Division Is Just Two Visions

We are called to be of one heart, one body, one vision, one love. In fact, Jesus last words were for us to be one, yet the daily struggle is against unity. 

Two visions is DIVISION. Division is an open door for the devil to steal, kill, or destroy. Where there is strife, there is disorder and every evil work. 

 The battle is real. Choose unity. Remain in unity. Its safe in unity.

My Friend, My God

God, You cover me in cloaks of grace and love.
I will live my life for You.
I have fallen short of Your glory.
Let Your mercy reign and cover my sin.
Let Your grace hide all I have been.
Let Your love consume me now.
Make me new.
Like a hammer, life hit me hard, but You caught me in Your web of love.
I am new.
My heart and mind will change.
Only for You, my heart will sing all of what You do.
You took my life, a life of sin, and said you can start again. All you need is to ask and receive all I have for you.
My life is not my own, but please let me show I am new.
My life belongs to the Savior of my soul, the Redeemer of my life.
You have done what only You can do.
You have won me.
You love me.
Your love stays with me even when I’m beneath the sin no child of Yours should know.
Can You show me I’m not too far? There’s still hope for me?
You came to me.
I didn’t choose You, but You chose me to be part of Your family.
I want to know, do I show what You did for me?
Do I shine with Your love?
Do I give to the least of us?
Am I a friend to the lonely?
Do I go beyond religion?
Do I show all You want us to know, that You are never mad, never angry, never bitter towards what I’ve done, but You love and still call me son?
Your grace is with me.
I will be a family to those who cannot see; I will be their eyes.
To those who cannot hear, let me be their ears.
To the girl who ran away and lost herself, she needs to know that she can still follow You. 
Give her Your hand and save her from sin. 
She is Your daughter, and You love her still.
To the boy who lost everything, all your days trust the Lord. He is good. He will follow You, too. 
God forgives all we’ve done.
He will still call me son.
He doesn’t want anything more than for us to know His love.
His grace carries us in this rat race.
He covers my sin and will carry me till the end.

• Authored by Josh Pugh •

Unoffendable Heart

Hey, moms.
Sometimes we get our feelings hurt. As a large and in-charge momma bear, I have seen my kids left out of things or be uninvited to birthday parties. I’ve run into groups of their friends doing things my kids were not invited to participate in. I think, “What is wrong with my child? Why don’t you include her? Why haven’t you invited her?” Those kinds of thoughts run through your head.
Why do people reject? Why don’t they work to be more inclusive? I have spent four years praying my kids would be preferred. I prayed they would have good, godly friends who pursue them and prefer them. It has not been easy. I have wept many tears in my pillow at night.

When I was talking to Spencer one time, she said, “Mom, I am not offended by being left out of this. Don’t take up an offense for me.” I realized when we become offended at other moms or our husbands or because our children aren’t included or are left out, we teach our children to be easily offended. It’s what we do that they do. It’s not what we say that they do.
Moms, my question to you is: What are you doing? Are you easily offended? Do you cut people out of your life when you are hurt by them? Do you build walls to protect yourself? Are you your own defender even though God tells you to love others as you love yourself and He will defend you? When you step up and defend yourself, you lose the best defender. It’s like trading in the best defense team in the country for an accident lawyer. 

Is there someone you need to call today and reconcile with? Is there anyone you need to apologize to for building walls or being easily offended? Why don’t you examine your own heart like I will be examining mine today. Let’s make some phone calls. Reconcile. Kick bitterness in the butt. Let our kids see an unoffendable heart.
I learned a long time ago that being offended isn’t the problem of the person who said something to offend me. It is my sin. Offense is a sin. Being offended is a sin. It’s a sin because it’s saying, “Hey, what you said hurt me.” What you don’t realize is that your own filter has been shaped by life events and makes you sensitive. We need to get a God filter by cleaning out our filters so we can filter through His truth, His Word, and make every thought obedient to Christ. Every single thought. If you are thinking about excuses and making assumptions about people, then you’re not filtering through God’s Word. You are filtering through past circumstances and past behavior.
Give somebody a clean slate today. Start your friendship over. Make those roots deep. Be loyal. Be loyal to a fault. Be kind to people. Don’t throw away friendships like they are garbage. Don’t throw away people. Be unified. Have a godly heart. Be one with people. When they hurt you, work through it. Your friendship will actually be sweeter than it ever was before. It has the chance to be like an oak tree with roots that are deeply planted and not coming up. 

Every time you toss someone out the door, you are uprooting the tree you have planted, and you have to plant a new one. It’s like a new home. It has all new trees planted around it, and none has any stamina or girth. It’s easy to plant new trees. It’s difficult to water them every day and to see them grow and become a hundred years old.
Consider doing this in your life so your daughters and sons can see you have long-term healthy relationships in Jesus’ name.

God Gives Us the Desires of Our Heart

“But seek first the kingdom of God … and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

That is such a difficult verse to wrap your mind around. There are so many things we want. It’s like, what’s everything? Is everything a new car? A new house? What is everything? Define it. The world defines it as owning a lot, being successful, having power and influence, a new boat, a new car, a new house, and everything that is on edge and trendy—cute clothes and nice hair, right? That is how we define it in the Western world. Now, what truly is everything? Every man is searching to be loved, accepted, and known, right? Man just truly wants to be in community and to be used by God.
The next verse that comes to mind is: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4 ESV). As we seek first the kingdom of God, we are seeking Him, and He starts implanting in our hearts the seeds of good things He wants to give to us. That changes our desires. As our desires change, He brings them to full harvest and brings them to us.
The next thought I have is, “First comes the blade, then the stalk, and then the full kernel” (see Mark 4:26–29). The kingdom of God is like a farmer’s field. First, we plant the seed. The seed starts to grow. It grows into a blade. Eventually, it gets a stalk. It has nothing we can eat yet, but before you know it, it has a full harvest. It’s something that can sustain us and we can eat. We can use what we have at the time it becomes a full harvest.
I just can’t stop thinking about these verses because right now, at this very moment, my husband is teaching a subject he loves at a Christian Bible school. When he was in his early twenties, our firm came out with a tool to understand strategic risks. We were trained on it forever. Honestly, not many people truly had a good grasp on what it actually meant. They didn’t completely understand it. We could attempt to go through the motions but couldn’t fully reach the heart of it.
But not my husband. He got it. It clicked. It was like, oh, this is the way my brain is made and created and wired. So he began implementing it immediately. He was one of the best at it. He has taught it, he uses it, and he helps CEOs and presidents understand it better. It’s interesting how few board members, presidents of companies, and CEOs completely understand it, yet more and more every day, the government is requiring something like this strategic risk tool. A lot of companies make it into a compliance checklist because they don’t understand the awesome tool it is. They don’t know how to use it to their advantage.
But if you understand that God, above all things, wants you and your soul to prosper, then you can see this tool as a way for you to prosper even when the economy is not. My husband uses this with his clients. He faithfully prays over them. We have an entire prayer team and prayer ministry that prays for our city and his clients. We have seen his clients grow and double, thrive and not struggle, and do more than survive. It’s awesome. It’s been awesome to see companies go from being in debt to being in so much wealth, just turning around. They may not know what is behind it, but I can tell you that is the power of God. We believe God and His goodness in due time will reveal that He is the author of their success.
Ken Blanchard wrote a book a long time ago, and it was so successful that he paused and reflected and realized, “I’m not smart enough to do this. This is impossible.” The success of his book made him realize God was real and was for him and that He had gifted him for this and given him supernatural power and ability to accomplish what he had accomplished. He became a Christian through his success. We believe that for all of our clients.
But what I am really talking about here is so ridiculously crazy. My husband is a gentle, quiet warrior. He prays all the time. When he was at his old company, he found the only way he could keep from responding emotionally to things that failed or went wrong and repercussions from poor decisions was to pray. The only way he could truly remain stable was to pray all day. He never stopped praying. 

He walked out of a meeting one time, and he was super excited. “That was so awesome!” He was really celebrating a victory, and suddenly he realized, “Wait a minute. I can’t take credit for the victory if I am not going to take credit for the fall. I need to be stable in God. Stable and fixed in the wins and the losses.” He began praying all day. He prays so much that he prays every single minute he is awake. He is praying for his clients. He is praying through things. He is like a mountain. They move over time, but it is very slow. You can’t actually see it with your physical eyes. That is the character and the depth of my husband.
As he has been building his own business, he has been sought out by people across the United States. From Washington, DC, he has worked with the largest mortgage oversight companies in the nation. But he has these dreams in his heart—some things he secretly has always wanted to do. Some of our clients had asked us to come and teach them some courses. They said, “Hey, we want you to teach some courses based on what we want.” Well, for a few years, he and I wrote and developed all of these courses, and we trained our clients. We had big groups come in, and we would train them and help them obtain some continuing education.
Before all of this, in my firm, I trained new hires. I had the opportunity to teach, train, mentor, and bring them up in everything I did. It was like God had planted a seed. What I enjoyed doing at my firm, I was able to do later for a profit for our business. My husband was the same way. He was a great coach and a great teacher. Then we were teaching these classes together. It was awesome.
But deep down in his heart, he had a desire to partner his business with ministry. We didn’t really know how God even opened this door exactly. I am assuming it was just word of mouth and knowing people. But God opened the door for my husband to go teach this risk management tool he learned twenty-five years ago to Christian business leaders who are going to go out and start businesses. They are going to change the world because everyone they hire is going to be working for a firm that loves Jesus. I can’t get over how this door opened.
My husband, right now, at this very moment, is sitting at Colorado in a lodge owned by the school. He is staying there; they are feeding him and providing him a car, and they are loving on him. He teaches these students who are hungry. They are engaged, they want to learn, and they want to be great Christian business leaders. They intend to be extremely prosperous. They intend to use their money for the kingdom of God—to grow the kingdom of God. He is getting the opportunity to pour into these business-minded, sold-out followers of Jesus Christ.
I can’t get over the way my husband sought first the kingdom of God and God has added this to him—that God planted the seed years ago, and first came the blade, then the stalk, and now it feels like the full kernel. God is his Father. He is a good Father. He wants to give him the desires of his heart.
While this desire was in his heart, he didn’t make it known. God did it. It was done on the back of God. This blows my mind. I cannot get over the depth of what I understand here. I am seeing the provision of God manifest and unfold before my eyes for one of His faithful children who has been pursuing Him, seeking Him, taking the next step, and obeying and doing the next thing. He is sitting in the middle of carrying out the desire of his heart right now.
I am in awe of the good, good Father. I want you to know that is who God is. He is the God who wants to give you the desires of your heart. As you seek Him, He will add everything you desire unto you. If your desires are improper, time with Him will straighten them out. They will be according to what He has for you anyway. He is going to set you on the right path and direct your steps. He is just that awesome. Whatever you have done in the past, He is going to use it. He is going to build on it. Because a harvest is something where a seed was planted a long time ago and then the harvest comes.
I am overwhelmed with gratitude to my Father right now for providing this awesome opportunity for my husband to use his gifts in such a mighty way for the kingdom of God to be built in businesses. I just wanted to share, and I hope it encourages you.

Heart vs. Outward Appearance

Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.
It’s incredible how a woman can look when she rolls out of bed and slams on her clothes to travel versus when she spends time fixing her hair to wear it down, applying a little bit of makeup, and putting on a cute outfit. Some women are actually not recognizable because they look significantly different.
I recently saw a video of a girl who posted pictures of herself on Facebook without any makeup. People made awful comments: “You’re disgusting.” “How gross.” “No one should ever date you.” She took time and applied gorgeous makeup, and she started to get these sorts of comments: “You’re so beautiful.” “You’re perfect.” Then she started getting comments that said: “You’re wearing too much makeup.” “You’re nasty.”
This recently happened to me. My cousin was getting married, and I had the opportunity to meet her groomsmen and ushers—new people I hadn’t met before. I showed up with my jeans on, a T-shirt, and my hair in a crazy bun. I barely had any makeup on. Honestly, probably none. I met a bunch of different people, helped her pack for her trip, ate some junk food, and left.
The next day, I showed up at the wedding. I took the time to look presentable for her on her wedding day. By the way, when the bride is taking the time to get all dolled up for her wedding day, honor her by dressing up. So I washed my hair and blow-dried it. My cousin flat-ironed it. It looked really good. It looks so much better when someone else flat-irons your hair, so I do that sometimes. I put on a darling jumpsuit I got from Fabletics, which I love. It is so cute. It just shows my muscles so well. It’s so comfortable. It feels like you’re wearing your PJs. You’re dressed up with your pajama-feeling outfit on. It is the bomb dot-com!
I fixed my makeup, threw on a long, awesome statement sweater, flew into the wedding, and saw some of the gentlemen I had met the night before. I said to them by name, “Hi , how are you today?” Literally, two of them stopped in their tracks and followed me. One of them said, “Hey, what’s your name again?” I said, “I met you last night. My name is .” It was literally as if he had never seen me before. But I could tell there was a difference between the way I looked the day before and the way I looked that day because his response was jaw-dropping.
At my age, I don’t have that effect very often anymore at all. The majority of the time, I have my hair in a big, gigantic mess of a bun anyway, so no one even knows what I actually look like outside of my gym clothes, sweaty body, and crazy hair. But it was pretty incredible to see the difference a little bit of time spent can do and how differently people can react to you. I wondered if I should set my own example, spend the day and go around in my crazies and then go around dressed up to note how differently people treat me.
Let’s be people who look at the heart and not the body or the hair. Let’s not judge each other, thinking we are lazy, inconsiderate, or rude just because we are not all fixed up. Have you ever had this happen to you before? Did people treat you differently? I would love to hear your story.

God Changes Me

Lord, I meditate on Your scripture day and night so I won’t sin against You.
I knock, and it is opened.
I am given it pressed down, shaken together, running over.
He gives me a heart after Him.
He is renewing my heart and mind.
He loves me.
I’m more than a conqueror!
Through Christ, I overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.
We are inheritors of righteousness.
I resist temptation, and the devil flees from me.
God leads me not into temptation but delivers me from evil.
My help is from the Lord. Freely it was given; freely I receive.
The same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead lives and dwells in me.
He gives me grace for sin, love for hate.
I can do all things through Christ.
I will not fear the pestilence or sudden terror! My help comes from the Lord!
He delivers me and redeems me. He covers me and protects me.
God, You will take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh.
I’m no longer broken, but God’s workmanship, God’s masterpiece.
The work God begins will carry till the day of Christ’s redemption.
Day by day, do not be conformed to this world but changed by the transformation of your mind.
You said, “Be still and know I am God.”
Christ is always renewing my mind.
I am a new creation in Christ.

• Authored by Josh Pugh •

Separation Anxiety

I thought I had picked out this great day care. I was really excited about it.

You know, I’m a first-time mother anticipating my first child while balancing a career. I’m working my way to being a partner in my firm. I’m now a manager. I worked really hard to get where I am, and I want desperately to continue my career and be a mom.

In anticipation of this baby, I’ve been planning and preparing. I’ve got her life planned out for her. I’m going to stay home on maternity leave for ten weeks. Then I’ll take you to this great day care, where I know you’ll be loved and cared for. We’ll spend our evenings and weekends together. In just a few short years, you’ll be off to school. I can come home early in the summers and spend time with you. We’re going to have this great life.
I am sure this is how it will be … until I stay home for ten weeks and realize that I have never loved anyone like I love my baby girl. I didn’t even know this was possible. When she was born, it was like my heart was unbound and it exploded and grew. I love my baby so deeply.

At the end of ten weeks, I wake up and get myself ready for work and get her ready to be dropped off at day care. I’m ready to go back. Let’s get this thing started.

I walk in, carrying her in her car carrier. I talk to everyone. Shes asleep in the car seat. I ask, “Who wants her? What shall I do with her?” They tell me, “Take her out of her car carrier and lay her down in the crib. She’ll be fine in there.” These cribs are plain; they are like jail cells. All I could picture was my baby crying, like, “Mama, let me out!” You know, those babies behind bars.

They say, “Just lay her down in her bed, and she’ll be fine. We’ll get her when she needs us.” I look around. I’m in this room with infants in their cribs, and none of the workers are in there. Everyone’s in the adjacent room. I pick her up and hold her. I start to weep. I don’t think I was made for this. I don’t think I was designed to take my baby and lay her down and leave her for someone else. 

I hold her for a really long time. I start to weep silently, soft sobs. No one can tell. The tears aren’t flowing. No way. I don’t want anyone to see this tough business woman as sensitive. I’m dressed in my suit, ready to kill that day. I lay her down in her crib, but I hesitate to leave. The crib looks cold to me, looks lonely. I stand there for a minute with my hand on the side of the rail. Can I leave? How am I going to leave? How do I do this?

Silently, without even a single day-care worker saying anything to me, I pick up my car carrier and walk out. I slowly make the walk down the hallway and out of the building. I put the car seat in, get in my car, and sob and sob and sob. How will I go through an entire day with her being in this place, where I’m confident those people will not take care of her the way I would because I was designed to be her mama?

Only a mama knows. God designed us beautifully for this love affair, and that’s why it hurts our hearts. Happy Mother’s Day to the women who lay down their lives every day for future generations! 

Seek Him!

When I was growing up, my mom’s family was big, fun, and crazy. I looked forward to every visit! It was a safe haven for me. I loved all of them and their uniqueness so much.

Sharon Kay’s birthday would have been this week. She was my aunt—but only 11 years older than I was. She took me under her wing, babysat me, took me shopping, and treated me like I was pretty cool. She took me to K-Mart to teach me about the importance of working hard. She forced me to help with inventory. Later I became an accountant, so clearly I secretly loved it. I loved being pursued, and she did it so well.

I loved her outgoing spunk! She was an atmosphere changer!

She passed away when she was only 43 years old.

I was devastated. My faith was rocked to the core. I was mad at God. I was angry. I reached out for help from a pastor. He gave me permission to be angry with God. I wrestled with God for a long while.

On the other side of that, I was forever changed!

Sharon Kay (later in life) loved the Lord with all her heart. She became a courageous seeker of God and truth. She knew the Bible better than I did. I remember discussing it and thinking to myself that she seemed “more like a Christian than I was.”

She carried a joy I didn’t understand. Before she passed, she said, “Either way, I win. If I live, I win. If I die, I win.”

How could she believe that?!

I realized that if I were in her shoes, I couldn’t have said those words because I didn’t believe them. She shared with me all she had learned. Honestly, it shook me up and compelled me to search for answers. This changed my life, my future, and future generations! She’s been gone from this earth a long time. I have never turned back from pursuing God.

If it weren’t for her, I would not be who I am today. Every life I touch, she’s a part of that. Every person I pray for, every miracle I witness, every victory in Jesus, I believe she shares in that reward.

I’m so grateful that she shined her light so brightly that it showed me the love of God more than I had personally ever known. I love you, Sharon Kay! Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I will see you again! ❤️❤️
Beautiful life!

Have you struggled in your faith? Have you been rocked to the core? I encourage you to seek counsel and, most importantly, be honest with God. Seek Him above all else.


What Relationship Means

Being a homeschool mom, I have a lot of time with my children. I’m with them for hours every single day of their lives, but just because I’m with them doesn’t mean I’m actually engaging with them in their hearts. I can be commanding them to do things, issuing orders, telling them what to do with school, giving them tasks and challenges, but all the while, not truly connecting with them and their hearts.
The question is what is the most important, quantity time or quality time with our children? I would argue that it’s neither. Greg Gunn of Family-iD first introduced me to this concept that it’s not about quantity time or quality time; it’s about quality of relationship. When you have a quality relationship with someone, it doesn’t matter if you spend five minutes together or an hour. When you connect with each other with your hearts, that is what makes the relationship continue to be woven together and glued together thickly.
How can we relate that to God? In my own home, I have a choice with God. I can choose to spend a lot of time with Him and acknowledge Him. I can choose to have a quality relationship with Him. That’s a very different thing. Having a quality relationship with God involves listening.
I think sometimes we feel guilty about going to God and asking Him for something and telling Him what our needs are because we think, “Oh, I haven’t spent enough time with You. I haven’t read the Bible enough. I haven’t prayed enough. I don’t feel worthy to ask You this.” But it’s not really about the time; it’s about the quality of your relationship with God.
I think it’s important for your heart to bow down in thanksgiving to Him continually, like when you see the sky and the beautiful sunset or the puffy, beautiful clouds and you acknowledge the Creator. I mean, that’s quality relationship right there. It’s not a work. It’s recognition. It’s honoring God. I want to encourage you to seek a quality relationship with God and your spouse and your children.

Being Obedient to God

This is a dangerous statement because our society today tells us, “Just be you. Be who you are. You know who you are. Do what your heart desires. Fulfill your desires.”

I’ve learned the hard way to be careful about sharing this because it only exists for those people who are searching the heart of God in all of their ways—not some of their ways, not only in church on Sunday morning, but in all of their ways. They acknowledge God in all of their ways.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV) 

That word ‘acknowledge’ there means to know God relationally. In everything you do, be in communion with God. That’s really what it means.

If you go out and do what you want to do, and that includes sleeping around and making immoral choices, then you are not acknowledging God in all of your ways. He is not a God of sin. This message is not designed for people who are trying to fulfill their fantasies or their sinful desires.

This is for people who are truly seeking God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. They are seeking to know Him. They read the Word. They are falling in love with God more every day. Those people can do this. God gives them the desires of their hearts.

When you’re not really seeking Him, when He is not your first priority and you are not pursuing Him with everything you have because He is good and you want to know Him, then the desires of your heart may not be purely His. They may be your desires for the old things your flesh used to want—you know, bigger house, nicer car, better body, somebody to love you, somebody to fill your void. 

Well, God is your void filler. He is your house. You are His house. You have everything you need in Him, and there is nothing that you lack. Lack is not your portion when you are in Him. I think it takes a while after we begin seeking God for the desires of our heart to transfer from our old, worldly desires to His desires.

But once you are seeking Him and you really know who you are as His child, He puts His desires in your heart. He puts in you the desire to take care of orphans and widows. He gives you the desire to help people. He gives you the desire not to honk the horn and be mad at somebody who road raged you or drove you off the road. He gives you the desire to offer freedom and forgiveness. He gives you the desires of your heart because He is placing His desires in your heart.

The more you seek Him, the more you find Him and the more He gives you His desires. When that happens, you’ll know. If the desire in your heart is to go out and smoke and drink, that’s not it, okay? You’ll know when it’s God’s desire. If you’re walking and you see someone and think, “I feel like I should give this person twenty bucks,” that’s probably God’s desire in your heart. He is going to provide the twenty bucks, and He is going to want you to give the twenty bucks away.

You can trust that when you are seeking God with all of your heart, you are hearing from Him and He is putting His desires in your heart. When you are first learning to distinguish between God’s desires and the desires of your flesh, what you want to do is check His Word. See whether the desire in your heart lines up with how God teaches us to live in Scripture. If it doesn’t and it’s sinful, then you don’t want to follow that desire.

You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more. (Psalm 10:17-18 NIV)

One of the things I do is let the peace of Christ rule in me. I wake up with God on my heart, and I want to be with Him all of the time. I am with Him all of the time, and He is with me. Before I do anything, I stop and wait for the peace of God to run over me. I ask, “Is this the peace of God?” There’s a difference between man’s direction and God’s, and God’s is always surrounded by tremendous peace.