God’s Love In The Streets

Have you ever made a decision that changed your entire life?

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.  “Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to become fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed Him.” Mark 1:16–18 Their lives would never be the same again…The right questions tied together with the right responses, ignite a beautiful symphony of action, hope, healing and love.

For our learning experience this week in class, we did something awesome. We created a fish that was capable of both giving and receiving God’s love, the same way we as humans can give and receive God’s love. All it took; one blue solo cup for the body, some white construction paper for the eyes and tail, a few markers, a little bit of string, and we were ready. Once our fish were created we were ready to become not only fishermen, but also fishers of men.

My third-grade class looked at me puzzled. They didn’t understand what being “fishers of men” had meant… yet! I had them picture us going down to the water, baiting the hook and casting out the line so that we could catch some fish. Then I asked them what it would look like if we were to become fishers of men.

To be a fisher of men:

  1. First, we have to receive God’s incredible love for us. I picked up some foam figures of baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and shared with my students the Christmas story. After I told them the story, I placed the Holy Family figures into the mouth of the cup to show them how the Christmas story now lives within us. Now, we can share that story with others, or in other words, cast our line. Holding the fish cup that contained the story of Jesus birth and the love of Mary and Joseph, I cast out my line. I asked my students to pretend as though they were the fish that got hooked. With that I reeled them in. We shared a good laugh as they “swam” up to their webcams so that all I could see was their eyes.
  2. God can draw others closer to Himself when evidence of His presence shows in and through us. Stating a fact, I let my class know that God had a great plan and a purpose for each one of them and how special and wonderful they were made in His image. All they had to do was cast the line, God will reel the right people in when the time is right.
  3. Our response is important because it’s life changing. As I watched their eyes widen, I knew they now contained the treasure of understanding what it meant to be fishers of men. Not only do teachers play a critical part in the lives of their students, I am realizing more and more that students also play a major part in many hallmark moments for a teacher.

As we dive into Scripture, we can find a treasure of wealth. Through the stories of fish and fishermen there is bountiful food for our souls. From feeding the hungry to sharing God’s love in the streets… discussing how we can become fishers of men with my ready and waiting third-graders, I saw them grow eager to go out and cast their lines.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 19:14]

To accept this invitation of God’s grace and mercy, is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding responsibilities we will ever have in life. It consists of making the world, here and now, a better place. It also allows us the grace and privilege of setting up a strong foundation for the next generation to soar freely and that they may love and serve our God Most High.

As for everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears My words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” [Luke 6:46-49]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

While walking with my grandson, I noticed a heart shaped figure in the road. In that moment, I felt a great sense of joy and comfort in the little reminder of ,God’s Love in the streets… Where ever we are in life, we can be assured that our Lord God is always there with us!

Writing Your Story 2021

Stories come out of living the life we have been given and sharing that personal account with others.

When it comes to knowledge, we can’t offer more than we have. Nonetheless, it is imperative to share what we can when it comes to the gift of understanding. I learned this as I entered the confessional. In sharing what was in my heart, the priest sitting on the other side of the divided screen offered these words of wisdom, “What you have is not for you alone, but meant to be shared with others.” At first, I did not understand what he meant. Yet, as I walked out the door with the blue sky above my head, I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit fill me with utterance and discernment, as those fifteen words replayed in my brain. This giving me the clarity… my joy in life comes from serving others.

There are open doors and opportunities all around us, through the means of communication, to deliver all that God has entrusted us with. As Johannes Gutenberg, a German goldsmith, was given the knowledge to bring us the printing press and Alexander Graham Bell a Scottish-born inventor, scientist, and engineer, delivered the gift of the telephone or Lawrence Gilman Roberts an American engineer who came through with the Internet; It was Mary a first-century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, who opened the door and gracefully gave birth to our Lord and Savior Jesus, our only true Connection with God.

What is God calling you to do? I may not know what it is, but I do know it is important. From the very beginning when He created this world, He had a plan. God’s Word is a reminder and comforter to this truth. Here are just five Bible verses that prove God’s love for us and that He has a great plan for this life that He has given to us.

  1. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” [Jeremiah 1:5]
  2. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” [Luke 12:7]
  3. “From one man He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.” [Acts 17:26]
  4. 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.” [Jeremiah 29:11]
  5. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,” [2 Timothy 1:9]

The next step is up to us. Writing Your Story 2021, is more important than ever. The call to take what we have been given and share it with others is so important. As God does not force Himself on our right to choose, it is my prayer that in our time together God would give us clarity, hope and inspirational-motivation. May we take charge of this life God has given to us with our own God- given gifts and circumstances and unique stories and use them to serve and bless others. May God’s grace enlighten us to be more empowered to move in the directions we may have otherwise avoided or didn’t think possible.

“May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you His favor and give you His peace.” [Numbers 6:24-26]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings in 2021 and always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Immaculate Heart of Mary ~ The Gift of Christmas ~ IHM Premiere *

Autumn Rain

What a beautiful sound.

In a season that calls us to reflect on the things we are grateful for, we sometimes need an important reminder to help us do just that; to make known our gratitude. So let me start by saying, I’m so grateful for YOU! God made you so very special and here are just a few scriptures to prove just that:

  1. God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. [Genesis 1:27]
  2. The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. [Job 33:4]
  3. For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. [Psalm 139:13]

I am grateful for the Bible, it truly is my daily bread. The word of God is living truth. “It is able to quicken and make alive.” I know this for a fact, because I’ve experienced it first hand. When we understand something through personal experience, it takes the matter from the mind and places it ever so gently in the heart. God is always with us and it is so important that we talk to Him on a daily basis through our thoughts and prayers. As we reach out to God we experience the grace of His love for us and for others and with that we should always give thanks.

I am grateful for the privilege to teach. Just as the Autumn rain fills the Earth and provides the moisture trees and plants need to stay alive, a teacher is graced to share the peace, harmony and truth that our God so desires for us to have as His children. Jesus teaches us to respect each other, so that we experience His glorious rain of blessings.

The best thing about thankfulness is that the more we choose to use it, the easier it gets. This Thanksgiving season, let’s not miss out on all the love that our God desires to shower us with. Let us start taking care of each other with words of encouragement and forgiveness so that we may be a clear vessel in which God’s gracious love can flow. Jesus is peace, He is our everlasting Father and He is knocking on our door this season to share the most beautiful melody we will ever hear. Let us stop what we are doing and let Him in for that thanksgiving meal! May our wonderful Lord, bless you and your family by the power of the Holy Spirit! For nothing can compare to peace one feels in the presence of our God. 

What a beautiful sound, “Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before Him with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods”. [Psalm 95:1-3]

What are you thankful for?

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

“I always thank my God for you because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 1:4
“And now we thank You, our God, and praise Your glorious Name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Encouraged.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asked my junior high school counselor, as we pieced together my high school schedule. You see, I was my own kind of Amelia Bedelia, struggling to learn, with no talent whatsoever and fearful of my own shadow. After pondering the direction of my future for a few seconds, I responded, “I’d like to be kindergarten teacher.” With a respectful smile, he replied, “I don’t recommend that for you. You don’t like school and teaching means you would need further education. I don’t see you doing that.” Eager to know his thoughts, I replied, “What do you think I should do?” “Do what your mom does” he said, and that afternoon, I watched carefully as my mom cut and styled her client’s hair. Clueless yet curious, thoughts of, “The apple never falls far from the tree” came to mind. After telling my mom about my conversation with my counselor, she blessed me with words of wisdom, “If this is what you want to do, then I want you to get a job this summer in a salon to make sure it’s right for you…”

In sharing this story, many people are offended by my counselors dispirit. However, to me his recommendation was a truly valuable puzzle piece to my life. Like an angel in disguise, he helped guide me to dig deeper into becoming all that I was created to be. We all have a purpose in life and God gives us exactly what we need in order to accomplish all that we are called to do. We may not always hear what we want to hear, or get what we want when we want it, nevertheless, the direction we take with what we have been given is up to us. For me, it wasn’t that I couldn’t be a teacher; it just wasn’t a good fit at that time. Truthfully, styling hair has been a tremendous gift to me. 

Life doesn’t always do what we want it to do, but it is comforting to know that God’s love remains steadfast for each and every one of us everyday. We don’t need to lose faith when we see others receive answers to their prayers, while we feel like we haven’t yet received our own blessings. We can rest assured knowing that our time is coming, and when it hits the ground, the earth will feel it. My mom recently shared with me this motivational story:

An elephant and a dog became pregnant at the same time. Three months down the line, the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued. On the 18th month the dog approached the elephant questioning: “Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date. I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. What’s going on? The elephant replied: “There is something I want you to understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration. What I carry draws attention. What I’m carrying is mighty and great!”

The key to mighty and great in the word of God simply teaches us that God is our Hero. The question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is an on going question, that continues to grow within us no matter how old we may be. As I look back over the years, I can appreciate God’s intimate love in the details of all things. Our path is designed by God and bound to be glorious if we are willing to follow Him. Everyday is a stepping-stone of grace to use as a tool to move forward in the grand puzzle of life.

Be encouraged and committed as you take bold steps and healthy risks. Remember, without the struggle, it’s difficult to find your strength. While serving others, we will see more clearly the bigger picture. At the same time, recognize the little blessing that come to us daily. “Say your prayers” were the closing words my Dad would speak as he hit the light switch after tucking us into bed every night. Years later, I am still praying. It gives me great pleasure to share the word and love of God with others. As a catechist (teacher of the principles of Christian faith) my prayer for everyone I meet is to come to know and feel the love of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who traded it all in for the Cross; giving His life as a sacrifice to set us free from the spiritual chains of slavery that trap us in a web of confusion, addiction and sin. The Bible is filled with so many treasures and tools. The Word of God is our sword and shield as we all travel or wander like a pilgrim on this journey through life. Here are a few scriptures to ponder:

“If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. [Luke 16:10]

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. [Hebrews 13:2]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Michael’s hands: My 3rd grade student 2020-2021

Taking Chances

Delivering our services to the world

Made in the image of God, Adam and Eve had remarkable freedom and premier careers. To begin with, they were the first parents of the human race, they held the possession of chief caretakers, zoologists, and gardeners, just to mention a few… God did not put Adam and Eve on the earth and then form it. It was quite the opposite; our Loving Creator prepared the place and then put them in it to enjoy it!

God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, does the same for each and every one of us. Fear of the unknown can have the greatest grip on our lives. Still, we can take comfort in this Psalm of David, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for He founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His Holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.” [Psalm 24:1-5] God will fulfill every purpose He has for us, still our choices and actions are indeed important.

In the early years of 1995 as the beautiful fall foliage covered the landscapes and crisp November fragrances filled the air, my husband and I moved our growing family from a co-op, to the top floor of an apartment building. A few weeks prior I had gone with my Dad to see his friend about a temporary place to stay, as we searched for a more permanent home to raise our children. The next thing I knew, it was ours. I was speechless but not so much in a good way. I started having nightmares. To me, 8H seemed as though the “H” stood for Hell and the 8 was way too high. After all, I had lived in a house up until I was married and our co-op was a walk-in duplex. Living in a building was new to me. I had these visions of getting stuck in the elevator with the kids, the structure collapsing, you name it. Little did I know that this top floor apartment was a gift from God to me and my family.

Shortly after moving in, the elevator did break down and for a short while we had to climb 8 flights of steps – 2 young boys, a baby in a carrier, laundry, shopping bags… Wherever there was a place on me to hang something, I did! It became routine, as we’d approach the 6th floor, my boys always a flight ahead looking down the stairs at me, saying “Come on Mom, come on.” I could only laugh, because the weight hanging from me would not allow my brain to signal my legs to lift up to the next step. But somehow, we always made it to the top and when we got there, the 8th floor, I must say it was well worth it, simply breath-taking. There was peace there as it overlooked the Long Island Sound and we could see the bridge to Manhattan as well as up toward Connecticut. Higher than the birds flew our living room windows held a different abstract everyday and during our daughter’s a.m. feeding we could capture the sunrise – like a burst of flame scoring through the sky. Although 8H carried its challenges, God had put us in an awesome place.

One morning as my husband and the boys’ were out of the apartment and our baby girl was napping, there was a strong desire inside of me to pick up the Bible. As I began to read while facing the east on an incredibly clear skied day, I noticed that everyone in the Bible that loved God had given their lives to Him. With a very nervous feeling within me, I quickly stood up and prayed this prayer to God. “I love you so much; but I can’t give my life to you right now. I can’t die, my children need me...” That’s when a gentle whisper of God’s Holy Spirit filled me with these words, “You won’t die, give your life to Me and you will live!” At that very moment the fear in me disappeared, and with a overwhelming sense of joy, I responded, “Well then, I give my life to You!” I remember feeling this sensation of completeness. Helen Keller, said it so well, “The best and most beautiful things could never be seen nor touched only felt with the heart”. What had happened to me at that moment was something between God and me. As if a shade that was covering up my eyes, had been lifted up. The beauty in that experience can never truly be described and at that very moment I knew apartment 8H was meant to be. Only now the ‘H’ was Heaven to me!

There is so much room in our lives for improvement. Taking chances, healthy chances, plays a great part in the process of delivering our services to the world. I heard what God was saying to me that day and He clarified His intentions. All it took was a little bit of prayer and understanding was granted. Only through the Holy Spirit of God could we understand. Just as a hole in the sand can be filled with a taste of the ocean, the ocean is way too big for the hole to consume it all, and in just that way God gives us enough of Himself to be filled with His awesome love, direction and plan.

Hallmark moments from a gentle lullaby to the wedding ceremony; happy events to the last dance, faith helps us to see things as God does. The desire for God is written in the Human Heart. What we allow to feed our mind and our soul has just as much worth if not more than the things we feed our bodies. Through the lives of others we learn how and how not to live. There is pricelessness in the gift of listening and communing with the Lord. Take a look at the life of Moses for confirmation.

Moses Led a Nation because He kept His eyes on God. Jethro, his father-in-law, gave him some constructive criticism in Exodus 18:13-26. But it was up to Moses to receive it. Moses from morning till night listened to a people lined up with arguments and complaints against each other. Jethro asked Moses, “Why are you trying to do this all alone, this is not good,” he exclaimed. “You are going to wear yourself out and the people too. This job is too heavy a burden for you to handle all by yourself. Now let me give you a word of advice….” How did Moses feel after a long day of complaints and now his father-in-law is telling him how he thinks he should be doing things, that he got it all wrong. Well, this would all have to depend on Moses attitude. The blessing God gave to Jethro to give to Moses could have been hindered if he, ‘Moses’ thought I’m the one with the gift, not you, after all was it not I who saw the burning bush, led these people out of Israel, parted the sea and now you’re telling me what I should be doing. No, Moses had a different approach. He listened to the advice to see if there was a better way and in his listening, he heard the sound of music, great advice and a weight off his shoulders. A way to bless others, how to delegate and form a better government. And I’m sure a peace in his soul and the joy of getting it all started.

God has given us all the gift of life, how we use that gift is truly the gift we give back to Him. There are some many encouraging stories in the Bible that leave us with understanding for times when in need. Healthy risks, opportunities and taking chances bless us. It’s the open doors we go through to experience the journey that Our Creator has prepared for us and knowing, whatever the outcome of that journey, we will not be walking it alone. It’s knowing the guarantee and security of when this lifetime is over we will be spending our eternity with the One who Created us and everything around us, in us and for us. God did not put Adam and Eve in an unprepared place, and through the different journeys we take that never seem to succeed, with God we are guaranteed stronger character building, inner strength, patience, greater endurance, more confidence and an education, “no money could ever buy.” Success is not measured by the amount of things we have. True success is the amount of valuable time we spend with Our Creator, allowing Our God to be part of our every thought, our every move, our every breath. We don’t have to go very far to find Him, He is as close as the breath we breathe, we only have to let Him in, He’s been waiting. Our God is a kind, loving and patient God who cares about our every move, we are His mosaics. The fear of the Lord is where true success begins.

John the Baptist, who was at this time in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “are you really the Messiah we’ve been waiting for, or should we keep looking for someone else?” Jesus told them, “go back to John and tell him about what you have heard and seen – the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised to life, and the Good News is being preached to the poor. And tell him, God blesses those who are not offended by Me.” [Matthew 11:2-6]

As we read and learn about things like this in the Bible, you can’t help but to fall in love with Jesus.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you. Let Me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke fits perfectly, and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28]

Our God is merciful, tender-loving, loyal, unchanging, and undenying – He loves us no matter what, even though God does discipline us to keep us from sin. He is a restorer and an encourager to those who repent fullheartedly. It is God and only God that gives us a new beginning, a fresh start for delivering our services to the world!

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

This Is How You Do It

Basic instructions

I was in only in kindergarten, yet, all these years later, I can still see her standing in front of the classroom ever so gently looking down at our table and saying, “This is how you do it…” As we cut out the identified shapes, our teacher explained to the class the proper way of holding the scissors, how to pass them to other students, and how to safely walk with them to put them away. Forming a fist around the closed blades with the handle exposed as our teacher had instructed, one of the students asked, “Why do we have to hold it this way?” Tenderly she replied, “It is for your safety and the safety of others…”

Teachers need to be equipped for it all. Trusted educators, who not only pass on knowledge and truth, but also correct a fault with patience and instruction. Communication is one of the most important roles of a teacher, nonetheless, handing forward the benefits of faith, hope and love is the greatest gift a teacher can give. My kindergarten teacher had done this remarkably well as her first priority was to keep us all safe while we were learning new skills.

The same way teachers mold and shape us, filling us with important life lessons from an early age that will stick with us throughout our entire lives, we can turn to the Bible for those lessons from God. Someone once told me we can interpret “B.I.B.L.E.” as our “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” I love this because it reminds me that, like my kindergarten teacher, the Lord’s intention is to protect us and keep us safe, while teaching us to navigate life.

“This is how you do it,” flows like a mighty river through God’s written word. “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Come up to Me on the mountain and be there; and I will give you tablets of stone, and the law and commandments which I have written, that you may teach them.” So Moses arose with his assistant Joshua, and Moses went up to the mountain of God. {Exodus 24:12-13]

God spoke to Moses high on the mountain, where He was able to give him a higher and wider level of view and understanding. After the climb, “Moses remained there on the mountain with the LORD forty days and forty nights. In all that time he ate no bread and drank no water. And the LORD wrote the terms of the covenant—the Ten Commandments—on the stone tablets...” [Exodus 34:28] Set in stone a vital foundation of basic instructions for our protection and the protection of others was written by “the finger of God”… [Exodus 8:19–20]

The 10 Commandments [Deuteronomy 5:6-21]

  1. “You Shall Have No Other Gods Before Me” [ Deuteronomy 5:7]
  2. “You Shall Not Make for Yourself an Idol” ([Deuteronomy 5:8]
  3. “You Shall Not Make Wrongful Use of the Name of the LORD Your God” [Deuteronomy 5:11]
  4. “Observe the Sabbath Day and Keep It Holy” [Deuteronomy 5:12]
  5. “Honor Your Father and Your Mother” [Deuteronomy 5:16]
  6. “You Shall Not Murder” [Deuteronomy 5:17]
  7. “You Shall Not Commit Adultery” [Deuteronomy 5:18]
  8. “You Shall Not Steal” [Deuteronomy 5:19]
  9. “You Shall Not Bear False Witness Against Your Neighbor” [Deuteronomy 5:20]
  10. “You Shall Not Covet … Anything That Belongs to Your Neighbor” [ Deuteronomy 5:21]

These 10 Commandments from God are as timeless and powerful today as the day they were first put in writing. Basic instructions filled with faith, hope, love and sense. Extraordinarily beneficial in teaching us how to live better, healthier, protected and productive lives for our own good and the good of others. There is a reason and a purpose that you and I were created, great plans for us to grow and flourish. It is no secret that life will always have its challenges, yet, at the same time those challenges can make us better if we seek the intimacy in direction and guidance from the One who created us. Life’s greatest reward is knowing that our Creator is by our side all the way. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, One God, Creator of all things, Omnipotence (all-powerful,) Omniscience (all-knowing,) Omnipresence (all-present,) is closer then the breath we breathe; if only we want Him to be.

“‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” [Matthew 22:36-39]

Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” [Proverbs 22:6]

Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.” [Deuteronomy 7:9]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” [Proverbs 22:6]

Who Do You Love More?

What have we missed?

Showering off all the bubbles on my 4-year-old during bath time (fast forward twenty years – now my editor-in-chief and one of my best friends), I turned to pick up the towel when I heard the voice of God whisper ever so gently to my soul, “Who do you love more?” Taken aback, I thought about it for a moment and responded, “I love You more… After all, You gave her to me.” At the same time, I turned with the towel in hand to dry my baby girl off as she looked up at me with her beautiful Bambi eyes and sweetly spoke, “Mommy, who do you love more, me or God?” Taken aback again, thinking, “Wait!…What?!” I smiled and replied, “I love God more!” She had the cutest facial expression, as if to say right back to me, “Wait!…What?!” Come what may, God prepared me for that very moment. If you could only imagine the joy I felt in my heart as I wrapped her in the towel, held her close and explained, “I love God more, because, I am so blessed, so grateful and so happy that He gave you to me! How could I not love God more? If it wasn’t for Him, I would not have you!” With a loving kiss on her nose, my little girl giggled with contentment.

Love is the essential foundation and necessity in life that we all need in order to truly live established, fulfilled and healthy lives. Extraordinary power lives in love and how we see it will lead the way to success or otherwise. To understand love, it is not only helpful but also very interesting to recognize that there are various definitions and types of love. Here are a few that stand first in rank:

  1. Whichever title we choose, Intimate love / Eros / Romantic love / True love, this type of love is is a beautiful blessing from God and reserved exclusively for marriage. After all those crazy natural chemicals fire off in our brain that produce attraction and affection for that “in-love” feeling; this kind of love requires commitment, communication, faithfulness, honesty, trust, selflessness, time, respect, patience, support, and should be celebrated, cherished and enjoyed everyday. Scripture gives us an innermost look, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” – [Song of Solomon 2:16]
  2. The love we have for family is recognized as Familiar love / Storge / Natural love. The naturalness in a familial bond, built on strong connections between family members that provide a sense of wholeness and meaning. Important responsibilities come along with the gift of family as well; provision, nurturance (spiritually, emotionally, intellectually), respect, forgiveness… “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – [1 Corinthians 13:4-8]
  3. When people share the same values and respect for each other, it’s commonly referred to as Brotherly love / Philia / Friend bond, love without romantic attraction. Friendships are an important part of life. They are one of life’s necessities, grounded in trust, special-moments, precious-moments, simple-moments and comfort during trying-moments. “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor…” If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.” [Ecclesiastes 4:9-10}
  4. The greatest type of love and what we seek most is Unconditional love / Agape love. This is known as the highest form of love and is given, even when it is not returned. It is pure, completely unselfish and accepts us for who we are, regardless of our flaws or imperfections. It is God’s deep love for us, fully expressed through the complete and on going life of Jesus Christ. If we will take just one moment out of our busy schedule and place it on God (Creator of all things), the Living Word (Bible), and prayer, (conversation and communion with God), we will become aware of a magnificent and breathtaking love like no other. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

If we were to ask God, “Who do you love more?” He would tell us that it is already written. A love so great that it continues to shine and flourish through the darkest hours / simplicity of the day / and by way of tender celebrations… * The Agony in the Garden – “Jesus knelt down and prayed…” [Luke 22:39-44] * The Scourging at the Pillar 39 times – “Jesus was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” [Isaiah 53:5-10, Matthew 27:26] * The Crowning with Thorns – Kneeling before Him in derision, they spit on Him, and cry out: “Hail, King of the Jews! [Matthew 27:28-31] * The Carrying of the Cross – “He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified Him.” [John 19:16–18] * The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus – “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do…” [Luke 23:34]

Jesus knows the sins of all mankind, whose guilt He has taken upon Himself, for each and everyone one of us. What have we missed? It is my prayer that we will continue to listen to God’s call, observe the blessings, value the love, embrace His goodness and experience His love in its many forms and share that love with others, as God intended. You are important… ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [Matt. 22:37–39].

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” [Matt. 22:37–39].

The Stone In A Sword Fight

If you’ve never hurt, you’ve never lived.

Inspirational quotes have the capability to tell a story in just a few words. They bring us encouragement, instruction, and guidance though some of the toughest and saddest hours of our lives. We hang them on our walls, write them down in books and treasure them in our hearts. Quotes make us smile, reflect and ponder what life is all about through the treasures of written and spoken words. Extraordinary moments that leave us with memorable statements are usually built upon layers of experience that may even echo out, “If you’ve never hurt, you’ve never lived.”

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shares quotes that leave us with tools, techniques and a realizations that can help teach and comfort in ways that last a lifetime. Incidentally, a ‘quote’ also refers to an estimated cost of a job or service. In other words, there is a price tag attached. Let’s take a closer look:

Known for being a dreamer and the favorite son of his father Jacob; the Scriptures tell us of a young man named Joseph. If we were to take a step back and reflect on the early years of Joseph’s life, it’s hard to imagine how much hurt must have followed rejection as his jealous brothers threw him into an empty cistern then sold him into slavery. He must have shed so many tears from the separation and thoughts of never seeing his Father and other family members ever again. To top it off, humiliation and imprisonment were a price he paid for a crime he did not commit. Yet, through it all, we see a spirit of hope, integrity, and a personal relationship with God Almighty rise to the top as we read these words; “It was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.” [Genesis 45:8]

David was the son of a man named Jesse. Scripture gives us a first glance of this ruddy, bright eyed, good-looking youngster during a very important family gathering that David, being the youngest of his seven brothers, was not invited too. Overlooked, David, was out in the field tending the sheep (fields that would serve as the training grounds for bravery, endurance, and courage, while teaching him to lean on God for strength and guidance). It wasn’t until the stone in a sword fight was picked up by this young Shepherd / Musician / Warrior / Poet / later to be King, that he would gain his popular acclaim (through defeating the giant ‘Goliath’). Accustomed to waiting for the Lord to direct him on a very laborious and slow rise to power, we continually see David’s personal relationship with God, as his Chief Cornerstone, in the foundation of his life. “For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7]

The success of an athlete, awards of a scholar, scars of a warrior have all come at a cost. Stories have great purpose, they help us to remember the incredible things that God has done and is doing for us. Life as we know it gives us no guarantee, but God Himself does. He promises that if we seek Him first He will never abandon us and will always be the Chief Cornerstone in any fight that this life brings our way. As the price He paid for our salvation is beyond words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16]

In writing about God’s love, I myself have learned a great deal. From 1st grade on, school was beyond difficult and unfavorable for me. I did not feel like I fit in academically, being a visual learner made it so hard to retain information. Socially, unless I was invited I did not feel like I belonged, and physically, during my teenage years, it was the 80’s! When it came to gym class, my hair took way too long to do in the morning to justify any sort of pool, rain or sweat. Yet, the truth is, I didn’t realize how important and exciting learning really can be. It would be years later with children of my own when I was invited to teach a 3rd grade religious education class. Honored and thrilled over the opportunity to share with the children the love of God, I walked into that class fully ready, yet not prepared to be unprepared to hold the attention of 8-9 year olds for 90 minutes. As I walked in feeling like a star, I literally left seeing stars (these are those moments that make or break you, nonetheless, I was up for the challenge). Time later, when our class tests were due, I questioned God if I was truly capable of teaching. I will never forget the exact spot I was standing in the school parking lot when His peaceful presence filled me with these words:

A teacher is not responsible for what their students know, but for the seeds they plant to help them grow.”

What we feel about ourselves will direct our path, how we see God, will guide us. I remember asking the question, “What is love?” to a class that I taught. The most beautiful melody came from a little girl named Charlotte, when she responded, “Love is a gift from God.” Quotes speak of the many hidden treasures found within ones life, even though it may hurt sometimes…

We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” [Romans 8:28]

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible shares quotes that leave us with tools, techniques and a realizations that can help teach and comfort in ways that last a lifetime.
You are worth the fight…

Play It Again

For no word from God will ever fail

One life, one song, one book, can have such an impact on so many lives. Tom Brown’s School Days is one of those books. It’s a famous British novel by Thomas Hughes, about a popular boy who attended a boarding school in England. Tom had tremendous influence on the group of boys he lived with in one of the dormitories. One day a new boy came to the school. That evening, as they prepared for sleep, the new boy knelt down to say his prayers. A few of the boys began to make fun of him, one even threw a shoe at him. That night, Tom could not fall asleep. He kept thinking about what happened to the new kid. He also began to think about his mom and the prayers she had taught him to say before he went to bed. Prayers he had not said, since he came to this school. The next evening, as the boys were getting ready to pick on the new boy for saying his prayers, something monumental happened, Tom knelt down also. There was silence in the dormitory. His example changed the thoughts of many boys that night. Tom saw the purpose in life and decided to live it, taste it and experience it to the utmost. He reached out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience, and with that he became that “One life.”

Several years ago, in the garden of the school where I teach, I had my students reenact the story of Tom Brown. I shared with them, how they too can make a difference in the lives of many with their love for God. With the soft sound of nature and bright bloomed flowers, I turned my class towards a beautiful sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary, drawing their attention to how one life can exert a wholesome influence on so many people, without force. I explained how Mary’s ‘Yes’ to God was not only one of the greatest turning points in history, but it faithfully defined what true courage is all about.

As we may forget what people do and say, it is harder to forget how they make us feel. My niece and I always laugh, as I often reminisce on a story of when she was just a toddler sitting on my lap at an outdoor movie. Through the coils of her curly hair blowing in the wind, I whispered in her ear “I love you.” This memorable moment is so precious because of the way she turned her little head and looked up at me with her beautiful brown eyes and said, “Say it again.”

There is so much to be grateful for. That year, after sharing Tom’s story with my class, I played a beautiful song, titled, ‘Thank You,’ by The Katinas. It brought me great joy to watch each one of them reach out eagerly and without fear for that newer and richer experience. I could tell this through the enthusiasm in their words, as the song ended they spoke out, “Play it again!”

“For no word from God will ever fail.” [Luke 1:37]

A teacher is not so much responsible for what our students know, but more so for the seeds we plant to help them grow.

Father in the Name of Jesus, by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, be with us, direct our path, fill us with the riches of Your grace, transform our mind with a healthy balance that is good for our body and soul. Guide us with Your gracious love, that we may press forward to being all that You created us to be. In Your Holy Name we pray… Amen

Sweet blessings always,

Deanna Danielle

Deannadanielle.com

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him; tell of all His wonderful acts. Psalm 105:2