Evening Encouragement, Peace

Good evening friends. Sometimes in life we find ourselves in a predicament, and a lot of times it is self-made. And when we fret over the complications we have made, we lose our peace of mind and our step with Christ. Then we are in a real mess. The way to fix that is to turn and go back the way we know we should go. I have been reading a little book called “Keep it Simple” by Ellyn Sanna. It’s a wonderful little short book of quotes and scripture to help us Find Peace in a Hectic World.  So tonight I am posting a few of her thoughts and quotes.

Take One Day at a Time

When we learn to take one day at a time, one step at a time, we begin to see the beauty in the stillness around us. This beauty was created by God to give us the peace we would need knowing this life would indeed be hectic.

Teach me the art of creating islands of stillness, in which I can absorb the beauty of everyday things: clouds, trees, a snatch of music…Marion Stroud

I believe that in each little thing created by God there is more than what is understood, even if it is just a little ant. Teresa of Avila

Now that we are surrounded by this virus and being secluded in the safety of our homes, we have a tendency to worry about tomorrow and what we need to do to fix things…that we can’t fix. It kind of puts us in a chair in front of the window to wait, watch and trust that Jesus will take care of it all…and He will.

True serenity comes when we give ourselves to God. Ellyn Sanna

So I challenge you to put a small table by your chair at the window. As you watch and wait, enjoy a cold beverage or hot cup of coffee and trust in the Lord to make things right. Enjoy the beauty you see and absorb His peace.

If in the US, I send you prayers for a wonderful Thanksgiving and if you are having to be alone this year due to isolation, bring an extra glass to the table for God. I promise He will be with you as well. If not in the US and still in isolation, still bring that extra glass to the table when you eat so God can surround you with His peace.

And as always, I remind all of us the value of kindness in all we do. It may make the difference in one life that is needed.

Evening Encouragement, Thankfulness

While we can’t tell by the temps outside, this is the month of November. Iowa has been hit with the craziest bough of Indian summer that I am still in a t-shirt. I had the AC on yesterday and tomorrow its supposed to be in the 30s. Welcome to the midwest.

November is the thankful month and we all try to focus daily on the many blessings we have and make it a point to be thankful for them. That is something we actually need to do throughout the entire year.

Sometimes when life is zooming so fast around us, we get lost in the “goings on” that we lose our focus and forget to be thankful…in all things. So we need to purposely slow down and be deliberately thankful. In bible study we talked about how we do things sometimes not requiring or expecting a thank you, we do it out of love. But man, how a thank you can make us walk a little lighter, smile a little brighter and be all the more willing to do it all again. It’s the same with God. He knows we are thankful, those who love him, but He still likes to hear it. I look forward to His brighter smile.

Having a thankful heart, brings you peace, it gives you courage and fills you with hope; hope will give you the strength to survive whatever ordeal you face, so then you are able to give thanks in all you do creating a continuous circle with God in the middle of it.

I fully understand we have not had Thanksgiving yet but I am ready for the joy and thankfulness of Christmas. So I am decorating early this year, and the very first thing that goes on the big tree(yes there are more than 1) is The Christmas Nail. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with that tree trimming tradition but I have been doing it well over 40 years. The Christmas nail is a nail shaped similar to the nail used to hold Jesus to the cross. The Christmas tree foreshadows the Christ-tree that He decorated for us with nails like these and the lights we put on the tree remind us of His light that shines for us and through us.

The red ribbon represents His blood that was shed for me. I can not think of anything more powerful to be thankful for…daily. The nail is to be hung inside the tree by the trunk where it is only known by the family who hung it there, whose hearts are fully aware of the significance of why it is there. Especially this year with so much stress, anxiety and uneasiness of tomorrow, the nail’s message is ever stronger for us. So I encourage you tonight to reach out to God in thankfulness for all that He has done for you in the past and will do for you in the future.

And in all that you do, do so with kindness. Kindness reflects the light of God, the love of God and the thankfulness we have for what He has done for us.

Evening Encouragement, Come

Good evening friends. I want to share a few words from the devotion I read this morning from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers. It brought me hope.  This year has really been rough for a lot of people and the last few months in the US with all the political nonsense…oh my goodness. I felt like this country was going to implode. And we are not done yet, still fighting. United States of America…not so much.

Oswald reminds us that even in stressful times we have the essential opportunity to act on the truth of God. It is up to each individual to do so. We can’t do it for someone else and no one can do it for us.
It must be our own deliberate act, but the evangelical message should always lead us to that action. Refusing to act leaves a person paralyzed, exactly where he was previously.  Oswald Chambers

Throughout scripture, Christ told people to come to Him and He would show them a better way.  “Come to me” means “to act“. And He will always makes sure we learn His ways with which to act.

Through the learning and the trials we learn the value of His ways and His truths that set us free. But the truths must be shared. The love of God is cyclical. You are given the tenderness and love of Christ and then you act in sharing it with others, which cycles back to Christ, that shares it back to you, then you shares it onward, circling it back to Christ and then back to you…and so on.

When a truth of God is brought home to your soul, never allow it to pass without acting on it.” Oswald Chambers

Yet sometimes, it’s the last thing we want to do. We don’t want to be bothered; we are fearful, or feel unready to act; or think someone else can do it better than us. All excuses, all weak excuses but I love what Oswald says about the weak saints, of which most of us are. He says “The weakest saint who transacts business with Jesus Christ is liberated the second he acts and God’s almighty power is available on his behalf. 

We are created to act.
And everyone who acts can feel the supernatural power of life as Christ fills him. The dominating power of the world, the flesh, and the devil is now paralyzed; not by your act, but because your act has joined you to God and tapped you into His redemptive power. Oswald Chambers

I love that. It is encouraging to know God fills us with what we need when we act accordingly to His will, like he did with the disciples. 
So as tired and discouraged as you may feel right now, relax, rest and look for opportunities to act so that the supernatural power of life in Christ can fill you and lift you to new heights. And always remember to share kindness in all that you do.

Different Perspective on View

Good evening friends. Hope you are all doing well. I went to the doctor today for just a checkup and I am healthy as a horse…and heavy as one. Not a good thing. No wonder my knees are bothering me. I was so discouraged when I left and then I realized how very lucky and healthy I really am. I am fortunate to not be on any medication at all, a few supplements and that is it. I have always joked that I am not fat – just fluffy. But now it’s real.

Then on K-Love radio an encouragement message came on that gave me a different perspective. Yes I am still overweight and will work on it but the reality of it is our bodies are God’s temples. It’s where He lives. And He loves His homes, all of them regardless of how the exterior looks.

We as people stress a lot on appearance. Sometimes it is for our safety against the elements but sometimes it is judgemental, not only against ourselves but against others or what we think other people may think. But since God lives in us, He knows what our innermost parts look like and that is what he is interested in.  He doesn’t care about our exterior, He wants a beautiful interior.

So while we need a healthy exterior, and interior, the condition of our heart and attitude is what needs to be the most beautiful part of us. It’s hard. There is so much around us that brings up that negative vibe that causes cracks in our beautiful interior. Then we then have to, with God’s help, do some interior renovations to make it beautiful again.

Remember that God loves you, that He will never live where He is not wanted but will thrive in us if we allow it, making us bloom like spring regardless of how it may look.

  With God it is always a matter of the heart. May you feel His love this evening as He brings love, peace and flowers to your heart.  And as your flowers grow, remember to be kind. Kindness is the most beautiful type of flower.

Funny Words, SoCS

You know how some words sound funny when you hear them or when you speak them. Yeah, I know I am from the south and a lot of my words sound funny to those around me now here in the midwest but do you have those words that you over enunciate because they are fun to say. Linda Hill has challenged us to day with Stream of Consciousness Saturday to use a word we had to look up.

For me, one of those is in scripture and while it may sound different, it has a powerful meaning – propitiation. That’s a 5 syllable word, at least it is in the south. It’s a word that has  tripped me up a bit because for a long time I didn’t really understand its significance. A devotion I read the other day with Oswald Chambers spoke about it in 1 John 2:2.

Webster’s defines propitiation “1 – the act of gaining the favor or goodwill for someone or something, something that appeases; 2 – an atoning sacrifice.”

An atoning sacrifice, that is a phrase I fully understand. Jesus sacrificed himself to satisfy the wrath of God so that we would not have to. Wow. Intellectually I understand that but my humanness asks the age old question…“WHY”.

That’s why.  It is a gift of grace. Something we don’t deserve or have the ability to earn.

His love for us can not be shaken, destroyed or matched.

There are some of us who are hurting today in some form or fashion, or we have family or friends who are hurting and scared. I encourage you today to hang on to His outstretched hand. The road you are on is hard, bumpy and filled with holes but God’s love for you is strong, smooth and everlasting. And remember, it’s only temporary and He is always walking right beside you.

So feel His love and surrounding peace today. I promise the Holy Spirit inside of you knows exactly how you feel and He is letting God know even when you can’t tell Him. Take a deep breath of His love and relax in His grace. And as you go along your journey, remember to always be kind. It is a reflection of Christ in your inner being.

Compassion Encouragement

Happy Saturday Friends. I want to share some encouragement with you as we all need encouraging from time to time. Today I want us to think about how encouraging compassion can be for those who receive it as well as those who give it. It is a key component I believe of Christians, yet those who don’t really know Christ have the ability to have compassion as well. It is a gift from God.  I saw a video this morning that showed true care and compassion towards animals. For encouragement to our church family, my pastor’s has a daily devotion online since some are still on lockdown. This week he has been going through creation and how as creation was done, it was methodical. Each part of creation was essential to the next part of creation. For example the sun, moon and stars were created before much else was to establish the ability to mark time, and to give us light – a separation from all darkness. Plant life, which needed the light that was earlier created, was then created to sustain life that came after it as food supply and for the air we breathe. We breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plant life breathes in carbon dioxide and exhales oxygen. It is all important for survival. We support each other. And later animals were created right before man and man was created to care for the animals. Of course that changed with the fall but the intent was care, compassion…and mutual love.

While Genesis 1:26 reminds us that we have dominion over animals, Proverbs 12:10 reminds us to do it with compassion.

I am always encouraged when I see people going above and beyond in caring for animals who find themselves in a no win situation. The video below shows the compassion of a group of men who found a dolphin that had been washed up by Hurricane Laura landing the dolphin in a pond 9 miles away from the ocean. They came together to safely capture the dolphin and take it back to the ocean. It was most encouraging.


https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/video/hurricane-lauras-storm-surge-traps-bottlenose-dolphin-miles-from-the-ocean

God made us all with compassionate hearts towards His creation, not only to the nature side but also to the human side. Where would any of us be without the compassion from others. WE all have struggles. The definition of compassion is a strong deep feeling of sympathy and sorrow for anyone or any creature who is hurting in any fashion. Jesus is our greatest example for us to learn by, as He was compassion for us and taught us how to have compassion and use it to further His kingdom.

When we think of the compassion God always has towards us, we should embody that compassion for others. We should always be on the alert to share His love in any encounter we may face. We all know many friends or family members right now who are fighting health issues, hurting emotionally, scared, wondering what’s next and we should always be ready to reach out to all of them to let them know we are here ready to help in any way we can and that we are to fervently pray for them. Tonight, I lift my heart out to all who are hurting in any way and hope this prayer below brings you a  moment of encouraging peace and compassion. 

And as sad or hopeless you may feel, know there is always kindness out there for you to receive and share wherever you can. Sometimes it needs to start from you first and then blossom to a beauty you didn’t know existed.

Never, A Christian Perspective

The word NEVER is an absolute value even though it has nothing to do with math. And when we hear the word never we think of negative actions like “I will never”. In math, a true absolute value removes any negative sign in front of a number making it a positive value. I could not wrap my head around that when I was in college 50 years ago so I surely can’t do it now but…it makes perfect sense when we think of Jesus.

He will NEVER leave you…that is about as positive as you can get. It was so important for God’s people to understand this idea that so He said it again 2 verses later.

Even as far back as Genesis, God reminded us that He would always take care of us. He always honors His promises.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us again….

All through the Bible, we are reminded that he will never leave us – Joshua 1:5, Psalms 94:14, Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 28:20, Revelation 3:10, just to name a few. It is important we do not lose hope when the world blows up around us. He is there, sometimes carrying us when we don’t realize it. There is a new song on the radio that when it comes on, I sing it out loud and raise my hand out the car window. It was written by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton sings a duet with him. I will post it at the end if you care to listen but I wanted you to read a few of the words because the song talks about us straying as we do sometimes …but even then He never leaves us.


There Was Jesus

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus  

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I’ve been or where I’m going
Even when I didn’t know it
Or couldn’t see it
There was Jesus 


 No, I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You’re always there


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BU0P19V_EFs
Always remember He is as close as your reach so let that fill you with hope to face whatever you have to face and try to do it with kindness.

Have a blessed day.

What Defines Us

We are defined not by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens to us.

In a Oswald Chambers’ devotion, he made a statement that I knew but he shed a different light on it that I had not thought about before now.

“Our Lord’s temptations and ours are in different realms until we are born again and become His brothers. The temptations of Jesus are not those of a mere man, but the temptations of God as Man.” Oswald Chambers  

When I look at it that way it makes me go – WOW. Temptation to me is an inner draw toward something we think we need but know in the end, if we really think about it, it will not be good for us.  It’s a trial, as it were, of free will in being faithful or unfaithful in a choice that affects you and possibly others. But James 1:13-18 reminds us that while temptations give into sin and sin gives birth to death, God’s perfect gift from above still shows how much he loves us…even when we fail.

But the statement that Oswald made that made a lightbulb come for me was this…

“satan does not tempt us just to make us do wrong things— he tempts us to make us lose what God has put into us through regeneration, namely, the possibility of being of value to God. He does not come to us on the premise of tempting us to sin, but on the premise of shifting our point of view, and only the Spirit of God can detect this as a temptation of the devil.” Oswald Chambers

But we can take courage in whatever we face because of what Jesus did for us on the cross…  

WE just have to remember that and stand firm…knowing at times we will fail…but God also knew we would fail, yet still He gave us a chance for eternal life.

It reminds me of the TV show years ago called Mission Impossible and the opening statement of each show saying – “If you choose to accept this mission”. Following Christ to me is very much a mission and we are in a mission field. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose but we are always loved…and saved. So come on everyone…

Sing praises to Him who Gives us HIS grace and let that be what defines you.

And he does not care if you can sing or not, it’s all joyful noise to Him.

Ans as always we close with reminders of Kindness. Kindness definitely defines who you are by how you react, so be kind.

The images I use are random pictures from the internet when I type in scripture verses or themes.

Evening Encouragement, Change

Good evening. Tonight I had a Zoom Bible study meeting. It makes me acutely aware of how much I miss Sunday School. And it’s not just Sunday School but how I miss seeing everyone, seeing how they are doing, getting hugs and all the loving things we do as a church family. I miss the family but I am ever so thankful for today’s technology helping us stay as connected as much as we can. In the late 90s, Tim LaHay and Jerry Jenkins wrote a series about the end times called the Left Behind Series. I thought this series was great and I ended up with the entire series, except for the two they wrote after the series was complete that talked about what was going on before being left behind. I bring this series up because when it was written 25 years ago, technology was not what it is today and the people in these books were able to connect with each other worldwide through satellites – well, that was fiction then but true life today. Our world has become very small with the abilities of computers today. But even though the world is changing around us – God and His promises never change.

The bible reminds us over 20 times through old and new testament that not only do His purposes never change, He himself does not change.

And in a world that sometimes seems crazy and  scary with it’s fast changes, we have the security of knowing HE NEVER CHANGES.
John starts off his book reminding us who God was, what the Word was and who Jesus was.

Then later when chaos was everywhere and fear was running rampant, the writer of Hebrews reminded the people of Jesus being God and He never changes.

That gives us great relief, courage, faith and hope in understanding that no matter how bad it may get, whether it be from a virus, conflicts or the sheer feeling of hopelessness, God is always there. I love the footprint message that reminds us how much He loves us.

So remember that He is always by your side, just reach up and He will grab your hand.

And as always, I remind you the value and power of kindness as it reflects the living expression of God’s love.

Things That Bring Us Peace, FOTD

This morning is another beautiful day. I walk around my small yard and thoroughly enjoy the peace God put there for me to see.

Especially after a night of police chases down our quiet street…twice. Proof that satan is busy all around us and now more than ever we need the rest and peace of Christ. Sarah Young reminds us this morning in her devotional Jesus Calling of the importance of resting in Him. Through the quiet restful time devoted to God we find His peace and love. He wants us to know how very much he loves us and it breaks his heart when we feel unworthy of His love. He said we were worth it and that we should never feel that we are not.

He will rejoice over you with His love

I think we sometimes gets caught up in idea that we need to earn our love from Him but with Him His love is boundless. And He loved us long before we started doing any type of work.

So I encourage you today to take joy in His love for you and let His light warm your soul.

And may He bring you Peace.

I leave you with some more beauty from my yard to enjoy Cee’s Flower of the Day. Flowers do make me smile and remind me of God’s love for us. And if they are fragrant, that is even better.

And as always, I remind you of the beauty and magic of kindness.