Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life Is Blessed!

Your life is blessed when -
Peace is in your spirit,
Perception is in your decisions,
Patience is in your trials,
Purpose is in your work,
Purity is in your character
Praise is in your soul,
Power is in your witness,
Passion is in your calling,
Prayer is in your heart.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in
the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.
Ephesians 1:3 NLT

(Devotional encouragement by Roy Lessin from his blog: Meet Me In The Meadow.)  © 2011 DaySpring. All Rights Reserved.

* * *

When I read this devotional from Roy Lessing,
I couldn't resist sharing it with all of you today.

It truly spoke to me about what we are all about as we post to our
blogs our thoughts, opinions and feelings about our God and
the blessings He bestows on us.  Our lives are truly blessed in so many ways,
but I'd never considered life's blessings in the words Lessing
has chosen and used in this beautiful piece.

I hope you enjoy it too!  Have a blessed Sunday and week!

Attribution
Linking up this beautiful Sunday with:

Barbie over at Fresh Brewed Sunday:

And with Deidra at:




And also with Sandy at:





Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seeking God

Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually.
~~ 1 Chronicles 16:11 (KJV)
Attribution





Seeking, searching, looking for, attempting to find.

Where shall I seek?

All around, in front of me, along my path
leading me wherever I go.

Among friends and family, those whom I love.

In a community of fellow believers.

The Lord, his strength, his face, all of Him.

What shall I seek?

The Lord, the Good Shepherd, the King of Kings.

His strength, might and power.

His glorious face, shining His Light to the world.

Continually, always, never ending.

How shall I seek?

Forever and ever, always, unending seeking.

Every day, every hour.

Without fail, never stopping.

I know if I take my eyes from His face, ignore His strength
and might, and if I'm not constantly seeking Him . . .
I know that my life will falter . . . I will begin to lose that
ability to trust Him wholly and completely.

I don't want that to happen . . . so, I'm committing myself
to living by abiding in this verse from I Chronicles . . . so,
that I might be more certain of eyes trained on Him daily. 

Q4U:  Are you committed to daily seeking the Lord in everything you do, in your role as parent, spouse, child of God?  Take some time to think on these things and consider what you should be doing to keep Him in the center of your life and your world?

Linking up with Joan at The Grace Cafe:



Linking up with Stacy at Heartprint Hallelujahs:





Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I Can Do It!

Attribution

I can do it!  Oh, I remember the first time I heard my son say these words.

You know the age, right?  Around two or three years of age, a child begins to explore his or her independence.

I can do it!

Confession:  I've said those words too.  I can do it!

And I want to do it, do it all.  I want control over my life.  But I can't!  There I've said it.

I can't do it all.  I can't control my life in every detail. 

UNLESS . . .

I look to Christ for strength. 

 I live in His Word, reading daily.

I commit to remembering that in Him I can do so much more.

Because He, and He alone, can provide what I need to 
do what my life requires, my life as He sees it.

My life is not wholly my own, but
a shared existence with and through Him.

Then, partnering with Christ, I can do all things -- 
all things that He has planned for me.

Like a seed planted in the ground can't grow unless it is watered and fed and watched over, I need to be nourished by Christ's love and strength.

What about you?  Can you do all things?  Wouldn't it be easier
with Christ providing for you the strength and the guidance
you really need?  

Think about it, won't you?



Linking up today with:





On In Around button





Monday, June 25, 2012

Harvesting Berries -- and Still Counting 1000 Gifts



Attribution
Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.
~~ Proverbs 18:20 (MSG)
 


These last few days our strawberries are ripening almost faster than we can pick.  We don't have a large patch of plants, but what we do have are abundantly rich in fruit.  And oh, so tasty right now!

Here in Oregon, the berries love the cool, damp climate we experience in late spring and early summer.  Of course, there are those times when the climate is too cool and too rainy, and the berries are ruined.  But not this year.  Our tummies have been wholly satisfied with this year's crop.   

Are our words as satisfying as those berries?  In our conversations with one another, or with someone else?  Do we pick a bountiful harvest of good words that will satisfy the mind and perhaps fill the heart?  Or are we careless, picking just anything to say not considering its worth or fruitfulness?

Proverbs 18:20 tells us that words satisfy the mind much like our berries have satisfied our tummies.  That good talk can be gratifying like a bountiful harvest.  In the coming week, I hope to work toward speaking words that will be satisfying to those who hear me.  Not just to tickle their ears, but to give them something to think on, to ponder.

How about you?  Will you consider trying this with me?  It might not be easy, but I do believe we can make a difference if we but try!

Now to continue counting with Ann and friends at A Holy Experience:

525.  Great six-month follow-up with my spine surgeon -- healing progressing beautifully!
526.  Son's good recovery from shoulder surgery.
527.  Successful surgery for our daughter-in-law and beginning of good recovery.
528.  Safe travels for granddaughter and her family to Alaska.
529.  Beautiful and tasty berries in the garden.
530.  Sightings of hummingbirds.
531.  Ability to return to gardening.
532.  Joy of seeing a friend return to church following colon cancer surgery and his exceptional recovery to date.
533.  Life of dear sister-in-law Marilyn who went to a better life recently.
534.  The family I married into.
535.  My husband's creative genius that makes him uniquely himself.
536.  God's continuing love for me.

Linking up with the community at A Holy Experience 


and with Laura at



Saturday, June 23, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Life Is Risky!

It's Friday morning and time to meet up with Lisa-Jo Baker -- Tales of a Gypsy Mama, who spreads a feast before us consisting of a challenge:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.


Today's word is RISK, and here's my best five minutes . . . .

READY, SET, GO!
Five Minute Friday

LIFE IS RISKY! . . .
When I saw the word "risk," I thought what can I write about risk.  I'm definitely NOT a risk taker, don't know anything about risk.


Then I thought again -- life is about risk, it's risky business!

I wake up in the morning not knowing what lies ahead.  But I plant my feet on the floor and face the day.

I got married -- twice!  Each time taking a risk.  The first time was riskier than I could have believed.  I thought I was loved, but I wasn't.

To marry a second time was really taking a risk.  And after 31 years, the risk has been proven not to be so risky after all.

Then during that first marriage, I (note I said "I") decided a baby could perhaps save a failing marriage.  Talk about taking a risk!  Husband No. 1 had no capacity to love and asking him to be a father was a risk, and our marriage deteriorated further.

Being a mom was risky.  What did I know?  Everybody said, "Oh, it comes naturally!"  But I'd had a dysfunctional childhood.  Would I be able to set that aside and do parenting the way it should be done.  Another risk taken.

I guess I'll have to restate my first thought, "Yes, I am a taker of risks.  After all, life itself is risky!

STOP!

Attribution

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Obedience Is Hard

Because Abraham had faith, he obeyed God
when God called him to leave his home.
He was to go to another country that
God promised to give him.
He left his home without knowing
where he was going.
~~ Hebrews 11:8 (NLV)



Maggie is an indoor kitty.  Our home is on an extremely busy street.  We are surrounded by dogs.  Not an ideal outdoor environment for Maggie.

But being the softies we are, we occasionally treat Maggie to the great outdoors on warm sunny days.  She either sits in a lap while we read, or like yesterday, she dons her harness (I hate this thing!) and with an extra long leash we give her running and playing room.

Yesterday the sun sat high in the sky, and the temperature was pushing toward 83.  I could tell Maggie's black coat was beginning to store the sun's warmth.  She was slowing down.

I casually mentioned it was probably time to head indoors.  I picked up my gardening tools and put them away.  By the time I turned around, Maggie was gone from sight.

Knowing she couldn't go far on her leash, I began to look in the woodpile, behind large planters, other places she might hide.  

Finally, I found her in this massive growth of myrtle hunkering down to be as small as Maggie could possibly be.  Her mind was swirling with, "If she can't see me, I don't have to respond to her decision to go inside!"

I coaxed and coaxed to no avail.  Finally, I had to bodily pick her up and carry her inside.  As I removed her harness, I began to think.

How often have I heard God call me?  

How often have I turned a deaf ear?  

How often have I hunkered down hoping to disappear from His line of sight?   

How often have I just blatantly said, "No"?

Too many times.  

Maggie's demeanor reminded me of myself -- 

attempting to hide from God's calling
 

with an unwillingness 
to go to a strange place,
 
 to step outside the box,
 
to take a risk,

to say yes instead of no.

I want to be more like Abraham --

stepping out in faith,

obeying God's calling,

trusting God's promises,

even though I don't know what lies ahead.

What about you?  

How do you respond to God's call for your life?  

Forgiving the Inexcusable


Attribution


“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ― C.S. Lewis



Inexcusable is defined as "impossible to excuse or justify; unpardonable." 

A list of synonyms for this word includes unforgivable, indefensible, unjustifiable, outrageous, unpardonable, unwarrantable, inexpiable.

Sounds like we've got a big task ahead of us if we as Christians are expected to forgive the inexcusable.

Have you ever had anything happen to you that you believed or felt was inexcusable?  Stop and think -- anything so horrible that it was unforgivable or unpardonable?

Forgive a personal reference here.  Almost two decades ago, I received a call on a Friday evening.  My mother's voice at the other end of the line held a shakiness and the sound of tears.
I was impatient.  We were to meet friends for dinner soon.  So I pushed her to hurry.  That's when she blurted out that a nephew had been the victim of thieves.  At first, I didn't quite get the gist of her words, but quickly came to understand that my nephew had been murdered.

Murdered.  Stolen from us in cold blood.  Gunned down by a man who believed that my nephew and his wife might be having an affair.  They were former high school sweethearts but had each gone away to college and married other people.  This man just happened to see them talking at a company picnic where both families were in attendance.  All a huge mistake in so many ways.

Proud of his plan to kill my nephew, this man told his wife and eldest son what he intended to do.  Of course, their words amounted to hearsay on police reports and were not admissible in the courtroom.

Because no weapon was found and the suspected murderer couldn't be placed at the scene of the crime, and despite his running away and hiding in another state for some months, the jury found him not guilty.

Murdered.  Stolen from us in cold blood.  Inexcusable act.  Forgive this man?  How were we to do that?  My brother lost a son, I lost a nephew, a young boy lost his father, my mother lost a grandson -- our family lost a whole person, leaving an empty place at the table in the heart of every family gathering.  

We were supposed to forgive this act of violence, this inexcusable act?

Yes, we were to be Christians.  We were supposed to forgive.  I have tried, and I know others in the family have tried.  Some of us have been successful.

How you might ask?  By relying on the Word of God to be our Guide and by reflecting on the truth that God gave his only Son to save us from our sins, some of which are likely inexcusable in the eyes of some.  God's Son shed His blood for us, for our inexcusable acts.

What will you do when something inexcusable happens to you, a member of your family, in your workplace?  Will you be able to forgive the inexcusable?

Attribution

Linking up with the Write It, Girl Summer Link-up!  Won't you join us?






Write it girl

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Do You Love Me?

Attribution
Do you love me?

Difficult question to ask.

Unless you know the answer for sure.

A joke went around a few years ago about a couple married for many decades.

The woman asked her husband, "Do you love me?"

He responded, "Well, of course I do!  I told you I loved you the day we married and nothing's changed."

My husband and I have made this a little game between us.  To see if the other comes up with the punch line, or something different.

Bob, my husband, isn't a man given to many words.  Like my father, his affections are shown in a variety of ways.

Occasionally, I like to hear those three little words, "I love you."  So, I pose the question . . . and usually he responds with, "Nothing's changed."  Followed by his long, slow grin I love so much.

Reflecting on this question, I found myself thinking of the Heavenly Father's love. If we but cast our eyes upon Him and allow our hearts to dwell with His, we will never be separated from God's amazing grace and love.

Do you love me?  A question one will never have to ask of God.  His answer is clear:  If we but love Him, He will love us, forever and ever.

God showed us that love in the ultimate sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross shedding His blood for our sins.

What more need we know to understand that God loves us, no matter who we are, where we came from, what kind of house we live in, and no matter the flaws we carry with us.

God is love.  And nothing can separate us from it, as written in Romans 8:39.


Attribution


Linking up with Jennifer today:









Monday, June 18, 2012

Thanks + Giving = Joy -- Still Counting to 1000 Gifts

What a wonderful way to start the week by working out mathematical formulas!  Right?  No?  Well, math isn't my favorite thing to do, but I was pondering the word "thanksgiving" for no real reason, and came up with this formula:
  • Thanks means to express gratitude.  Add to that --
  • Giving means to make a gift something, offer something, and those together equal
  • Joy meaning a feeling of excitement, exultation.
If math or algebra class had proffered such formulas to work out, I think I'd have been a happier student!

God gives so generously of His love for us in innumerable ways that to not give back to Him in gratitude is disrespectful, thoughtless and unthinkable, at least in my opinion.



So, won't you share in the joy of giving back to God in thanks today for the ways He has been good to you this past week?  We're gathering over at A Holy Experience today to do just that.

516.  The devotional book, Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young.
517.  Successful surgery for our son and the start of a great recovery.
518.  Answered prayers.
519.  Joy expressed by friends at the beginning of summer vacation.
520.  Love of a good man shown in so many ways.
521.  Breakthroughs in my writing.
522.  Study of James with friends.
523.  Lovely connections with so many Christian bloggers.
524.  Gift of praying for friends in difficult situations.

Praise Him! Praise Him!
Tell of His excellent greatness.
Praise Him! Praise Him!
Ever in joyful song!
~~ Refrain from hymn, Praise Him, Praise Him
(Words by Fanny Crosby, music by Chester G. Allen, 1869)


Linking up with the community at A Holy Experience 


and with Laura at 




Sunday, June 17, 2012

Light Out of Darkness

 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”
made his light shine in our hearts to give us
the light of the knowledge of God’s glory
displayed in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6 (TNIV)


Attribution

Lightly, we say, "There's a light at the end of the tunnel."

And someone jokingly adds, "Hope it's not the train."

Reading the verse above, God said, "Let light shine out of darkness."  Until we came to know God's Son, Jesus Christ, our hearts were dark.  At that paramount moment when we saw the Light in Jesus' face, then did our hearts come out of the darkness and begin to reside in the Light.

What a joyous moment indeed!

With Barbie at Freshly Brewed Sundays

and with Deidra in






and with L.L. Barkat at

On In Around button

Friday, June 15, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Path

It's Friday morning and time to meet up with The Gypsy Mama (Lisa Jo), who spreads a feast before us consisting of a challenge:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments.


Today's word is PATH.
 




GO!

A favorite path of mine runs along Black Hawk Creek in Neskowin, OR.

The path sits just outside our condo and depending on my choice, it will take me one of two places.

I can either take the path into a cluster of small homes and cottages that back up to the coast line, OR

I can walk toward the sand, rocks and the roaring of the waves in the Pacific Ocean.

How to choose?  Usually it depends on my mood and whether or not I'm alone or with my husband.

Kind of like the path God sets before me sometimes.  He chooses the path, and then I must choose whether to follow that God-given path.

The path is sometimes hard to follow because God's choosing isn't always my  path.  My path, hah!  Whatever made me say that or think about that.  Because often my path is selected by my desire to be in charge.  Wrong path, God says, and I shrug my shoulders and don't follow.

Not following His chosen path for me doesn't always mean immediate consequences but in the end, I can see the error of my heading down my chosen path -- it's not as smooth and filled with love.  It has a bumpy surface while God's chosen path for me would likely have been easier.

STOP!


Linking up with 



A Tribute to Daddy

Daddy . . . the very sound of the word fills my heart with joy.  That's what you brought into my life.

A quiet man, not given to many words, I knew you loved me.  Your ways were many:

  • in the way you wrapped your arms around me;
  • the way you taught me how to ride my tricycle and then a bicycle;
  • the trial run of paper dolls your company was printing -- you brought them home to me;
  • colored vinyl 45s that you were printing labels for -- you brought home the giveaways;
  • nights algebra homework made no sense to me -- you sat down and helped me;
  • on the nights bad dreams haunted my sleep world -- you let me crawl into your bed, sending mama to my bed to sleep;
  • when things didn't go right, you were there to comfort me and help me work out my problems;
  • you taught me to be a Godly person in the way you lived your own life;
  • you taught me to work hard by example;
  • you taught me courage in the face of illness, battling one after another yourself; 
  • you taught me to stand up for what I believe in by standing by my side when my life went sour in my first marriage;
  • you gave me the love of books (your printer's ink runs in my veins);
  • you gave me the love of music -- I'll never forget lying belly flat on the living room rug in front of the Stromberg-Carlson phonograph listening to records with you;
My Dad
(1901-1973)
Oh, how I miss you!
  • you provided for us as no other daddy could in spite of your poor health, never missing a day's work no matter how bad you felt.
My list could go on, but these are the highest on my list of cherished memories of you, Daddy.  And no matter how long I live or how old I grow, you'll always be Daddy to me.

My heart thrills to the thought that God brought you and Mama together for a reason.

Remember, the two of you once told me that you agreed to not have any children because you each had children from previous marriages?  Looks like neither of you remembered to keep that part of your marriage commitment -- I was born a mere 10 months after you and Mama married!  I'm so glad God decided we all belonged together.

To you, Daddy, thanks for giving me life, for helping me become the person I am today, and for loving me.  Those are the greatest gifts a Daddy could give a child.





Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children
who learn proper behavior from their parents.
Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him
and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order
to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.
Love like that.
Ephesians 5:1-2 (MSG)



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

You're Invited!

Attribution
Yes, you're invited!  To a most unexpected event.

As I tossed and turned a few nights ago, I was hit with one of those AHA! moments.  We all get them.  Creative juices flow.  The mind buzzes.  And there it is -- an unexpected idea that turns topsy turvy any plans you thought might be well fixed and in place.

The idea that came to me has to do with the memoir I'm writing.  I've posted a few draft installments here, and the more I thought about how I wanted to approach my story it seemed I needed something more personal between the protagonist and me.

So, today I'm launching a new blog, Letters to Mama, which will include letters to my mother.  These letters will reflect what I would have said to my mother about her verbal and emotional abuses toward me and my siblings IF I could have said something.

We all know that to try to talk to your "enemy" often enrages them further and causes more harm than good.

My plan is to begin writing these letters from early childhood on, but writing them as an adult looking back.  It is my hope to incorporate them into my memoir in some way. 

Not Just A Name will continue on but with its primary focus on sharing my faith journey with others.  Memoir-related posts will be found in the new blog, Letters to Mama.

I hope you'll join me on this new phase of my writing journey.


Trust Me

Exert your will to trust Me in all circumstances.
Don't let your need to understand distract you from My Presence.
I will equip you to get through this day victoriously, as you live
in deep dependence on Me.
Tomorrow is busy worrying about itself;
don't get tangled up in its worry-webs.
Trust Me one day at a time.

~~ From Jesus Calling (Sarah Young, 2004)
March 18, p. 81




Daddy will catch you!
(Attribution)


Do not worry about tomorrow.
Tomorrow will have its own worries.
The troubles we have in a day are enough for one day.


Linking up with Jennifer today at:
 





And visiting Joan at Grace Cafe

 




 


Monday, June 11, 2012

Light, Gladness and Thanks

"Light is sown like seed for the righteous and gladness for the
upright in heart. Be glad in the LORD, you righteous ones,
and give thanks to His holy name."
Psalms 97:11-12


Attribution

Sitting in our backyard today the light came through the trees much like this photo shows.

As I looked up through the towering trees, I was at once caught up by the goodness of that light and how it spread across not only our yard but our neighbors' yards, and in fact all over our small neighborhood.

Just as the Psalmist says in these verses, the "light is sown like seed" -- the light's beams are thrown down from above to the earth below.  As I garden and plant seeds, often they are tossed down into the row with the hope that the seed will flourish.

God's light is sent down with the hope that it will plant a seed in a heart and flourish there too.  How can we not be glad in our hearts and give thanks to Him for all His goodness to us?

Continuing to count with the group over at A Holy Experience:

505.  Ordinary time at home.
506.  Successful shoulder surgery for our son.
507.  Our daughter-in-law's care for our son.
508.  Healing for a friend.
509.  Continued adjustments happening for family with nursing home situation.
510.  A warm sunny day to work outside.
511.  Study by Marlene Bagnull for Christian writers, Writing His Answer.
512.  A breakthrough in writing my memoir.
513.  Seeing God at work in our youth program.
514.  Our youth pastor's leadership.
515.  New children's ministries director.

Won't you join us in counting the gifts God has bestowed during the last week?


Linking up with the community at A Holy Experience 


and with Laura at 






and with L.L. Barkat at

On In Around button

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Time for Resting or Reaping?

Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 
Ever sit down at the computer and think to yourself,

"Why am I writing this post?  Who's going to read it?  And if they do, how will I know its impact?"

I know I do.  Usually I write a post for Sunday on Saturday.  Didn't happen yesterday, so I'm up readying for worship and trying to do this too.

Will my words be so rushed they won't make a difference?

Galatians 6:9 tells us not to "become weary in doing good."  Our sharing of our faith journeys and His Word, in my opinion, equate to "doing good."  But it's so easy to become weary of it, especially if we so no results.

But read on, for Galatians tells us more in the next few words:  "at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."  

So, we must press on and never give up writing about this amazing God who gave us His Son, Jesus, on the cross, not just to save us but everyone we can reach.  Keep writing, keep believing -- and perhaps one day your harvest will come in!


Attribution


With Barbie at Freshly Brewed Sundays

and with Deidra in





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