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Month: May 2016

~MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE~

~MEMORIAL DAY SALUTE~

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Did you know MEMORIAL DAY was first called DECORATION DAY?

General John L. Logan is credited for naming May 30, 1868, as the first Decoration Day. On this day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.

When you hear the words – MEMORIAL DAY – what thoughts come to mind? Maybe you’re thankful for a day off of work or school. If you love to shop, Memorial Day might be a reminder of all the sales taking place at the mall. What about family barbecues and picnics? But, is this all there is to Memorial Day… Relaxing, Shopping, Family, and Friends?

Memorial Day is observed in the United States as a commemoration of those members of the armed forces who died in war defending the United States of America. Those who sacrificed their lives so that we might have the freedoms we have today. Let these quotes wash over you…

They fell, but o’er their glorious grave floats free the banner of the cause they died to save. – Francis Marion Crawford

For love of country, they accepted death…   – James A. Garfield

A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. – Joseph Campbell

As we remember these fallen heroes, may we be reminded that America is “One Nation Under God.” What a beautiful quote which stands the test of time. What a blessing knowing God is in charge of all creation, life, history, and the future. These brave men and women are remembered for the sacrifices made to fight for the freedoms and liberties of this great nation.

And, we must not forget the ultimate Freedom Fighter… Jesus.

He died so that we could have eternal freedom from the bondage of sin. He won the battle with Satan at the cross. He conquered the grave. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Read the words from Psalm 77:10-11 with a heartfelt praise to God…

But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High. I will remember the works of the Lord. Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, and talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary… Who is so great a God who does wonders. You have declared Your strength among the peoples.

So, this Memorial Day, thank God for the War Heroes who sacrificed their lives for freedom to prevail in America. Thank Him that we are “One Nation Under God” and pray for this motto to live on for years to come.

Please, take a moment and say a prayer for those serving in the United States armed forces. Ask God to protect them physically, spiritually, and mentally. Pray for their marriages to stay strong while they are separated from their families.

Finally, praise God for the Prayer Heroes throughout history who prayed for America. I feel certain a Medal of Honor is reserved for them in heaven.

Let’s keep this Prayer Chain Alive… Pray for America. 

PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES

PEANUT BUTTER SANDWICHES

IMAGE 10 -Peanut Butter sandwich

5:30 a.m. A loud noise electrifies my body. Without a peep, I reach for the snooze button. Ten minutes later another blast jolts me into motion. With my feet firmly planted on the ground, I make my way to the kitchen. Oh, the blessing of an automatic coffeemaker. Still not fully awake, I notice the clock now reads 5:45 a.m.

A pleading prayer immediately pours out, “Lord, it’s another day filled with routines— kids to get ready for school, breakfast to make, dogs to feed, lunches to create, buses to catch, homework to remember, athletic shoes to pack, notes to sign, and whatever else I’m forgetting. And all this has to be done by 6:30 a.m.! Please, help me have a positive attitude this morning.”

After waking the children, I take another sip of coffee. I hear a small rumble from the bathroom, which ignites into a roar. What are they fussing about this time? Thankfully my words of wisdom quickly extinguish the argument. Of course, they know from past history it is to their advantage to heed my warning… if you know what I mean.

Cereal is the breakfast of choice––quick and easy! Realizing time is running short, I begin making lunches. In the process, this thought runs through my mind, “How many peanut butter sandwiches have I made over the years?” The minute this thought exits, another idea surfaces, “What if I begin praying for my children as I make their lunches? I can use these peanut butter sandwiches as visual reminders to pray for each one.” With a twinge of excitement, I grab the bread, knife, and jars of peanut butter and jelly. With a large glob on my knife, I begin to pray…

“Lord, just as I spread this peanut butter on the bread, may You spread Your Word on my children’s hearts. Give them an excitement to spread the message of Jesus to their friends at school. And as this jelly brings sweetness to the sandwich, may Your Holy Spirit sweeten their relationships with Jesus. Like these two pieces of bread that cover the peanut butter and jelly, may Your love and protection cover my children’s lives. Finally, as they eat these sandwiches, may they experience the taste of Your spiritual nourishment throughout their day.”

Immediately, I realize God responded to my early morning prayer for a positive attitude. Humbleness fills my heart, soul, and mind. A song of praise comes from my lips as I give God the glory for His presence and for answering my prayer.

PRAYER CHALLENGE

Are you in need of a fresh perspective and outlook for the day? Ask the Lord for encouragement throughout your daily routines. Look for ways He spurs you forward and answers your prayers. Oh, how precious it is when we leave the details to Jesus and watch Him change our hearts!

So I opened my mouth, and He (God) gave me the scroll to eat. Then He said to me, “Son of man, eat this scroll I am giving you and fill your stomach with it.” So I ate, and it tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth. –Ezekiel 3:3

Excerpt from My Prayer Chair by Carla McDougal


Order your copy of My Prayer Chair…

Paper Copy (English or Spanish):  Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Reflective Life Ministries 

Audiobook: Amazon Audible

TO MOM WITH LOVE

TO MOM WITH LOVE

 

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As moms, we long to connect with our children. A hug. A smile. A laugh. It’s funny how moms continually push the memory recall button––I remember your first step. Remember the vacation when you… It seems like yesterday when… Do you know what I mean? In my opinion, if doctors could x-ray a mother’s soul, they would find it full of sweet memories and unconditional love for her children.

When God opens a window to our children’s souls, we experience inexpressible joy. Just a glimpse beyond the physical, a quick view of their spiritual growth, spurs us forward. I must share the following story with you…

When Carly Jo, the youngest of our four children, was a senior in high school, she read her English essay to me. The love and wisdom poured out on an 8 x 10 piece of paper overwhelmed me. May the Lord bless you through Carly Jo’s heart of love…

“Love, it’s more than just a word or statement. Love comforts the lonely. Love feeds the hungry. Love saves a life. A child without love is like a heart without blood. How can children know how to love, if they’ve never been shown love themselves? Parents are the vessels used to show real love to their children.

Typically, a child’s first words are “mama” or “dada.” Oh, what pride a parent experiences when they hear these words. Parents make the difference in a child’s life. Involved parents are dedicated to teaching their children wisdom as they grow in life. They are there for them when they scrape their knees, for soccer games, piano recitals, and theater performances. They help their child realize she is a priority and special. Parents teach their children how to make wise choices early in life.

A parent’s love helps nurture the child’s life. But, ultimate love comes from the Father above when He gave His son Jesus to die for us and redeem us. He has such unconditional love; our human minds can’t fathom how deep and how wide His love is for us. He will never leave nor forsake you. You may leave Him, but He will always be waiting for you with open arms. Allow God’s love to shine through you as parents. The ultimate gift is God’s love.” – By Carly Jo McDougal

Tenderness enveloped my heart and soul. This essay reminded me of God’s love for His children. Our Father God expresses His love to us through His Word, almost as if He writes love letters on the tablets of our hearts. The Bible is filled with encouragement, affirmation, and confirmation of His love for us. In fact, the book of John opens the door to understanding God’s ultimate love gift–Jesus.

Again, praises flow. In her teenage heart, Carly Jo recognized God as the ultimate giver of true love. His truths abound throughout her essay.

Fast-forward a few years. Fred and I have moved into what the world calls, The Empty Nest. But, I choose to call it, The Place of Rest. Even now, questions arise… Did we equip her for the real world? Will she keep Jesus the center of her life, even in college? Again, God hears my cry, Lord, help all my children to enter the real world armed with Jesus’ love, wisdom, and truth. To love Him with all their hearts, souls, minds, and strength.

God gives us, as parents and grandparents, the privilege to pray for our children and grandchildren. Our priority should be to pray for them to have a real, personal relationship with Jesus. To help them grasp the role of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Trinity. All in one, yet individual. All the same, yet with different roles. Pray for our families to desire to live sold out for Him. In return, through prayer, our labors of love strengthen our own faith and trust in Jesus.

LIFE CHALLENGE

Do you long to see inside your children’s hearts? Ask God to open a window to their souls. Watch for ways He offers you a behind the scenes view into their lives. Be their prayer warrior throughout the day. As you clean up their messes, wash their clothes, or sit in carpool lines––pray for their relationships with Jesus. This labor of love strengthens your own walk with the Lord. And don’t forget to praise God, not your children, for their spiritual growth. Let them always hear and observe you giving God the glory for all He is doing in and through their lives.

Does not wisdom cry out? Does not understanding raise her voice? On the heights along the way, where the paths meet, she takes her stand; beside the gates leading into the city, at the entrances, she cries aloud: “To you, O men I call out; I raise my voice to all mankind. You who are simple, gain prudence; you who are foolish, gain understanding. Listen, for I have worthy things to say; I open my lips to speak what is right. My mouth speaks what is true, for my lips detest wickedness.”  –Proverbs 8:1-7


Excerpt from SOLD OUT: Live for Jesus, by Carla McDougal

From My Heart to Yours,

Carla McDougal

Founder of Reflective Life Ministries & Executive Producer of the movie STRONGER

Author of My Prayer Chair, Reflecting Him, & SOLD OUT

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