I Praise

I praise you in the sunshine.

I praise you under the clouds.

I praise you when I’m running fast.

I praise you when things slow down.

I praise you in the middle of the messes.

I praise you when things are going smoothly.

I praise you when the decision is easy.

I praise you when the decision has wrecked me.

I praise you while I laugh.

I praise you when I cry.

I praise you at the beginning, in the middle and at the end.

I praise you for when you give.

I praise you when you take away.

I praise you for changes that upset my world.

I praise you for consistency.

I praise you because you always love me.

I praise you because you see me.

I praise you because you won’t turn your back on me or give up on me.

I praise you as best as I can as often as I remember.

I should not forget to praise.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
Deuteronomy 32:3

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Game. Set. Match.

Game.  Set.  Match.

Stupid.

Why was I so stupid?

I was not laser focused.

My mind was not laser focused on the right thing.

I didn’t think of Jesus first.  I did not react with love.

That punk, satan, tempted and I reacted.

Stupid beyond stupid.

What happens now?

Crawl into a hole and cry?

(Cry, yes.)

(Crawl into a hole, no.)

Ask for forgiveness and bow my head?

Yes.  I get back the laser focus.  I ask for forgiveness.  I ask for help.  I crawl to God.

God knew what I was about to do and without knowing why, He prompted my friend to be praying for me.

I had no idea that my safety net was already in place.

The safety net was ready for my fall.  God wants me to be a better person.

He wants me to throw my arms in the air and cry out to hear Him say He still loves me.

Stupid decisions and all.

He loves me.

No excuses.  I take responsibility and know the warning signs so I can be prepared next time.

One day it won’t be so difficult.

Until then, I trust in His word.  I trust in His love.  I trust in His promise.  I trust.

The desire of my heart is to be like Jesus.

As a human, I can strive to be better.

As a woman, I can recognize the strength He gives me.

As a child of God, I can know the Father loves me even when I’m stupid.

This life is not for the faint of heart.  I will not buckle my knees except to pray.

My focus will be clearer and I will immerse myself in the Bible.

I remember,

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)

So, I will pray for that desire over and over.  And then again and again.

It will be God’s game, set, match.

Not satan’s.

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Slam The Brakes

You do it.  I do it. We notice what other people have. Or what they accomplish.  Or how they live.  And we don’t think we have enough.

Slam the brakes!

To stop comparing would give us more time to be happier.  If we stop wishing for the next cool thing, we may just appreciate what we have right now.

I remember in our first year of marriage there were times when we had $2.00 to last from Wednesday to payday on Friday.  And you know what?  We were just as happy then as we are now.  When I get caught up in the mindset of comparing and wanting more, with a quick jolt I remind myself things are things but a peaceful life centered on Jesus is what I should crave more.

And when I experience time with a homeless person that quick jolt becomes a kick realizing I have a home to sleep in at night.

For who do you know that really knows you, knows your heart? And even if they did, is there anything they would discover in you that you could take credit for? Isn’t everything you have and everything you are sheer gifts from God? So what’s the point of all this comparing and competing? You already have all you need. You already have more access to God than you can handle.”  I Corinthians 4:7-8 MSG

Enjoy life...just the way it is.  Stomp on the brakes.  Stop with the comparing.  Settle in. Thank Jesus for what you have.

Your gratefulness will spill into someone else’s life, you will be happier and it will show.

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Build a Pause

Pausing.

When in doubt, walk away from the keyboard and clear your head.

Now that is good advice in the heat of a moment!

How many decisions that are a bit bold in response would be squelched or softened?

How many commitments would we reconsider?

How many times would we react positively rather than with negativity?

The hasty comment, the rushed reaction, the attitude that flies from our fingertips can get us into situations that are unpleasant at best.  I know this from experience.  And, I have had to apologize more times than I care to admit.

If only there was a snooze button that pops up intuitively to stop me from firing off the words I should not say.

Then I read these words:  May my spoken words and unspoken thoughts be pleasing even to you, O Lord my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 TLB

There it is.  The intuitive snooze button.  When I keep this as my daily reminder, those unfortunate responses should disappear. If I do my part:  Say the verse.  Say the verse.  Say the verse.  Morning, noon, night and all times in between.

Let’s do this together.  I will promise you to say the verse and practice pleasing God.

Will you do the same?

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Facepaint, Balloon, & Cotton Candy

On a spring afternoon, a group of young kids went to a local park for some fun with their adult chaperones. The kids didn’t get to play in a safe park often because they lived in a part of their city that has many dangerous challenges.  But those adult chaperones gave the kids opportunities so they can just be kids and not have to worry about all the ugly that surrounds them.

The youngsters were told to stay in a specific part of the park.  On the other side of a fence was a private party picnic and they couldn’t go beyond the fence.

As the time came to leave, one boy was missing.  Looking for him, he was found walking toward them with face paint, a balloon in one hand and cotton candy in the other.  Of course, by all the evidence, he had gone past the fence.

He was asked, “Did you go to the private party?”  “No,” he answered. “Are you sure you didn’t go past the fence?”  “Yes, I am,” was the boy’s reply. The adult summed up the conversation with, “Really?”

It made me think of how we go past a boundary and come back with the evidence all over us.

We think no one notices. Maybe we can fool people.  But God knows.  He never takes His eyes off us.  For the moment, it may have felt fun or tasted good but in the long run was it worth it?  I am sure God shakes His head and says, “Really?”

And if someone does notice the evidence and confronts us, we lie to hide the truth.  Making up an untrue story or ignoring the question only sinks us deeper into the feeling of deception which is an uncomfortable place to sit.  The desires that gave a quick fix blow away in the wind and we are left with a popped balloon, sticky fingers and faded paint on our face.

“So, let God work his will in you.  Yell a loud no to the devil and watch him scamper.  Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time.  Quit dabbling in sin.  Purify your inner life.  Quit playing the field.  Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out.  The fun and games are over.  Get serious, really serious.  Ged down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.” James 4:7-10 (The Message)

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Space Priority

Create your own space.
Make boundaries.
Take time for you.

These are statements we have heard often.  And, while we probably agree with the concepts, we just don’t dedicate space to our daily routine.

How many times have you been in a quiet space and thought to yourself, “Ahhh, this is so nice.”

Then, your mind starts thinking about what’s for dinner, the grocery list, the bathrooms that need to be cleaned, those pesky weeds that should be pulled.  For a few moments, you were in the “Ahhhhh” place, weren’t you?

What if you allowed yourself to just sit?

What if you convinced yourself to make that quiet space time to recharge?

That space priority is exactly what will get you through the day. Some like the early mornings before the day begins to be in that space priority.  Others carve out a time in the afternoon to recharge.  Whenever it is, morning, the middle of the afternoon or evening, it centers you as you just sit and let God calm you.  Whatever time it is for you, make it happen.  And often.

Last fall I was challenged to set aside time each Sunday at a specific hour to sit, pray and listen. That’s all – just sit, pray and listen. Amazing things happened within those weeks.  Not only did I get centered on my personal priorities, I heard God tell me something I had never heard before.  It wasn’t an audible voice but a clear thought that occurred over and over. Enough so that I understood how important it was for me.  It gave me excitement and bold courage.

If I hadn’t sat down, turned off the schedule in my head and shut my mouth, I would have missed it.

Life rushes by and we can miss the moments God prepared for us because we are not focused.

Close the door. Breathe deep.  And start your quiet space time with these words:

God, my shepherd!
I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.

Psalm 23:1-3 (The Message)

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Enough Said

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere.

So no matter what I say, what I believe or what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Enough said.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Bitter Beauty

Did you wake up with dirt on your face today?  Not because you didn’t wash it last night (because we all know we are to wash and moisturize every night!), but because of something that happened yesterday?

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

Dirt sometimes gets smeared all over our faces.  The dirt of words – when someone says something to us we don’t think we deserve to hear.  The dirt of disappointment – when a situation happens that breaks our heart.  The dirt of fear – when we're afraid of what the day will bring.  No, it’s not actual dirt, but we can’t seem to get rid of the way it sits on us and we want to shake it off.

You know your weaknesses but sometimes harsh things can smack you in the face and you don’t handle it well.  

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."

You know your strengths and sometimes they don’t seem to help you in times of struggle. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 

Pray.  And then pray again.  Ask God to fill you with His grace and His love so you have His power to get past the dirt.  

Talk to Him about the details and ask God to help.  He’s not a magic genie with a wand to grant your wishes but God created you with your specific personality and limitations so He knows exactly what you need to clean off the dirt.  

It may sound too simple but I know from experience it is not.  Prayers like that are hard and messy but thankfully God is more powerful than any situation we are in.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Pray it.  Trust it.  Let God give you grace and love.

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG Ministries

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Lifestyle Goals

Have you ever seen the show Mansions & Millionaires?  Remember the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous?  They both visually show extremely wealthy people’s properties in the most beautiful places.  I guess shows called Middle Class and Happy or Lifestyles of the Wish-I-Had-That and Wannabes don’t have an audience even though most of us fit into those categories.

Here is something to consider; changing your lifestyle to worship and celebration can move you in a positive direction.

Psalm 100 sums it up nicely:

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lordwith gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lordis God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lordis good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

It takes practice to worship and celebrate every day.  Start today.  The day started because God allowed the sun to rise and you opened your eyes.  Thank Him for the promise that Jesus is right in front of you.

Remember that the Bible is true and He wrote the words for you as a guide.  The Psalm above tells us to Shout, Worship, Sing, Know, Enter and Give Thanks.  Those are all actions you can do in your own way at any time.

Your past may be nasty or you are involved in something wrong right now.

You are trying your best and can’t seem to get ahead.

Things are going smoothly but there is an emptiness.

You can start a Psalm 100 lifestyle to turn that corner.

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG ministries

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Clutter Down

 

I like opening a closet door to see everything in its place.  When towels and washcloths are arranged just so and neatly stacked, I’m happy.  It is nice when sheets and pillow cases are folded the same and look uniform.  The closet with décor items and games looks so orderly when I open it to change seasonal decorations.

But we all know it does not always stay that way.  In a hurry, things get put away and I think I’ll go back and fix it later.  That time lasts longer and longer and the decorations and games closet looks like a small bomb went off when I open the door. 

I plan a time to fix it back to being orderly.  And then I am happy again.

My life accumulates clutter sometimes too.  Too many irons in the fire and not enough time to keep it straight.  If I stop and put the clutter into priorities, make changes and remain dedicated to those priorities then all runs more smoothly.  I no longer feel anxious and I accomplish tasks with a clear head.

What does it mean to "clutter down?" It means carving out time to evaluate what is most important.  Deciding what (or who) needs to go.  Taking a hard look at yourself and making choices based on prayer. 

God is not in the business of being a magic genie who only brings what you desire.  God is in the business of love.  If you are finding yourself lacking in love within your world, then something needs to be moved or changed.  And that something is probably you.  Clutter shows up when you are not focused.

Before you blame this person or that action for your lack of love, pray and ask God to make it clear where you are weak.  He has made you and He knows every single part of you and is the only one qualified to bring the answers to you.  You will not get an email.  Or a text message.  You will have a sense of direction if you are sincere about listening to Him and wanting a change.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (NIV version)

Memorize that verse and repeat it out loud when you feel the clutter piling on.  Trust God to show what stays and what needs to change in your world.  Knowing that everything is based upon love, you will find comfort that God is moving and changing for your benefit.

And the clutter will disappear.

Sherree Fischer
loveSTRONG ministries

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