Friday, February 26, 2016

Joy Killer Or Builder?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Each day we have the opportunity to either be a "Joy" killer or builder to those around us. For some of us it will depend on our personalities and for others it will depend upon the circumstances. Romans 8:28 tells us that everything will work out for the good if we give it (the problem) and us (doing His will). 

Joy can be killed in us and in others around us by negativity, criticism and bad behavior. Joy can be built in us and in others around us by being positive, building each other up and trusting God in all our circumstances.

The scriptures are full of God's promises that no matter what is said to us or no matter what the circumstances that He (God) is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think within us according to Ephesians 3:20.

Joy comes when I let go of control for my life and give God the control. 

My prayer: Lord, please forgive me for killing any "JOY" in myself or those around me with my attitude or words and please help me to always be a "JOY" builder instead. 


This picture was taken when I was walking in Palm Beach in 2006.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I Wonder!

I wonder what would happen if

I treated everyone like I was in love

with them, whether I like them or not

and whether they respond or not and no matter

what they say or do to me and even if I see

things in them which are ugly twisted petty

cruel vain deceitful indifferent, just accept

all that and turn my attention to some small

weak tender hidden part and keep my eyes on

that until it shines like a beam of light

like a bonfire I can warm my hands by and trust

it to burn away all the waste which is not

never was my business to meddle with.

-Derek Tasker

A few months ago I saw someone speak with such cruelty and with no love in their heart. I don't ever want that same spirit to rule me personally so I made a decision to be kinder to others and show more love in my life!

"Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future." ~Paul Boese

Matthew 22:36-40 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 This picture was taken on a car ride on March 9, 2010.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Holding On To Hope!

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;   Psalm 46:1-2

Hard times come in many different ways for each of us. No matter who we are or what we have, we can expect problems. God is not promising us a life without it but instead letting us know that He will be our refuge and strength in the midst of any and ALL our struggles. 

Our hope is not in other people or even in ourselves but in Him. I find that comforting because I know that I don't always get it right. God has brought me through so many things that were of my own doing. God has also brought me through many more things that were not of my own doing. 

God is our only HOPE in everything!

This picture was taken around the historical area of Fernandina Beach,  January 2013

Friday, February 19, 2016

Help Wanted: Holy Spirit!

One thing I have learned is that I cannot control anyone or anything. When I was younger I believed I had the power to change the world. I'm not sure where I developed that thought process but I really did think I could. After raising my own children, I have certainly been humbled into knowing I can't control even a small child, a teen, or adult child. My children ALL have a mind of their own.

There are times when I want to control what others are thinking, feeling, believing, etc. I give it my best effort in trying to convince them of what I believe is the better way to think, feel, believe, etc. It sounds to me like I may have some control issues but I will write about that on another day. God has given everyone a free-will and we have to honor that in each individual.


Only God can change the heart of any individual. Allow God to change others internally because it's the only possible solution. It seems there are so many of us who try to be the "Holy Spirit" in the lives of others but that just does not work. First of all, when I am consumed with how others behave then I have taken the focus off myself and what needs to change in me. Secondly, if I am concerned over someone's actions then that should just be a reminder to bring them before the Lord and leave them there. It's God's job, not ours ~ so let it go! God may or may not change that individual but I guarantee He will change our own hearts in a way we never dreamed possible. ~


Life would be simpler and more enjoyable when we focus on God and His desire for our lives! Stay focused!


~ This is the day that the Lord hath made (Psalm 118:24a).....I don't want to mess it up!


This picture was taken of my youngest daughters little one on February 2013. She is wearing a dress that her own mama used to wear when she was the same age.


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Help Others!

All of us have had to endure some type of hardship or pain in this life. We can take that negative emotion or pain and hold on to it, be bitter and never heal. One of the best remedies to healing our pain and sadness is in helping others. We are better equipped to help others when we understand what pain and suffering is like for ourselves. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand the needs of others without it.

Writing these blogs is easy for me when I have pain in my life because I am driven to search the scriptures to understand what is happening to me personally. I am burdened by the idea that others are hurting in the same way and how I can help them through their pain and difficulty. I want to encourage others and bring hope when all seems lost because I know God can change everything.

Hope is what everyone is looking for in each crisis. When hope is lost it makes everything seem dark and life not worth living. Hope comes from God and we can find it all through the Bible. Our human minds cannot always comprehend hope in the dark hours but the spirit that lives within us when we have trusted in Christ certainly can restore our hearts and minds.

Whatever circumstances you may be in today no matter how hopeless ~ look around to find someone else who is hurting that may need your encouragement and understanding today! Difficulty is everywhere for everyone. Reaching out to someone else is the beginning of our journey towards HOPE ~


Hope deferred makes the heart sick,But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

This is a picture taken in the gardens at Bethesda by the Sea on May 2012.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

God's Road Map For Life

      Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
                              And lean not on your own understanding;
                              In all your ways acknowledge Him,
                              And He shall direct your paths.

God has a plan and purpose for each one of us and wants to direct our lives in every way. We need to seek His will each and every day in order to stay on the right road of life. If not, we will lose our way and it can become very difficult to get back on the right road and will delay us to where He wants us to be......

My prayer: Lord, forgive me for not going in the right direction and please guide me today so that I will not get lost but instead be able to accomplish what you need for me to do!


The meaning and purpose you find in helping others will enrich and expand your life!


This picture was taken at sunset while visiting Fernandina Beach 2014.

Have I Done Any Good?

Psalm 96: 1-3  Oh sing to the Lord a new song! Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.


Psalm 96 in verse 9 says, "Worship the Lord with the beauty of holy lives." My thoughts on this scripture are "Does my own life demonstrate to others about God's greatness?" 

In my prayer journal I wrote on January 15, 2002 ~ My prayer is that Jim, myself and my children share Jesus....to be witnesses to everyone we meet. Have my children seen a holy life in me or did "I" get in the way?


The music and lyrics were written by my ancestor Will L. Thompson (1847-1909) ~ I found it on YouTube and it really spoke volumes to me today!  


Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Handling Fear!

I Kings 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.”

Jezebel was letting Elijah know she was going to kill him.She was furious that he had conquered her pagan prophets and wanted revenge. Elijah had just won a great victory and was on the mountain top of life until he heard this threat. He ran for his life and found himself in the midst of despair going from faith to fear. 

Elijah was a great and righteous prophet of God who ended up deep in despair and depression because of fear. He was so overwhelmed with fear that he asked God to kill him. His emotions were more focused on his fears than on the victories God had given him just days before. Fear came while he was on the mountain top of life and immediately he was in the valley of despair.


Fear is a struggle that we all face in life and we need to encourage each other as God did Elijah.

My prayer: Dear Lord, please send me in my times of fear those who will help me more in my faith and not those who will only crush me in my weakness. Let me know how to encourage those in my life who may be struggling with their own fear.

This picture was taken as I was traveling through Arkansas with my mom in January 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2016

God's Promise!

 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods. Joshua 24:2

God made a promise (also called a Covenant) with Abram in the book of Genesis. The covenant with Abram is to show us that God will bless anyone no matter who they are. At that time Abram came from a family background of people who worshiped false gods and yet God chose him to bless. It is to encourage us that no matter what kind of background we have or what sin may have been in our life God wants to bless us. The same promise then is the same promise of blessing God wants to give to us and to our families if we choose to trust in Him.

God also used the apostle Paul in a tremendous way and he was an executioner of anyone who professed to be a Christ follower. These are two people in the scriptures that had terrible and damaging background checks but God changed their future. That should give us hope that no matter what God can change all that is negative about us and use us for something great!


This picture was taken on my walk June 11, 2014. I had to ask God to 
forgive me for not taking more time to enjoy all the beauty around me.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

God's Control!

And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you. II Chronicles 15:2

King Asa decided to trust in men and his own riches to protect him instead of God and was defeated.


 
The bad news is we are way weaker and worse than we think we are....the good news is that Jesus is way stronger and better than we could ever hope or imagine....a quote from Pastor Tullian

Be brave and trust God to take care of everything!

 This picture was taken on a walk October 20, 2012 at Morikami Japanese Gardens.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

God Changes Things!

And He changes the times and the seasons; Daniel 2:21a

The story of Joseph is such an encouragement to me when life doesn't make sense. I think about when his brothers threw him into a pit to kill him and then sold him into slavery. Then his encounter with Potiphar's wife and getting thrown into prison. There were so many things that happened to Joseph that were so terribly wrong and yet he never  let the circumstances change his trust in God. Joseph trusted that God's hand was upon him and moved forward every day doing what ever needed to be done. Many years later God blessed him by making him 2nd in command to the great nation of Egypt. He was reunited with his family and everything changed.

There are many stories in the Bible that show us that God uses the good and the bad for his purpose. We can't always trust in the circumstances of our life but we can always trust God. It should give us hope that no matter what difficulty we may have that God has His purpose and His plan for us too. We can trust Him to make everything right no matter how impossible it may seem and no matter how much we have messed it up.

God can take our hopeless circumstance that we are facing today and make it  our blessing for tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. 
He brought us life from death 2000 years ago....

 This picture was taken at the Historical Fernandina Beach on January 2014.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Frugal Living

Matthew 6:33 Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. 

A consecrated Jewish believer, Dr. Max Reich, gave this testimony: "When my wife and I were first married, we felt called to full-time Christian service, God blessed our ministry and many people accepted the Lord. Although our income was small and we had few worldly possessions, our hearts were full of joy. One day, however, my wife said, "Max, there's nothing to eat for dinner!'

I didn't reply at first but stood listening to the birds singing in the trees.

Suddenly these words from a well-known Gospel song flashed through my mind: 'His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.' Immediately I said, 'If our Heavenly Father feeds the birds, surely He'll take care of us!' Just then a lady knocked at the door. After introducing herself she said, 'My husband was a hopeless alcoholic. Every time he got his check he'd spend most of it to get drunk, so the children and I were often hungry. Recently he heard you preach the Gospel, and the Lord worked a miracle in his heart. Now he's a changed man! For the first time in years he brought home a full week's pay, and I was able to get a good supply of groceries. I thought as I was cooking, part of this food really belongs to Brother Reich. I was going to bring you some later, but I felt compelled to do it immediately. Here's half of the chicken I fried and some biscuits fresh from the oven!' 'We were so happy,' said Dr. Reich, that we sang, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow!' To this moment the Lord has never failed to give us our daily bread."

Worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem. But if you’re preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem of its own.

 This picture was taken at La Mancha Spain 2007.


Thursday, February 4, 2016

Feeling Worthless?

There are many reasons people feel they are worthless. I know in my own life there have been times when I have carried the feelings of worthlessness. At those moments of utter disappointment and sadness I run to the Lord who picks me up, dust me off and shows me that I am not worthless. He helps me find my worth in His Word or at church from some sweet saint. Some times God will bring the perfect book into my life for me to read and reprogram my mind to undo all the harm done. Other days, it will be a sweet card in the mail, an unexpected visit or a kind word from someone. 

My prayer: Dear Lord, I want to always be an encouragement to those around me and never destroy their spirit with my words.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

This picture was taken after the afternoon rains last week, July 2014.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Unloved!

When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, He opened her womb; but Rachel was barren. So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing. Genesis 29:31-35

Jacob didn't love Leah but instead loved her sister Rachel. This story is usually told according to the perspective of how Jacob and Rachel must have felt at being tricked by her father Laban into marrying Leah. Let's take time to consider how Leah must have felt having to marry a man who was in love with her sister. No matter what Leah did right her husbands heart belonged to Rachel. That takes sibling rivalry to a whole new level.

According to these verses it sounds like she held on to some hope that he would come to love her eventually. She really shows unconditional love to her husband because you don't hear her complaining. God blessed her for her faithfulness to her husband by giving her so many children plus a longer life than her sister Rachel and she was buried with her husband Jacob. He did come to the end of his life treating her with great respect and the honor she deserved.

Leah teaches with her life to trust God no matter the circumstances. To never lose hope and especially to never complain of the situation you find yourself.  God allows these trials in our life to refine our faith or the faith of others!

 This picture was taken in Savannah, Georgia on March 2013.