Thursday, April 24, 2014

You Can ALWAYS Trust His Heart~








 
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Backyard Blessings~

Turtles are something else. Over the past year we have "adopted" three turtles. The first two that joined our family were given to us by the granddaughters of our next door neighbors. Evidently, these two little critters were excellent at digging. All that digging, however, had these two turtles looking for a new home.

Our most recent addition was given to us by my husband's co-worker. This turtle had been living in a yard with several others turtles but unfortunately, he had fallen victim to the backyard bully. His shell can attest to the unfriendly environment he came from.

So now, our backyard is home to these three turtles. I am happy to report we have yet to discover any unwanted holes in our yard. And, I have yet to see signs of any bullying in our yard. What great news, especially since I am not a fan of either.

As I have been observing these little guys (at least I think they are all guys!), God has been teaching me some spiritual truths.

1. Enjoy where ever life takes you

All of these turtles ended up in our backyard without any say as to where they were going or where their next home would be, or if they even wanted to come! Circumstances beyond their control picked them up and dropped them off at our residence. Yet, every morning, I see them trucking around our yard. And from all accounts, as far as I can tell, they seem to be having a lovely time. They climb over this and hide under that and live each day here in our yard to the fullest. They didn't choose to come here, but they are choosing to make the most of where they are and enjoy it.

Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Has life dropped you off at an unfamiliar place? Is where you are now not at all where you envisioned you would be at this time in your life? If so, rest assured. While it may feel as though circumstances beyond your control have taken control, God is still there. Ultimately, He is still in control. He has a beautiful way of taking the barren, unfamiliar, un-chosen places of our lives and transforming them into fruitful, enjoyable, desirable abodes. Trust Him to be where you are. Trust Him to do amazing things where you are. Knowing God is in control and is at work in your life, you, too, can enjoy where ever it is life takes you.

Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.Isaiah 43:19, The Amplified Bible

2. Forget about the past

Naturally, you would expect these creatures to be a little wary of humans. And, they are. Well, two of the three are. One, surprisingly enough, is not wary at all! In fact, this one in particular seems to thrive on human companionship. If I happen by our patio door and spot him boogieing across our yard, I call out to him. As soon as he hears my voice, he makes an immediate turn in my direction and heads straight for the door. Whenever I am sitting out on our patio writing, just like I am right now, I often am joined by this little guy. He will come right up on the patio and rest under my chair.

Can you guess which turtle this is? Yep! The one who was bullied and picked on in his old environment. Isn't that amazing?! You would think he would be the most cautious of all the turtles. But he's not. He is the one most willing to make a new friend. He doesn't let the hurt of his past keep him from experiencing new opportunities or developing new relationships. And, not only is this turtle friendly with my husband and I, he is also friendly with the other turtles.



Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? We all have scars, some visible and some hidden deep in our heart. Do we allow these wounds and scars to hold us back or to keep us cowering in a corner? With God, the pain of our past can be used to serve an amazing purpose in our future. Instead of allowing the pain to hold us prisoner to our past, we need to take our scars and seek out those who have been hurt, too. We can choose to move ever forward comforting others with the comfort we have been given in and through Christ. The choice is ours. I am so glad this little guy has chosen to forget his past. His choice to keep reaching out to others has brought me so much joy and such wonderful companionship....not to mention, inspiration! Who needs you? Are you willing to put yourself out there for them?

All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too. The Message, 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Which, by the way, brings us to the third spiritual truth God has been teaching me through these fellas.

3. Be willing to stick your neck out

I marvel at the Creator's design. Have you ever studied a turtle up close? What a protective armor they have! When danger comes, they are not only able to duck their head into their shell for cover, but pull all of their legs in as well. In this position, they are safe and sound. But, there is one problem. As long as they are all safely hidden in their shell, they are stationary. Where ever they were when they pulled it all in is where they are when they poke it all back out again. They may be safe in that position, but they certainly aren't going to go anywhere. In order for them to move anywhere and in any direction at all, they must first be willing to stick their necks out, literally!


Hmmmmm.....what about you and me? Are we willing to stick our neck out and take a leap of faith out into the unknown? Or, are we willing to play it safe tucked inside our life, stagnant and motionless? If we are content to simply stay put, hiding, and playing it safe, we will eventually die. Faith requires action. If we are ever going to get where God would have us to be we must be willing to stick our neck out. If we are ever going to be who God created us to be we must be willing to come out of our shell and move in the direction the Lord is leading.

In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:17

I am so thankful for these three turtles! Even more, I am thankful for a Heavenly Father who is using these small creatures to grow my faith, to deepen my relationship in HIM, and to open my eyes to spiritual truths.


 (Re-posting from March 6, 2012)








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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hope. It's Always There~

Hope.

It was there.

Tucked into the tomb.
Hidden behind a huge stone.
Buried under the sting of death.
But, it was there.

Waiting.

And, then. It happened.

The glorious moment when, not even death, could hold Jesus in the tomb.

As the stone was rolled away
and death lost its grip once and for all,
hope poured forth in glorious fashion.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live."
~ John 11:25

Hope.

Sometimes, it gets tucked so far back in a tomb so dark, we can't see it.
Sometimes, it gets hidden behind a stone so big, we lose sight of it.
Sometimes, it gets buried behind a sorrow and grief so consuming and overwhelming, we can't feel it.

But, it. is. there.

It is only one stone's roll away.     


Today, let this truth,
this blessed hope of the Jesus' resurrection,
rise anew in your heart.

Rejoice in the victory of life -
true life, life in and through Christ Jesus.
Abundant life, joyous and free,
forever and ever,
through out all eternity.

Hope.

It may be just a stone's roll away.

But, it is there.

It is always there
because JESUS. IS. ALIVE.
HE. IS. ALWAYS. RIGHT. HERE. WITH. US.~♥







 
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Only God's Grace~









 
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

An AHA Moment~

It's a funny thing about words.

Sometimes, we don't truly grasp the meaning of all they imply or are intended to convey until a time further down the road. Often, at a time when we least expect it, but need a revelation the most, words spoken long before, speak to our heart.

This was the case for the disciples.

They had followed Christ, only to desert Him in His time of greatest need. They had witnessed the suffering He had endured, and they had beheld His lifeless body on the cross of Calvary.

They had also been given the awesome privilege of being eyewitnesses to His resurrected body.

It was His resurrection that took them back in memory to another time and another place where Jesus' words were spoken, but not truly understood. Not until this very moment, that is.

The scene of remembrance was the temple.

Merchants, with only dollar signs in mind, were selling their goods. Instead of a house of worship, the temple was now a place of theft, corruption and human greed.

Jesus raised His voice and His hands and put a stop to this mockery. As tables were turned over, and the business in the temple was turned up side down, tempers flared.

The Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

“All right,” Jesus replied. Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

“What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body.

After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said. ~ John 2:18-22

Sometimes,

it takes a journey,

desertion,

persecution,

suffering,

death,

or in this case,

a resurrection,

to open our eyes to the truth God has already placed in our heart days, months or even years before.

Finding Focus - #14
{Photo Credit}
As we daily walk with God and dig deep into the riches of His Word, we uncover spiritual truth and heavenly treasures.

Some are realized the moment we discover them.

Some, however, are not completely unwrapped or truly appreciated and understood until a future moment in time.

Some scriptures are just words on a page that have yet to illuminate our heart and mind.

But, rest assured.

There will come a time when the very Words of Life we have heard before will come back  to fill our heart with hope and deepen our faith in our Lord.

In a moment when we least expect it,
but when we need HIS revelation the most,
words spoken long before,
scriptures we have read,
verse we have memorized,
holy words resting on the page of God's Holy Word,
will speak deep, wonderful, encouraging truth to our heart.~♥







 
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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

In The Face of Jesus~








 
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Monday, April 14, 2014

Don't Forget to Hand It Off~

Of course. It made perfect sense. 

Her words were not new to my ears.  I had heard them before.  Many times before, in fact.

Somehow, they had always managed to simply slip through my heart, dismissed as "what a nice idea", or "wouldn't that be wonderful" or "that's what they tell me".

This day, though, these precious words settled in my heart.

This time, God, Himself, spoke them to me through the words of a prayer spoken over me by this precious prayer warrior.

"Father God,
You have given your servant, Stacy, such a tender heart. The hurts of your people hurt her.
She sees the sorrow others carry in their heart, and this sorrow becomes her own. 
She feels the stress that weighs heavy upon the minds of those near here, and this load  is weighing her down. You have given her the gift of mercy, a beautiful gift, but now, I pray you teach her how to use this gift.

(Use this gift?  God was speaking and my heart was listening.)

Teach your daughter, this tender hearted vessel, how to turn these cares over to you. 
Father God, you never meant for Stacy to carry this load.
You never intended for these heartaches to take up residence in her own heart. 
You have given her this gift of mercy, not to burden her heart with stress and heartache,
but rather that through her,
You can release your comfort, healing, wisdom, and power to those in need.
As her heart breaks for what breaks yours,
help her exchange the sorrow,
exchange the worry,
exchange the stress and anxiety,
for a prayer. 
As she brings these concerns boldly before Your throne of grace,
You can then take this gift of mercy and use it to minister to those in need.  
Help her to release it ALL to You, and  then to leave it in Your hands, knowing that her prayer is making a difference. 
May this truth settle in her heart. 
May she trade her heaviness,
trade this burden that is weighing her down,
for the joy that comes in knowing and believing she is standing in the gap,
interceding, and making a difference in the lives of your people. 
Thank you, Father God. In Jesus' precious name, I pray. Amen.

The exchange.
BXP135656
{Photo Credit}

Like a runner, carrying a baton in a relay race, I was more than willing to take hold of what life handed me through the lives of those around me.  As tears flowed, as problems presented themselves, as trials and tribulations appeared on the faces and lives of others, I was always faithful to reach out and take hold of them. 

She was right.  This was nothing of my own doing.  God had "gifted" me this way. 

As I bore the baton of heartache, I tried to sprint forward.  I tried, and tried, and tried.  Sadly, the finish line never appeared.  Lap after lap, the baton only grew heavier and my endurance weaker.  I pressed forward only to find myself losing ground, losing faith, losing the very race I so desperately wanted to win.  And, I was tired, exhausted, and broken-hearted.

Have you been there? 

Through the prayer of this precious lady, God opened my eyes to see how very ineffectively I was using this precious gift He had given me.

God didn't want me to carry the burdens of everyone I met,
He simply wanted me to be the middle man,
running a leg in the race,
receiving and then handing off.

Interceding. 

This is how you and I can make. it. count.

Not carrying the load
not  overcome with sorrow,
not stumbling around overburned and broken hearted.

God never intended for us to be full of pity.
His intention is for us to take our pity and turn it into a prayer that knocks upon the very door of Heaven.

God never desired for us to carry the load of others.
His desire is for us to carry this load boldy before His throne of grace.

Don't forget to make the exchange.

If you and I want to make a difference,
if you and I want to make. it. count.
we have to hand it over to God.

We are hopeless to change a situation. He IS hope.
We are incapable of healing a broken heart. He IS healing
We are unable to answer a prayer. He IS the answer.

Are you weighed down by the hurts of this world?
Are you carrying sorrow, stress, and heartache God never planned for you to carry?

Hand it over to God.

All of the smypathizing and empathizing in the world,
won't change the world.

Only God can.

Through the gift of mercy,
God desires you and I to take hold of the hurt, yes,
but only long enough to hand it over to Him.

Today, turn your worry, your stress, your heartache into a prayer and exchange it for the peace and joy found in  and through prayer.

Today, exchange your heaviness for a prayer and and Make. It. Count.

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
~ 1 Peter 5:7, AMP

Sometimes, we need a little reminder.  
This is what God is reminding me (and maybe, you, too) of today. 
(Re-posting from the Make. It. Count. series of 2012)







 
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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Testing! Testing! 1, 2, 3 . . .

We interrupt our regularly scheduled post here to say this:

Posts that normally find their way to email subscribers have been interrupted on their way to some of you, and unfortunately, have not been arriving.  This problem seemed to begin on / around April 2.

I have no clue as to why this is happening, but have done some "tweaking" in hopes of remedying this problem.  That is where this post comes in.

This is my test post.

If you receive this post, would you kindly reply to it letting me know you are still receiving Heartprints of God in your inbox?

Also, if you haven't been receiving posts since April 2, but did (hopefully!) receive this, will you also let know this as well?

Thank you.

I'm so thankful for you, my faithful readers.
Praying this problem is resolved quickly.

Thank you for your patience (and your prayers!)~♥








 
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