Too Busy

Too many times I have heard it said that “If you are too busy to spend time with God, then you are just plain too busy. Slow down.

God reminds us through His Word that He just wants to walk by you side being close. He wants an intimate relationship with each of us.

In today’s devotion of Quiet Times with God, we are reminded of the intimacy we should have with God. Normally when we think of intimacy, we think of the husband and wife bedroom scene, but intimacy is so much more than that. You can be intimate with someone from across the room. Webster define intimacy as something of a personal or private nature. I think it is knowing someone so well that you can speak volumes with them without saying a single word or making a single sound.

“Each of us can be as close to God as we want to be; it all depends on how much time we are willing to put into developing our relationship with Him.” Quiet Times With God, Joyce Meyer

Developing any type of relationship with a person or animal requires time. You are not allowed to be too busy or it just wont work. If we think our relationship with Jesus is not that important, we would be the losers of the equation, for…

Spending time with Jesus is probably the single most important relationship you could ever have. That makes it personal then it fills us with the assurance of His love.

So I remind you of God’s individual love for each of us. It is always available if we just SLOW down enough to enjoy its benefits. And as you do, remember one of the attributes of this love is kindness. Kindness is something that can be shared with man or beast and has the potential to send out roots of kindness out to others in distant places.

Always Be Kind

His Reach, Our Perseverance

I wanted to share the words of my devotional this morning from “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers. We sometime have life forces pounding on us that seem more than we can stand. We are moaning “enough”. But Oswald reminds us…

Perseverance means more than endurance, more than simply holding on until the end. Oswald Chambers

Revelations is a book of hope reminding us that we can survive this life if we just hold o and trust Him.

“A person’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something we can not see, but our Lord continues stretching until His purpose is in sight, then he lets the arrow fly.” Oswald Chambers

Even though we feel we can take no more, if we continue to maintain an intimate relationship with Christ our faith in Him will help us persevere.

“Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion. It is a strong and vigorous confidence built on God’s love for us.” Oswald Chambers

“The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering.” Oswald Chambers

So as you face the trials of this life, raise and uplifted hand above and I promise He has a hand reaching down to you to help you survive. He never puts more on us than we can tolerate.

And in closing I remind us all of the power of kindness. Kindness has a power of strength that can not be measured and it can sometimes be the one thing that helps us survive, whether we give it or receive it.

Reach out to be kind.

Remembrance

More Than a Shell

I agree it seems to be an empty shell, a housing we knew and loved so well

I remember back through all the years, the happy times and a mix of tears

I remember the beauty of it adorned, now I look down at it and mourn

Beauty was seen inside and out, always a safe place with danger about

So I come today to bid you adieu, memories I have being filled by you

Comforted now by knowing this peace, the love you shared will never cease

Farewell Mom as you now leave us, feel love and peace in the arms of Jesus

Life has many different emotions we have to face and the death of those we love is probably the hardest. But we can feel the peace we know is there when we are filled with the hope of seeing them again. To those who have recently lost loved ones, my heart goes out to you. May the peace of Christ fill you with his peace and love.

And remember even in our dark times, the use of kindness can reach out and touch hearts in an amazing way.

Always be Kind

Basic Needs

The advertisers across the globe will argue with you and confuse you as to the difference between want and need. That brand new sparkly shinny thing you just have to have is a want and it is their job to explain to you why you NEED it.

According to some reports I have read, there are five basic needs for all living creatures – air, water, food, shelter & safety. Every living thing including plants need these things. But I find it interesting that even with these things met, a basic need not mentioned, that if never met, will result in death. So what is the most valued basic need? Love.

Galatians reminds us of the fruits of the spirit and at the top of the list is Love, because without love, the rest won’t work. You can’t have Joy without love, you cant have peace without love, you cant have patience without love…and so on and so on…

I remember a horrible song we sang as kids that we laughed about but as an adult, I wonder how many kids felt like this song : Nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna go eat worms. Gross. But it is true. All living creatures need love and affection. We see pictures on Facebook all the time about animals cuddling up to another animal of a different specie just to get some love. They get it.

Biblical scriptures remind us over and over about the importance of love…then Jesus demonstrated a love we could not fully comprehend but are so thankful for. The 15th chapter of John has so many wonderful ways of telling us about this profound love that is available to all living being.

And by abiding in him does not mean Him being over us but beside us…as friends. He wants the type of close relationship with us that you would have with a best friend. One where we feel comfortable to go to him when life is fun, when life is sad, or when life is scary.

And look again at all the attributes of that Love : Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith, Gentleness and Self Control.

Kindness is an attribute. I push for in all I do and I add it to every post to remind us all of its value. Sharing a little kindness is sharing a little love.

So, Always be kind!

Maundy Thursday

Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday is the Thursday before Easter. Maundy is derived from the Latin word for “command,” and refers to Jesus’ commandment to the disciples to “Love one another as I have loved you.” He showed his disciples his servant love by washing their feet and having one last meal together known as the last supper. This is the time that Jesus told the disciples of his death, and that one of them would betray him. They still at this point did not see the big picture or the purpose of Jesus’ mission. I have always wondered if the angels understood what was happening. They are messengers and do the tasks needed as directed by God. But do they see the big picture. We know they were joyous at his birth but did they understand the purpose of his death? I have written a fictional short story to give ideas of what I think may have gone on. Please do not be offended by my imagination, it is not meant to prove any point of truth but only to spark a question of wonder what they were going through.

A Celestial Perspective

Over in the corners you could hear all of their hushed and frantic whispers. “Did you hear what they said He was going to do?”

“Yes. This makes no sense. Why is He doing this? He knows that all He has to do is call us and we would be there in an instant,” one angel said. “Legions of us.”

“I am going to disrupt this nonsense right now,” said a large, impressive angel with brilliant white wings and flowing robes.

“No. Stay your thoughts,” said the Father quietly as he raised a loving hand.  “While your motives may be admirable, they do not serve my purpose.”

“How can His dying serve a purpose?” the angel tried to lovingly argue as some other angels crumbled weakly on the floor. “These creatures are killing Him because of their ridiculous lies.”

“And you and He are…well, Father and Son. Don’t they understand who He is?” said another angel as he wrestled with the unfathomable actions they were all witnessing.

“You…He…are Elohim,” a different angel pleaded, “majestic ruler of all creation.”

“He is their Lord and Master as well. He is Yahweh. Don’t they see that?” pleaded yet another angel as he ran back and forth between watching and pleading at the throne.

“He is Adonai, creator of everything, the heavens, the earth, us…even them. He is in charge of all of creation. Don’t they get that? How dare they do this horrendous deed!” anguished another angel in tears.

“Are you seeing what they are doing?” they asked the Father as they huddled together, fearfully watching the events unfold.

“I cannot,” said the Father as he slowly and sadly turned His back.

“Then why?” they pleaded in total disbelief of what they were witnessing trying desperately to understand how this could ever serve a good purpose.

“It’s all part of the plan. It’s how it has to be,” the Father said quietly. “It’s the only way…for I love them. I must save them from themselves.”

The panicked murmurs stopped as they stood helplessly staring first at each other, then turning their attention down at the horror below. They moaned quietly, for over three hours, as they paced back and forth. Mentally they were not able to watch the entire event. With each passing minute of agony on the cross, they watched with fear and trembling as their beloved suffered, with an unattainable ability to understanding why.

Finally, just before Jesus took His last breath, they watched in anguish as he looked up to heaven and spoke one last time. “It is finished.” As His last words left his mouth, the air with them flew to the heavens and rushed past them. They could feel His love and warmth as the air flew by them and then circle around the throne.

“What was that?” an angel asked quietly as he looked toward the throne.

“His spirit,” said the Father with a deep sense of loss.

Shocked gasps went through the crowd of angels that were standing watching the earth below. Then in amazement, they watched as total chaos broke out with the earth splitting apar. Some of the buildings were crumbling and falling. And deep in the temple, the curtain that separated the sanctuary from Holy of Holies was ripped in two. This was a place of ultimate honor only used for the presence of God, and now it was destroyed.

The angels were scared, shocked and lost in knowing what to do as they slowly gather near the throne. “Now what?” one angel dared to quietly mutter.

“We wait,” was all the Father said as he quietly stood and left the throne room.

The angels looked at each other as the Father left the room. “Wait for what?” they bewilderedly asked each other.

So, the vigil of watching and waiting began of a cold tomb sealed with a large boulder. Each hour a different set of angels came to watch and wonder what was to happen. As day 1 slipped by in time, the angels quietly looked down in wonder of what possibly could happen. His spirit had returned. They felt it as it flew by them on its way to the throne. What were they waiting for? Their hearts were broken and sad at this tragic loss. And what did this mean for the Father. They thought they understood the Trinity. But now a part of it was no more. What did all of this mean?

Day two was more of the same as that of day 1. Quiet groups of angels changed places as they were watching and waiting. The quietness of heaven could be felt, as a coldness seemed to engulf them. And nothing was being heard, no sound at all. Total quiet stretched all through the mass existence of the heaven. The beauty and brightness were now dull and lifeless.

Before the light of dawn broke for the third day, they were all quickly and quietly summoned to the throne. They stood with bated breath as the Father began to speak. There was light back in His eyes. There seemed to be joy back in His voice. He spoke of renewal, of new life, a new beginning. The Son was not gone but was very much still alive. He would come out from the tomb before the dawn broke. The warmth of heaven began to be felt again and joyous melodies were again being heard throughout all of heaven.  The Father spoke of important tasks for his angels, as key messengers would be needed. He would need two to three angels to roll away the stone for the Son to emerge out from the tomb. Then He would need one or two angels to remain behind to meet the women that at that moment were on their way to the tomb. The proper burial rights were not made per their customs and the women knew it was a must to perform this duty.  And they were chosen to be the first to know the great news. They were the first to witness and to inform the others that a new way of life had begun.

The brightness and love of heaven was again making its presence known as some of it reflected its way down to earth in the brightness of a new day. But earth itself had no clue what was about to happen. The people had no clue of the beauty that was about to be witnessed on earth. They had no clue of the tasks that were now ahead of these men and women, these followers of Jesus. They had no clue of how God’s love would now always be there for them. They had no clue of their importance of spreading the good news of a joyous way of life. They all had no clue of the love and joy that was about to surround the earth, and always be available to anyone just for the asking. They just had no clue.

Each angel had hoped that they would be one of those chosen for these magnificent tasks. Their joys and duties of heaven were now fully back in place. Light was flashing all through heaven and the sounds of rejoicing echoed everywhere. But the angels still wondered…who would be that extra special angel that would get to announce…     “He is not here. He has risen.”  Matthew 28:6

Today the earth is still unsure of the beauty and majesty that happened on that third day when the announcement was made, and the time of newness had begun.  All of mankind would now be able to feel the love of God when they allow Him to dwell within their hearts.  From that day onward they would also be able to share in the beauty and rejoicing of heaven.

People, even back then, did not understand that this new beginning is also the beginning of the end. The beginning of the end when Jesus again would, one day, come back to earth to start His reign. People today, still do not understand this phenomenon of love that one day will come. This day will be a time of separation of hearts, a time when astounding love will fill the earth as it does in heaven for all of those willing to accept it. This love was God’s initial plan.

Remember the importance of today as it starts a chain of heart breaking events that ends in a glory we could never fully comprehend. Have a safe and blessed Easter and remember as always to show the kindness as Christ did in giving us salvation when we did not deserve it.

Evening Encouragement, Focus

Good evening friends. This week is Holy Week and all of us are all looking forward to Easter.  Since we have been locked down since Easter last year, we are looking all the more readily at Easter this year as a renewal; a new start. But we must make sure our new start is safe. Carelessness got us as a world in a mess so we must remain focused on safety precautions. Today’s devotion in Quiet Times with God, asks the question – “Where is our focus?”  

I have been watching the series on The Chosen  on Up TV and every time someone portrays Peter, we see Peter’s impetuousness, not in a violent way but a passionate way. Peter flys by the seat of his heart. I think that is what Jesus knew about Peter. Jesus knew if He could ever get Peter to understand and follow through by focusing on His mission, there would be no stopping him.  And that pretty much was how it was, even though he lost his focus multiple times. The impetuous act that helps me the most with my focus is Peter trying to walk to Jesus on the water.  Matthew 14:28-30.

He believed! He knew….but he could not  maintain his focus on Christ.  I think we identify well with Peter because we see ourselves in him. We have a big advantage that Peter didn’t have, we have the Bible. But if we don’t stay focused on its teachings, we too will be easily distracted. Tonight’s words of encouragement in Jesus Calling Evening addition reminds us that circumstances of life can be scary, hard and seem dark beyond our capabilities to withstand.  But regardless of how it all may seem, God assures us it will be glorious and to be patient, have faith and trust God to do the  driving. 

Relax in His wonderful love and have a safe and peaceful evening.  As you breathe in his love and feel His peace come around you, remember to show kindness as God has shown us kindness.

And remember…God’s got this. 

By Faith…

Good evening friends. Hope you are well tonight. While it was a beautiful day in the midwest today, it’s still early spring yet, so I am not going to get too excited. I do have faith though, that spring will be here real soon.  When I think of reality of faith, the first thing that pops into my mind is Abraham.  He left family and country to follow God’s asking.

A life of faith is not a life of one glorious mountaintop experience after another, like soaring on eagles’ wings, but is a life of day-in and day-out consistency; a life of walking without fainting. Oswald Chambers

How many of us have felt like fainting but by some miraculous ability we remained standing. That’s when God shows up to hold us firmly in His grasps.  In reading the Proverbs 31 Ministry devotion this morning I was reminded of this concept in a different way. Think of a time when you were desperately tired. You have nothing left to give to another being, yet a need came up that you knew needed to be met. And from somewhere deep inside, you found the strength to meet this need. Sometimes, those are the situations where you see God’s intervention the most and you become as much, if not more than, blessed that you wonder if this was the initial reason the help being asked for. Maybe you needed the assurance God still held you close. For when you had nothing left to give…God did.

Remember the story of Jesus feeding the 5000? Do you remember what happened just before that? Jesus had sent out the disciples to go spread the word and they did. As they came back and told Jesus of their wonderful stories, he told them to come, go rest. But what happened? The people found them and followed them and Jesus felt compassion for the people. After teaching them he told the disciples to feed them.  What?? You know they looked at each other, possibly complaining of how tired they were. And now He wants us to feed them? From where? With what? There is one kid with enough sense to bring his own food and that won’t go far. But yet, they picked up 12 baskets of leftovers after feeding 5000. And lets us remember those counted were just the men. There were women and children there as well. Faith. How many times did Jesus ask his disciples “Where is your faith?”  How many times does He ask us? Where is our faith? When I look back over my life, I can visibly see the wonderful times He was there for me, but it usually all in hindsight. He never leaves us.

Tonight, we all have friends, family, fellow church members, people in our neighborhoods who are hurting, scared and who feel like fainting. Please lift them up in His precious name.  We all get weak in the knees from time to time and need His comforting arms surrounding us, holding us up.  Let’s stand together as God’s church, as we lift each other up in prayer.

I so enjoy finding these wonderful pictures on the internet with scripture on them as I am a major believer that pictures reach a thousand hearts and there are many hearts that need reaching across this world. It has been a rough year for all of us and many are still in lockdown. When we do start to emerge out of these forced cocoons, let us remember the beauty of kindness and how kindness gives us a chance to start fresh, regardless of the situation. Kindness is a reflection of God’s love and we can all use some of that.

Be safe and have a great weekend.

Not as Hard as You Think

Good evening friends. Hope you are all well. I read several devotions each day and scriptures to glean encouragement to share with my church and occasionally with you.  I don’t know if many of you read “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers but he is well worth taking the time to read. My oldest son, got me hooked on him by giving me his devotional book many years ago. Now I read him online. Today, Oswald reminds us that God uses the tiny things of our life to move us in the right direction for His purpose. 

I must begin to transform my natural life into spiritual life by obedience to Him. Oswald Chambers

I think there are times we feel defeated because of our thinking “how in the world can I rise myself up to this level of perfect holiness in the fear of God? 

Tonight I want to explain that concept but from a different angle.  If we look at the benefits we receive when we transform our worldly thoughts, making our motives more pure, it changes our perspective and our desire with us wanting to be more holy as He is holy.  And while we know this is what we should do … it can seem really hard.  So, I want to show you that it is not as hard as it seems. The world and the negative forces around us just want us to stay broken like they are broken. But 2 Corinthians  5:15, reminds us that in Christ we are a new creation. New…the old is gone..so see we can do this.

And in reality, we need to remember who really should be driving the life train…because when we drive it, we have a tendency to crash it. Not what we want and especially not what God wants. He has a purpose for us.

And since God did the choosing, that means we are part of His team. And I think we can all agree that this is a pretty awesome team to be a member of.

And we all know that we love hanging around with our friends. And if that concept is too casual for you, you can look at it like this – He is the King and we are all princes and princesses, for we are His children, working together to help purify His kingdom to come.

May you all have a safe and restful evening. Always remember how very much you are loved and always remember to be kind.

Connecting Power

Good evening friends. I normally don’t write on the weekends but I was so taken by this morning’s devotion in Jesus Calling that I wanted to share it with my additional thoughts. I have heard the thought of Jesus being God’s golden thread and todays devotion spoke of three intertwined golden threads. Ecclesiastes reminds us of strength three strands.

So in taking my mental picture combined with this devotion, I thought of the amazing strength of this golden strand in this devotion of Waiting, Trusting  and Hoping, which to me equals faith. The center strand is Trusting.  Trust is the backbone of our faith. It is the one attribute God requires the most. For without trusting in God, what would be the purpose in believing in God. Waiting and Hoping wrap themselves around the central stand of trust adding the support need to maintain our connection to God. If we say we are waiting on the Lord’s help but don’t really have our eyes on him, then we don’t really have trust in him. And while hope really refers to our inheritance in heaven, the three strands are intrinsically tied together to bring us hope and peace; Peace being another cord connected to our faith.

Waiting strengthens our trust, broadens our hope and fills us with peace.

“Always wait expectantly, in hopeful trust.” Sarah Young

Remember He is there right beside you. Believe in the power and comfort of the connecting strand.

I sincerely hope you have a wonderful weekend and I remind you as ever to show the power of kindness. Even when our strand seems to be tight, it is strong. So reflect the kindness you are being show by your connection.

A Heavenly Vision

Good evening friends. What a beautiful day we had in Iowa today. I spent 2 hours in wonderful sunshine and 50 degree temps racking my yard from all the winter gifts left by my dogs. There was just too much ice for me to risk doing it earlier, but now the snow has finally melted. And the vision I see in my yard is starting to turn green with ideas for planting already starting.

 I was touched by my devotion this morning in “My Utmost for His Highest”.  Oswald Chambers reminded us of Paul’s conversation that he had with King Agrippa. Paul had been falsely accused in hopes to kill him but was passed around from Governor Felix, then his successor Governor Festus and then he was sent before King Agrippa. First Paul explained that he had done nothing wrong or worth a death penalty, either against the Jewish synagogue or against Caesar. Then Paul explained to the King about his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and he closed with this statement…

Jesus had given Paul a heavenly vision of what he need him to do, where before he was doing what he thought was right per the teaching he had learned.

As Oswald’s devotion reminds us, if we are not careful, we can lose our heavenly vision, usually if we become stagnant and are not growing spiritually. Our spiritual growth depends solely on us. In our bible study last night we talked some about how wrong teachings pull us away from the truths of God. But if we are earnestly searching for the truth, through the scriptures, which is the truth, God will open and close doors to make sure we go through the correct doors. We have to keep the heavenly vision given by God in front of us.

“If we lose “the heavenly vision” God has given us, we alone are responsible— not God. ” Oswald Chambers.

I think the proof in maintaining our heavenly vision rests on how we live our everyday lives. Are we reflecting the heavenly vision we say we have? Through this past year, I have seen many people who are reflecting that vision. Sometimes you have to see people go through a storm to realize exactly where their vision lays. Sometimes the storm moves us to a different spot so that we can grow and spread the heavenly vision there. Think how the disciples got scattered. They all ran due to the storm of persecution but look how they scattered the seeds of Christ. They knew what the vision was. And I think you can actually boil that vision down to a single word…Love.

In the NIV version of the Bible, the word Love is said 551 times…I think that means it’s pretty important. We are starting to open up a bit in Iowa. People are feeling more safe, vaccinations are more available, deaths and sickness are slowing down and we are starting to come back to church, to work, to schools and to our lives. We have learned a lot this past year, mostly about what is truly important, family, kindness, helping others. We must not forget the lessons we have been taught through this pandemic. But we also must remember to always reflect our heavenly vision so that we can show others how to have a heavenly vision as well. We must continue to be in prayer for each other and to help when we can. We must remember to walk in his light so we can show others how to walk walk in the light.

And in all things we must always be kind because kindness is a true heavenly vision for all to be able to find peace.