Good morning friends. In life, we use analogies to help us create mind pictures in understanding a purpose that is beneficial for us. Kind of like Jesus using parables to help people understand His teachings. In today’s devotional with Oswald Chambers he stated :
“God’s purpose is not simply to make us beautiful, plump grapes, but to make us grapes so that He may squeeze the sweetness out of us.” Oswald Chambers
In other words, God’s purpose for man is not to develop us into wonderful people but to show how wonderful we can be when we allow His purposes to come out of us. So, be a grape today and allow the sweetness in you to flow out to others.
And remember to be kind. Its the sweetest attribute of Jesus.
When I first started blogging in 2018, this was one of my first posts. It was before I started adding pictures and scripture references. I am a firm believer in a picture being worth 1,000 words. Some will look through to just see the pictures and if I can get the message in the pictures as well, then we may reach that one person that needs reaching with a message showing kindness.
I was reading back through some of my old post and thought this message was still very relevant, so I have revised it by adding pictures and scripture references. Last month, I lost one of my precious babies, Mimi, and I firmly believe she did have a soul. I could see it in her eyes.
You know that look you try not to show when someone makes a really stupid comment, or maybe they just need to be slapped back into reality for other reasons. You want to do the honors of the reality slap but you reframe due to the kind person that you are so you just walk away shaking your head.
I react this way when I hear people make comments about dogs or animals not having a soul. Hey, they were created first. Okay, so what defines a soul. After much research I found three “definitions”, and I use that term loosely as the soul comes from God and who can ever know the mind of God. So below are the three definitions that I thought described this concept of a soul the best:
The spiritual immaterial of a human being or animal, regarded as immortal.(immortal meaning not dying but crossing over to God at death)
The principal of life, feeling, thought and action from those attributes.
my favorite – The part that consists of mind, character, thought and feeling.
Our soul is what makes us who we are. The ability to analyze a situation, and act on it through our personality or character with compassion. Now that compassion can be either gentle or strong. In scripture, the bible is descriptive in explaining God creating all life and gave it as a gift.
It is important sometimes to understand the original language the scriptures were written in so that you have a better understanding of the words used.
The above verse describes animals having hayyah (life). However, in the Hebrew it also has the word nephesh in combination with hayyah, which is the exact same wording as the description of the soul in the creation of Adam. In other words, though nephesh is only translated as “life” here, the Hebrew speaks of the soul. Animals thus have a nephesh hayyah just like Adam. Marianne Widmalm
Think of the things dogs do for us, not only with their protective abilities but all things. Think of your worst day and your dog comes to you to quietly sit by your side, sometimes with its head in your lap or they pushed under your arm to let you know “I am here”. How about the occasional lick on the face to wash away the tears you shed. Dogs KNOW the feelings of people and are especially tuned into their masters. They laugh with us when we are happy by bouncing around. Picture this, you just get home from work and are greeted with 100% tail wagging, circle turning unconditional love. How about if you trip and fall. You are immediately surrounded to assure all is well. And if you are hurt, they are by your side offering assistance.
Think of the times when this is all reversed, your dog is terrified of the vet or a thunderstorm. Now they are looking to you for love and support and when you give it, it strengthens the bond. Even when dogs are mistreated by their owners, they remain loyal. Dogs reflect God’s love for us. Always there, always protecting (even though we may not see it) and ALWAYS loving. Even when we don’t deserve it.
I saw a video on FB the other day of two dogs, one on the floor and one on the sofa. The one on the sofa had a cookie and as he bit into it, it broke in half. After eating the half in his mouth, with his nose, he pushed the other half over to the dog on the floor. Now I know not all dogs would do this but why would even one? Because of its inner being, the soul.
Think of the times our dogs let us know of dangers heading our way. We understand that the dangers may not be real for us but still the dog sees something they feel is not right and they let us know. How many times has your dog looked at you asking the question “Do you not see this?” Yes, we do. But we know how to handle the wind tossed scary plastic bag that is moving up and down the street. We laugh at them sometimes but they are always in protective mode – some more and some less – because of their love for us. And the more we love them, the more they love us. An ever evolving circle. Kind of like hoe God loves us..
My whole point of this is to remind us (in my opinion) of dogs and all animals having the gift of a soul. Everything that has breath is a creation of God and the soul is a gift given out of love to all living things. All of it reflects God’s love for all of creation.
And to help drive my closing comment – even though I know it is a controversial point – how can any creature who shows love and shows kindness NOT have a soul. Its part of the inner nature of God.
Good morning friends. This morning I bring you needy ducks. As I walked close to the river at the park, I saw them coming. Running as only ducks can do knowing people may have something they want. I stopped and watched them come closer.
As the braver ones up front stopped within two feet of me, they waited expectantly, softly quacking and muttering. This reminded me of how expectant some people can be of a church or Christianity as a whole. Only to stop short, mutter softly, not understanding what the real gift is that could be given.
I had nothing to give these ducks so pretty soon they turn their backs to me, complaining as they go and slowly waddle back out of the sunlight to the shade of the trees.
Too often I see people coming to the church to get out of a jam. The church will do what they can only to see the previous pattern of this person’s life repeat itself. Some will get so disgruntled that they go back to the dark shade of the trees without truly understanding the benefits God can give them with His light.
“God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfill HIS purpose as long as we continue to walk in the light.” Oswald Chambers
We as a church, not necessarily the church we attend, but Christ’s church, must be willing to allow our light to shine thus so, for seekers to see it, want it and learn to walk in it. Oswald Chambers reminds us that it is the work that God does through us who understand this light that counts for the kingdom. Now that our churches are trying to reopen from this virus, it is that much more important for our light to shine. Not just for those we know who already understand the light, for we all who enjoy seeing it as well, but especially for those who are seeking the light. If we can show others how to quench their thirst with the river of light instead of the darkness of the shade trees, then they can be refreshed and encouraged.
As our churches and lives begin to reopen, allow God to work through you to help refresh others, giving everyone some much needed hope of survival in this life. Let’s let our light shine, showing all how to reach up for Jesus’s open hand. It is there waiting to be grabbed as He is anchored with the Father. Their love together can calm any fear, soothe any hurt and encourage you beyond measure. Reach up for His hand.
And as always, I remind you to be kind. Kindness comes from Christ, so let our kindness be a light to someone needing it.
Hello to anyone who may need a comforting and encouraging word. I need them often so when I get encouraged, I like to pass it on. My devotion this morning from “His Utmost for His Highest ” by Oswald Chambers really spoke to me and I wanted to share his thoughts with some of my own. Sometimes life comes crashing down around us like out of control ocean waves but we have an advocate that holds us close in His arms during those times. We just have to be still and focus on His face – even though that seems impossible.
“When we are awakened to the realities of life, true inner peace is impossible unless it is received from Jesus.” Oswald Chambers
His Spirit is right there waiting to comfort us surrounding us in His Peace. It is through His spirit that we are able to stand firm in this life.
So whatever wave seems to be crashing down upon you, look to Jesus and let Him calm your troubled mind.
We were not meant to carry the burden of life alone. Scriptures tell us over and over “cast your burdens on Him”. Lay all of the crashing waves at His feet and watch him turn them into a smooth peaceful lake.
And as always remember to be Kind. Kindness coming out of us when we barely know it is there and giving it to another being can bring us calmness and peace we think is not possible…but through Christ, Kindness is always possible.
Good morning friends. We finally got a little rain yesterday and it was great, short but still so much needed. The ground had really been dry. We as people can get dry as well. Not only thirsty for water but dry and parched on the inside. One of the things that helps me remove the dryness from the inside is music, specifically Christian music. It does not matter if it is one of our cherished hymns or one of the new contemporary melodies that reminds us of God’s love and protection. The Psalms originally were songs of worship that we read today reflecting the hope and love of God for all of us.
During the week, the staff at my church prepares for worship for the following Sunday, making sure the slides and sounds for worship service are clear and easily understood. While many of us across the world have a building we call “the church”, the true church is all of us coming together to worship God as a family. And since we are ALL children of God the Father…then we are ALL family.
It’s like a weekly family reunion and we want to make sure that those who come to our building can all feel welcome. So periodically we have to go through the song slides to make sure they can easily be enjoyed. One song we are singing Sunday needed major rework. Not only were the colors not pleasing for the eyes, but it was on 24 separate slides making it a nightmare for the sound booth. So I corrected it, giving it a calming shade of green and cutting it down to 12 slides. But as I did this I had to really study the words and SEE what the song was saying. Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the beautiful melody that we miss the point of the words, regardless of it being a hymn or contemporary song.
Hold Me Close, Let Your Love Surround Me….
Isn’t that what any of us want? Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to sit in the lap of Jesus…as a child…as His child.
So this Sunday, pay attention to the words you are singing and lift them in honor and pray as He showers us with His grace. Down below is one of the songs we are singing at our church this week and it has the words on the screen. It is a song we could sing daily talking about the power of His love for us.
Good morning. Hope you are well this morning. I am bringing you thoughts from several sources this morning in hope that it makes you feel the love and peace of Christ. I think there are times we all struggle with “Am I doing this right, am I following Jesus the right way today?” Or maybe it’s just me and my ADD. Sometimes my mouth opens and…good grief where did that come from? Pastor’s sermon Sunday really showed me how easy it is to get off track, even as Christians.
Some so-called Christian leaders even advocate the working out of a system of morals, ethics, and religion that would bring together all the religions of the world. It cannot be done. Jesus Christ is unique. Billy Graham
I am rereading the Left Behind series and finding that since it has been so long since I read it the first time, I forgot about a lot of the inner details of the books, so it’s almost like reading it for the first time. I ran across a statement that hit closed to home as one believer was trying to explain the difference between religion and Christianity. It said “…religion is man’s attempt to reach God, while Jesus is God’s attempt to reach man.”
Our ordinary abilities will never worship God unless they are transformed by the indwelling Son of God. Oswald Chambers
I remind you today of how very much we are all loved and all God really wants from us is that we follow him. When we go all in with that, He give us the riches of the world, not as the world gives but as He gives us through His love for us.
And as always I close with a reminder to be kind. It show the beauty from the inside.
Good morning Y’all. Such a funny contraction “y’all” stemming from the possible laziness of the southern language. In a world that quickly moves about with people moving from place to place all over the world, we run into many forms of different sayings stopping periodically asking “Where are you from?” But it’s great to know that regardless of where we are from or where we go, the Bible is always the same. The versions may change but the message is the same. We just have to read it often enough to make sure we understand what it is saying. And as we read it, sometimes over and over, we get an entirely new meaning of what we read the last time we read that section. I guess that is what makes it the living word of God.
Those who do not read the bible think we believe that the Christian life makes us free from adversity and trauma. But Oswald Chambers reminds us that the bible teaches us how to deal with the craziness that life throws at us.
God does not give us overcoming life— He gives us life as we overcome. The strain of life is what builds our strength. Oswald Chambers
When we step out in faith on the teachings of the scriptures we are strengthened and nourished by God to be able to withstand the sometimes hard onslaught of life. We become overcomers.
Be encouraged today that even though times may be hard, we have a Savior teaching us His ways, holding our hands and sometimes carrying us to a peaceful place where we can be comforted from the turmoil of life around us. Stay in His word and find the strength, love and peace He gives us.
Have a great day and always remember to be kind. Kindness is a gift from God to share on those who need it…and we all need it.
Good morning friends. I hope you are all doing well. In reading my devotions this morning I remember my early teachings of what I need to do as a Christian and not understanding the rules at all. Now that I am much stronger in my faith I think back on those teachings and still somewhat disagree with how it was represented but totally understand what they were trying to say.
Being caught in an act or lifestyle of evil is a sin and makes you a slave to it. So change it and be a slave to Christ.
The word slave has such a negative feel about it that I think it turns away those who are seeking because they don’t want to be a slave again to something else, they want freedom.
If one rules another by saying, “You must do this,” and, “You will do that,” he breaks the human spirit, making it unfit for God. Oswald Chambers
But when we recognize the true attributes of Christianity – love joy peace kindness goodness faithfulness gentleness self control – then being a “slave” to such things is really a freedom, a freedom from evil. When our slavery comes from obedience in recognizing who Jesus really is, then it is not slavery at all. Slavery is something you don’t want to do but loving our risen Lord is something we relish doing.
Let your soul find the fulfillment of its deepest longings in fellowship with God. Billy Graham
My hopes are that you find the beauty of joy of following Christ. He shows his love in the simplest ways and makes it easy to follow. For me, I find His presence in nature where he shows his beauty of creation. I decided to grow a few sunflowers this year and some are well over 12 feet tall. They make me laugh, especially when neighbors walk by and stop to stare. Share the love of Christ from your heart and it will always be right. Have a great week and remember to always be kind.
Good evening friends. I hope this was a good day. In reading my devotions today, I was reminded of two main things – Life is about choices and Jesus is the correct choice, always. Billy Graham reminds us that while we all come from different backgrounds, it’s our choices that drive our direction. When we get discouraged we need to refocus on the future, not next week’s future but the future future – Jesus returning to make things right. When we focus on the brokenness around us, it can be depressing and gloomy but if we gather people who love us close to us and combine that love with Jesus’ love, then we can sustain our position and focus on the blessed day of hope.
The sunlight of His love can still shine in the darkest part of your life. Billy Graham
Succeeding in life has to do with choices and we can choose how we react to any situation. We can blame this broken world for our situation and wallow in the muck of it, or we can accept our responsibility of our choices and make better choices. Think how perfect the world was when Adam was here…and the choice he made. God has always given us the power of choice.
We have to remember that Jesus was also born into this broken world but he changed it by changing people. Billy Graham
I have a new favorite t-shirt that I got from the church t-shirt sale and the back of it says “God’s got my back”. And I think if we choose to hang onto that truth, He will not only have our back but will walk beside us and occasionally carry us when needed. So hang on to His blessed love and His promise of hope that one day we will be face to face with Our Lord. Have a wonderful and calming evening and may you feel His peace surround you. And as always, remember to be kind. It helps you be calm as much as the one to whom you are being kind with.
Yesterday the US celebrated the 4th of July, a day we celebrate our independence. So, belated Happy Fourth of July to others in the US. A lot of us have today off as well so bonus for us. I also hope you are having a good day today wherever you are. It is bit hot already but after watering, I did get some beautiful pics of my yard and thought I would share them with you, they will be at the bottom.
Last night’s devotion in Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, combined with the Fourth of July celebration, really gave me pause for who we are. Peter spoke to the Israelites making them understand that they were a chosen people for God’s purpose. For any of us who follow Christ, it does not matter what nation we live in, trust in, or love. That is all temporary. We are His nation regardless of location…even if a nation of one.
The gratitude we feel when we draw near to God, enables us to perceive more clearly the love relationship we have in Christ. Nothing can separate us from His Loving Presence. Sarah Young
That is a huge comfort because I know I mess up every day. We can’t control everything around us but we can control how we react to it. Instead of worrying, trust! In stead of panicking, trust! Instead of clinging to old ways that no longer do us any good, trust! He is always doing something new for us, protecting us for His use. Trust!
He always has a hand out for us to grab. Grab and hold tight, for while it may be a bumpy ride, it will be a glorious ride.
And remember, some are having a bumpier ride than others, so always be kind.