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.

Covid Halloween

This Halloween is really different this year with a heightened sense of awareness and skin crawling possibilities. A day Hollywood loves to capitalize on by finding ways to scare us which, for some unknown reason, we seem to love…some of us anyway. I have a large aversion to Halloween, mostly because of some experiences I had when I was a young adult but am willing to do the Trunk or Treat at the church giving children an alternative with safety.

American Halloween started as a way to celebrate the harvest but as more immigrants  came, they brought their customs and the pagan traditions like Samhain from Ireland and Scotland which honored the harvest and the dead, with people dressing up like dead people demanding sweet treats. This year Halloween also has an extra factor to make your skin crawl a bit as it’s a Blue Moon. All that really means is that it is the rare phenomenon of a second full moon in one month. First one for this month was on October 1st. 

This picture from the internet even looks creepy with the tree silhouette against a blue colored moon.  But with the year we have had, a blue moon and in America we add in a time change, making for a night of things that seem fearful. So tomorrow we are having a fun drive thru instead of the normal walk thru for the kids to give them a different version of Halloween, and of course there is lots of candy. Due to Covid concerns, we were told to display a purple pumpkin to show that we were Covid compliant and that we are as safe as possible…so I give you the purple family with all their best smiles.

But I want to remind you as well of beauty we can also have in not having to be fearful.

With all the craziness of Covid right now, all over the world, we can lean on Christ and let him relieve us of our fears letting him drive the car for awhile. There is an old story I love that reminds of how Jesus rides in our cars; we can zoom by him leaving him standing on the side of the road, not getting any advantage of his wisdom or we can stop and pick him up, put him in the back seat and listen to the wisdom we want to listen to ignoring the rest OR… we can drive up, slide over into the passenger seat and let him drive. Although that is the hardest way…I think it is probably the preferred way.

But in all things that you do remember to always do them with Kindness as kindness is a true reflection of Love, and Love is a true reflection of God.

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.

Negative to Positive

Good evening family. I sincerely pray you are doing well, even those who are really struggling, I pray you can find joy and peace in His presence. I read something last week and caught myself needing it today so I had to check myself.  In Jesus Calling, Sarah Young made the comment of how easy it is to become negative when life explodes around us. We all have those moments where we just vent before exploding and we jump on the negative train as it starts to barrel down the mountain. If we don’t stop the train quickly it will spiral downward gaining momentum and darkening our perspective and possibly ending in an ugly mess at the bottom.

It is hard to not be negative when nothing seems to be going right around us but God tells us to trust him. He has a plan and He has got you in His hand.

When we “go all in” with trusting the Lord, a sense of hope surrounds us and transforms the negatives into positives creating an anchor of  inner peace.

God stands ever ready in every storm of our life to turn those hopeless situations into victories. We may not see the victory at first but with trust in Him we know it will eventually rise to the top. 

So, I encourage you tonight to trust Him and feel His love, hope and inner peace lift you with calm reassurance as He holds firmly to your hand.

Have a blessed evening and great day tomorrow and remember to always be kind.

Insurance verses Assurance

I missed church yesterday. Bummer. I walked out to the car, got in, drove to the corner and noticed it didn’t feel right. THEN I noticed the light was on telling me I had tire pressure issues. We get so intent on our task sometimes, we totally miss the warning signs given us. Sure enough, when I got out and looked I saw the driver side front tire was flat. So I drove around to the alley and parked in the driveway to change the tire(which in itself was a nightmare). I usually park out front because that keeps me on one level with no stairs. Stairs and I are not good friends anymore, due to that thing we call aging. So today I took the tire to Blain’s for review because I have road hazard insurance with them since that is where I bought those tires. A great thing to have by the way as I got a new $139 tire for $15. While there I found out that the hole was in the sidewall. How in the world did that happen so I asked to see it. This is what it looked like. The angle of the cut was …well…

My daughter says I was having a conspiracy theorist moment thinking why someone would do that on one tire. But after the spray paint issue of last year, yeah I believe it. Then when I get home, my neighbor has the auto club changing their drivers side front tire. Coincidence?? Maybe…but here is what I do know. It really doesn’t matter because God is in full control and He is good all the time. I was safe in my home and not on the road when this hole suddenly appeared. 


We have life exploding all around us and a lot of it we don’t even see in our visual realm.

But John  reminds us we have someone who is ever watchful in all we do; protecting, loving and nurturing.

The bible is filled with encouragement to help us when we get scared and unsure of what is happening. He is always reminding us that He is close by.

To think that He sings over me. How awesome is that. So we can be ASSURED of His love and it strengthens us with faith and hope.

I think that sometimes we get so consumed with what is going on around us, we forget WHO lives in us. Even when things are going good, we forget that. So let us close our eyes in grateful praise to Him above who is mindful of everything that comes our way.

And remember to allow the goodness we feel to shine outward to those who need a taste of it and be kind. Kindness has a beauty all its own.

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.

Anita Neal — I Write Her

A Monarch Task The warmth awakens me but I am tightly bound. I can’t move. My lifeblood is pulsing through my veins, waiting to explode. My head is pounding and screaming to break free of this dungeon. Yet, I can’t move. A crack appears at the top of the cell, bright light is filtering in. […]

Anita Neal — I Write Her

Thank you so much to Susi Bocks of I Write Her for publishing my poetry. It is an honor and an encouragement when others enjoy what you enjoy doing.