____________________________________

Reprint from 2012