Sunday, November 30, 2014

Reflecting God's Love

"If we say we love God, but hate others, we are liars. For we cannot love God, whom we have not seen, if we do not love others, whom we have seen.” 1 John 4:20 

Is our lifestyle reflecting the Love of God? The Bible says that whoever doesn't LOVE, doesn't know God.

Because God loves us and forgives us we can forgive others. When we find someone in our life who doesn't forgive and is self righteous it's usually because they don't feel loved themselves. Because we have experienced the LOVE of God then we are able to let people off the hook. Love compensates for our sin. In other words, when we make a mistake God wants to know that we LOVE. When others sin against us God wants to know that we LOVE!

God uses imperfect people like us to show His LOVE. God doesn't expect us to be perfect but He does expect us to LOVE. If we do that then it will hide a multitude of sins. We all fail and make mistakes but God can use us if we LOVE. 

Let's LOVE Him and LOVE others because of the LOVE He has for us.

I Corinthians 13:13 tells us that LOVE echoes into eternity. It's the only thing that we do that will last for eternity. “Three things will continue forever: faith, hope, and LOVE. And the greatest of these is LOVE.”

People will forget all our work, our wealth, our hobbies, our trophies, our awards, etc. The only thing that will last forever is the LOVE we show for Him and for others. 

After work, pop pop still takes time to play! January 2014

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Perfection!

“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8


God is more interested in our love for Him and our love for others than he is in our trying to be perfect.  It is impossible to be perfect. No matter how much we try, we will fail at perfection. It simply isn't possible to be perfect but it is possible to love.


Yet, we all strive to be perfect at something. Such as our jobs, in our churches, with our hobbies, in our academics and many other areas. These are all good things and we can be great at some and not so great at others. Yes, we should all strive to do our best but the Bible tells us that “No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” 1 Cor. 13:3


Nothing can take the place 
of love and relationships!
 A picture taken of my Aunt and Uncle taken December 2013. They have always made me feel loved and adored.

Friday, November 28, 2014

We Are The Letter From God That People Read

Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

In my morning devotions I read today something that my Pastor wrote: When people inspect our lives up close it gives them a better chance to see the reality of a life changed by the power of God's Word. They are close enough to actually see the Word in operation in daily life circumstances.

My family ingrained in me the responsibility I have to those around me and that our influence always be something that makes the world a better place. As a little girl I was expected to behave and make sure I was being a good example to my little brother plus watching out for him. I took that responsibility very serious because I adored my little brother. Having this mindset as a little girl is much like my mindset today with anyone that God brings into my life.

We play a major role in so many lives each day so let's not take that responsibility for granted or lose an opportunity to make the world in which we live a better place!

Your family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing. -Jim Rohn


Thursday, November 27, 2014

When Children School Us

While raising children I wanted to fill their eager young minds with as much knowledge as I had obtained through my own years of experience. I don't really have that same mindset now when it comes to my grandkids because I wish I had taught my children more about loving and less about life. I thought I could make a difference in the life of my children but I have learned I still have so much to learn myself.

Instead, my approach with my grandkids is more about what they can teach me. For instance, to see the excitement and joy of our visits together. Our time with tea parties where we dress up silly and wear funny hats. What I love about these innocent moments is that there is nothing expected, no judgement of others or even ourselves.


These little ones have such hope of everything. That their dad is their prince charming. They still believe in happily ever after. They have taught me to continue to laugh, to be silly and that just sitting in a room talking together is enough. I don't have to own the latest of anything because I am their grandma. They are not embarrassed by my aging face and figure or at what I am wearing. 

My grandkids have taught me how to love & laugh; dress silly & giggle; but more importantly to spend time listening and learning from them instead of the reverse. 

 This picture was taken of a photo shoot I was commissioned to do
 which was published July 2010.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Trust Me!

"He who trusts in himself is a fool. . ." (Proverbs 28:26).

written January 7, 2011:
Why is trust something I have to ask God constantly to forgive me for? One reason is God's ways don't always make sense to me. Also, It is difficult to trust in a plan that requires me to surrender all control.

You might say I am a bit of a "control freak" and so that may be one of the reasons I find it so difficult to surrender myself to God. Even though I know in my heart that He has my best interest at heart and knows best how to guide my life and yet; I am still trying to learn to surrender daily.

Some days I get it right and some days....well, the "control freak" in me gets it sooooo wrong!

Mother Teresa said, “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you’ve got.”

 This picture was taken at my granddaughters birthday party 2012.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Sharing Struggles

Recently I have been writing about my own personal struggles with fear. It was not easy for me to write about my own weaknesses and run the risk of being ridiculed. Instead, I was not prepared for the great wave of response from readers sharing their similar struggles and being encouraged by my words. 

These blogs have been a way for me to channel my struggle in order to help others who struggle in the same way. There have been thousands of views of my blog from people in Russia, China, Malaysia, Germany, Ukraine, Britain, Canada, France & Indonesia. In the body of Christ, we should be able to share our burdens and struggles with each other.  I have experienced a sampling of Christlike love in the feedback I have received.


Loving concern for each other becomes the evidence that we have experienced  His love!

 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples” John 13:34-35.




 This picture was taken when I was driving
 through Arkansas in January 2010.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rejection

The Father gives me my people. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them.”  John 6:37

Everyone has faced rejection at some time in their life. It may have been a parent, a spouse, a business partner, their kids, classmates, etc. No matter what you do or say, someone is not going to like you. People may not accepts us or like us, so it is important to understand that God always loves us. 


Once we realize that we are in the same predicament as every other person in the world then hopefully it will help not to take any rejection so personal. People who reject others are usually struggling with their own hurt and insecurities so rejection becomes a pattern in their life. We do not have the power to change people or heal their hurts. In many cases there is nothing we can do or say that will make any difference. 

What we do have control over is our attitude because of that rejection.  Love doesn't rub it in, it rubs it out.  You don't have to approve of everything people do but you do have to love them. “Accept one another,  just as Christ accepted you.” Rom. 15:7 

God has put so many different types of people in our life and we need to enjoy the blessing of our differences. We will miss out on so much if we don't open ourselves up to others. I have learned to pray in my time of need, "Lord, bring into my life those you think I need today." It is always a blessing!

Everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. 1Timothy 4:4

This picture was taken over a ridge at sunrise from
 my hotel room in Georgia, December 2013.

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Power Of Words

"The tongue has the power of life and death." Proverbs 18:21

Our words can create life or create death. We can speak blessing or speak curse. What are we saying to those around us? Are we complaining or are we rejoicing? The words of negativity can kill our spirit and the spirit of those around us. Is there any bitter speech coming from our lips? Are we building up those around us? 



With our tongues we can lie, gossip and argue or we can be honest, uplift others and be a  peacemaker. Children automatically begin to say the word "no" as toddlers. It is in our nature to do wrong so we have to live intentionally to do right. We need to remind ourselves to keep our speech pure and right. The scriptures are telling us the importance of the words we speak.

Have you ever been around anyone whose words make you feel ill? We all know people who speak with such toxic words that we cannot be around them for very long. We really need to evaluate our own speech to be sure we are not the person guilty of spreading toxic words to those around us. 

"Keep your mouth closed and you’ll stay out of trouble." Proverbs 21:23

 Flowers in my garden June 2013.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Simple Life

Psalms 37:4 "Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your hearts desires."

We all long for more time to enjoy the simple things in life such as a sunrise, a sunset, a walk on the beach, to read a book, time with family and friends, traveling, etc. Instead we spend most of our time working to obtain all the things that will actually keep us from doing the things we truly desire to do. It's almost as if we sabotage ourselves with trying to get ahead and obtain all the things we believe we need to have for our life.

Pursuing stuff can harm our time, cause stress and lack of peace. A simple life these days has to be done intentionally. We can't give in to what society thinks we need in order to have a better life. God's plan for our lives is simple ~ love Him and love others! There are so many opportunities to show our love for God and our love for others. We will not have time to do either if we allow things to control us. The sooner we learn to let go of things, the sooner we can begin to have a LIFE!

How do we begin? Prayer is ALWAYS  the key to change. Pray, asking God to guide you daily in everything you do. It's a daily walk with God!

This picture was taken at the beach May 2013.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Weakness

Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

There was a time in my life that I used to cover up how I felt because I didn't want to appear weak or discouraging. The wonderful thing about being over 50 is that you learn that weakness isn't something that needs to be hidden. Everyone has weaknesses and everyone has strengths. The wonderful thing about being weak is being able to understand others with weaknesses. When we lay aside our worries about what others may think and begin to be authentic with others, God can use us. 


We need to value and believe in others in spite of their weaknesses like Jesus does. God doesn't see us like we see ourselves. He can see our potential. We have to trust God with our strengths and our weaknesses. When we give God our weaknesses He is able to do something that we never dreamed possible.


When we begin to be authentic about ourselves we risk losing family and friends who may have difficulty with our weaknesses. Don't let the way you feel about you be determined by others. I believe God can use us more because of our weaknesses. Our life is not about our popularity but it is about God's Kingdom. Our weaknesses are sometimes more useful for God's Kingdom.


My prayer: Lord, help me to see myself as you see me and help me to see others as you do.


 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works... Heb. 10:24 


  This picture was taken, at night, by my niece Theresa in Delaware during a snow storm. Her photography has always been such an inspiration to me personally!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Wearing Woes

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

We need to remember that everyone has problems, fears, anxiety, betrayal, and this list is endless. No one is immune to difficult circumstances. No one has the monopoly on problems and issues in this world either. There is enough to go around. We can't control the difficult circumstances that come into our life and we can't always control how we wear our woes.

woes

definition
1. grievous distress, affliction, or trouble.

All the positive thinking in the world will not work to help overcome the wounds life may bring but God can heal us in ways we don't expect.

When in the midst of conflict or problems in my own life, God sends reminders to me of all that is good. For example, I can hang around one of my grand kids who hugs me so tenderly and tells me they love me and all is well in my world. My husband and I have moments when the young adults at church will say or do something for us that our hearts become overwhelmed with joy. God has provided nieces and nephews in our life that lift us up just by hanging around them. We thank God constantly for the sweet relationships He gives us each day. My husband and I remind ourselves to take time to reflect on all the good that God has provided and we want to wear our gratefulness. Is our life perfect? Of course not, but most days it feels pretty close because of the relationships God gives to us who become the hands and feet of Jesus in our life.

My prayer today is to thank God for all that is good today and to trust Him with all that is not...

 This picture was taken by my mom in Spain of a poppy field in 2006.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Courage and Blessing!

Now there was a man in Maon whose business was in Carmel, and the man was very rich. He had three thousand sheep and a thousand goats. And he was shearing his sheep in Carmel. The name of the man was Nabal, and the name of his wife Abigail. And she was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance; but the man was harsh and evil in his doings. He was of the house of Caleb. I Samuel 25:2-3

Abigail was intelligent and beautiful but her husband Nabal was a fool and cruel according to these verses. How many times have we seen two people married where one is delightful and the other grates our nerves? 

David was still on the run at this time from King Saul and was in the area where Nabal had his sheep so they protected them from any harm. It was customary at that time to be compensated for the protection of your flock but instead Nabal was rude, critical and refused to do anything for David and his men.

David was upset and set out to go up against Nabal for his foolishness. Abigail met him on the road with her servants and compensation for David and his men's protection of their flock without her husband knowing. When she told her husband the next day about what she had done he was so upset he had a heart attack and died. David found out what happened to Abigails husband and asked her to be his wife and they were married.

This is a great love story but more than that it is about a woman who had the courage to do right and God blessed!

This picture was taken while visiting Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, October 2014.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Vengeful Counsel

Now afterward David arose and went out of the cave and called after Saul, saying, “My lord the king!” And when Saul looked behind him, David bowed with his face to the ground and prostrated himself.  David said to Saul, “Why do you listen to the words of men, saying, ‘Behold, David seeks to harm you’? I Samuel 24:8-9

Saul listened to the lies in his head and the lies from people who liked to stir up trouble. This is a parents worst nightmare when it happens to their own children usually in the teen moments of life. The hormonal changes tell them their parents are out to destroy their life and their fun. Wrong influences of friends begin to feed your children the same lie. Television, music and all the negatives of this world that bombard our kids to believe more negative than good. Unfortunately, it also happens in adults too.

Our families and society are being crippled much like Saul was at that time where all he wanted to do was to hate and destroy a man who had never caused him any harm. His mind and his poor counsel had led him to believe that he needed to destroy an individual who had actually always been good to him. What deception our own minds can be and added with the negatives of those we choose to listen to and anything is possible. 

As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes forth wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you. I Samuel 24:13 David chose not to hurt King Saul but instead treated him with respect because of his position of authority. He trusted God more than his own thoughts and especially more than the vengeful counsel of others.


This picture was taken when we visited Longwood Gardens with our niece Theresa, October 2014.

Monday, November 10, 2014

~It's Okay To Grieve~

Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

There are days that the storm is in our own life and other days when the storm is in the lives of those around us. Is it appropriate for us to walk around with a smile on our face in the midst of the storms? Not at all even though there are smiles and blessings even in the midst of the storms when we handle our emotions properly.

These past few years have been my season to grieve. If I walked around acting as if it never happened and as if my heart is not broken then I would be deceiving others and myself. If I didn't admit my heartache then I would act it out in some other way.

Healthy grieving is good for us and will keep us healthy. When we don't grieve properly then we will get stuck emotionally. We need to allow ourselves to feel and grieve the loss. I have learned that the more we love the more we will grieve. 

Taken on my walk on the beach which is one of my favorite places
 to grieve and pray.