Monday, March 31, 2014

Honor God - - - Respect Yourself~









 
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Children, Come~







 
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Friday, March 28, 2014

The VERY Hand of God~

The timing couldn't have been better.

But, wait.  I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let's back up to the beginning.  Several months ago.  A few weeks before Christmas, to be exact.

Seated in children's church, caring hearts who were missing one of their friends, were making handmade Christmas cards with this absent friend in mind.

Lovingly each child picked out the "perfect" color of construction paper, the "perfect" stickers, and the "perfect" pictures from recycled Christmas cards to create their own work of love.

As they cut, glued, and created, we thought (and talked) about our missing friend -
how spending Christmas away from his family and friends would be so very hard to do,
how being alone in a strange place would certainly be very strange (and kind of scary)
how having to stay at a far away place by yourself would make you feel so very far away,
how missing people you know while being with people you didn't might make you feel so very lonely,
and 
how being reminded others were thinking about you and praying for you would be so very wonderful.

It was all of these"verys" that kept each child feverishly working away,
designing the perfect Christmas card for their friend.

Soon, our labor of love was finished. Cards were either lovingly placed inside a huge envelope or positioned on a nearby table to allow the glue to dry. On Monday morning, I gathered all the cards, packed them all together in the envelope and headed to the post office.  Mission accomplished.

Or, so I thought.

Which brings us back to this past weekend.

As we stood in Children's church singing praises to our God, one little girl just happened to spot her Christmas card.  Instead of placing it on the table with all the others, she had placed hers on a far away bookcase at the opposite end of the room. When I had gathered all the cards, I had missed hers.

And now, there it sat.

"Oh no!  Look!  It's my card!  It's still here and Christmas is over and I didn't get to give it to my friend."

Tears started to fill her eyes, and my eyes were quickly following suit.

"Oh, honey.  I'm so sorry.  I didn't see your card there.  I didn't know you had placed in on the bookshelf to dry.  I'm so sorry I didn't mail it with the others."

With all the mercy and grace she could muster up, she looked up at me with tear-filled eyes and said,  "That's ok, Ms. Stacy."

But, in my heart (and in hers, too, I'm sure), it didn't feel ok.

But God, in His impeccable timing, had already gone before us.

There in our very midst, worshipping and singing songs of praise with us that very morning, was the very one for whom this card was created.  He was back home.  He was back with us.  He was in this very room for the first time in a long time.

What, at first, seemed liked a missed opportunity now presented itself as the best opportunity of all:
being able to hand deliver her card
being able to see the look of surprise on her friend's face,
being able to see the joy her card brought.

It didn't matter that the letters on this card spelled out "Merry Christmas".
It didn't matter that the construction paper was green and red.
It didn't matter that the pictures were of snowmen and presents.
It didn't matter that it was now Spring and Easter only a few weeks away.

"For me?  Thank you."

"Do you like it?"

"Very much" came his reply, as he looked at every single detail. "Very much."

I told you.
The timing couldn't have been better.


And so it is with you and me.

So many times in our life,
we think everything is
signed, sealed, and delivered,
a done deal,
a mission accomplished,
only to discover we have completely missed our opportunity altogether.

We glance around our life,
and suddenly we spot it- 
a left behind dream,
an unopened promise,
a misplaced blessing,
and our heart wells up with tears.

But God, in His impeccable timing, has already gone before us.

We are confident 
that God is able 
to orchestrate everything 
to work toward something good and beautiful 
when we love Him 
and accept His invitation 
to live according to His plan. 
~ Romans 8:28 (Voice)

I don't know how.
I don't know when.
I don't know in what form or what fashion.
I don't know how your story or mine will come full circle.

But, I do know this.

If our God can arrange to have the very boy for whom a card was created arrive back in our very town, back in our very church, back in our very fellowship, the very day the card maker discovered it on the bookcase, He can arrange the very details of our life so that what, at first, seemed liked a missed opportunity will one day present itself as the very best opportunity of all.

It is all of these "verys" that keep me feverishly believing our God is working all things
for our good and His glory.


"For us, Father God?  Thank you."

"Do you like it?"

"Very much" will be our reply as we soak in every single detail. "Very much."








 
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Perfect Way to Start Your Day~





 



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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

See the New~








 
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Sunday, March 23, 2014

We Are Family~

Kneeling at an altar,
strangers,
surrendering their hearts and lives to God,
become brothers and sisters in Christ.

Hammering nails and pouring cement,
strangers,
sharing their time and talents on a mission project,
become labourers in Christ.

Hiking mountain trails,
strangers,
worshipping and exploring God's creation during a weekend retreat,
become united in Christ.

What is it about sharing a love for God that connects hearts?

What is it about following Christ that binds us to others on who are following Him, too?

I've heard it said blood is thicker than water.

Could it be
the blood of Jesus,
poured out on Calvary and into each surrendered heart is what holds us all together?

A world apart,
and yet heart to heart.

Connected by our connection to the giver of life,
the author of our faith,
the Father of us all.

Connected by His blood.

Held together by His Spirit.

United by His love.

Adopted into His family.

Children of God.

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, 
he gave the right to become children of God.
~ John 1:12

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, 
that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
~ 1 John 3:1

The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God
~ Romans 8:16

Hands Across the Sand, Humboldt panorama
{Photo Credit}

Receiving HIS forgiveness and born again by His Spirit,
strangers,
living and serving our Heavenly Father,
become one in the body of Christ.

Family.






 

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stepping "Into" Christ

All that we have in Christ, is found IN Christ.

Unless we are willing to enter "in", we will simply be another window-shopper,
gazing through the glass pane,
desiring all that is laid out before us,
yet unable to reach out and take hold of it.

In CHRIST, we are invited to enter in. 

Remember Noah?

He believed in God, no doubt about that.
He believed in God to the point he was willing to build a boat,
a HUGE boat,
in the middle of the desert,
when rain was yet unseen and previously unknown to mankind.

He believed in God to the point he was willing to endure ridicule
and find himself the punchline of one joke after another,
day after day after day.

He believed in God to the point he was willing to say yes to God,
no matter what.

And, when the time came,
Noah was willing to accept God's invitation and enter in.
Before the sprinkles came,
before the lighting flashed and the thunder roared,  
before there was any evidence of a coming storm,
Noah's faith in God led him to walk right up to the door of the ark and enter in.

It wasn't enough for Noah just to build the ark.
It wasn't enough for Noah to simply believe God would save him.
Noah had to enter in to be saved.

Noah did more than believe,
He followed his belief with action.

He accepted the heavenly invitation
to enter into the provision and protection of God,
found only in the ark,
and, as a result,
he and his family were rescued from death,
given a new start and
brought into newness of life. 

You and I have been given the same invitation.

Through the blood of Jesus Christ,
spilled on the cross for you and I,
we can now enter in to Christ,
and all the promises of God.

Like Noah,
we have been given a heavenly invitation
to enter into the provision, protection, and salvation of God,
found only in Christ,
and, as a result,
be rescued from death
given a new start,
and brought into newness of life. 

But, like Noah, we have to be willing to enter in.

We have to be willing to follow our faith
into Christ's will.

We have to be willing to follow our faith
into Christ's plans, purposes, and promises.

We have to be willing to follow our faith
into Christ's death,
so that in Him,
we might find new life.

We have to be willing to follow our faith
 into Christ,
so that we might, in turn, be "in Christ".








 
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Simply Come . . . ~







 
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Monday, March 17, 2014

The Spirit Knows - Listen~







 
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Blesses Me More~








 
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Friday, March 14, 2014

The ROCK in a Hard Place~








 
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Praise Him! Praise Him!~








 
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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From Shame to Purpose~

If we let Him, 
God can take all our mistakes, 
all our failures,
 all our shame,
and use them for His glory. 

Nothing speaks more clearly and more undeniably 
to the redemption, restorative, life-transforming power of God 
than a life turned around, a life re-born, 
a life totally and completely made new because of God's AMAZING grace. 

In Christ, 
our pain has a purpose.
 In Christ, 
what once sought to bring only shame
 can now be used by God to bring others 
to a saving knowledge of His great mercy, unconditional love and immeasurable grace. ~♥ 










 
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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Even When . . . God Still Does~









 
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Springing Forward to What Lies Ahead~

Have you ever wished you could go back and completely redo a certain episode or time in your life?

Maybe, in anger, you spoke words that to this day,
still separate you from someone you love.

Maybe you let a golden opportunity pass you by
and now you are haunted by what might have been.

Maybe you took a path in life
that has led you far away from your intended destination.

Maybe you simply let time tick away without seizing the moment
and making the most of each hour of each day.

Maybe you chose what didn’t matter, in place of what did.

As much as we would love a "do over", the sad reality is this: what is done is done and we can't go back and undo it. We can only go forward. Yet, how many times have you and I gotten bogged down in the muddy mess of regret and guilt and found our self idling instead of moving on with our life?

When I opened my bathroom window this morning, I was surprised to discover these beautiful blossoms on our peach tree. 

  
I am always delighted and amazed in springtime. Bare trees become clothed with beautifully fragrant blossoms. Birds, seemingly silent through the cold winter months, now chirp until their hearts are content. And most amazing of all, the metamorphosis of the butterfly begins. All of nature showcases the newness that comes with the warmth of the sun and the birth of yet another season of life.

Life goes on.

No matter how cold the winter, no matter how deep the snow - Spring eventually comes. The cycle of life continues and I am so glad it does. It is a beautiful reminder of the new thing God wants to do in your life and mine.

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.
Behold, I will do a new thing;
now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?
I will even make a way in the wilderness,
 and rivers in the desert.
~Isaiah 43:18-19

Living in the past only accomplishes one thing - and that is, keeping us from living in the present. Don't get me wrong. Wisdom tells us to learn from the past, but it in no way would have us take up our residence there!

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended:
but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:13,14

Today, what is holding you a prisoner of the past?

Don't you think it's time to let it go?

Can you really afford to let it keep stealing your future?

Forget those things that are behind and instead reach for what is still out in front of you. Open your heart and your life to receive the new thing God is waiting to do - in and through you!

Our Heavenly Father has an amazing way of taking our messes and turning them into miracles. He can take the ugliness of our past and transform it into something breathtakingly beautiful. Just look at what God can do in the life of a caterpillar! He wants to do that and so much more in your life and mine!

We can either choose to stay stuck in our past, or to let it go and spring forward.

The choice is ours.

I'm ready to welcome Spring into my life.
I'm ready to show up for the next season of my life.
I'm ready to forget what is behind
so I can reach forward to the "new" God is placing before me.

How about you?







 
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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Light of HIS Presence~








 
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Unsaid~









 
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Monday, March 3, 2014

"Feed Him or Put Him Down for A Nap"~

 "Either feed him or put him down for a nap." 

Wise words from my yet-to-be mother-in-law when I first starting dating her son.

"If he starts acting like a bear - 
growling and easily irritated,
he's either hungry or tired. 
Feed him, or put him down for a nap."

Over the years, 

when my husband's words or actions seemed to be directed at me
and came near to bruising my heart or turning me into a "bear" as well,
I have been reminded of these words and looked past my husband's behavior to the root of the issue. 

A sandwich later, or a good night's sleep later, all is happy and good again. 

And amazingly, I've found these same words of wisdom are true of me, (and possibly you) too.

I've also discovered they ring true in my spiritual walk. 


When life gets crazy and threatens to bruise my heart,
or threatens to bring out the crazy in me -
I know it's time to feed on God's Word
or it's time to
rest in His faithfulness,
rest in His power and might, 
or rest in His love. 

A scripture or two later, a few moments with God later - all is happy and good again.

Is life growling at you? 


Are you growling at life? 

Maybe, it's time to feed your inner man or put him down for a nap.~♥






 
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