“And all the people said…Amen!”
Today was an “I wanna” kinda day. From the moment I woke up I began speaking to God about all the things I wanna do. “I wanna be happy, I wanna be thinner, I wanna find true, lasting love with a good man, I wanna raise my boys right and see them grow into good, loving, Christian men, I wanna be a successfully published author, I wanna…” Then as I went on and on with my lists of “I wanna’s” I heard God speak to me just as clear as I would have heard my own dad tell me to clean up my bedroom when I was a kid, He said, “Well then get up and do those things.”
A-ha, “faith without works is dead” James 2:26. I can not sit around idle and proclaim to simply have faith that my God will make these things happen for me without getting up myself and putting some effort behind the “I wanna’s”. Oh, how simple and easy life would be if we all could simply sit around and proclaim and believe and viola!, all the “I wanna’s” in our lives would be answered. I suppose then we could put God inside of a shiny gold lamp and rub it for Him to pop out whenever we want to make a wish. God has promised us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Luke 11:9, but he also added in there, “to have faith”, but remember that “faith without works is dead”. Puzzle pieces neatly put together today:) God is with you, He is with us all and to find Him to hear Him, to know Him, all we need do is ask, seek, and knock and He will be there. Keep having faith in Him even when it seems like there is nothing left to have faith in and while keeping that faith, work toward the “I wanna’s” knowing that God is rooting for you to succeed in His plans for you…His plans, not your own. Here’s wishing you all a very happy Wednesday and hoping that you can clearly hear and see God’s good plan for each and every one of you.
“The one the wind and waves obey is strong enough to save you.”
Strong Enough to Save by Tenth Avenue North
As it was so perfectly said on a journal I have tucked away somewhere with the art of Mary Engelbreit on it, “Life is so daily”. That’s the way I feel lately. I began working a new job three weeks ago and what I thought would be a good thing for me, providing me a little extra money to help with bills and such until I knew what my next move would be, has turned out to be a…distraction. I wrote once before how I had taken a trip to visit a local university to consider returning to college to finish my nursing degree and immediately I felt like I was stepping outside of the path that God had me on. Well ever since starting this job I have felt the very same way and it is frustrating because I know that I have to have a decent source of income for my boys and I, but at the same time I feel like God is telling me to let go of what society expects of me and just fully put my trust in Him to provide for me. So why am I struggling to follow His advice? After all it is my heavenly Father who is giving me this advice. Who better to listen to? But essentially isn’t that the way the disciples had it put to them when they were told to follow Jesus? He didn’t tell them, “Ok, go ahead and get your affairs in order, clean your house, finish working your jobs, make sure you get your daily workout in then you can come follow me.” He told them, now, just drop it all, leave it all behind and follow me. Now I know God isn’t telling me to leave everything behind, but He has been telling me to let go of the unnecessary clutter, the “things” which are of no use to me, the fear of where the money to provide for my boys will come from, and just follow His plan for me. “Trust Me, Rely on Me, Believe in Me.” These are the words I hear repeated to me over and over again from God. As I am writing this today I am suddenly remembering a very powerful statement that the pastor of our church once said in a sermon one Sunday morning, “If you don’t think that God can do it then stop calling Him God.” I believe I need to repeat this to myself over and over again until I can remember the verse of Matthew 19:26 “With God ALL things are possible.” As you read this today I ask for your prayers that I may listen to God and get back on the path I was on following Him whole-heartedly, and I also pray for you. Do you hear God saying these very same things to you? How can you change your own life to follow God’s good plan for you? If you’re not sure if God is saying this to you or not, take time out and get alone and listen for Him to speak to you, then as you begin to hear Him more and more ask Him to show you where and how you can make the changes you’ll need to make to follow Him with your whole heart. It won’t be easy, I know, it’s not always been easy for me, but it has definitely always been worth it.
“Your hands made me and formed me…” Psalm 119:73
(Art by Master Artist Anton Pieck)
Above is a print masterfully created by Dutch master artist Anton Pieck. I had no idea who Anton Pieck was until I was standing in the checkout line at a local thrift store and I saw these five framed paintings that caught my eye. They were perched on stands up on the wall tucked behind shopping carts and racks for returns to hang on, just barely out of sight where I almost missed seeing them, but alas I saw them. Quickly, with the help of my 13 year old son, Stephen, I snatched them up and purchased them. To someone else these pictures may not have seemed like much, but to me I saw a beauty and nostalgia in them that with a little love and hung in just the right spot on the wall, will once more be admired and cherished. Once I got them home I sat them aside, busy with the daily chores of life until just this morning when I decided to take them out of the bag that they were still in from the thrift store, and research them a little. It was while I was closely studying these pictures that I noticed just how much care and detail had gone into drawing these pictures. From the curtains hanging just inside the windows to the gingham red and off white print of the little girls dress to the single red flower that hangs just above the old woman’s head who is quite focused on her work, the painstaking yet loving detail that Mr. Pieck took in creating this piece was nothing short of awe inspiring. Then it hit me, it is with even more detail and love and passion and care that our Heavenly Father creates each and everyone of us. All of us created in His own image yet all of us so very different and individual. From the tiny taste buds on our tongues that allow us the ability to relish the flavor of delectable dishes to the tiny parts of our ears that allow us the ability to hear beautiful music to the heart that beats lively within our chests, God created us all with great and loving detail and passion. Then he gave us each our very own magnificent personalities, from those who stand out in a crowd, who, like the more popular items in the thrift store that day, were being viewed and picked out and purchased and admired by droves of people, to those who, like the paintings that I found, are hidden behind the circumstances of life and try to stay safely tucked away from the world feeling fragile and at times unworthy. God made us all and God loves us all. Whichever kind of “item” you view yourself as in the thrift store of life, remember that God created you in His own image and with His perfect and flawless hands… you are a masterpiece, you are HIS masterpiece, perfectly formed and lovingly created by Him who created the seas, the sun, the stars, and the waves. Don’t let life keep you tucked away just barely in sight, come out and shine God’s light that is in you for all to see and admire.
Happy Birthday Marcy 🙂
“…Behold I make all things new!”
Ever read the book of Revelation? It’s a tough book of the bible to read. For me, hands down, one of the hardest. That’s because it talks about very frightening things, and lets face it, most of us don’t want to read about very frightening things, after all isn’t the world we live in already frightening enough? To be honest, I have only read it once myself, so I am sure that I need to go back and read it again, perhaps go to a couple of bible studies where the words and prophecies of Revelation are discussed more in depth, but like most of you, I like to focus on the beauty and the miracles of the bible. I like to read about how the little guy triumphs in the end in God’s name and of how God promises to provide for us and care for us. I prefer to keep my focus on the positive, but I am a realist and I know that the book of Revelation does exist and that I should read it more than once so that I can better understand ALL of God’s plan, not just pick and choose what parts of God word I wanna incorporate into my life because it’s easier that way. Ever looked in the mirror? Ever taken the time to really study yourself in the mirror? It’s tough, I know. To really take the time to see how the circumstances of this life that I have lived thus far has brought me to be this woman who stares back at me in the mirror. Tough, I must say. To truly study myself in the mirror means that I can’t just pick and choose the things about me that are lovely or pretty or dressed up, I have to take into account the mistakes that I have made along the way. People I may have hurt, whether I knew it or not, choices I have made that I’m not terribly proud of, mistakes I have made that I cannot take back. Like studying the bible it’s easy to focus on the good, the positive and the joyful, and we should definitely focus on these things in our lives, but let us not forget that all of us are flawed and we come to Christ broken and lost. I know I come to Christ that way everyday. Whether I have had a good day or a bad day, I am still flawed and I come to Christ each and everyday knowing that only with Him can I be made whole, be made new, everyday. Redemption isn’t just a one time thing, it’s an everyday thing. The photo above is one I took of what once was a pretty and shiny tag that read “PRINCESS”. I imagine that it used to hang on some little girls backpack or perhaps even around the neck of a small, fancy poodle on it’s collar, either way, I could tell that when it was first bought it was shiny and pretty and sparkly and new, kind of like us. We start of our lives shiny and new and unscathed by anything, but then life happens and somewhere along the line our shiny, sparkly, pretty beginning gets scratched and scuffed and sometimes even mangled and unrecognizable, and like the tag in the photo above we no longer feel like a “PRINCESS” (or like royalty for you guys reading this). That’s where our relationship with Christ comes in, that’s where redemption happens. By lifting our hands to God, by confessing our sins, by letting go of ALL of our pasts hurts and disappointment, and by giving our lives to Christ, we are once more made shiny and new. We are redeemed! Hallelujah!
If you have never taken the time to give your life to Christ, it’s never too late. He is always there with His arms wide open ready to meet you right where you are.
“I am redeemed. You set me free. So I’ll shake off these heavy chains and wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be. I am redeemed!” (Redeemed by Big Daddy Weave”)
“If God cares so wonderfully for the flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you.”
As I strolled through the neighborhood on my walk I noticed these beautiful tulips growing just beneath a tree in the front of our neighborhood and as I took a few pictures of them I had to stand in awe of all that God can create and not just in the landscape and the amazing and wonderful creatures, but in how carefully and how skillfully He worked to create me and you, and not just that, but He provides for us each and everyday. Amazing! Have you ever stopped to think about how after planting the seed, God provides all that is needed for a flower to grow and thrive. Now green thumbed garden enthusiasts please don’t take offense to this, but eve though we may plant the seed in good soil, and in a place where we know it will get plenty of sunlight, then we water it daily (or as needed), ultimately it is God who provides all that the seed needs to grow. Take this particular cluster of tulips for example. These were planted at the front of our neighborhood by the city and once they were planted there they were pretty much left there to fend for themselves. It’s not like the city had time to come back and check on these flowers on a daily basis, so therefore, God provided them with the good soil, the water (rain), and the sunlight that they needed to grow and thrive. Everyday, the wonderful creatures of the wild wake up and God provides for them, everyday as the sun begins to rise in the sky, the flowers perk up and God provides for them, everyday the branches on a tree reach out just a little farther providing more shade for the children to play beneath them and God provides for them. Worry, doubt, fear, and anxiety do not rob these wonderful creations of God of these things, don’t let these things rob you either. God’s beauty is all around us and God’s beauty is in you and the devil knows this, that’s why he send along things to steal that beauty, things like doubt and fear, worry and anxiety, hurt and pain. If God loves the creature of the wild, the trees of the earth and the flowers that grow beneath, enough to provide what they need everyday, don’t you think that He loves you that much more. Tonight, when you go to bed, don’t let the doubts and fears, and worries and anxieties of what may come tomorrow steal your joy or rob you of an ounce of sleep. Instead give all of these things wholly to God. He will work them out for you then when you wake in the morning, give thanks to God that He will provide you with all that you need for the day ahead of you, and let that be enough. Don’t ask Him to provide you with all that you need for tomorrow or the next three days or for the week ahead, that will begin to bring about fear, doubt, and anxiety, just ask God to provide for each day as it comes and be thankful that your Father has already given you a new day to wake up to. Here, read what is written just before Luke 12:28.
“Who of you, by worrying, can add a single hour to your life?” Luke 12:25