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I just watched and interesting movie called Remember Sunday.  It’s a romance, which I always enjoy if it is a truly good one.  Anyhow, the man has an aneurysm and remembers only the past, but forgets the present each morning after a nights sleep.  How sad a life it was for him.  He met a beautiful young woman whom he fell in love with and wanted to marry, but the thought of not knowing her each new day was too much for the both of them to bear.

Well, I feel like that sometimes . . . I want to remember and act on all the good things that God shows me, but I am often forgetting the good I ought to do.  I guess Paul said it well (Romans 7).  I long to be more and there are times and days when I head in that direction, but easily get distracted from that good and find myself off course once again.  Discipline, commitment . . . these are the words that come to mind.  I can so quickly remember the Israelites and their ability to forget God’s goodness and faithfulness to them.  Why?  I would love to point the finger, but not so sure I can.

God is so good!  Always faithful!  Always kind, generous, loving, merciful . . . Lord, please let me not forget your benefits or lack the faith to carry to completion all that you show me and prompt me to do by way of the Holy Spirit.  Lord let me be a faithful follower!  Grace, oh my God, how I thank you for grace, freedom from sin and forgiveness!  May I put into practice all that is humanly (godly) possible.  Thank you God for speaking to my heart.

Now, where is that to do list . . .

What is God asking for today?

A Mind Stayed on Him

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I can hear the words from the hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”, “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; prone to leave the God I love”.  The Joy that is found when trusting in Him is so amazing.  What keeps turning me to the side?  Lord, I long to be firm and steadfast.  I read of the old testament where God’s people again and again do wrong, sin, make poor choices, look at God’s goodness and turn right around only to forget.

I just read a post from a dear friend (http://mandylynncarpenter.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/truth-vs-lies/) talking about listening to the wrong voices and how this affects our thoughts, choices and the paths we choose.  But do you hear that still small voice of the Lord saying, “This is the way, walk in it.”?  Are you even trying to listen?  Am I renewing my mind each day and through out the day?

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

It is an act of the will to turn yourself over to the Lord each day and throughout the day.  Do you believe Jesus . . . that He can transform us, then let’s live a life that tells us so!  When others see us will they know we’ve been with Jesus?  Moses was only radiating the glory of God when he had been in His presence.

My Trust is in God Alone ~ Psalm 62

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Rest in God alone, my soul,

for my hope comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation,

my stronghold; I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62:5-6

I am comforted and I hope you are too, just from reading this passage of scripture.  The Lord is so good and I am so thankful that in Him we find peace and rest.  You have probably heard the saying, “I may not know what the future holds, but thank God I know Who holds the future!”  That is exactly how I feel right now as I pack my bags and prepare to return to the states with all four of my children to take one of my sweet babies to see several doctors.  He is not really a baby anymore, almost 4 1/2 now.  We have a lot of concerns and questions that need to be answered so please pray with us as we seek the Lord’s will for his little life.  This could most certainly have an affect on our future and we are truly thankful to be at peace knowing that the Lord has it all under control and he will light the path for us as we go.  The Lord has even been so gracious to us that He put it in our pastor’s heart to send his daughter, Stephanie, to help with the children since Aaron my husband is not returning with us.  It is also a great opportunity for her to practice the English she knows and to learn more.  She and her family are a great blessing to our family and we thank God for how He uses them in our lives and the life of our church here in Manaus.

I have written many posts in my head dear friends, that have not made it thus far, but I hope to share more with you in due time.  As I am sure you can imagine things have been quite busy here as we make preparations to leave our daddy, home and city for a month.  Please do pray for Aaron while we are gone and this term of the Amazon RACE project that is in it’s last month of the training as well.  He will stay quite busy taking care of a new missionary couple that arrives the day after we leave and will spend most of the rest of his time out at the training camp.  Please pray for our safe travel, good health and for God to use the doctors to give us direction.

Well, today is April 25, 2012.  As you can see this post was started some two months ago and much has happened since then.  We are home in Manuas again after spending  the month of March in the states seeing doctors and visiting family.  The Lord was very gracious to us  concerning the trip and all that we discovered from the doctors.  Evan is doing well and we received confirmation from the Lord that indeed we are on the right track with Evan’s development.  He is in need of further speech therapy  and English languaage stimulation, but he has made great progress after only talking a little over a year now.  He does need some special help and attention each day and we have speech therapy set to start with a friend over skype.  Evan does have some issues with gluten and milk and we will continue with these restrictions in his diet.  He is somewhat malnourished due to his gluten intollerance not allowing him to absorb all the wonderful nutrients the rest of us so easily take in each day.

Please pray for us as we continue seeking the Lord’s direction for our sweet boy concerning speech therapy,  language stimulation, diet, school needs etc…  I homeschool everyone right now and I am not sure I can continue and give Evan all the needed attention . . .  but God is already giving some direction and I know He will make the way clear if we seek after Him and His will.  I know so many of you wonderful moms that are in simular situations and even more challenging ones and I am encouraged by all that you do and that the Lord is doing through you.  Thank you for being an example for me and so many others.

 In His Hands,

 Tiffany Epps

Keeping our Eyes Focused on Him

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Why must we keep our eyes focused on the Lord?  Because we are in danger if we don’t.  Danger of what you say?  Danger of ourselves, our own selfish desires, and all that this world has to offer us.  Some days seem so much more challenging with home, family or this fallen world we live in.  Without the help of the Lord we can so easily become entangled in worry, anxious thoughts, selfish ambition and/or wastefulness of our time and resources.  I must confess today was a very challenging day for me.  My husband is out at our training camp with the missionaries until tomorrow evening and I felt bombarded by my house and the disobedience of a child.  I kept having to draw my attention back to the Lord and cry out for His help, sometimes after falling.  And He was there faithfully lighting the path for me.

In the face of this fallen world we live in I have thought much about something that happened last night as we left a neighborhood pizza restaurant.  There was a unclothed woman walking in our direction through the dark.  Not completely unusual as we have now seen her several times in our neighborhood.  My oldest daughter who is 8 years old was the first to point her out to me one day in front of our house and again last night.  We also have a prostitute at the end of our street who is seated there most nights dressed for the occasion.  My children noticed her right away, some time back, and wanted to know what this woman was doing there and why she was always dressed like that.  This is the reality of the fallen world we live in.

I had written a note to family not to long ago as we visited Santiago, Chile.  I was taken by the beauty, the mountains, the dry climate . . .etc. as it was so completely different from where we live.  My sister had never recalled me mentioning in our 8 years of living in Brazil, some of the things that we have grown accustom too as part of life.  We are right in the heart of the Amazon Rain Forest and from the plane you can see the thick jungle trees and the many rivers that run through them, a beautiful sight, but in our city there are some two million people living very close together.  Most homes and some businesses are surrounded by high cement walls some having barbed wire or electric fences on top.  Some painted, some not and graffiti almost every where you look.  These things can affect us in negative ways if we are not looking in the right direction and seeking the help of our Awesome and Mighty Father.

What are you facing today?  Remember, we can’t make it without Jesus.  When we take our focus off of Him we lack peace, joy, comfort, strength, direction and so much more.  I am realizing more all the time how much I have missed out on by not walking with Him each day.  I was reminded by Sarah Young in Jesus Calling that He makes the path visible as we seek His face, just like Peter when He walked on the water to Jesus in the midst of the storm (Matt. 14:28-32), we are able to rise above the waves and problems of this life if we will just look to Him and not the great wind of the storm that surrounds us.  As a matter of fact we are seated in the heavenly realms with Christ already (Eph. 2:6).

It’s all about you Jesus!

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I am truly excited to be here writing the first post as I walk on this wonderful journey with Jesus.  I have elaborated as to the “whys” and “hows” of getting here, under the “About” tab, if you care to take a glance.                                                                                 

My goal is to have my quiet time, come what may And “come what may” seems to happen a lot at my house.  I can’t say exactly when I started walking more closely with the Lord, but it was several months ago and during that time He brought my attention to His Praises.

My mother-in-law may remember this story, if so Mary, thanks for calling it as it is.  Years ago in 2008 we were on stateside spending time with family at the lake just before returning to Brazil.  One night everyone was sitting around chatting about vivid dreams and I too had recently had a very vivid dream.  I don’t remember the details of it now, but I remember that as I verbalized it I realized what it meant and that it had truly come from God, I stopped myself from finishing my thought so as to save myself, I thought, but when I did my mother-in-law said, “if you don’t praise Me the rocks will cry out and praise Me”.  At that time I knew it was meant for me, but I still didn’t get it.  I almost found it odd just trying to say praises with my mouth until several months ago, almost three years later.  Again the Lord had begun to make it very clear to me that He was calling me to Praise Him with all that I was.  I was reading only Psalms and Proverbs at that time along with my Jesus Calling devotional that my friend Cara had given me and at times the book A Woman’s High Calling by Elizabeth George.  Wow, things were opening up to me in a new way.  I began praising the Lord with my mouth and with my voice in song.  The Lord made it quite clear through the book, that I had been using my mouth for a lot of things other than His praises.  There was a lot of fussing, complaining and frustration, but not a lot of attention on praises to my Heavenly Father.  The Psalms were and are such a wonderful teacher for praise as well as the devotional that I was reading.  I am being changed just by His praises and having a more thankful heart, but I wouldn’t have learned all that without making my quiet time a priority instead of an option.  I have even had the joy of obedience through song in my church.  I had been more fearful of man than of my great and awesome God to get up in front of others to sing praises and I was under great temptation at the last minute to back out, but with my husbands encouragement and a strength that came from Him to obey and praise the Lord, I sang “Praise the Lord” by Russ Taff that night.

So, tonight I leave you with this,

“Sing to the LORD,

you His faithful ones,

and praise His holy name.”

Psalms 30:4

In His Hands,

Tiffany