Nightly Encouragement, Laughter

Recently we started a new out-reach with our church to do evening encouragements. Normally people do morning encouragements to help get your day going but with Covid still among us and seeming growing for a second wave, we felt like all of our members could use some encouragement at the end of the day so yesterday we rolled out the Nightly Encouragements. The pictures are not mine but found on Christian websites that matched the message of encouragement I am trying to share. Tonight we are discussing the value of laughter. My hope is that if you decide to read on, that you are in some way encouraged to stand firm for another day.

In a time such as this, where we are weighed down with life around us…we need some laughter. We have been told laughter is the best medicine but laughter has many documented medical benefits as well.

laughter

But better than that, the bible tells us laughter is good medicine…
cheerful heart
The benefits of laughter make us glad….brings us joy…and make us smile..
Psalm-on-Laughter
When we are filled with joy, we are kinder people. When we are filled with joy, we reflect the love of Christ.  So, let us always be filled with Christ and reflect His grace.
 
God's love
Even when times are tough, things look bad, you can’t see a way out…remember God is always there. He is our rock that we stand on, our hope that we cling to and our peace that knows no other understanding except Christ alone. I leave you with this prayer in hoping a bountiful measure of blessing gets poured on you and your family.
God
sleep well
And as always…try to be kind
kind smile

Time for Christians to Pray

Good evening friends and welcome to a new month. My hope and prayer is June will be a more gentle and loving month than May seemed to be. We are jumping from the fire of Covid-19 to the frying pan of chaos right now in this country, a frying pan that has no business being used as its main focus is to divide and destroy. So much chaos, so much anger, so much fear and so much destruction even through the smaller towns. We will be under curfew until this meanness goes away and who knows how long that will take. In Davenport last night there were two deaths and 4 injuries. One death was innocent 21 year old bystander buying groceries for a friend at Walmart, such a waste.

In my devotion this morning from My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald made a profound statement that is so relevant for today’s mindset in the USA.

“God’s Spirit continually reveals to His children what human nature is like apart from His grace.” Oswald Chambers  
Read that again and understand its meaning. Without God’s control, the devil runs amuck.
 

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The chaos is so far out of control from the original reason of the anger and has swelled to an ideal by those whose purpose is to divide and destroy. It has turned into a chaotic dragon and in my opinion the church on its knees is the only hope of this dragon being lassoed so that God will come back in and control that dragon. And by church I don’t mean the Catholic church or the Baptist church or the Methodist church…I mean God’s church. Those who loved the Lord, His word and follow His teachings.
2 Chronicles 7:14 says if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
It is a fearful time but our faith in God proves who is ultimately in control.

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But we must do our part, we must remain strong. We are God’s church, His masterpiece of all things good.

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We can help spread God’s light to those who live in the darkness and those who do not understand the power of the darkness as it engulfs them into evil ways.

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So during this time of chaos, be strong in prayer and allow your light of Christ to shine brightly from you.

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And even in the midst of chaos, be kind when you can.
Kind breeze

The Guiding Spirit

Good morning friends. Hope you are all well this morning. Do you ever have those times where you have understood for a long time meanings of certain scriptures but then you read a verse and a new understanding shows itself…a light bulb moment as it were.

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I think this is how God uses His word to keep us be refreshed and on track, always learning something new…that we already knew one small part of it. Today’s devotion with My Utmost for His Highest was concerning the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. We know the disciples had to wait in Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit arrived but the dots for me didn’t fully connect on Jesus having to be Glorified first before that could happen. He even told Mary to not hold him as he had not returned yet to the Father.  I have always known Jesus was fully God and fully man and considered him our glorious Lord…but not at this point.  The Holy Spirit was not given because Jesus had not ascended and was not yet glorified. 
John 7 39
But Paul explained to the people during Pentecost what they were now seeing and hearing. The Holy Spirit was now being given freely to all of those who believed, about 3,000 that day, with growing numbers even today to where God’s love and Spirit covers the world to those who believe. We are reminded in today’s devotion that once the Holy Spirit was let lose into this world, it has remained forever.
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Even Isaiah told us this was going to happen nearly 800 years prior to it happening.
Isaiah 44 3
“The attitude of receiving and welcoming the Holy Spirit into our lives is to be the continual attitude of a believer.”  Oswald Chambers 
 
Some think that when we die, we then live on in eternity but I think eternity is now and how we need to live day to day with the guiding of the Holy Spirit.
 
eternal life
So breathe in today his love and allow the Spirit to guide you as you go.
Gal 5 25
Remember as you follow this spirit filled direction that God’s love is leading you on, His love for you is strong, so bring in this love and share it with others and always be kind.
God love ocean
kindness 19

The Value and Power of Prayer

Good morning friends. I hope you had a good holiday yesterday. I was glad the rain held off here as I was able to play outside.

My Pastor has been doing a daily devotion on line where he is going over the Lord’s prayer slowly to help us understand the intricate details of its meaning. I want to piggy-back on that slightly as today’s devotion in My Utmost for His Highest was “Thinking of Prayer as Jesus Taught”.
“Our thinking about prayer, whether right or wrong, is based on our own mental conception of it. The correct concept is to think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts. Our blood flows and our breathing continues “without ceasing”; ”  Oswald Chambers
 
Therefore…
pray without ceasing 1 thessalonians 5 17

 

Prayer is not an exercise, it’s a valuable privileged. A privilege we do not use enough, at least I don’t. We need to be aware of the distractions that get in our way of praying and be fully aware of prayer’s power when released. I think we forget with the business of life, just how much power is in prayer.
seek

 

There may seem like times when God didn’t answer our prayer but scripture never says anything about unanswered prayer. God answers all prayer, we just may not understand His answer but we must believe in its truth. God sees what is best for us and His love is even stronger than anything we know; He only wants what is best for us.
His purpose

 

So feel encouraged today knowing that He listens to every prayer. Even those prayers  you can not mutter for the pain you may be feeling. He knows them before we say them. He just wants us to have the courage to ask for His help.

Phil 4 6 7

May you have a blessed day and as always, be kind.

Kind breeze

Trusting God in Crisis

Good morning friends. Hope you are doing well. Today looks to be a beautiful day, so lets see what God brings our way. I write this Words of Encouragement each morning for my church family to help lift their spirits through this time of trial where we are staying at home and thought today’s message may help others feel God’s peace.
 

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Trust...what a hard word. When I think of trust, I think of things that I am certain will benefit me or that I know fully what will happen. Today we are fighting over the trust of political issues, concern of trusting our own instincts over daily situations, trusting we will be safe going to the grocery store…and trusting that God sees all, knows all and loves all. And guess what…He does, He is our rock of trust with which to stand firm.

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I love some of the pictures I have seen on Facebook with Satan yelling at Jesus in how this pandemic closed the churches and Jesus quietly replies that the church is not the building but is in my people and that His church is ever strong. When we look around at how through technology we are spreading the love of Christ and how people who never bothered to pray before are now praying. The church is alive and well.

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God will use whatever situation we find ourselves in to accomplish his goal. He will continue to patiently wait to see what direction we chose at the fork in the road and then guide us to benefit us and His kingdom.

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Jesus Calling  devotion this morning reminds us that if we trust God…really trust God with our entire being, then nothing can separate us from His peace. This is how we foil evil, by growing in grace through the very adversities meant to bring us harm.

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So do not fear any day as it comes your way but relax in His sovereignty knowing that he is holding your hand and will bring good out of every situation you will encounter.

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As you begin to trust, remember to be kind to those who are still trying to trust.

Kind words

Hope, A Misunderstood Word

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Hope?

Man, I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow. I sure hope I can find a close parking space at the mall. Or how about – I hope I can lose this weight after Christmas or I hope this growth isn’t cancer. Many thoughts toward the word called hope. The dictionary beaks it down like this:

1 – to cherish a desire with anticipation to want something to happen or be true
2 – trust
3 – to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment

One word in that group stood out for me – Cherish

1 – to hold dear feel or show affection for
2 –  to keep or cultivate with care and affection 
3 –  to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely

When we think of hope from a Christian perspective it takes on a whole different meaning. I think what tends to happened with any language or word of power in any language is that we get complacent of its meaning and its power.

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In Sarah Young’s devotional book Jesus Calling, she reminds us that many Christian’s today misunderstand the word hope believing it to denote wishful thinking. And I agree with her statement of  ‘Nothing could be further from the truth.’

Christians believe that once we accept the Son as our savior, we replace the fears of hell with the longings of heaven. We then have the hope of heaven that strengthens us and encourages us, filling us with a yearning for God, our creator, our protector, our savior.

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The phrase hope of heaven highlights the benefits you can enjoy while remaining here on earth. This hope keeps you spiritually alive during dark times of adversity; it brightens your path and heightens your awareness of God.”

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Hope, while it is not tangible to physically hold onto with your hands, it can be felt in your heart. What a powerful gift from God to bring us love, joy and peace…hope.

Now that the Christmas season is upon us, spread that power of hope around and let your kindness be full. Let the love of Christ shine brightly in all that you do.

Kind light

 

 

In Olden Times, the Love of Christmas

Tonight I am sharing a memory of my youth. A wondrous time at Christmas when the majority of our small town was Christian and the separation of church and state did not exist. A time when Christmas decorations depicting the birth of Jesus lite the lawns of most houses remembering the reason for the season.

Our college at that time at that time was still relatively small and still called a college. Its front campus was on the main street in town so a lot of traffic went by it on a daily basis. Today it has grown to university status but I remember stories way back in the day from my grandmother who went there when it was an all women’s prep school. Time changes all things but it is important to remember and hold on to these memories and to hold fast to the important things and traditions of life.

On the front of the school lawn of the college in the mid 50s through the mid 60s a life size nativity scene graced the lawn from Thanksgiving to New Years day. I am posting two pictures, one being day time so you can get a visual of just how big it was – I mean life size camels as well as people – and then one at night to show you the beauty of it. I was sad when they no longer put it out and did not understand why. Now I think it is sad but it is the world we live in today. So I share with you a wonderful memory of my youth and hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

VSU Nativity day

VSU Nativity

Fandango’s Friday Flashback, 11/22/19

I find it kind of interesting as this is only my second year at blogging and while I have learned better what to do, I am still green as a gourd with blogging skills. I do find it encouraging that even at the beginning of blogging, my closing theme is still the same…Be Kind.

If you have been reading me lately, then you know I am all about Christmas at this time of year and this date 1 year ago was about…you guessed it, Christmas.

And Startup for Christmas Begins 11/22/18

Christmas is filled with religious meanings and family traditions that echo our love toward the season and mankind. There are many stories or ideals we all share that originally came from myth or folklore and then get sprinkled with embellishments that make us love the story or the tradition even more. One of these for me is the candy cane.

candy canes
Peppermint Candy Canes

There are so  many stories about the origin of this coming from a Christian perspective but they always seem to get debunked as untruths. Lets go through a few of these myths and at least enjoy them for the tale that they are.

In Germany over 250 years ago a white straight stick of candy was created for the supposed holiday season. There was some stories that were told the the white symbolized the purity of Christ but that evidently can not be substantiated. Then in 1670, in the USA, in the state of Indiana, a choirmaster made similar candy using the same symbol of white for purity but he added a “J” shape to the cane to represent the staff of a shepherd and the “J” of Jesus’ name. His thought was to give the children something to remember about Christ and to help keep them quiet during the nativity play.

It was not until the 1900’s that the stripes and the peppermint were added and the Christian meanings/myths were increased and are believed as true.

The white represents the purity of Christ. The “J” still represents the shepherd staff for us lost lambs and for his name as well. There are two types of stripes on the candy cane, a large thick stripe and three small thin stripes. The small stripes represent His scourging for by His stripes we are healed. I have also heard they represent the trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The large stripe represents His blood that was shed on the cross for us. The peppermint represents hyssop which was used as purity in biblical times.

I don’t understand why someone wants to worry so  much about proving the factual truth of a wonderful story concerning Christmas instead of enjoying the beauty it represents today. At the end of the day it is a candy cane. Especially when people use this to look for extra reason to show their love of Christ or find ways to energize the imagination of a child to help them understand the intricate details on the meaning of Christmas. It a joyous time of year. Have a candy cane.

And remember this season of thankfulness as it springboards us in the joyous season of Christmas. Its a time of year where we can share extra doses of kindness to all creation. Remember that no act of kindness is ever wasted but can create a ripple effect that spread across the world.

kind ripples
Be Kind

Morning Light for your Path

I enjoy sharing the peace I feel when studying Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. She has a wonderful way in telling God’s story that really connects with me each morning to help me get ready for the day. Today she reminds us of the peace we have in Christ.

Come to Me and rest in my peace. My face is shining upon you in rays of peace. What a wonderful way to start the day realizing and feeling his peace envelope us as we begin the challenges of the day. We all have challenges, some small some large. So lean on Christ and let his peace comfort and shine all around you.

May God be gracious to us and bless us and cause his face to shine upon us. Psalm 67:1

Make your face shine upon your servant; save me by your loving devotion. Psalm 31:16

My personal favorite – The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. Numbers 6:25

As Philippians say in 4:7, May the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

I hope this day brings you the brightest of His light and the comfort of His peace. And as stated often in scripture, greet each other in love and kindness and reflect the love of Christ.

kind ripples

World Communion Sunday

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WCS

World Communion Sunday is a celebration observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October, that promotes Christian unity and ecumenical cooperation. It focuses on an observance of the Eucharist – the sharing of the bread and wine as taught by Jesus, that we also call communion.

It was started in the 30’s by a Presbyterian minister and within 10 years was spread to many other Christian denominations and now is across the world giving us the opportunity to pray for all of our Christian brother and sisters across the world.

Our church chose 6 random countries from the list of International Missions and prayed for those countries and some of their Global Servants who work in those countries with love, education, rebuilding, medical needs or anything else that may be needed.  We will be praying for them for the month of October with an emphasis on Water as many countries do not have clean or sufficient water supplies but to also pray that the Living Water be spread through out the world. Below are the 6 countries we are focusing on as we pray also for Living Water to flood the earth. But remember this is only 6 out the 195 countries in the world today. Even in our own countries, prayer is needed to spread the Living Waters of Christ.

I have a challenge for anyone who would like to jump in. I have about 300 people who read my blog. If each person would take one country of your choice, even it’s your own,  and say a quick prayer for that country, then throughout the month think of other countries and say a quick prayer. They will not know you are praying for them but I promise those prayer will not be wasted. No prayer is ever wasted.

Another thing that is never wasted….kindness. Share kindness where ever you go and watch the ripple effect of it spread out from you.

kind ripples