Find a Penny Pick it Up…

All day long you’ll have good luck.

Do you remember this little superstition from childhood? Maybe it has carried over into our adulthood? Maybe we need to take a moment to reflect and ask ourselves if we are still putting our stock in these old wives’ tales or an all-powerful God?

We can choose every day to put our trust in a loving God who can bring us joy through any circumstance. We can face any trial that comes our way through the day.

The definition of the word luck, according to the dictionary, is a success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than one’s own actions. But if you search for the word luck in the Bible, you won’t find it.

We don’t need luck- we need Jesus. We need to let our actions reflect our love for Him and trust Him with our day. We’ll have much better odds than by taking a chance on a penny.

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3

Brazen!

In case you didn’t get or see my email this morning…I am posting the same message as my blog. Thank you for being a friend!

Bold without shame. This word has served me well this year. As I reflect on the year, I realize God gave me this word for a good reason. I have had to overcome many fears, doubt and worry about what others would think of me, to enter into a place of peace, trust and joy as He blessed me to share my story with others in such a way that shines the light on Christ and what He did for me.

I heard this saying a few years ago and it stuck out to me. “Not to impress you, but to press upon you” That is my goal every time I write a message, post my blog, stand before a group of people and share my ugly past as a way to glorify God for where I am today.  Don’t look to me, look to the Masterful Creator of all things.

Is the enemy spoon feeding you lies? Don’t digest it. Spit it out. I would encourage you to let God’s word sink deep down into your heart. Let this be the year you believe in a greater purpose for your life. If God can use someone has broken as me, He can use you too.

God uses my weaknesses and gives me the strength to be obedient to what He is calling me to do. Nothing is impossible with God. We can rely on Him and trust Him with the outcome. It is easy to say, ‘I can’t’ but we aren’t to live that kind of life when it is God calling us out to do His work By ourselves we can’t but with Him we can make the next step putting our faith in the One who is asking us to.

I hope you will ask God what word He wants you to focus on in the upcoming year, pray about it and focus on it in the light of His redeeming love. Take the next step on the journey to Christ and live a life of adventure with Him by your side. You won’t regret it. Put the enemy behind you and boldly go where Christ is leading.

John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. John 1:8

A Dog’s Purpose

Even when others don’t know what we are going through, a dog is always there to comfort us. They listen and seem to understand when no one else does. They are known for their faithfulness, loyalty, obedience and are anxious to serve.

In the grand design of things, I believe God must have created dogs for human companionship and they seem to show up in our lives when we need them most. We can mask our feelings to others, but not to our dogs. They sense when something is wrong and offer a loving nudge with the nose and are always willing to snuggle, well almost always.

When my son was going through a rough period in his life, he decided to get a dog to keep him company. It wasn’t long that I started to notice how much the dog resembled the same behaviors as my son. Either he got the perfect dog – personality wise or the dog adapted to her owner.

As he has grown, and his anxieties improved- likewise she has come out of a lot of her own nervousness. Granted when they moved in with me and I started sharing caretaking duties, she began to adapt to my personality at least partially.

All I know is that she came into his life when he needed her most. They have been good for each other. She is so smart, loving and gentle with everyone. What a sweetheart and delight to have around.

Likewise, my sister adopted a little dog at a time in her life when they were both looking for their way in a sense. Abundance, “Bundy” for short, was full of energy and a free spirit at heart. She did not want to be restrained to any limitations- not even the 140-acre farm in which she had free range, most of the time. She would still get a wild hair and take off up the road to ‘visit’ the neighbors or maybe just see the world. Could be that she just went to say she went because she could. People often reported seeing her in the road, on her hind legs, begging with her little front paws in the air. What a sight. She was one adorable little doggie.

At this time, my sister travelled regularly, (like a free spirit) and had a sense of freedom that she hadn’t experienced in a while. When she would go on trips, if I wasn’t tagging along, I would keep Bundy for her at my house in the suburbs. I walked her on a leash and kept her in the house with me.

It was also at a time in my life where I was finding my own way and enjoyed her company. I guess you could say she had two foster moms. I was trying to redefine who I was as a person and believe I was allowed this time with her for a reason. She showed me there is a different way other than following another person and being controlled by them. She was certainly not doing either one of those.

As my sister began traveling more frequently and I was settling into my new life, we had the conversation about me taking her full time. I know she didn’t like the leash and the confinement of the suburbs as much as the farm where she had freedom to roam, but I hoped she would adapt and enjoy my company as much as I enjoyed hers.

Before we could make the transition, this little individualist made her way back up the hill to the road and was hit by a car. My first thought was that if I had taken her, she wouldn’t have been hit, but in my heart, I know she was doing exactly what she wanted to do. She had served her purpose for more than one person in her short life- and no telling how many others before us.

I am grateful for the time I had with Bundy and for the lessons she taught me. I know in my heart when and if I personally need another furry companion in my life, God will provide it at just the right time.

For now, I enjoy the long walks I share with my son and grand-dog, Alley.

Fair Weather Friend

Is your relationship with Christ dependent on your current circumstances? Do you only go to Him when you’ve reached your breaking point and exhausted all your other options or are you a fair weather friend who praises Him when things are good but as soon as a shift occurs and the tide turns to rough seas you turn your back on Him?

Our relationship with God should be that of a Father and child. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. Our relationship should be too. When we learn how to praise Him through the dark times and thank Him for the lessons, we will start to feel the closeness of our Father. He wants to experience the bad and the good, the sad times and the joyful times; with Him by our side.

It is through the tests and trials that our character is formed. How we handle our reactions to the bad things in life is a good indicator for where our heart is. The more we put our trust in Him through all circumstances, the closer our relationship will be. He always wants the best for us and delights in His little children coming to Him in thanksgiving and praise but also for respite and rest under the shelter of His great wing.

In my daily devotional this morning from Jesus Calling, this line stood out to me: “It is impossible to spend too much time thanking and praising Me.

This is so true. How many times day do you thank Him? It should be more than you can count, especially through the hardest days in the middle of the storm. That is how we keep Him close and rely on Him for strength.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So, let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete., needing nothing. James 1:2-4

Tears

I cried all morning, but wasn’t sure why. I took them to God in my quiet time of rest, seeking answers, finding peace again but still uncertain why I was crying. My heart just felt extra tender today.

Then as I finished I saw an alert on my phone telling me that my credit card had just been used in London to purchase train tickets. I was immediately able to block my card just before two other attempts, so there was only one charge that got through.

I was instructed to call my bank immediately, so I did. I hung up with a new sense of gratefulness for the quick response of my bank and being told I would not be responsible for the charge. In tears again, but I knew why this time, for God’s protection. So I thought it only fitting to post this poem God put on my heart a few weeks ago about how God can even redeem our tears. I hope you enjoy it. If you can relate, leave a comment, I would like to hear your experience of God’s beautiful redemption in your life.

A past filled with broken dreams

Hidden behind a mask of lies

A girl so naïve she thought she was loved

Her only tears filled with fear

By the grace of God she escaped his grasp

With a jaded view and a shattered heart

Her tears redeemed by scars and love

You may see her cry but she’s not sad

If she could save her tears and bottle them up

Dose by dose she would prescribe them to the world

Derived from gratefulness hot streaks overflow

Down her cheeks in overwhelming joy

Words don’t measure up

But God knows her heart’s desire

To share her gratefulness with the world

She shares her story in hopes of change

To show others Christ’s love for a broken girl

Who’s tears were redeemed

The Cycle

Some people like the idea of being a runner but lack the motivation and discipline it takes to be consistent and overcome the hard parts. They’ll never achieve success to experience a runner’s high that will keep them motivated. If we aren’t consistent, we can continue to circle in the beginning stages of difficulty.

It’s the same for those of us who like the idea of having a closer relationship with Christ and lack the discipline it takes to overcome our old ways and never experience the Spiritual highs of a true relationship with Christ. We keep circling in the dark, making the same mistakes over and over.

Where does the cycle break? Picture an infinity circle with the right side being black, or the dark side and the left being white, or the light. Christ is at the center. For years, I circled on the right side, making the same mistakes as I slept walk in the dark until one day when I came to yet another crossroads in my life (the middle where decisions are made) I finally broke through and made a different choice. I had to come through Christ to get to the light and make better choices for a better life.

We can’t keep beating our drums to the rhythm of the world and expect a new song to form in our hearts.

There must be a change, a new direction, , along with motivation and discipline to learn a new way with Christ and stay in the light. Sadly, most people don’t figure out how to do that most of their lives if they do at all or they are too stubborn and want to hold on to their old ways, not willing to make the necessary changes. I know because I was one of them.

Each day brings a clean slate with new mercies and a new choice. We can learn from our past mistakes, make better choices instead of staying in the same patterns and allow God to recycle our pain and use it for His glory.

Are you ready to make a change and take a step closer to Christ? How would you feel if your life never changed after today? All of us can learn something from yesterday and use it to be a better person today, but we must also let go of who we were yesterday, accept the forgiveness Christ is offering and make better choices based on His truth for us. Making the time, putting in the work for Christ is worth it. You are worth it.

Not sure where to start? Contact me for more information or visit www.faith-walk-ministries.org for free resources.

www.angelakcrow.com

Polar Bear Parade

Purchase this greeting card

Some of you may be wondering how the image above was birthed and became a greeting card in my collection. Here is the story behind the creation. I hope you see God’s hand in everything I do as well as His sense of humor and desire to make us laugh and enjoy life.

On several occasions in my neighborhood I have seen a bird I thought was a falcon. One morning I saw a bird on the ground in front of me sitting beside a rabbit as I ran down the street. On another occasion, while on a walk, a bird swooped through in front of me at every turn around the block. Another time I was running in the dark and saw a shadow of something sitting in the street in front of me. As I got closer it flew up and around me as if to get my attention. It has surely accomplished that goal. Its wings are pointed, and its body was dark but that is about all I could tell you from the couple of passes it made in front of me.

In searching for falcon facts, I found they are small birds of prey and are related to hawks and eagles. They have pointed wings and long tails. With keen eyesight and soaring high above the ground, this gives them a great perspective and higher vision.

Sitting in quiet time has also been a time of reflection on the falcon. One morning, the image came to me and it reminded me of the birds I had seen in my neighborhood. I began to wonder if I really saw a falcon. I questioned if falcons were indigenous to this area. Maybe I saw a hawk instead.

Then I received this message very clearly in grand fashion: “I could bring a polar bear to stand up right and march a parade in front of your house if I so desired. Nothing is beyond My reach if I wanted to send you a message.”

I love that! It made me laugh to think about a polar bear leading a parade down my street. God has a sense of humor for sure. He delights in making us laugh and bringing us messages and gifts in all forms.

I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ. Galatians 1:12

So, Jesus told them, “My message is not my own’ it comes from God who sent me.” John 7:16

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:26