And in Closing…

As we get ready to close out another year, I am again astounded as to how fast this past one went by.

For most of us, its a time of reflection…

Did we remember to enjoy the beauty we saw…the amazing colors of the sunrise or the calming of the sunset? Did we remember to share in the gentleness of smiles we saw, sharing them back with contagious love?

Did we catch a single snowflake on our tongue, feeling its cold but seeing their beauty as they cover the land in white perfection…knowing that no single flake is like another – an astounding reality of creation…much like every man.

Did we pause as we listened to the chirping of the birds or hear the laughter of children as they play? Or maybe we went for a walk and could hear the quiet sounds of nature as she whispers the beauty of life as God intended us to hear.

Did we truly feel the love come though with that hug we received? Did we in turn hug back with that same love, sharing a quick taste of the love to come from God…a love so full it could make you gasp with its power?

Did we remember that the gifts we are given from God are free to us for the mere asking…even though they came at a great cost…a cost we could never fathom to withstand by ourselves.

As we begin to start a new year, let us remember the beauty of this past year, even with it hardships. The hope of God’s love gives us strength even when we feel weak.

Always remember the beauty and power of kindness. It can be brighter than any star and powerful enough to change any direction. For this next year, try a little extra kindness and see how it brightens your new year.

Picturing God

According to my understanding of scripture, seeing God(in the flesh as it were)is impossible. Moses got close and his face shone from its brightness to where the people were afraid of him. For me, I see God in the beauty of the sunset, in the miracle of tiny bugs on the ground, through the smile of a child.

To me, God is all around us and at this time of year it is even more so as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, God’s son. In my beliefs, Jesus is part of the Trinity – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit and each of those parts of God brings up a different image of what we humans think He looks like. Is it important on what he looks like? Maybe, maybe not. We are very visual oriented creatures and rely on our vision for truth…and our visions can fail us if we don’t rely on the right source of truth..

I am reading a wonderful book called Crazy Love by Frances Chan. I am only in the fourth chapter but in it far enough to think about what Frances is trying to tell us. Two things that are popping out the most so far is, picturing life on this earth as a movie. You are an important member of the cast because God created you for a purpose He had in mind but the movie is not about you, the movie is about God. The other thing, the one that struck me the hardest, is when you pray, who do you pray to. Well obvious the answer is God…but what are you visualizing? Or do you just throw your prayers into the air hoping they get where they need to go. Our prayers are specific and need to go specifically to God. For me it helps visualize that I am talking to God in a specific form.

Revelation 4 describes what John saw when we was taken in spirit into heaven…

Rev 4:2-3 …”there before me was a throne on heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby…”

In chapter 19 Jesus is described as the Word of God with blazing eyes, a double edge sword coming from his mouth and a robe dipped in blood. While this is the God I want standing by my side if bullies are after me, it hard for me to visualize praying to the loving comforter, the Lamb of God, if I visualize this form.

Ephesians 5:2…walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 

Our prayers should reflect this fullness of love for love comes from the heart as our prayers should also come from the heart. Corinthians 13 says it perfectly in how we should treat mankind and prayer for mankind.

Corinthians 13:4 – Love is patient, love is kind…it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preservers…Love(God) never fails.

So as you lift your prayers to heaven, visualize that they are being received by a loving, caring, nurturing and kind…warrior who will protect you as much as He loves you. Visualize yourself being God’s child (which we are) that crawls into the loving lap of the loving Father and feel His peace.

And know always His kindness is powerful so share that kindness with others.

New Tree

Those of you who have read me over the last few years know that I go a little “Griswold” at Christmas. Because of a modification to my Christmas village this year, I had to move my train set and railroad station. So where…where do we put it??🤔 I know, I will go by to childhood years and put it under the tree. Okay, which tree?🤔 The living room tree and the dining room tree are too formal…

the ocean tree is not thematically correct…

and there is no room under the bedroom tree because of the large 4 foot stuffed Santa Claus…plus Daisy has issues with moving things.

That leaves me with only one option…buy a new tree…lol. And since it is going in the sunroom with the other outdoor themed decorations, lets make it an outdoor tree…so here we have the bird tree featuring many owls. And below we have the working train carrying its many imaginary visitors home for Christmas.

So as you enjoy the fun parts of Christmas, remember the heart of and why we do Christmas. God sent us a marvelous gift that came to give us life and to show us His power love that is to be shared with all of creation. Merry Christmas and remember to always be kind.

Always Be Kind

Invisible Love

Hello…remember me?? A person of a certain age…my certain age…should not be so busy that they can’t even do the small simple things they enjoy doing. But alas, that is where we have been for the last six months. But now, I can sit and do nothing…or the small things I enjoy doing. My Christmas decorations of course have been up since mid November so now its just a few presents that need wrapping. Whew!!

The Christmas season, although busy, is where we seem to share the most kindness to those around us and sometimes we focus this kindness on those less fortunate. The Covid years took their toll on all of us – physically, emotionally and financially. And some of those effects are still lingering creating uncertainty. So I want to share a thought from my morning devotion that kind of hit home for me concerning the true purpose for this season…or any season.

Why do we celebrate this season….I think the most trustworthy answer in all categories is...LOVE.

I recently saw a picture on facebook showing pictures of movie portrayals of Mary with baby Jesus next to a picture of Mary crying over the body of Jesus after he was crucified…both pictures reflecting overwhelming gifts of LOVE. God’s gift of baby Jesus for his love of mankind and then Jesus’ sacrificial gift of his life for mankind’s salvation. And lets not forget Mary’s sacrificial gift of raising Jesus, knowing who he was and what his mission was – to save mankind. Colossians reminds us of the visible image and invisible image of God.

Jesus…the visible image of God’s invisible image. How many times do we say – I won’t believe it until I see it. Even the disciple Thomas would not believe in the resurrection until he saw the holes in Jesus’ hands. And modern man is having a very hard time in believing in a God they can’t see. But I challenge you to look around at the beauty of creation, not just the nature side – which is amazing – but the human side as well. While man can sometimes be persnickety, man can also show a beauty and power through kindness and love towards others that can make us see the beauty and love of our invisible God.

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created through him and for him.

The fact that even in this chaotic world we have the ability to show this love and kindness is proof that the invisible God is still here. There will be a day when He will leave and when he leaves, all the love and kindness will leave as well. It won’t be pretty.

So share this wonderful season of love – not just now at Christmas but make every day Christmas by reflecting the love we have been shown by our invisible God and His visible Son…and always be kind.

Limitless Love

It has been a while since I posted an encouragement, but when I read this morning devotion with Billy Graham, I felt I needed to share his thoughts. There are a lot of storms we face in this life, some weather related and some within our hearts and sometimes they are both. In late September, Hurricane Ian demolished the west coast of Ft. Myers, Florida. Being raised in south Georgia, I fully understood that the late storms of hurricane season were usually the meanest. Now the east coast of Florida braces for a November storm, a rarity.

Storms of the heart are no less powerful. They can come from misunderstandings between people to down right meanness and we have all faced them, maybe even caused a few of them – whether we meant to or not. The problem is, we are all imperfect. We are all sinners. BUT all of us are still loved. God’s love for us reaches beyond anything we could ever imagine, even to those who do not love Him. But to those of us who do love Him, we feel that love. It holds us on course until the storms are over. He stands right beside us fighting the battle for us when we no longer can. He is our warrior.

Billy Graham’s message this morning reminds us of the limitless power of God for all of us.

God can be everywhere at once, heeding the prayers of all who call out in the name of Christ; performing mighty miracles. There is no limit to God. There is no limit to His wisdom. There is no limit to His power. There is no limit to His love. There is no limit to His mercy. Billy Graham

As you fight today’s battles or this weeks battles, always remember there is simply no limit to God’s love for you. As you stand tall in your battle, remember to be kind. Kindness during battle has an extra power of God with it that has the opportunity to open the eyes of the storm and help it resolve.

A Rainbow

Spring is usually the time to catch a rainbow so it is with wonderous awe that we see them in the fall. This one was on my way to work Wednesday and I felt it needed sharing, the picture at least.

Beauty of the Rainbow

 The beauty of the rainbow, hanging in the sky

Ignored by many as they hurriedly zoom by

Its colors so radiant for only a short time

But a reminder still relevant made for all time

It was a promise for Noah and all of mankind

Proving God’s love, even though we seem blind

The rainbow is beautiful but not really a gift

It’s a reminder to God, for our spirits to lift

Anita☺

As we go through our zooming day, remember to glance around at the beauty surrounding you, even if it seems a gray day. Then let that beauty bring on a smile for you to share with others to maybe lighten their day. And as always, Be Kind.

Morning Encouragement

I want to share with you this morning the thoughts from Steven Scott’s devotion “Jesus Speaks”.

It is one thing to read and try to understand the scriptures of the bible and a very different thing to believe the words as truth. Jesus knew that understand the words was not enough. They needed to believe in the words and who they said he was, and to also believe in the relationship between him and the father. It is no small task and it is the same for us today. While we need to understand the words of Jesus, we must first believe in the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Believing in this relationship alters everything you do. For the evidence of this belief is demonstrated by our behavior. Jesus explained to his disciple that if you can’t believe in who he is from the things he tells them, to at least believe in him because of the works he was doing.

When we believe in this truth, our entire lives are changed. Everything that we are and that we do are changed for the better. And goodness will flow out from us to others because of this belief. So believe in Him and watch him work in you.

I encourage you to close your eyes and envision Jesus walking into the room where you are standing. Can you feel His love radiating towards you? This love that He is sending your way is stronger than you can imagine and He wants surround you in it as He takes care of you. Allow Him to be part of your life.

Have a safe and blessed weekend and may to feel the love and peace of Christ in all that you do.

Week’s End Encouragement

The week is almost over and the weekend is coming – a time of rest, a time for ourselves.

Our weeks are sometimes so busy that the weekend is too short to fully rest, so Matthew reminds us of Jesus’ words to come to Him to find complete restoration regardless of our business. He is gentle and humble in heart and never forces us to come to Him but he patiently waits for us to choose to come. Once we choose to come and rely on His fatherly comfort, that’s when the battle has been won.

It is only after we have begun to experience what salvation really means, that we surrender our will to Jesus for the rest He has ready for us. And it is a voluntary surrender. Surrender in today’s mindset is a negative concept that we fight against, but Jesus reminds us of the power we gain in His surrender and the rewards he has for us.

“For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory, with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Oswald Chambers

Once we surrender to His will, His grace, His love and His peace, then the remainder of our life will exhibit nothing but the evidence of this surrender. And we will never need to be concerned again with what the future may hold for us, for Jesus is totally sufficient. Even though at times we may be shaking in our boots.

You are never alone

Even though you may feel you are alone in a snowstorm or vast desert, your tiny self is being watched over, and you will be given the strength to grow taller in His care.

And always remember to show the power of kindness. It shows your inner beauty.

Morning Encouragement

I have many devotions I read each morning. Some are here in WordPress, some are other online devotions and some are purchased books. I find them a good jump start to my day to help me focus on the Lord and not the circumstances I face that day. Today’s devotion in My Utmost for His Highest spoke exactly about that.

Oswald Chambers reminded us “If you keep your relationship right with Him, then regardless of your circumstances or whoever you encounter each day, He will continue to pour ‘rivers of living water’”.

That’s kind of an odd saying if you are not familiar with its meaning. For me it means that regardless of how desperate I may feel, the love of God is flowing in me, through me and out of me. Rivers of living water come from the attributes we receive when we follow God and are then filled by the Fruit of the Spirit.

Whatever your circumstances may be, you have been placed in them by God. And God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfill His purpose, as long as you continue to “walk in the light as He is in the light”. Oswald Chambers

So I encourage you today, regardless of the difficulty you may be facing, let Christ’s living waters flow through you so that you can feel the peace of His love. Then let the fruit of the spirit attributes become part of you as now He is part of you. And remember in all that you do to always be kind.

Interesting Bird, Encouragement

Since I have been bird watching, I see that all creatures have slight variations even in the same specie. We humans are short, tall, fat, skinny and various shades of skin tone but…we are created by the same creator, in His image…according to how I believe.

And variation concept is true for the animal kingdom and it is how those who work with wildlife can tell the different individual animals apart, like zebra’s stripe patterns are individual. Again, same creator.

I always thought the one exception to the rule was birds. Yes you can always recognize the bird type but if you look close, there are variations. Case in point, our beloved cardinals…

This is a beautiful red cardinal from early this spring. Rich red body, red top crest and black face and neck area, large triangle beak. We are all familiar with this bird in the US. However…

Today, this cardinal stopped at the feeder.

Same size bird, the beak seems slightly larger but his color is the most striking. He is not a bright red so I don’t know if that is a seasonal change but the biggest difference is his entire head is black. And there seems to be more black than usual mixed in his tail feathers. He is still beautiful. A difference in creation I guess. I think it is a reminder to us that in God’s eye we are perfectly beautiful, even though we may look different. Even identical twins are different in subtle ways.

So I send this out to all who may read it to remind each of us that we are all special in our own creation from God for a purpose only fully known by Him. So listen to His voice as he guides you for the purposes He has just for you, so that you can enrich His kingdom and those around you. Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us…

Have a safe and blessed weekend and remember to be kind in all that you do.