God is Your Umbrella-A take on Psalm 121

Here’s a video link: https://youtu.be/rFRUkk_Vok0

or just keep on reading the blog below:

I was thinking about the pairing of a couple of strange things that I hope will bring you some encouragement today. They are essentially props: slippers and umbrellas. I was thinking about how they relate to Psalm 121. 

I want to talk about the umbrella first because I’m thinking fondly about a vacation I had recently,  it was in Florida. We traveled to Marco Island, Florida to meet friends of ours. 

I remember vividly, it was a big day at the beach. I love the coolness of the ocean and I love the sound of the waves.  I love sitting in the sand because I like digging my heels in it as I exfoliate my feet and particularly my heels. I loved the smell of putting sunscreen on and eating while I’m there too! 

I eat the whole time! I just pull out  the cooler and eat, eat, eat, eat, eat . All the while I try to make sure that the seagulls don’t get any of what I intend to munch on.

The point is. I love to go to the beach! I just sit down and relax and watch all the people walk on the beach and do whatever.  

It’s a big event! Getting the sunscreen, gathering the towels, finding my sun hat collecting the right chairs and getting them all loaded. 

One day, we rode our bicycles and we put the sun chairs with the backpack type straps on our backs and we rode our bicycles to the beach. It was so much fun but my husband had to have his umbrella along because he reaches a point where he just doesn’t even want anymore sun! Sometimes he’ll go and be sitting under the umbrella the entire time.  So he doesn’t get any of the sun that we’re all craving! But the funny thing is, I realized, a little bit into this day, that I kind of wanted to get under that umbrella with him. 

I wanted to get underneath the umbrella because I was getting a little too hot and I was feeling a little too crispy and even though I had sunscreen, hat and the whole deal, I was very thankful for the shade of his umbrella.

Okay, so what does an umbrella have to do with slippers? Well, I got slippers from my sister for Christmas. They’re kelly green and cute with these little dangling pom-poms on them. But the important part is the underneath side. 

You need to understand, I have lots of stairs in my house! And if you slip, you do NOT want to slip down the steps because every single step would really kill your tailbone. What was important to me is that the slippers have the gripper things down at the bottom!  I do NOT want to slip! I don’t want to slip! It makes you feel very uneasy, it makes you feel very vulnerable you know that you could get hurt and harm yourself and for days you’d be paying for it. 

So the umbrella and the slippers both related in my mind to a Psalm I love, 121. I have been camping on  this passage. I have been thinking about it as we enter back into more of “real life.”

I’ve been thinking about how it’s an anchor for my life. That God is my keeper. I even did a different video on the fact that he’s our keeper but I just want you to pay attention to the umbrella and the slippers as you read Psalm 121. Think of the ways that God is your umbrella and the ways that God is like your slippers. It may seem trivial but He is so good! And really is caring for us. 

I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Indeed, the Protector of Israel does not slumber or sleep. The Lord protects you; the Lord is a shelter right by your side. The sun will not strike you by day or the moon by night. The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever.”

Psalms121:1-8HCSB

I wrote before about God being our keeper, that He keeps us from all harm. These videos were about him being our keeper that he keeps us from all harm and keeps us even when we don’t know we’re being kept but he keeps particularly when you were following him and even when you’re rebellious or you decide, I’m gonna go my own way! he will keep your foot from slipping because he loves you so much and he has a better plan for you than you have for yourself. He keeps you from slipping and falling down the stairs and the repercussions of “hitting every step on the way down” metaphorically speaking! 

Let me pray over you right now. That you would know God is the shade at your right hand, the sun is not gonna harm you by day nor the moon by night. What that means is that God‘s got your daytime covered and he’s got your nighttime covered. There isn’t a shift where God punches out! He’s never away. He’s never distant.  He’s right near. 

In fact Scripture tells us we can draw near to God and He will draw near to us, that’s a promise. He is near. 

Father, I thank you that you are the grippers for slippers that you will not allow our foot to slip and you are the umbrella, the shade at our right hand we don’t have to worry about being struck by the sun in the day or the moon by night because you’re with us constantly 24/7. 

I release peace over whoever is reading right now, that you are kept by God. He’s not only your keeper but he is your umbrella and slippers and he watches over you. So be at peace. Be at rest, in the name of Jesus, amen! Amen!  So go in peace today. I hope that encourages you; have a great day! 

Disoriented or Confused? God is Your Keeper!

Hey, hey everyone,  it’s Rachel Inouye here! I hope to bring some encouragement to you today.

As I moved the furniture to get myself in the spot for filming a YouTube video, I found a few little pieces of the Christmas tree under my chair and couple of those tiny asian beetles that died, but that’s not the point. The point is, I’m here I am ready to share some encouragement with you. 

LINK: rather than read it ◀️

(I want to spread encouragement rather than a virus. 😱🤮🤧😷So LIKE & SHARE & SUBSCRIBE)

rather than read it ◀️ CLICK

Oh, boy! I’ve had a lot going on in my life but through it all I know one thing, God is my keeper! I know it, feel it, watch it manifest in my life and I wanted you to know know that too! 

I just recently came back from Florida! It was fabulous and it was the first trip I’ve taken since the lock down. So it was about a year without flight travel. As got on a plane, it was a bit odd. Yet I’ve thought about all the ways God guided and watched over me, as my keeper. I want you to know that God keeps us. I noticed that he kept my coming and going as I traveled to and from Florida. He’s our keeper. It’s His promise.

As we enter back into a more regular season of life, as the lock down lessens or while we begin to go out more because our regular rhythms, although modified, resume, I wanted to share with you a little bit about directions and that God is our keeper. 

Concerning the direction part, I don’t know if you ever feel like you don’t know which way to go. Well, Scripture tells us He will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. 

Have you ever felt directionless or disoreinted? You don’t know where to go while driving in your car or you lose your sense of direction altogether. You’re not sure where to head next because you’ve become turned around and confused somehow. 

My husband, Michael, has one particular place in our town where, no matter what, he gets mixed up. Whenever he drives in that area he gets kind of turned around. I think it’s because when we first moved here, 20 years ago, he got turned around in that exact location. Has that happened to you before?  Do you feel like you’re getting turned around or you’re not sure and you’re confused and disoriented?  Perhaps it’s because you’ve had a great deal of change going on in life and have lived in a global pandemic. 

But be assured, God isn’t confused!  He’s got the best GPS! He is always re-calculating you and He knows where he wants to go and He’ll get you there. He has a destination in mind for you.  

So when it comes to directions, know that God promises to guide you…it’s one of His promises- I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go I will counsel and watch over you. One version says with my loving eye upon you! 

So when it comes to directions or when you’re not sure where you should go, know that God is working for you and he WILL, not might,  He WILL instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.

The verse that follows says, don’t be like a horse or a mule that needs to be guided by a bit or bridal…So don’t be stubborn when He’s leading you, submit to Him and go where He’s going! Remember that because he’s got the best GPS ever!  God is instructing us. He is teaching us and he has his loving eye upon us. 

I hope that helps you today. That you’d just be guided by Him. You don’t have to be stubborn, you can submit to His Lordship and you can submit to His directions. He’s got your destiny in mind. So as we begin to go out more know that He’s your keeper! 🥰

“The Lord will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.”

Psalms121:7-8NIV

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you.”

Psalm 32:8-9

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!

Isaiah 26:3

Debunk the Lie

Long time no write, right? 
I’ve been v-logging more lately instead of blogging. You may read my thoughts below, if you’d rather.

⬆️ I’ve included the video link above so knock yourself out!⬆️ 🎧

 
I hope to debunk a lie and bring some encouragement to you today. I also have a recommendation. My encouragement is that you do hear from God. In Scripture it says, My sheep hear my voice, I know them, and they follow me. ( John 10:27)
God is always speaking. You hear voices, voices of condemnation come in sometimes and we can hear those. Voices that tell us we are less than or not enough, we can hear those. 

God is speaking to us, too. He is drawing us by His voice. He is the WORD! How can you be THE word and not keep speaking? 

Some people don’t believe God speaks to us today. He only speaks through the word of God. Please understand this, I am a big fan of the word of God! But, if what they propose is true, then I don’t know what to do with the Scripture that says, “Today if you hear his voice do not harden your heart.” Even our conversion happened because we listened and heard the voice of God. 
So it’s important to read the word of God and the more we read the word of God, we’ll hear him speaking to us.

He speaks to us so don’t limit yourself from how His voice will come. It could be through a friend, it could be through music, it could be through nature, it could be just His presence. He speaks, He’s always speaking to us! 
He is always speaking His voice of love over us and you are wired to hear from God!

So don’t think of yourself as one who’s disqualified or can’t hear or is distant from Him. He is always speaking, it’s in your DNA to hear from your father. He created you He made you and He wants you to hear him. So I would like to just debunk the lie that you don’t hear or the thought that you’re not worthy of it because he’s always speaking. One of the stories that I love from the Old Testament is the story about Samuel. He was a young boy who was taken to Eli and was to live with him. 

Samuel was laying down at night when he thought Eli had called him from another room because he heard,”Samuel, Samuel!” and he got up and he went to Eli‘s room and he said, “Did you call me?” 

Eli said, “No, I didn’t call you go back to bed.” He did this repeatedly, until finally Eli got it! Oh, God’s talking to him! He told Samuel, “Go back and lie down but next time you hear it, when you hear it say, ‘Speak Lord for your servant hears.’” 

Sure enough, Samuel went and lay down and as he was lying there, he heard again, “Samuel, Samuel,” and he said, “Speak Lord for your servant hears.” My encouragement for you today is just to understand He still speaks. You may know I wrote a book, He Speaks – Hearing the Voice of God through Journaling and I thought it was so great that the song “The Voice of God” came out at the same time. The song talks about all the ways that the voice of God comes to us. I was just amazed, did this song come out at the exact same time? Holy Spirit, thank you for your genius in that! I highly recommend that song to you.


And so I am unashamed to recommend my latest book to you. Even right now God is speaking to you; He’s always speaking. The book is called He Speaks – Hearing the Voice of God through JournalingWhat do I mean by journaling? I mean I simply quiet myself, look to Jesus, calm down and then whatever I hear, I write down. I never write down anything that is contrary to His word. or opposite of the Scriptures. I’m always in the Word of God. I love the word of God! He speaks to me in and through it. 


I’d like to share an entry from He Speaks and tell you I also wrote another book called, I’m Listening; a companion journal for He Speaks. So I’ve written things down and the cover of the book has photographs of a few of the actual journals that I’ve written in. 
Once you practice the art of listening, I hope you’ll gain momentum, or maybe you’ve done this for years, I wanted to make sure people could keep the momentum going and new entries could be kept in the I’m Listening companion journal. 
I’m Listening journal and He Speaks both have a place for you to write what you hear from God.

Let me include an entry as an example, I just picked Entry Number 15…
I always start with “The Lord says my Love…” there are great explanations in the book’s Introduction and How to Use this Book sections in the beginning. It’s quite important to read those sections to get the most out of the book.

 
Hear from God as you read these words:
The Lord says my Love…come close and lean in. I am near to you. I’m right here! I see you, I see every tear you cry, every encounter with a friend, every laugh that comes from your belly and every move you make. Each day I delight in who I made you to be. You are mine! I love you! 
I made you to be blameless, pure and holy. Come to me for my blood has cleansed you. I desire to make you strong, firm and steadfast. I desire to give you the joy of the Lord because I am your strength.
Stand back and watch me work! I will released you from the bondage to decay. Keep praying and casting your cares and trusting in me. The victory that I have for you is better than you could ever ask or imagine. My ways are higher than your ways. Remember to trust in me and do good. I am right here, I can be found in the warmth of the sun, the chirping of the birds, the beauty of the flowers, the waves on an ocean, gently falling snow, the touch of a child and the cry of a baby. Drink in my goodness and mercy today. 

The way that I formatted the book, there’s always included in each entry :
• Scripture to Embrace

• Question to Consider

• Prayer

 • Declaration 


Then after, there’s a place for you to sit and practice the art of listening for yourself!
Let me continue reading from entry #15:

Scripture to Embrace:
“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” Lamentations 3:32, 33 


The Question to Consider:
In what life situations or circumstance can I yield to the truth of God‘s ways being higher than my ways? 

Prayer from He Speaks: (I pray this over you right now)

Lord, thank you for being right here with me and seeing me. Thanks for another day. Fill me with joy today and allow my strength to soar. Help me to see you in everything around me as I drink in your goodness and mercy. Amen


Declaration that you say aloud:
Stress and strife have no voice or power over me! Holy Spirit, I welcome you to lead me today!


So dear one, that’s just an example from book I wrote called, He Speaks – Hearing the Voice of God through Journaling and its companion journal, I’m listening.
I recommend both of these to you!🥰

They are available on Amazon or you can go to my website: Rachelinouye.org
I am really excited that it’s going lots of places and I hope that it goes to every state and every nation all around the world!

I believe you can hear from God! so I wanted to bring encouragement that you can! Be blessed to hear from God because the love He has and the way He wants you to hear Him is particular to you. He’s so wired you for that.

You’re set up for success not failure!
Bless you today! 

Rachel

https://rachelinouye.org/store.cfm

This is the song I mentioned earlier. Enjoy!

Phones, a Pamphlet and a Butterfly Net

#AudioBlog 🎧 ⬇️

“Hey, ya want to take a walk with me? I know, how ‘bout we ride the motorcycle to Retzer Nature Center and take our walk there! Would you like that?” I asked.

My husband made a move for his shoes and off we went! It was a beautiful summer day in the 80’s and sunny. Sometimes is does one good to get out in nature.

We began the hike and hadn’t gone too far, before I stopped and squatted down, whipped out my phone to take some photos of a plant with red berries. It was the first among many.

Michael began to point his phone toward plants and flowers using an app called SEEK which identifies them, but I continued on. All of a sudden I heard him exclaim from twenty yards behind me, “This is FUN honey!”

When he caught up to where I stood I inquired, “What do you like about it?”

He quickly replied, “the fact that you learn things as you take pictures of pretty things.”

We took a few more photos each.

“It will only get me to the genus of Golden Rod, but it won’t tell me the species!” He said. He was a bit dejected, as we slowed to a halt.

My Nike app interrupted, “pausing work out “ then once we started down the path again she chimed in “resuming work out!“

I laughed, Well, this isn’t really a work out” while Michael exclaimed, “This is better than work out this is educational!”

Much later, after many more photos were taken and my phone battery died, we came around the bend into an intersection in the board walk area. There we met a dad and his young daughter who was maybe six years old. She was a thin girl with beautiful soft curly blonde hair. She was so excited to have a bird identifying pamphlet with her. She stopped to show us some pictured birds as she unfolded its accordion pleats.

I was amused because she kept talking and pointing at the birds all the while her extended pamphlet was upside down. I asked her, “Do you see the bright yellow one down on the third row? They’re called goldfinches. We saw three today as we rode in.”

She worked to get her long hair, which was a bit wind blown, out of her face, then she looked up at me and squinted because it was bright. She asked in her high picked voice, “but don’t you think cardinals are the best?”

Next, her mom and sister came walking and drew closer, “Hello,” she smiled. The sister seemed about the same size, perhaps a twin she never looked up or spoke but she was armed with a butterfly net! I assumed they too were going to have an identifying adventure like we had.

“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Psalms 24:1-2 NIV

#AudioBlog 🎧⬇️

https://www.dropbox.com/s/jc4c8dxk7qcvoww/AudioBlog%20phones%2C%20pamphlet%20and%20a%20butterfly%20net.m4a?dl=0

Voice Recognition is Vital to Victory!

I’m about to publish a book, He Speaks- Hearing the Voice of God Through Journaling, it’s about hearing God’s voice over all the clamor and noise that vies for our attention. As I thought about my journey with voices, I wanted to give you some basic guidelines that has helped me to distinguish whose voice I am hearing because voice recognition is vital to victory. (I have provided an audio version of this blog below #audioblog)

Years ago, while painting instead of writing, I continued to hear this voice in my head accusing me over and over. Why are you doing this? You realize you should be getting other things accomplished. You need to be writing a blog, why do you plan to do this project today?  You are so random and you’re not very disciplined otherwise you’d be writing.

ENOUGH!  I RECOGNIZED and realized the source.  The voice I had been listening to was the accuser who was trying to make me feel badly about myself. That’s what he does 24/7, he accuses.

I recognized it as his voice and spoke out the truth, God made me and He knows how I’m wired. He knows I do random tasks even when it makes no sense. He is delighted to spend time with me!  I asked God, “Do you want to take today to do this with me? He said. “Yes!” So we headed to Home Depot to buy the paint.

We listen to music and painted the living room together. It was a beautiful time. Later, I took a walk and got to thinking about how we are human beings not human doings. God made us each the way He made us so we too can delight in ourselves the way God, the Father, delights in us.

As I drew near to my house, I was thinking, I really should get a blog post written, but I still don’t have something I desire to write about. I then heard the sound of a car behind me. I was met by a friend who slowed down and said, “Hey pretty lady!”

I removed my hood and turned my head toward her familiar face grinning at me. She had the window rolled down so we caught up about my upcoming trip and her recent time away in California.

She then asked, “Hey, would you blog sometime about the four things that you need to do when it comes to listening to voices in your head? What were the four things again? I saw something on Facebook once from one of your retreats, but I still need to be reminded.”

I said. “Really? I was wondering, what I will blog about today? She stressed again, “Seriously, Rachel I so needed this, this past week. Please write about it!”

Photo by Pressmaster on Pexels.com

So here are some of  my thoughts about the voices in our heads. We must realize there’s always an inner dialogue going on. You’ve heard it, right? Yes, there are voices in our head. We MUST learn to distinguish the source of the voices that we’re listening to.

Here are some things to keep in mind. If the voice is the voice of approval it is from God.  If it’s a voice of accusation it is from the enemy. If it is a voice of comfort and confirmation it is from God, but if it is a voice of condemnation it’s from the enemy. If the voice is based on behavior and your past it is from the enemy but if the voice is based on your purpose and your destiny it is from God.

God: Comfort & Confirmation                  Enemy: Condemnation

God: Affirmation                                         Enemy: Accusation

God: Your position in Him                         Enemy: Your Performance

God: Purpose & Destiny                              Enemy: Your Past & Mistakes

So with that in mind realize there could be four voice sources:

  • An Angel
  • Holy Spirit
  • Your spirit
  • An ungodly spirit – or the devil.

So recognize the voice or even straight up ask Holy Spirit, “Is this from you? God is this you?” Remember the voice is NOT from Father God:

  • If it does not bring you encouragement…
  • If it does not tell you, you are loved…
  • If it does not show you your future, which is bright…
  • If it does not have kindness and comfort… Remember, even in correction God is good and kind.

(Scripture tells us, it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.)

So if the above list is the VOICE you hear- then it is NOT from God. When it comes to that kind of voice you must choose NOT to listen. I’ve told my audiences many times and I will repeat it again in this blog today at the request of my friend.

We MUST:

1. Recognize

2.  Reject

3. Repent

4. Replace

It’s pretty simple. When you recognize it’s from the enemy or voice you shouldn’t listen to then reject the thought. Then reject the voice and don’t give it any more “head space” or” airtime.” Third you have to think again on a higher level. Think in a kingdom way, re-think on a higher level…in the heavenly places with Christ where we are seated. (Ephesians 2 you have to repent)

BUT REMEMBER you can’t leave the shelves in your brain empty because the thoughts from the negative voice will come flooding back in so you must replace those accusatory thoughts with the truth.

Let’s use my earlier example of when I was painting the room. I was hearing all the voices about why I shouldn’t be doing this or that. I needed to be writing a blog instead. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t even want to rewrite the garbage thoughts again. I had to silence the voice. Recognize, Reject, Repent, Replace!

I had to replace it with truth. I had to say aloud, “You know what? This is how I’m wired. Psalm 139 tells me I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. This is the way I roll. I may make my husband crazy, I may drive people around me nuts but I am keeping in step with the Spirit and today this is what we are going to do. We’re going to paint this room!”

I don’t know what you’re battling today. I don’t know whether you’re hearing the voice of condemnation or not. But I do know God is speaking to you and His words over you are words of LOVE. They are words conveying His pleasure with you because He made you.

He wants you to know:

  • He is proud of you
  • He sees your circumstances and how you are pressing forward.
  • You are an overcomer.
  • Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
  • No weapon formed against you will prosper. It may be formed but it will not prosper.

He hopes like nobody’s business you know:

  • You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
  • He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
  • The righteous have NO FEAR of bad news.
  • He will provide for your every need.
  • You don’t have to dwell on the past. (If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.) He doesn’t want you to dwell on things Jesus paid for on the cross. He wants you to leave the past behind and go forward in faith.

Okay, I guess I DID have something to say today and at the risk of ranting, I just want to leave you with the thought that you too can do the four “R’s”. Maybe it’ll help you to remember Rachel said them and they all start with the letter “R”

  • Recognize
  • Reject
  • Repent
  • Replace

I wrote about this in my book Lily Pads – Stories of God on Display.  Chapter Two – Identity and the Tooth Fairy.  https://www.amazon.com/Lily-Pads-Life-Stories-Display/dp/153366434X#immersive-view_1514758188298

Let me lead you in a prayer:

Father, help all of us recognize the voices that are coming in and help us to know if it’s from you or not. Lord, if the voices that we listen to are from an ungodly spirit or the enemy I pray, in the name of Jesus that we would reject them. Lord, we repent of partnering with any thought that is not the way you think about us or our circumstances. We repent of thinking on an earthly level when we are kingdom people.

We repent of partnering with the lies and the negative voice of the accuser. We ask you for forgiveness. Give us the ability to think again on a higher level. Lord, I thank you for your word.  Your word is the truth. We can replace any negative thoughts and lies we’ve believed with positive thoughts of what you think about us straight from your word.

Thank you for what you say about us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You never make junk and you have started a good work and are faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. We thank you, we thank you, we thank you, we believe you are doing a good work in and through our lives. I pray this, in Jesus mighty name, amen!

▶️💿🎧 #audioblog

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A Change of Venue

“What’s the rest of your day look like?” A friend inquired as we headed to the car after our workout.

“I’m pretty open today, why?”

“I’m wondering if you’d be up for walking along the river I was telling you about? It’s supposed to be a warm day, the water will be perfect and it’s always so clear.” She informed. “Wanna go?”

“I’d love to!” I replied.

I’m really glad that was my immediate response. I took the day off, so to speak. I didn’t write a blog post, but allowed myself the freedom to be out of my rhythm and away from my normal schedule. We’ve all been out of scheduled rhythms for awhile now, I realize. Sometimes a change of venue is what’s really needed, right?

I’m delighted to report:

* The weather was perfect

* Temperature ideal

* Water level – never higher than my belly button

* The plant life and fish – a feast for the eyes.

Allow me to share just a few photos.

Wow! And this is only getting started.
I couldn’t resist snapping this picture since my first book is called “Lily Pads-Stories of God in Display! https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-deal/id1448869614?mt=2
He was one of three we saw.
I know it’s a weed but really a beautiful one!
Can you say…clear water?
Time to head back…already?
A bent reed He will not break, a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

May I offer a suggestion? Take time to interrupt your schedule and change up the rhythms of your day, because sometimes a change of venue is a really good thing!

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https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-real-deal/id1448869614?mt=2

http://www.rachelinouye.org

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Matching Socks…Must they?

I tied up my tennis shoe laces while seated on the front porch, stood up quickly to demonstrate my resolve to go for a walk and thought…Okay, let’s do this thing!  

While out on my walk I saw a woman who clearly had on socks that did not match. One was a red sock on her right leg the other was a green sock on her left leg, they were ankle high and were clearly two different colors. She wore black tennis shoes and shorts with a blue t-shirt. The point is, I remember thinking, Hmm? Her socks don’t match. Well, years ago the trend was, or may possibly still be, to not wear matching socks. 

I remember fondly, how a young gal used to come over to our house weekly and take off her shoes politely, in the entryway, then make her way up the steps to chat with us in the kitchen. 

I asked her about her silly unmatched socks one day and she giggled, threw her head back a bit and said, “Oh, I never have time to match my socks. I just pull out whatever two I can grab quickly before rushing off to school.”

I shared a simple tip: I said, “A friend of mine used to safety pin her own socks and her husband’s socks before throwing them into their dirty clothes hamper. That way they’d be ready to wash and would stay mated. If that helps you, try it!”

Enough about socks, life hacks and the woman I saw today with an unmatched pair. But this all started me thinking about how easily we can judge or question someone or think our way is the right way. My socks usually match, yet should it really matter to me whether someone else’s socks match? No! Of course not! This is a silly example but…

In this day and age, or at least currently it seems, people have an opinion about everything, get offended about anything and are tipped over and upset about everything! Okay, I’m exaggerating but let me build my point.

It seems like differences have caused people to think they can’t be together, rather than allowing the differences be the reason we are drawn together. I know our own uniqueness can be celebrated and beautifully stands out because of the differences and diversity of the other people around us.

I LOVE my husband and children so much and my extended family too. We have so many similarities, but really we are nothing alike. We are a huge can of mixed-nuts! I celebrate that, it makes us the goofy and amazing bunch that we are. 

Photo by Caio on Pexels.com

I like going to the farmers market and picking up a beautiful bouquet made of the flowers that bloom during summertime. I love how each flower is so different! The big sunflower lifts its head in the center, the little tiny purple flowers fill in next to it, both large and small flowers are represented, with the lacey beside the bold. It’s the differences of each unique flower that makes that collection one of my favorite late-summer bouquets. 

So as I walked this morning, I thought about celebrating, rather than judging, questioning or even wondering about a lady who wore unmatched socks. God reminded me of what really matters and what must match. Like what I believe about Him, His love, His character and nature and what I believe about myself in light of who He says I am, now that matters! 

I must rehearse truths about who He is and who I am. Because this determines how I think and feel and choose and that is what must match up. God showed me, by speaking to my spirit, how my life’s love must be matched and directed towards people and my faith must be matched with action.  I’m working on it! Or I guess, I’d say He is working on it IN me! 

So feel free to kick off your shoes, take off your matched or unmatched socks and remember to “keep your love on!” 

Let me leave you with these verses:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

Romans 12:9-18 NIV

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Would You Allow a Thief in to Vandalize Your Home and Rob You Blind?

An onslaught of thoughts, words, visuals, sounds and images all blast us daily, hourly, each moment of the day and every waking second. But will we and should we even allow them access?

Let me ask you a question,would you allow a thief in to vandalize your home and rob you blind?

Duh, I know the answer, no way!

Yet we allow this to happen with our thoughts all the time.

God’s Word has much to say about our thoughts and what we should think about. Allow me to share a few verses here, plus add a true story illustration, then offer some personal ways I combat toxic thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

AND this massively important one:

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV

I know people who are bombarded by their own negative and worst-case scenario thoughts. These thoughts, unchecked, can wreak-havoc and vandalize a life.

I’ve witnessed how these thoughts played out to an imaginary end, left the individual robbed blind of the present precious moments as well as the immediate future. (Usually, this robbery is at the hands of FEAR about things that NEVER even occurred. This is what God’s word calls speculations.)

Sometimes speculations creep in or a spirit of dread makes its entrance on the scene and the thoughts become very toxic, even fatalistic.

Whoa! I realize it’s not always this simple, but we must stop the toxic thoughts. We must recognize and arrest the thoughts and stop them from coming in or make them obedient to Christ, otherwise these thoughts, carried it out through the full gestation period, can birth into a full blown movie of a horrifying future. This is not from God. This is a “Spirt of dread.”

We, dear believers, have the mind of Christ. He’s given us a sanctified mind and he’s also told us what types of things we can allow our minds to think about. Thus the above verse Philippians 4:8. Which mentions things that are LOVELY.


Whatever is lovely? That word, lovely my friend used often. She moved miles away so I don’t get to see her regularly but I do see things, hear of events or moments in life and just like my friend, I utter, “Oh, that’s lovely.”

Let me come at this another way, because of the whole COVID-19 coronavirus in the global pandemic, I have had to scan my forehead to take my temperature, fill out a sheet and record my temperature, wipe down everything I’ve touched and fold and place my completed sheet in a sealed, locked box.

This all must take place before going any farther into my own church. As I enter to rehearse for the worship team, I need to complete these steps so that I am considered “safe” to come in, mingle with people, and not spread the virus.

Here’s my point.

What if we took the temperature of our own thoughts, so to speak. What if our thoughts had to go through a screening process. What if our thoughts had to go through a check point before they were allowed to come in and interact with our lives.

What if toxic thoughts that carry the wrong temperature or a potential virus were examined, taken captive and made to obey Christ and were not allowed in. I think that’s what it means to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That’s what it means to consider whether it fits with the Phillipians 4:8 passage or not.

Related to taking thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ, here’s what I try to do. I carry the thought way out to a future point, farther out than when I first received the thought. Then…

I ask some questions:

  • Whose voice is assigned to this thought? (Is it the Accusor’s or the Comforter’s voice? Should it be allowed in?)

  • What is the far-reaching end of this thought?
  • Is it hopeful?
  • Does this condemn me?
  • Do I have hope when I think about this in this way? (God is the God of all hope.)
  • Is this lovely?
  • Is this true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable? 

Finally, let me leave you with some lovely photos from my back deck and a few “lovely” thoughts about Father God:

  • God is good
  • He is a good Dad, He is going before you even right now.
  • He promises never to leave you, never to forget about you.
  • He invites you to cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you.
  • He warns and reassures us all the time. (Warning: The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, Reassurance: BUT Jesus said,” I have come to give you life and life to the full.”)

Wrapping this up…

Don’t open the door to the wrong voice, don’t allow the enemy to vandalize your day, home, or your life and never allow him to rob you blind.

God is a giver of every good and perfect gift. And we can all be gracious receivers. Now that’s a “lovely” thought! 

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Want to join my cute honey and me in 2021 for our trip to Israel? 🇮🇱 Check out link below:

https://www.madisontravel.com/inouye/

.https://www.madisontravel.com/inouye/

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Hey, Whatcha Thinkin?

Many sources and voices that clamor for our attention and many schools of thought in the world lately have been swirling around. Two major themes have seemed to dominate the recent narrative FEAR AND HATE. These two pests keep constant assault on our minds.

They have been knocking at the door demanding entrance into our world and lives through our thoughts. I do not want to be taken captive by a Spirit of Fear or of Hatred. Instead, I want to take every thought captive and MAKE it obedient to Christ.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says,”I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:18-21

I do not want to develop my own way of thinking about things. I never want to think my OWN thoughts, I know I must take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I want to abide and remain in Him. He is the vine I am just a branch. I have been given the mind of Christ.

I want to draw near to the heart of God and find out what He is thinking. I felt like the child who crawls up into her daddy’s lap and whispers, “Hey, whatcha thinkin?” As I sat with the LORD, He reassured me and reminded me to wait on Him. HE is working and He is moving in this overarching grand story of God in my life and in our world.

Sometimes it is hard for me to wait on God. How about you? Why? I think, sometimes it’s because I think I know what’s best. Yes, indeed. I have had to confess and repent of the fact I think I know better. That’s laughable, right? He’s God!

Or on some occasions, I think I have a desired outcome all figured out, designed perfectly, so I’ll submit it to Him in prayer as a possible idea for consideration. It’s a relationship so He does listen, but not all of my grand ideas are helpful. He needs no counsel.

Or maybe waiting on God is difficult due to impatience required for His perfect timing. Sure, it can be hard to wait. BUT If I really believe God is good and his ways are best, then waiting on God can be freeing even relaxing and peaceful. I need to seek Jesus every day, especially in the storms of life, to gain his thoughts and perspective.

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near; but the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 54:6-9

Keep your love on!

But I’m Used to It!

It’s pretty easy to get used to things and even create new habits, at least certain ones. Here’s a silly example, it started me thinking. We have a slow-release lid for our new toilet in our remodeled master bath. When it is shut, it lowers slowly, automatically and quietly until it’s fully closed. It’s fabulous.

Sometimes I use a different bathroom, in our home, which isn’t very often, but I forget I’m not using the toilet with the slow- release lid, so I lower the lid but it flops down super fast with a loud, BANG! Whoa! That’s so loud it hurts my ears. Oh, my goodness, I’m so used to the other bathroom, I’ve totally forgotten!

IMG_3760

I wondered today what other things have I gotten used to?  I mean in a negative way? I’m sure we’ve all gotten used to somethings and readily adopted what we shouldn’t have. BUT we are just used to them now. I’m asking myself and you… What have I become used to that really should not be tolerated? What has to go? Is it a stronghold in my life?  Does it need to be prayed away?  If it’s a stronghold it needs to be broken down. 

It might be things like:

  • a negative attitude
  • complaining
  • thinking something is too big for God to handle
  • sitting in unbelief about a situation
  • thinking in the negative
  • frustration with a spouse
  • anger toward anyone
  • unhealthy habits
  • unforgiveness
  • addictions
  • just fill in the blank __________________.

The season that we’re in prompted my thoughts today. So here is my prayer, you may borrow it too, if you’d like. 

God, I pray that I wouldn’t except anything in my life that I’ve just gotten used that isn’t from you or isn’t a fruit of your Spirit, or it’s not your best for my life. I pray that we would all pull down strongholds and anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.

And I pray we’d take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That things that we are thinking about, that are stinkin’ thinkin’ would have to go, now! In Jesus name. I pray that we wouldn’t become used to sin patterns. I thank you Lord, you’ve made us victorious! You’ve made us saints not sinners, through your son Jesus. So we don’t need to sit in the pig-pen…ever!

240_F_240879071_ViGAIZgrgmUS2JAd1uW4eDxImFruEKsZ

I thank you for what you are doing God and I pray, in the name of Jesus, we would know what should remain and what should be eliminated today. Amen.

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flash but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.   2 corinthians 10: 4-6.

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