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.

The Ultimate Fireman

Good evening friends. On our church property there is a old house (nearly 100 years old) we have used for many different purposes but the foundation was getting is disrepair and was deemed unsafe after too much longer. After consulting with our fire department, we donated it to them for training purposes. When I came out of church on Wednesday, there was smoke billowing out from the upstairs windows. The smoke was from a machine but it gave them a real life scenario in dealing with the real thing. It reminded me of our Ultimate Fireman…

Our Ultimate Fireman may not be dressed in a fireproof suit like this but he tenderly holds each one of us like this and saves us from the burning fire of hell. 

But while we need to understand this, we don’t need to dwell on this because of His gracious gift. 

This morning Oswald Chambers’ devotion reminded me of the power of our salvation. How that we need to always be looking to Him, during good times or bad. 

The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ.   “Look to Me, and be saved….” Oswald Chambers

When I was a new Christian, I remember some advice I got from a more seasoned Christian that said “Life is a series of hills and valleys. While we love being on the hill top, the valleys are inevitable and it is the bottom of the valley that makes us appreciate the hilltop even more. So let us never forget the journey we made to get to that hill top and always keep our “eyes on the prize” – Jesus.

Looks like we are going to get some more of that white stuff this weekend. But I guess I cant complain, it is January in Iowa. As we get through these colder months, waiting so patiently for spring, let us remember the beauty of Kindness, even in the snow.

Our Creator’s Love

I reposting part of this message from Pure Glory and while the heart formed in the wave is amazing, the words really rang true with me. Go read the rest of the message and feel its love.

God is our Creator and desires a close loving relationship, combined with reverence and respectful awe.  He is so much more than someone to grant all your requests. He doesn’t let you become a spoiled brat but goes with you through your challenges. He is Almighty God, your refuge, the Truth, strength, help, Father, and all you need. He defends, corrects, counsels, and keeps us safe from harm. God is Love, Life, Light, Fire, and Holy. He is Supreme, All Knowing and More than Enough

Crown of Glory International Ministries, http://pureglory.net

My daughter made a cross-stitch picture for me years ago that shows just how much God loves us. It’s a love we really can not begin to really understand but we hang on to that love through faith that was instilled in us at rebirth.

“Faith is how we plug into the grace of God. Think of it like a lamp; The lamp can only give light if it is plugged into a power source.” Quiet Times with God Devotional

Feel His love this evening and while we can never fully understand it, accept it and soak in it’s peace.

And as always, remember, Kindness carries a peace and love all its own with the power to touch people in a safe and profound way.

Always Be Kind

For Dog Lovers

Dittims, aka Junior

This is a picture of Dittims. His given name was Junior but he had so many handicaps that he earned the nickname of Dittims. Dittims was a 185 pound Harlequin Great Dane. A marvelous breed. I wish I had discovered the breed sooner as they are gentle giants that think they are lap dogs. They can be clowns and some individual ones are very protective of the home. Due to Dittims’ being mostly deaf, fully blind in one eye, only 80% vision of in the other, this made him an unbelievable gentle spirit…that loved to sit in your lap; front legs fully planted on the floor but his butt would be in your lap. Those who are familiar with danes know this is a fun quirk that many of them do.

How many of you know what the Rainbow Bridge is? Is it real? Could it really happen? Those of us who are avid dog lovers pray and believe it is a real possibility. Two years ago I started writing a book about the fun adventures of my life for my children through the eyes of the dogs I had all through my life. The book’s main character was Dittims at his arrival in heaven at the Rainbow Bridge. Once he was in heaven, he met with all previous dogs I had had and they told him stories of my life while they were with me. The book also brings in God’s love of all creation and how God uses all creation for his purpose of showing love and kindness. The book, Our Home of Love, got such great reviews from friends that read it that I wrote a sequel about Dittims further adventures in heaven. The sequel includes many of my friends dogs that they loved that have gone to heaven and how they are all working together to enrich all of heaven with the canine love all of us dog lovers know is a real thing. This book, A New Understanding, is more about the Christian beliefs of what we believe is God’s love of all of creation. None of us really know what heaven will be like but studying the scriptures gives us a glimpse. I took the opportunity to try to explain God’s love of all creation from an animal’s point of view to give some fun and truth together to show God’s infinity love for all of us. We are his creation.

If you recently lost a furry member of your family, this fun book may bring you a little comfort. While I am not one to push my books on anyone, a neighbor told me that I needed to share with others in case they may be interested and need the comfort. So here you go, including few pictures from the book of friends Dittims meets in heaven.

And as always, remember the value of kindness. It may be the one thin g that get a person through the day. Always be kind.

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.

Bazar Things That Make Us Laugh

I don’t know if it is because of my quirky personality or just a loose screw but the newer fad of putting googly eye on inanimate objects makes me laugh. Recently a friend of mine, who has the same loose screw, sent me a photo and told me where to go to look up more photos of the same and I did. After a good chuckle, I decided a story needed to be written, to remind us to laugh even when it hard, and for us here to not forget the recent derecho that pushed through Iowa leaving millions of dollars of damage. Some are still dealing with its aftermaths. A derecho is like a short termed hurricane running across the ground. So here you go…as told by the local trees.

The Storm of 2020, In Memory of Slim

Did you hear what happened to Slim
You mean about the storm that tore through here?
I hear he is down for the count.
I saw a lot of good friends go down, some broke in half.
No! Say it ain’t so. Slim was a mighty oak!
I hear tell he just lays there weeping like a willow.
Oh, woe is me. My top notch is gone, limbs are broken, I am doomed I tell you, doomed.
Don’t give up Slim. Look what I was able to do when I go blown down. My limbs are growing strong still. Still try to reach for the sun.
Or you can be like us Slim. When our original tree fell, we became four trees. So don’t ever give up. God always had a plan for each of us.

This silly story does have a heart to heart true message. Life can be hard and can knock you down from time to time. But don’t give up. That life storm may be just the thing to help you be what God needs you to be. Hang on, reach out to His hand and left Him guide you through all of life’s storms.

Let His goodness, love, patience, peace and kindness wrap around you snuggly so that you can show others that God never leaves you alone. He is always by your side. So have faith as best as you can, smile as much as you can and always be kind, even when it is hard.

Names at Christmas

Good evening friends. When we as parents knew a child was coming to join the family, much work went into making sure the name fit the child, that it would carry the child courageously through this life. But then in life, nicknames come about that are sometimes more dear than the actual name and the nickname will stick. Names are just something people call you by. Even treasured family positions get nicknames like Gramps, Nana, Pop to name a few. I like Pop. We think of Pop as a nickname for Father and what better Father do we have other than our Heavenly Father. I think of that nickname lovingly as an acronym when I think of Jesus. Pop – Prince of Peace…

The Peace He brings us with nothing else can, it can’t be measured. Isaiah 9:6 reminds us that even at this writing, Jesus was not born yet but it was no mistake that He already existed. Wonderful Counselor – someone we can go to in an instant for much needed advice or assurance; Mighty God – The all powerful creator of everything, the guider of all paths and the one who creates extra paths for us to travel on when we take a wrong path where He hopes we will get back on His designed path; Everlasting Father – Everlasting, forever and ever, not ending, never quitting, always present Father, ultimate caretaker.

THIS is the endearing reason for this season…

In today’s message Jesus Calling, Sarah wrote as Jesus… “I am the Prince of Peace. As I said to my disciples, I say also to you: Peace be with you. Since I am your constant companion, my Peace is steadfastly with you. When you keep your focus on Me, you experience both My Presence and My Peace.. Worship Me as King of Kings, Lord of Lords and Prince of Peace.”

It is His Peace that allows us to face any given situation with courage, conviction and hope. And with this hope we can then follow His guiding hand with assurance.

I got tickled this morning with my pastor’s morning devotion on having that one favorite ornament that helps you focus on the meaning of Christmas making us revitalize our love for Him. To some of us we can’t just focus on one. It’s like training your dog to sit and a squirrel runs across the yard…as I spot yet another ornament and run across the store to see if it is one I just have to have. For now it doesn’t matter which room I go in, it all makes me smile…even the bathroom. So as we face these uncertain times that are all over the world, remember the true reason for this season. He came because His love for us is overpowering, so and let His love flow over you as you enjoy the symbols we use to honor Him on His celebrated day. 

Now that I am FINALLY through tinkering with the big tree(1 of 4), I give you my sunroom at night. Have a blessed evening and always remember in all that you do show the kindness of Christ.

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.