A Picture Perfect Moment

This morning as we arrived at church I pointed at a ladybug on the church exterior wall.

“Look Harmony! A ladybug!” I said to my 2-year old daughter.

She insisted on holding it. I was trying to get her through the door so I kept coming up with every excuse I could.

“It’s sleeping right now sissy. Lets go inside.”

She insisted still.

Finally, I gave in and held the ladybug in my hand. She held out hers and as I dropped it in her hand she began to giggle. It started crawling and opened its wings.

I thought I would try and take a picture so I grabbed my phone. As soon as I got close enough and snapped the image, the ladybug flew away. I missed it. Or so I thought….. I looked at the picture and noticed I caught the ladybug just before taking off from Harmony’s hand.

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This picture is so special to me now. Not only does it hold a great moment forever frozen in time, but it also serves as a great reminder:

Don’t let the little things of life pass you by. If you do, you could miss out on a very memorable moment. 

Later that day, I recalled a chapter in the BELOVED book that my wife and I wrote together about Harmony back in 2015! It had to do with her and Ladybugs. I got chills!

Enjoy this FREE Chapter from our book, Beloved.

 

WEEK TWENTY

“My Beloved, My beautiful treasure. How are you today?”

The tiny human was awakened from a dream by her Father’s comforting voice.

“Harmony? What were you dreaming about?”

The little one yawned and stretched before answering.

“I had a dream about a little red bug.”

“Go on.” The Father encouraged.

“This little red bug had black dots on it’s back and it had two sets of wings tucked under it’s shell. In my dream it flew from flower to flower eating other bugs, but I wasn’t afraid. Then the little red bug would start to glow with a bright light as it flew to another flower. Once it landed on a new flower, a different little red bug would emerge out from the pollen. Together they ate the other bugs. Then they both shined with great light and flew to another flower where a new little red bug emerged. This cycle continued until the air was filled with millions of tiny red flying bugs.”

“Is that all?”

“Yes, Abba. What does my dream mean?”

“That tiny red bug in your dream is called a ladybug.”

“A ladybug?”

“Yes. And the reason you were not afraid when the ladybug ate the other bugs is because ladybugs are known for eating bad bugs.”

“Bad bugs?”

“The ladybug eats bad bugs called pests who destroy crops and vegetation.”

“Oh.” The little one whispered. “I see.”

She continued listening intently to the Father.

“After the ladybug in your dream ate the bad bugs, what happened next?”

“It shined brightly, and then flew to the next flower….”

The Father’s voice blended with Harmony’s voice as they described the dream once more together…

“…and from that flower another ladybug emerged.”

“Yes, Abba.  Did You give me that dream?”

“Yes. I did give you that dream, Beloved.”

Harmony gasped in excitement.

“You never cease to amaze me, Abba.”

Harmony laughed and tossed and turned with joy before settling down once more.

“But You must tell me the rest of the meaning of my dream.”

“In the supernatural, ladybugs symbolize being carriers of My anointing. That is why the ladybug lit up in your dream. They carry My light into the world. And just as ladybugs protect the harvest in the natural, they also represent protectors of My Harvest in the supernatural.”

“Wow!”

“Harmony, you are that Ladybug.”

“Me? Why me?’

Long before you were conceived, your father nicknamed your mother his ‘Ladybug.’ Now that they know to be expecting a little girl in their lives, they have carried over the nickname to you, and they call you their ‘little lady-bug.”

The Father chuckled.

“They have even decorated your nursery with pink ladybugs.”

Harmony crossed her arms in front of her chest.

“I don’t think being called a bug is the prettiest of things.”

“Oh but it is, Harmony. It is.”

“It is?”

“Indeed. You see everyone loves ladybugs because they protect the earth’s vegetation from the bad bugs. Because of them, farmers are able to collect bundles of food.”

“But what does that have to do with me and my dream, Abba?”

“As the first ladybug flew to the second flower, it was joined with yet another ladybug. They ate the bad bugs together, lit up in a brilliant light, and then flew to the next flower where the cycle started all over. Harmony, you have been called forth to be a carrier of My anointing. Wherever you go, I go, and signs and wonders will follow. You have also been called forth to be a protector of My Harvest, My people. When you see someone in need and you serve them, pray over them, or help them in any way, you are protecting them from the harm of My enemy.”

The little one stayed perfectly still as the Father called her into her destiny.

“Just as the first ladybug was joined by another, and they were joined by yet another, so you shall be one who brings more people into My Kingdom. And in return, they shall bring more into My Kingdom as well. By the time your life comes to an end on earth, you will look back only to see that your “sky” will be filled with ladybugs – the lives of people you have touched and the lives of the people who have turned to Me.”

The little one stayed still and silent.

“Beloved?”

“That is so beautiful, Abba. I am Your little Ladybug?”

“Yes, Beloved.”

“And I get to carry Your anointing and spread it to others on earth?”

“Yes, Beloved.”

“I just have one more question.”

“What is it?”

“Will I have to eat bad bugs on earth?”

The Father was silent for a brief moment before bursting out in laughter.

His laughter got so intense that Harmony couldn’t help but laugh with Him. In the mixture of laughter she knew that no bug eating would be required to step into the prophetic destiny that the Father had planned for her.

Our Thoughts:

20 full weeks! You are now halfway through your pregnancy journey! This is a huge milestone for you and your little one. Go out and celebrate! Have you been craving anything special to eat lately? Take advantage of this time to splurge a little! In just 20 more weeks (give or take) your little one will be in your arms.

We truly believe that God has an amazing destiny in store for your little one. Their path of life is the first of it’s kind. There will never be another (insert your baby’s full name).

Have you had any dreams or visions lately, possibly related to your baby? Journal them down and ask the Lord for their meaning. God used dreams and visions to speak to His people in the Bible, and He still uses dreams and visions today. You’re halfway through your pregnancy journey, so enjoy each moment that is left.

My Thoughts:

Date:_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Exodus 33:14, Psalm 51:11, Psalm 16:11,

Psalm 139:7-12, 17-18

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“As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”

1 John 2:27

BELOVED is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.

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Happy 2nd Birthday Harmony!

Dear Harmony,

Today you are 2 years old!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! Your mommy and I love you so much and we wanted to do something special for you each year as you grow up!

We hope that one day when you can look back at this video (and others as the years go by) you can remember us and all the wonderful times and sweet moments we shared together!

“You’re the Harmony to my Melody.”

Love,

Daddy.

When I feel closest to God is…

When do you feel closest to God?

Is it during the early morning hours before the house stirs awake with movement from the family?

Is it during the late evening hours when everyone else is asleep in their beds and you finally get a chance to be alone and think?

When do you feel closest to God?

During the times of worship at your church or in your own personal times at home?

During the times you read the Bible?

When do you feel closest to God?

Is it during the times you’re at your weakest point and you don’t think you can go another step?

Is it during your times of victory and when everything seems to be going just right?

When do you feel closest to God?

During times of prayer where you get to talk one-on-one with the Creator of the Universe?

During the times of complete and total silence where you don’t know what to say at all and you simply sit… wait… listen?

When do you feel closest to God?

Is it when you journal your thoughts toward him as you sip your morning coffee?

Is it when you take a long walk and meditate on His goodness and beautiful creation as you admire your surroundings?

When do you feel closest to God?

Is it when you are blessed with an unexpected blessing that came at just the perfect moment and you realize there was no way that happened by coincidence?

Is it when you extend a blessing to someone else, even if that someone is on the side of the street with a sign that says, “will work for food?”

When do you feel closest to God?

During your travel time as you commute from place to place?

During the time the perfect song comes on the radio that fits the season of life you’re walking through?

           ——————-Me Too ———————

I have felt close to God on all these occasions and more.

God reveals Himself to each of His kids in the most remarkable, unexpected, intentionally planned, and romantic ways.

The question is, are you looking for those moments and are you working at creating those moments?

————–When I feel closest to God is…———————-

When I hold my sleeping child.

It’s the way He reveals Himself the most to me during this season of my life.

I still feel close to Him in prayer, worship, quiet times, and all the other ways listed above, but this is a special way He and I connect.

Its hard to explain. But theres nothing like it that I have ever felt before.

—————— Here’s Why ——————–

Even before our daughter was born and everyday since, and even all through my wife’s labor and delivery, we have had worship and prayer music playing in her room 24/7. It has done nothing but create a peaceful atmosphere for her and our home.

On the days I get to put her down for her nap, and the nights I get to put her to bed, I hold her close and rock her gently to sleep as we both listen to the worship songs softly playing in the background.

11754302_1036296956394565_2570428843331097761_oAs I continue to rock her as to make sure she is good and asleep before setting her in her crib, I focus on the songs that are playing. The words, the scriptures, the intentionality of the offering of praise and thanksgiving directed to the God who created this tiny bundle of joy and who has entrusted my wife and I with for the rest of our lives.

Its in these moments I cant help but thank Him for my little girl. I start to pray over her and speak prophetic words over her life as she sleeps.

As the music plays I can always sense His presence.

When my days feel rough and I don’t have a single answer to any of life’s countless questions, I can feel His peace.

When I feel worn out and tired, I can feel His strength.

When I don’t know what to say, I can feel Him speak to me.

————-As I hold my baby girl …  I can feel God holding me…————

When do you feel closest to God?

 

Life Lesson #13 Crossing The Line

We’ve all heard the phrase, or even the Jonny Cash song, “I walk the line.” But how close is too close?

My little girl LOVES to go outside! Even though she is currently one and a half years old, I am already teaching her the importance/danger of crossing the street right in front of our house.
Luckily we live near the end of a culdasac so there is hardly any cars that come down our street. Regardless, a street is not to be taken lightly.
So there is this line that runs perfectly across our driveway where the street and our driveway meet. Every day when we take our little girl outside, I aways tell her to freeze or stop at that line, look both ways for cars, and then go (only if mommy or daddy is with her). Again, she’s one and a half, so as you can imagine this is a constant reminder. And I mean constant.
When I got home today I took my little girl outside in our front yard like she always begs me to do. We have our traditional activities: we go for walks and find new “treasures” each week (random objects like rocks, pieces of our neighbors fall wreath that blew off months ago, pine cones, etc.), we climb a nearby dirt pile together and shout “King of the hill” before she jumps off and into my arms, we explore the open areas around our neighborhood, and we color our driveway with sidewalk chalk.
As we were coming to the end of our outdoor adventure, Harmony decided that it would be cute to run toward the street, freeze, and then run back to me and her mommy before she ever got close to the “line.”
After 4-5 rounds of that game, she decided it was time to run all the way to end the of the driveway and freeze in the middle of the street. Luckily there were no cars driving down our street as I quickly ran after her. I swept her up in my arms, took 2 steps back into our driveway and set her down behind the “line.”
“Harmony.” I told her. “Remember? You can not cross this line.” child-feet-old-stone-block-red-sneakers-urchin-style-crossing-white-line-edge-contrast-colors-close-up-hesitating-54809535
She nodded as if she understood and proceeded to walk right across the line again. I picked her back up and sat her back down on my side of the line.
“Harmony. Baby, you can’t just cross this line without looking or without me or mommy. When you come to this line you have to freeze, look both ways for cars, and if I’m with you then you can go.”
As she heard me say “go” she stepped out into the street again as if she was in a race. I lovingly picked her back up and set her down once more.
This time, Harmony sat on her bottom and began to inch her way closer to the line.
As she scooted closer and closer, thats when today’s life lesson hit me….
Innocent as my daughter was in her thinking and actions, it still reminded me of how so many times we “test” God the same way Harmony was testing me.
God gives us clear direction in His Word on how to perceive and choose the good and bad set before us. Sometimes its as plain as the nose on our face.
“I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.” Deuteronomy 30:19
 
Maybe you’re like my daughter in that you have constantly crossed the line/ boundary God has placed in your life for your protection. Maybe you have a story to tell on countless times where God seemed to pick you up and move you back to that place of safety like I did with my little one.
 
Maybe you’re like my daughter in that even though you know you’re not suppose to cross “that line” you still inch yourself closer and closer and closer.
 
“How close can I get to sin without sinning?”
  • How much soft porn imagery can I look at before its considered hard porn, or even considered to be a sin?
  • How many drinks can I take before I get drunk?
  • How many puffs can I take before I get high?
  • How many times can I roll the die before I loose everything?
  • How many more jobs can I do before I become a workaholic?
  • How much can I flirt with a co-woker before it’s considered to be cheating on my spouse?
  • How many days can I go without talking to God in prayer, or reading the Bible, before I feel convicted?
  • How many times can I show up late for work before I get written up?
  • How far is too far before its considered premarital sex?
If you’re asking yourself any of these questions, or anything similar to them, maybe it’s time to rethink where your “line” is.
 
The line I am referring to is a boundary. A boundary is better defined as: “a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line, a limit of a subject or sphere of activity.”
 
The reason I am showing my daughter the “line” in our driveway is to protect her from getting hurt by a passing car. The reason God is showing you the “line” in your life is to protect you from getting hurt. 
 
You might not think you’re going to get hurt. But lets face it, my daughter doesn’t think that of herself either. But we all know that if I stopped warning her, and if she stopped listening to my voice, she could one day get hurt. The same is true for you and me. If we stop listening to the Holy Spirit’s warnings and the tugging at our hearts, we too could one day get hurt.
 
Jesus said in John 10:27: “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
You may be all too familiar with the Lord’s voice telling you to not go any further. But you tend to ignore Him. 
 
You may be hearing Him call you, warning you of the “lines” in your life, but are you living out the last part of that verse? Are you “following” Jesus? Following Jesus is living your life fully dedicated to Him in every way.
 
Or maybe you’re one who has never heard God call your name. 
 
It’s never too late to call out to Him.
 
The Bible says in James 4:8 “ Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” We just have to be willing to take that first step and He promises He will come to us. 
 
The good news is, that God is loving and gracious, quick to forgive and slow to anger. If you need to ask Him for forgiveness, help, strength, and guidance, He will extend it to you. But it’s up to you and I to live it out (that’s why this is a “life lesson”).
 
So I encourage you today to rethink the “lines” in your life. 
Have you gotten too close to the edge? 
Have you crossed over?
Where is the “safe zone.”
How is your relationship with God?
 
God gave us the Bible not as rules that need to be followed so we can have a ticket into heaven, but as a road map on your journey here on earth. That road map can help you live a blessed life if you just let it.
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Life Lesson #10: Pain then Joy

We stepped into the waiting  room of the doctor’s office and I took a seat holding my now one-year-old little girl. 

The room was cold, as every doctor’s office is. They must all have the same building inspector who requires each office to become the next ice age for their patients.

As my wife went to check us in at the reception desk, I sat holding my little girl trying to keep us both warm. Luckily, this appointment was not due to my little girl being sick. Instead it was her one-year-old checkup.

Since she wasn’t sick, and ever since she discovered how to walk, she wasn’t in much of a “hold me daddy” kind of mood. She wanted to get down and explore. So, we froze to death as she explored the area of the waiting room, being careful not to go too far from me.

As I watched and played with her, I couldn’t believe how fast one whole year had already come and gone. In just the few short days after her first birthday, she had already started to grasp so much! 

She started to associate “da-da” to me when she called out. She started to walk on her own. She started to comprehend the simple signs of American Sign Language I was teaching her. And so much more! 

God had truly blessed me and my wife with a very special little girl! 

The time came, and her name was called. It was time to see the doctor. She was weighed and measured. Her eyes, nose, and mouth were inspected, and her joints checked out.

Everything was great! Our little one-year-old was happy and healthy.

And then came the nurse…

I knew what was about to happen. I knew far before we even arrived at the doctor’s office what was about to happen. I just didn’t have the heart to tell my little girl.

You guessed it; she was going to get a shot. Not just one! Oh no! Not just two! But four shots!

Four shots to help her continue to grow and remain healthy.

In order to help her remain healthy and strong and enjoy the good things of life, she first had to go through a brief moment of pain.

I don’t like shots! Who does? I mean, I’m not anti-needle by any means. If I’m super sick and I know a shot will make me feel better quickly…. give me the shot over a pill! But still…. I don’t like shots.

As I laid my little girl down on the table and looked at her smiling up at me, it was clear that she had no idea what was about to happen. (Mind you this wasn’t her first set of shots). 

As the nurse poked my little girl with all four shots, my daughter’s face turned crimson red as she held her breath in pain. Letting out what she bravely held in was quickly released in a desperate scream for help. 

I cringed. My toes curled. And yes… my butt cheeks clinched. It felt like something inside me was dying. Even though I was holding her hand, even though I was right by her ear telling her that everything would be ok, even though I reminded her that I was right there with her through it all, it wasn’t enough. She wanted off that table in my arms -NOW.

The band-aids were applied to the boo-boos and I quickly swept her in my arms. 

As she sobbed from the pain and the feeling of betrayal, I patted her back and told her how brave she was and how much I love her. 30 seconds later her crocodile tears finally stopped and her beautiful smile broke through, once more melting our hearts. 

Then it hit me…

God does the same for us…

God, our Heavenly Father, also knows that in order to help us remain healthy and strong and enjoy the good things of life, we first have to go through a brief moment of pain. Just like my daughter had to get the shots in order to remain healthy.

Just like I allowed the painful feeling of the four shots to be injected into my daughter’s tiny body, our Heavenly Father allows us to experience pain in life knowing that everything will be ok in the end.

In the moment of our life’s pain we may be doing everything we can to hold ourselves together and pretend nothing is wrong just like my little girl did. And then one day, we finally burst out crying for God to give us peace.

All I can see is God standing right there by our side, holding our hand, telling us in our ear that everything is going to be ok. And as the dust settles and the storms of life clear, we can see that through it all, God was with us the entire time.

So today’s life lesson is one that I hope finds you at the perfect moment in your life where you just need to be reminded that whatever it is you’re facing in life right now, whatever pain you may be feeling, God is right by your side.

It sucks. I know.

But God allows things to happen to us because He knows the outcome. He knows it will make us stronger. He knows that if we just lean on Him, press into Him, call out to Him, our faith will be made stronger.

So I leave you with this today… words straight from the mouth of God straight to your heart…

“Do not fear for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Happy 1st Birthday Harmony

Dear Harmony,

Today you are 1 year old!

Happy Birthday sweet girl! Your mommy and I love you so much and we wanted to do something special for you each year as you grow!

We hope that one day when you can look back at this video (and others as the years go by) you can remember us and all the wonderful times and sweet moments we shared together!

“You’re the Harmony to my Melody.”

Love,

Daddy.

Saturday, July 23rd 2016