“For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
I am drawn to Simon Peter. This is probably because I am short tempered, just as flawed as he was, and would rather grab the sword to defend my Savior then gently discuss the matter. So, oddly enough, Peter brings me comfort. Why? Because no matter how much of a loose cannon Peter was, he was still chosen to be in Jesus’ inner circle, one of the three.
As I have been reading God’s word lately, I have noticed that Jesus invited Peter to be a part of His story on several occasions. Take the miraculous catch of fish, the time when Jesus called Peter to be His disciple. Jesus could have performed this miracle all on His own. Instead, He intentionally got into Peter’s boat and asked him to throw his net into the water. This was Peter’s first invitation to join Jesus’ story. Then there was the time that Jesus took Peter to the mountain where He was transfigured before him. Peter was invited to see Jesus in His heavenly form, only one of a few people who were given this honor. What about the time that Jesus invited Peter to come out of the boat and walk on the water with him? This account is often looked upon as Peter being weak when he went under water because he took his eyes off Jesus. But what about the courage it took Peter to take Jesus at His word, accept His invitation and join Him on such an adventure of faith and trust?
And let us not forget the feeding of the 5,000. Again, Jesus did not need anyone’s assistance in feeding the crowd, but He invited Peter and the other disciples to be a part of the dialogue anyways. Why? Because I believe that it has always been Jesus’ intention to allow us to be a part of something greater than ourselves. Jesus has planted in our hearts the desire to follow Him, to do great things for His glory, and to make His name famous. Jesus beckons us with His invitation to join Him as He moves mountains here on earth. What a privilege and honor that He would ask me…short tempered, flawed me. Ahh, but that is the beauty. It is through my imperfections that Jesus is glorified because only God could work that miracle in my life, move that mountain, or close that lion’s mouth.
Jesus wants us to take part in furthering His kingdom and displaying His glory as well. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV) Before you were born, God created a plan for your life that points others to Jesus. He has given you gifts and talents that help to display the glory of Jesus and lead others to a saving relationship with Him. Will you accept Jesus’ offer to play an active role in His story, just like Peter did?
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.