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. 

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.

Who Holds Your Trust?

Good evening friends. Today was a beautiful day here in the midwest. I went to store with my window down and it felt fabulous. Now 50 degrees is not that warm but compared to -15, that’s 65 degree difference – a heat wave. Last week when we had negative temperatures and crazy wind chills, it was hard to trust we would have this warm a day so soon but here we are. Trust can be a fickle thing if you have it on the wrong thing.

Who or what do we really trust and depend on to carry us through this life?  Our job, our money or our friends can be gone in a matter of a single disaster.  Or maybe our trust is in ourselves, our education, our talents or our possessions. These also can be gone in an instant. Today’s devotion in Quiet Times with God reminds us how very important all of these things are but that we also must remember that these things are temporary. 

God is the only One who doesn’t change.  He alone is OUR Rock that can not be moved. JMeyer

We know that being children of God, He will deliver us from our current troubles.  This past year has been a huge worry all across this great planet. Then this winter has been extremely difficult all across the US.  But God will get us through it, as was evident today.

Trusting God believes that God is always there. He is always working with us, we just have to make sure that is where we place our trust, in Him alone.  Not an easy task for us on the surface but if we can get there….we will lose some things…like worry, anxiousness, fear and confusion.  There is a profound peace found when somebody else is taking care of things, someone you can fully trust.  God we can fully trust.

As you place all your trust in the Lord, remember the peace it brings you. With that peace, remember to show kindness with others who may not have placed their trust with the Lord yet. Maybe your kindness will be a reminder of where true trust should lay. So remember to always be kind.

Wholeness even with Brokenness

Good evening friends. Brokenness is an everyday occurrence, whether it be a physical item, an emotional  item or a spiritual item.  Today at church we had a physical item that was broken, the women’s handicap toilet broken and it was broken good.  A whole new toilet is on order. An item you don’t think of how important it is until you don’t have it.

Sometimes we don’t fully understand the value of an item until you lose it and again, it can be physical, mental or spiritual. But brokenness is not always a bad thing. Sometimes things have to get broken for us to see how flawed they were.  Then we have a better understanding of what unbrokenness is supposed to look like before we can enjoy the value of new unbrokenness. Isaiah and Revelation both talked about making things new, things better, things unbroken.

Sometimes, God will allow broken things to change our path, not that he causes them to break, but he uses the brokenness to help us understand how to come to a better conclusion and walk a new course. This past year we have felt a lot of brokenness but in reality, we have made new paths and in some cases better paths regardless of the brokenness and have newness in how we live.

There are many of us who feel broken in various ways. Our bodies are giving away, our hearts have seen too much trouble and we sometimes forget to listen to the still small voice that whispering His love  to us every day.  But the voice is still there, with an ever present promise to get us through this life to become a new creation alongside Him. So regardless of the fight you may be fighting, don’t lose heart. The main battle has already been won and we are anew in Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So lean back and take a big breath. And as you relax in the arms of Christ, feel the daily newness of His ever present love for each of us. That is our wholeness. Though we don’t really know what the newness will fully look like, we know it will be fabulous because He is fabulous and we are fabulous in Him.

And remember the beauty of showing kindness to others who feel broken. When we show kindness, we show the love of God. When we show the love of God we reflect how through Him, we are not broken but whole, surviving and loved. Share the newness of unbrokenness, its cool.

Today is the fourth day of Lent and as we head toward Easter, I thought I would also post the message from Our Daily Bread devotion.

Day 4 of Lent: Forgive my hidden sins.

How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.

Psalm 19:12–13

Some Evening Encouragement

Today was a good reminder that after the storm…the sun will shine again. Even though it is cold. Outside of my office against the building is a small raised garden. It stands about 3 feet high, about two feet deep and runs underneath the entire window of my office. It’s where my one bird feeder is that you see occasional pictures of birds and squirrels from my office. The way the wind blows in that courtyard shows a good example why the weathermen were cautioning about the blowing snow. The drift was the height of the wall of the garden.

But it was the small angel statue holding the little bird that caught my eye. All around the angel and the area around the bird, there was no snow. Evidently as the wind would hit the face of the little statue, it would push back against the snow not allowing it to come too close, as if protecting the tiny bird it is holding.

A reminder that while the storms of life may seem to rage around us, we are cared for.

Songs of deliverance, songs of protection, songs of peace, love and care. Songs of the Lord.

Today’s post was more pictures, some I took and some from the internet, but sometimes pictures say more than words. Feel safe and protected in His arms and always remember to be Kind and further reflect His song.

A New Look for Christmas

New Look

Christmas is coming but it will be sad you see

It will seem empty, like the Charlie Brown tree

There will be no traveling or family good cheer

No hugging at church to wish in a new year

But the people of Whoville seemed to have it right

For they dance and sang around the tree so bright

Christmas is still coming even with a virus so bad

It’s coming even though we are depressed and sad

I encourage you to feel the love of this great season

For it was Christ that came to give us the reason

The reason we love to make all this fuss

Is because we believe in the Magic of Christmas

This is a monumental and challenging year especially now at Christmas. But we can’t let this virus and fear define us. We can still wave at a distance, give lots of air hugs, and remember we all have many things to be thankful for. Do I make light of the situation we are in as a world people, by no means. I spent my concerning time in quarantine, I am fully aware of the danger, the risks and the possible outcomes. At my age it is even more dangerous but I refuse to not shine my light of love and kindness in the ways that I can that are safe. This year in defiance of being shut up inside, I decorated two weeks earlier and added another tree…in my bathroom. That brings me to 4 trees. Since my bathroom has a beach theme, so does the tree. So I have posted my pictures below and hope you enjoy with a smile. Do we need to be careful, yes, but do we need to be sad, no, disappointed, yes but this hopefully won’t last much longer. So spread your cheers through the cyber ways, enjoy this wonderful season and always be kind.

Our Firm Foundation

Good evening friends. Tonight we are reflecting on this past year and WOW…what a year. Definitely a year for t-shirt recognition…

Or here in the US we had a toilet paper crisis….even now I don’t understand that and now its all paper products are scarce.

Putting aside all joking, this has been a rough year. The isolation had been detrimental to our elderly, people who are social butterflies have not done well, jobs have been lost and the tensions in our homes is high. But on the flip side there has been some good with it all. We have learned that those who are able can in fact work just fine from home. Some people’s stress level has lowered and they have rediscovered themselves, and gotten reconnected with their families and some have reconnected to or just now connected with God. I have always been a believer that God will get your attention one way or another and while, I do not believe God caused this virus, I do believe God will use circumstances around us to help us learn or relearn to refocus on Him. In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he explained that there would be times of suffering but that the Lord would always rescue us…maybe not how we envision to be rescued but rescued nonetheless.

All through the scriptures, we are reminded of the importance of a firm foundation which allows us to stand firm and that foundation for Christians is Jesus Christ. He is the rock that can not be broken.

So I encourage you tonight to stand on the rock we know is firm and stand tall. We will get through this mess, all of it, together, and hopefully somewhere we will recognize God’s might and love as He pours it out for us. Click on the link below and listen/watch the video of a version of Christ the Solid Rock. The song is beautiful but the videos of nature are amazing. I think you will enjoy it and be encouraged by God’s beautiful creation. And as always, remember to be kind.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCuOW6bdfMU

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.