Two kinds of people…

When you live your life expecting miracles, you see them unfold right before your eyes. It’s like opening a Christmas gift!

With the highs and lows in life, sometimes simultaneously, we can get caught up in distractions that keep us from blessings that unfold before us.

I have discovered, though, that there are people who cannot see the miracles even though they happen right in front of them. I think to myself, “are they blind?” Yes, truly I think they are. Blind to the Spirit, I suppose.

Perhaps there was a time in my life, too, where I missed the miracles and wonderful things God was doing in my life. If so, I don’t ever want to return to that state. My desire is to continue being the person that sees miracles everywhere I look.

I pray that you see miracles today, my friend. Today and every day.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

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Blessings and Bikes

Blessings and Bikes – 2016

This post was originally from 2016, but tomorrow morning is the 2018 Blessing of the Bikes  – and my son just called to say he and a friend are driving all night from Minnesota to be present for the blessing – so say a prayer for their safety, will ya?


Last Sunday, our church hosted the 20th annual Blessing of the Bikes.  It’s an event that started when 4 bikers from the church approached the pastor with an idea to bring their friends to church. The first year, there were 162 bikes, and the town of Murrysville wondered what in the world was going on as they all rolled through.  Over the years, that event has blossomed, and is very well-known in the area.  The town of Murrysville actually sends the Mayor and emergency workers now, and even shuts down traffic for a while, to allow the event to be held.  It’s a completely free event, because, in the words of Pastor Dan, “so is gift of salvation”.   This year, on the 20th anniversary, we estimated approximately 15,000 bikes piled in – to our parking lot, and the adjacent blessing_bikes.jpgstreets, and the parking lots along Rt 22.  Figuring many bikes had 2 riders, we’d say there were A LOT of people who turned out for the event.  For the past 13 years, I have had the privilege of participating in the music for the service.   This year, our good friend Dave Smith, sang a song called “Jack Daniels & Jesus”.   I’m pretty sure there wasn’t another church in the country that sang that song on Sunday.

(By the way, I think there’s a message in here somewhere about starting a “movement” – it doesn’t take something BIG to make something BIG – it just requires someone to dream it and make it reality).

“Jack Daniels & Jesus”

Lately I’ve been trading
A good sermon and some praying
For a stranger in my bed
And a night that needs explaining
I’ve opened more bottles than I ever have my bible
This dirt road communion sure won’t lead me to revival

Between the black label and the letters in red
I felt what livin’ is
And what it’s like to live dead

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

It’s my fault that I ain’t called
My momma in a month of Sundays
She’ll smell the whiskey through that phone
I can’t stand to hear her heartbreak
Next week, I see my brother Casey for the first time
Since it all went down
And I blacked his eye the night after our daddy died

I ain’t afraid to admit I’ve hit rock bottom
You wanna see a lifetime full of sins
Just look at me
I’ve got ’em

I’ve taken a ride in the devil’s Cadillac
I’ve been so high I thought I wasn’t coming back
And just when I think I’m too far gone
Ringin’ in my head’s the 23rd psalm
I’ve seen the light
I’ve seen the darkness
Only God knows where my heart is
I’ve got my strength
And Lord knows, I’ve got my weakness
Oh, I’m lost somewhere between
Jack Daniels and Jesus

blessing_people.jpgblessing_bikes_2.jpg

This is what 25,000 bikes looks like from the Medic One Helicopter.

Wall to wall people

blessing_people

blessing_shirt.jpg

(can’t see the killer boots from here, but they were awesome.. lol)

I am watching life unfold for several young adults – some of them are making some very good life decisions, and some of them are making some incredibly bad life decisions, some of them very, very public, and some of them very private.   And my heart breaks.   In almost all of the cases, I say to myself, (and I’ve heard their parents say), “but they were raised differently than that”   and then I remember the words, “somewhere between Jack Daniels and Jesus” and remember that we’re really ALL somewhere on that journey.   I haven’t had Jack Daniels in over 30 years  – one REALLY BAD experience with it all those years ago, and I can’t even smell the stuff to this day…. And I was raised differently than that…. And still, I made some poor life choices along the way – hopefully ones that I have learned from, and that have made me stronger.  By the grace of God alone, He brought me through those poor choices and gave me a second chance, or maybe a third and fourth.   And, by the grace of God, He will bring those folks through their choices as well, allowing U-turns to correct their course.   Pray for them, will ya?

 

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved

No category for a castle

In his book, If, Mark Batterson recounts a blessing God gave him for which he didn’t have a category.

He ends the chapter that recounts this blessing with these words,” what if everything in your past is preparing you for the future God has for you?’

“God wants us to get where He wants us to go more than we want to get there and He’s awfully good at getting us there”. Even when we make a wrong turn, He has ways of getting us there, and He’s using everything in our past to prepare us for the blessings He has for our future.

He’s got blessings for us for which we don’t even have categories!

I am still praying Jericho prayers and trusting God for His blessings. I believe He has a castle waiting to be used for His glory.

Blessings,

SB

copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Satan cannot win!

There are times in life where we feel as though we are losing the battle. Beaten and defeated, we sink into depression, deeper and deeper, feeling more hopeless than ever. The devil thrives on seeing our self-defeat, but the reality is that Satan cannot win!

In my book, Masquerade, Charissa is fighting this battle, and she knows in her head that God wins over Satan, but she cannot seem to pull herself out of the pit. Her good friend, Dwayne reaches down to extend a life preserving reminder that Satan cannot win! They were just the words that she needed to hear to be reminded that we have the power of God to call upon when life seems hopeless.

Everybody needs a Dwayne in their lives; someone who is sensitive to the needs of others and knows how to encourage them when they need it.

Charissa is forever grateful for her friend, Dwayne, and his faithfulness to encourage others. Do you have someone in your life who needs encouragement that Satan cannot win the war? Be a Dwayne today! Remind someone that God has not given us a spirit of weakness and fear, but of power through Him. With that power, we can fight the battles of depression and despair!

Be a blessing!

To those who have ordered my book, thank you! If you’d like, you can leave a review here

For those who haven’t, you can get your copy here!   Order Masquerade Here!

 

SB

Will you share your story?

those questions popped into my head last summer, as I drove 3 hours to set up and play for my cousin’s wedding.

What story?

I don’t have a story – I’m really just an ordinary person, with some good qualities and many bad ones. I love Jesus and want to be faithful to him.  I prayed silently as I drove by myself with music blaring and thoughts racing.  Of course I’m willing to share my story if it will help someone.  I just wasn’t sure which story.

Through my prayer life over the next few weeks, I jotted down some ideas of experiences that I’d want to share with others to help them see God in the face of adversity.   Turns out, when I put my “God” lens on, I had plenty of stories – and it turns out that I am excited to share what God has done in my life.

That single step of obedience to His question has led to a wild roller coaster ride over the past six – nine months that I can hardly keep the blessings contained – surely, my cup runneth over!

I believe I’ve only scratched the surface of the scripture in Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.  It’s less about getting what you want, and more about aligning your desires with God’s desires.  We are all work-in-progress, and God uses each lesson to teach us how much He loves each and every one of us.  He will not let go, and will keep pursuing us  until we find Him.

I would like to challenge each of you today – are you willing to share YOUR story?   are you willing to share how God has answered prayer in your life?  If you’ve never thought about it before, take out a piece of paper, or, better yet, a prayer journal, and start writing down the blessings He’s given you as if you intended to share them with someone – and then share them!  The result will be an amazing step of obedience in a way that will allow God to bless you even more!

Read more about my story here

Order Masquerade Here!

May you truly be blessed by God today and every day!

Blessings,

SB

copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved.

Thinly Veiled

Where to begin….

Yesterday, when I got home from work, a package for me was sitting on the ottoman in my family room.  When I opened it,  real-live paperback version of the book that was published was sitting in my hands.  As I mentioned, I’ve seen the cover 1,000 times, but to touch it and flip through the pages was a righteous moment for me… and then I thought, “what if my mom see’s it?”    LOL (40-something years old and afraid of what my mother will think – can anyone relate?)    I mean, really, she doesn’t yet know anything about it… in the book, through fictional characters, I have laid out some of the most painful memories of my life… what if she reads it and judges me?  what if she’s angry that I’ve publicly admitted my weaknesses?   Could I hide it from her forever?   Probably not.   I was reminded of the conversation I had with the publisher when I told him my husband didn’t know about the book – he said, “well you better tell him before he sees you on the news”.

It had been terrifying for me to tell my husband, but I asked those encouraging me to pray for me.. and one night, I worked up enough courage to tell him.  His response (“what was your purpose?”) caused me to deep-think how I would like to see God use this book.  What seemed daunting to me ended up being a catalyst for me to change the “note from the author”  (funny how life works that way sometimes).

At any rate, I decided that when my mom got home, I would simply ask her to read a book, and not tell her I was the author, since, of course, I have a pen name.  She reads quickly – in fact, I believe she taught Evelyn Wood how to read back in the day!   I went to a different room because I didn’t want to feel her judgement as she poured through the pages of my open heart.  At one point, my daughter told me she was looking for me – but  I was hiding.

After she finished the book, she came into the room where I was – I could swear there was a tear on her cheek.  She said, “well, that was – WOW”   I wasn’t sure if she meant WOW in a good way or a bad, so I asked her, and she said, “Good”, which I will take at face value.   We talked about how my prayer is that it would reach people who are hurting and need to know God’s love.

I asked her if she was angry.  She said, “Why would I be angry?”   She said she knew I was the author in the first chapter – my identity is “thinly veiled”, as she put it.  I asked her to keep it secret from the rest of my family.  I told her they would not understand me.  She agreed on both counts.

I really don’t know why I was so afraid, except to say that the pain that I experienced in my life is also pain that she experienced.  I have seen how she’s handled it (well, I might add – she’s a fighter), and perhaps was afraid that dredging up old memories of pain would be difficult for her.  She loves Jesus as much as I do – probably more.  I believe that she will honor my prayer that God will use the message to let people know that, no matter what they’re going through in life, God is there with them and will help them through.

Many of you have already reached out to let me know your ordered your copy – thank you, thank you, thank you.

If you haven’t, and want to, please click the link below.

Order Masquerade here!

If you haven’t followed my journey, please do.  I have a feeling it’s about to get real.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Blessings, SB

 

 

Copyright 2018  Journey For Life – All rights reserved.

Following the Dream

Where would we all be today if Noah hadn’t been faithful to his dream – the dream that God had given him — and the dream for which God provided?

I have often wondered what Noah’s wife, Mrs. Noah, thought while Noah was building the Ark. I’ve had a dream for almost ten years. Every so often, I buy something and my kids will ask what it’s for. I will reply, “oh it’s for the (insert dream)”. They’ll say, “oh, that one that doesn’t exist yet??” One day, I replied to my son, who is studying to be a pastor, “Noah didn’t just wake up one day and build an ark. He had to gather the wood and other supplies first.”

Fair enough.

The truth is that Noah was probably gathering for quite a while; then he started build by and it took him about 100 years — all the while believing in what God had called him to do. Surely there were people, probably even in his own family, who thought he was crazy. He may have felt that way himself a time or two. After all, his dream was pretty large and overwhelming.

Where would we all be today if Noah hadn’t been faithful to his dream – the dream that God had given him — and the dream for which God provided

I am believing in my dream today more than ever, because I believe this is a dream that God has given me. I am believing that He will provide.

“God honors big dreams because big dreams honor God” (Mark Batterson, from In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day).

I don’t know what you’re dreaming today. Keep dreaming. Keep moving toward your goal. Commit your dream to the Lord, and He will establish your plans

I’m so excited to see what God is doing and will do!

Blessings to you!

SB

Copyright Journey For Life 2018. All rights reserved.