Wednesday, January 31, 2018

What Are The Voices Inside Your Head Saying?

You are NOT pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough, gifted enough! The negative thoughts that come into our head can be an obstacle to deal with each day before we even begin to face the day. What do we do with those negative voices in our head that make us feel that we are not able to do anything, accomplish anything, or have any purpose?

This is a good time to begin to "pray!" If the negative thoughts are about someone who is now living rent free in our mind then we need to pray for them and that will begin to hush those voices. Meditate on God's Word. Read something that you enjoy. Be sure to surround yourself with positive, sweet, caring people because the negatives can cause those voices to scream instead all the poison you are hearing. Some times this means we have to disconnect kindly from the negativity of family or friends to have more peaceful thoughts.

Life is too fragile to fill it with anything that will only take away your peace! God wants us to live in a way that is pleasing to Him and not overrun by others and their own destructive patterns. Live purposefully in a way that makes those around you feel the blessing of your friendship!

There are steps to take to hush those negative voices in your head and it works! Here are some suggestions:

1. Pray
2. Meditate on God's Word
3. Go to church (it's free therapy)
4. Listen to good music and read a good book
5. Join a Bible Study Group
6. Helping others by serving in a ministry or community outreach.
7. Choose wisely with who and where you spend your time - such as a park, the beach, any place that makes your soul smile!

 A picture I took of the top of one of my granddaughters December 2013.




Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sacrifice!

I John 3:16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

Anytime we begin to hear ourselves talk about all we do for this person or that person, sounding like a martyr, a red flag should go up! A healthy individual is not someone who believes they are the only one who does anything in their family or community. There are moments when we believe we alone are the only ones making sacrifices in the relationship. We only deceive ourselves and usually blinded in the contributions of others around us.

This verse tells us about God loving us so much that he sacrificed his only son. This verse also tells us that we should do the same for others. I am sure there are moments in my life where I have felt that I have sacrificed for my children or my spouse but in all honesty have I really ever laid down my life for them or anyone else? 

Let's remember God's sacrifice to us the next time we are in a place feeling that we are the ONLY ONES who give our all because realistically we have not given enough.


This picture was taken of a Hibiscus flower in my back yard in 2006.
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Monday, January 29, 2018

Eclectic Relationships

written 2013:
When you talk, do not say harmful things, but say what people need—words that will help others become stronger. Then what you say will do good to those who listen to you. Ephesians 4:29 

I have decorated my home in an eclectic style from a broad range of memories and inspiration. I have used what I love instead of what someone else says that I should or should not use in my home. My home reflects good memories, people, places or things that have inspired me along the way.   I have things around the house that bring back wonderful memories of places I have traveled and been inspired to use my creativity. When I look around my home it all comes together in my mind according to my personal journey of life!

My relationships are much the same way as I decorate my home. I also have friends that I have made good memories with and have inspired me much in the same way. There are so many types of friends in life who we meet growing up, at school, at church, our neighbors, at work, etc. The one thing that I find important in any friendship is someone who gives affirmation. Not someone who just tells me what I want to hear but someone who I know loves me genuinely to build me up instead of tearing me down.

Over the years I have had all types of friends but the one thing that I have learned from watching my own children is the importance of choosing your friends more carefully. I spent years giving my children affirmation to help reinforce their self esteem and confidence only to have them choose a friend who can undo all the years I have invested with their criticism. One of my grand kids confided in me how one of their friends brought them to tears with their harsh words. I began to affirm her and thought about how all of my own children had been defeated so many times by the negativity and criticism of others.

Later on that same day I witnessed as one of my kids was being criticised by one of their friends in a sarcastic remark.   I knew that no matter how much I tried to correct that situation and affirm my adult child in that untruth that the damage was already done and it would be to no avail. It makes me sad to think that all those years of affirmation could be damaged by people who are critical in nature. It also teaches me to be careful in who I personally choose to be around too. I can only pray that my own children and grandchildren do not allow others to destroy their self esteem and confidence. I can't control what others do but I can choose to decorate my life a lot like my home with eclectic relationships that inspire me!

Michael Minot tweeted: Your value doesn't somehow decrease just because someone else doesn't recognize your worth. 

T
This picture was taken when I was walking on Peanut Island, May 2013.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Don't Worry!

Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?"



We know as Christians that we shouldn't worry if we trust God but there is plenty to worry about for everyone in this crazy world. The problem is how do we not let that worry defeat us? In the scriptures above, Jesus is giving us some examples of what we worry about such as our health (what shall we eat & drink) and our possessions (what shall we wear).

Some people believe that these types of worries are only for the poor but actually the rich worry too. The poor worry about how they will get these things, the wealthy worry about losing them. Actually there are so many things we could spend our days worrying about in our relationships, job security, family, health and the list is endless.


Worry is stressful to our mind, body and soul and can make us physically sick. It can also take away precious time from our life if we spend too much time worrying; such as hours, days, months and even years. Is there really anything good that comes out of worrying? I can't think of a thing!


If we want to stop worrying then let's begin to take action steps to change this unhealthy pattern. First of all we should pray....then we need to ask others to pray for us too.  Once we have given that worry over to prayer we should begin enjoying creation and taking the time to look at what is beautiful in the world. The ocean is the place where I like to take my worries and my sadness because I feel God's presence; and I pray that I am able to leave them there! 


God has provided so much beauty around us to be able to enjoy and see His goodness. He provides us with His Word to give us hope of uncertainty. He provides us with good people to help us sort out the chaos and assist us in making sense of what is truly important. 


We cannot control those things around us....and most of the time I can't even control my response to those things.....but God has a way of guiding, teaching and comforting while in the midst of the worry....


I took this picture October 2013 of the typewriter in our office that I have used since the early 90's - I love the wheelwriter 10 and get a kick out of it when young people come in here and look at it as if it is something out of Jurassic Park.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Don't Give Up!

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. 
I Samuel 1:10

Hannah was being tortured by her rival and in a very dark place in her life because she wanted so badly to have a child.

But she said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara which means bitter for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. Ruth 1:20


Ruth was bitter because of the death of her husband and two sons. 

These ladies responded with their emotions weeping in anguish and a bitter heart. They didn't walk around with a smile on their face and trying to think positive. They were in the darkest place as we so often find ourselves in times of crisis. Hannah cried out to God bargaining with him for a child. Naomi worked the fields and still did what she knew had to be done to put food on the table for herself and Ruth.


They could not see or imagine how wonderful their futures would turn out in spite of their emotions. God blessed them both in a great way that they could not have imagined. When all was lost for them both, it was only the beginning of their story.

Our lesson is to hang on in spite of the emotions of grief, bitterness, heartache and loss. No matter how much you feel your emotions are not showing your faith and trust, God will still move in your life. Sometimes we find ourselves in a difficult situation but don't give up!


 This is a picture taken of Palm Beach Island and the connecting bridge I took April 13, 2008.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Be Considerate Of Others

“Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourself.”  Phil. 2:3b

Can you imagine what kind of world this would be if people would treat others better than they would treat themselves? It would change all relationships within the family, the church and our nation.

Instead we , disrespect, mock and treat each other as if we do not value each other. When I hear someone make fun of another person (especially if it is towards one of my kids) my heart grieves. I have made it clear that I HATE sarcasm and the excuse I get from people is.....oh, it's just their way of joking, it doesn't mean anything or my favorite reply, "don't be so sensitive." My answer is, what gives you the right to treat me or someone else with such lack of respect? It's no one's right to criticize or humiliate another person for a laugh!

 This is a picture I took of the water from our backyard fountain.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

A Matter Of Perspective

This was written by one of my junior high teachers who is still in contact with me today thanks to facebook! She was one of my favorite teachers and now one of my favorite friends who I know takes time to pray for me and my family. I asked permission to use this on my devotional blog because it was such an encouragement to me personally and I know will be to you too!

A Matter of Perspective! by Donna Sparks:
There is someone in my extended family for whom I have prayed regularly for years.  She is a Christ-follower…but seems not to be concerned about how others perceive her attitudes and behavior.
Realizing that it was not my place to correct or direct her, I prayed specifically about certain aspects of her character that I thought surely the Lord would want to work on to improve her image as a Christian.  Knowing that God knows more about her and can speak to her in ways that I cannot, I began to pray, “Lord, help her to see herself as you see her.”
I felt satisfied that I had hit upon the best approach to God on her behalf…until this morning during my prayer time.  I prayed as usual, “Lord, help her to see herself as you see her,” and then words came out of my mouth that I had never intended to pray—“and help me to see her as you see her.”  I literally jumped and almost said, “No, Lord, I meant to say…” But I stopped in awe of what had just happened…and conviction flooded my heart. The Holy Spirit had led me to pray in the way that I should have been praying all along.
God doesn’t need me to point out what’s wrong in the life of his children; Satan is already the champion accuser. Rather than focusing on the negative, I am beginning to look for things that God sees in this woman as praiseworthy, and then thank him for them, trusting him to continue to work in her life.  God needs me to see her as he sees her—his child under construction…just like me.
donna sparksDonna Pharr Sparks refers to herself as “an expired English teacher,” because after becoming a stay-at-home mom ten years into her career, she allowed her certificate to expire.  She still loves using her writing skills and has been published in several magazines, including Family Circle and Woman’s Day.  A native of Chattanooga, Donna lives with her husband, Ray, in Murfreesboro, TN.  She enjoys working with children at her church and cherishes fun times with three of her four grandchildren. She has to settle for Skyping with the fourth one, who
                                         lives in Germany.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Struggling With Fear

“Fear not!” is the most repeated command in the Bible. Fear is no doubt one of many  problems that people are struggling with today.  It began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned and hid themselves from the Lord. The Lord called out for Adam, and Adam replied, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself" Genesis 3:10

Everyone has fears and doubts for a variety of reasons. We must always be considerate of the doubts and fears of others. Our own fears may seem rational but the fears of others don't always make sense to us.  

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’ Isaiah 41:13


 This is a picture of a necklace that I bought in 2009.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Begin with God

Proverbs 2:10-12
10 For wisdom will enter your heart,
and knowledge will fill you with joy.
11 Wise choices will watch over you.
Understanding will keep you safe.
12 Wisdom will save you from evil people,
from those whose words are twisted.


It seems that all the odds are against us when we want to live right; that is certainly what Satan would have us to believe. Overcoming the evil one and evil people in our life is a daily task and these scriptures tell us that wisdom and knowledge are the key to a healthy lifestyle.

Wisdom and knowledge come from God and how do we get it? By reading and studying God's Word. That is why it is so important to attend church weekly. Be where the Word of God is being presented as often and as much as possible, soak it in. Seems simple enough but yet people continue to struggle through life missing the message God has for them week after week.


Are we leaving God last on our schedule or do we begin each week in His presence and the safety of His house and His people - The Church!


"Visit many good books, but live in the Bible." - C.H. Spurgeon





Saturday, January 20, 2018

Creativity Comes From The Creator

Matthew 25:29 "To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance."

written December 28, 2010:
When I need a creative idea for my work I usually find it after a prayer! I determined a long time ago that God is the source of creativity. Looking at creation alone shows us His handiwork.

What an endless resource we have with our Heavenly Father. If you need a good "outside of the box" idea, pray and see what God helps you come up with today!

 This picture was taken inside of a large walk thru Christmas tree in 
Delray Beach, Florida in December 2012. I wrote the inspirational quote on April 30, 2013.





Thursday, January 18, 2018

Love Languages

written by Tracey Schultz Graham:
I could't sleep last night so what do you do when you can't sleep? You start a project. Mine was trying to figure out what to do with a box that I had yet to unpack - a box filled with books. I really need to invest in a bookcase but I can't seem to narrow it down on all the ones I find on Pinterest. Oops, I seemed to have admitted my addictions. Books & Pinterest (ok that's a whole other story). Anyways, as I was going through my books I came across a book that was written by Gary Chapman called, "The Five Love Languages."

According to this book, it tells you what your one emotional love language is. On a rare instance, a person may have two - guess who has two? Okay so I rarely follow the rules and never color inside the lines. What can I say? As I opened the book, skimmed through the pages, I saw right there in black and white my two love languages. Words of affirmation and quality time. I started thinking obviously these are my needs, my desires that I require to make a relationship work. Then I thought about God and if He is first in my life was I meeting His needs and His desires? In other words, does God have any "Love Languages?"


I love how God is faithful and answers in our quiet time if we just listen and meditate on Him. We always think of God as strong, powerful, almighty, not needing us, not wanting to be desired by us but the truth is that the Bible is a love story between God and His people. The most important thing we will ever learn about God is He desires a relationship with us!


John 17:3 says that they may know you, the only true God.


Jeremiah 29:13 "You will seek me and find me when you search with all your heart."


That verse says to me that he wants me to pursue him. That God waits to be wanted. He doesn't want a "part time" relationship with us. He wants "Quality Time." God desires to share a life of beauty, intimacy & friendship with us. God also wants "Words of Affirmation" or Praise/Worship/Thankfulness.


Philippians 4:4 "Rejoice in the Lord always; Again, I will say, Rejoice!"


I Thessalonians 5:18 "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."


Giving God Praise, Worship & Thankfulness is so important because it increases our intimacy with him. I always knew about God ever since I was a little girl but I didn't know God. We don't really know God until we step out on his word & have experiences with him and see his faithfulness.


God thank you for letting me see your "love languages" and remove anything or anyone that keeps me from you. Amen!!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Critical In Nature

"Judge not, that ye be not judged." Matthew 7:1

It is so easy to be critical of others and when I begin to go down that trail I have to ask myself: "When did I get to be so superior?" Am I so perfect that even though I have so much to work on myself personally I need instead to take time and thought to what others are doing wrong? I instead need to begin praying for those individuals and realizing they are in God's hands and take responsibility for myself. I think it is easier to see the faults of others than our own faults. We are fools if we believe we have it right and others have it wrong.


We need to stop believing we have the power to change others when we cannot even change ourselves. Let's work on encouraging others instead of tearing them down. Let's learn to take our focus off what others do and say so we can focus more on what we do and say instead.

Criticism has never accomplished anything but instead has brought pain to others. 


Criticism is a lot like cruelty, it leaves similar scars.


This picture was taken of the flowers in my yard!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Time For Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heaven...
 


Solomon describes in chapter 3 the cycles of life: sowing & reaping; weeping & laughing, mourning & dancing; gaining & losing; silence & speaking; loving & hating.....so how do we handle these cycles? Do we only respond well or with gratitude when they are the ones that we want? Or do we trust God in ALL of them?
 

God is in control of all that happens to us, good and bad. So what is our response to Him in everything?  I think we have a tendency to love God when it is all good but then angry or hate God when things are bad. Like our children do when they don't get their way or have to do something they don't care to do. One moment our kids are thrilled with us because we are taking them to the mall but the next moment they are hating us for asking them to clean their room.
 

I have learned so much about my relationship with God from watching my children respond to me as their mother and I know where they get it from.....their father! HA, I wish.....no I have to take responsibility here; unfortunately, they follow my example!


God's plans for your life far exceed the circumstances of your day! 
                                                                                                                              Louie Giglio


This picture was taken of me and my husband October 2013.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Infinite Understanding!

written by Tracey Schultz Graham:
During my morning reading I focused on Psalms 147. It tells us what gives God his greatest joy and that's genuine worship & trust from us. But I paused on verse 5 which says "Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite." I just became in awe over that verse, "His understanding is infinite." That speaks volumes.....

God's understanding has NO limits!!! There are days that I don't even understand myself but God understands me perfectly!!! So why wouldn't I want to know him more every day? Why wouldn't I make him first in my life? Why wouldn't I seek his will for my life? After all, who knows me better than God himself!




Friday, January 5, 2018

Be Kind

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

Just recently someone asked me what I thought they should do about their circumstance. It involved another individual and I really did not know the answer. I explained to them that right now there was no clear direction to the situation but for the moment I had some advice. First of all, pray that God would reveal the right answer and second of all while waiting for the answer, be KIND!

Kindness is always the right thing to do in any circumstance. I believe it has the power to heal. 

A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers! Ruth Bell Graham

 
This picture was taken on one of my walks on the beach where we live.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Hope In The Journey

written January 5, 2012:
Encouragement comes in many ways....a kind word or deed, a beautiful sky or the ocean, the scriptures, poems, books, art, music, etc. In this journey called life we have days where we feel such a devastating blow to our hearts and emotions that cannot be explained and we may feel hopeless. Hopelessness is a very dangerous place to be and a time to make the necessary steps to do what we can to find hope and encouragement.

I am encouraged when I look at the world through my camera lens. Also, I find hope in scriptures like the verse below:

Jeremiah 29:11  "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
 
This picture was taken December 2011 in Delray Beach. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

A Love Lesson!

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

One of the best books I read on relationships was "His Needs Her Needs" by Dr. Willard Harley. It was a real eye opener for me to understand my husband and the responsibility I had to be a better wife. My husband grew up with 4 sisters so he already had a better understanding of women in general. It wasn't until we began to apply some of those principles that we saw a great difference in our marriage.


After attending a Promise Keepers Conference many years ago my husband implemented something he learned there that he continues to do today. He began to sit down each day to talk and listen. At first it was a bit strange and then some days we found ourselves talking for several hours. He has been great about making sure we still do this and what a difference it makes on our relationship.

There are so many wonderful tools today to show us how to have a better marriage. I am grateful to those who take time to write and teach about these principles in order for many of us to make changes and live more wonderfully with those we love. Another great book written is "The Five Love Languages" by Gary Chapman which taught me so much about myself.

My prayer: Lord show me how to love like you have loved me!


My mom took this picture of people dancing when she was visiting Paris, France in 2010.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What Are You Saying?



Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart 
                            Be acceptable in Your sight,
                             O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

written January 2, 2011:

We are accountable for all our words and it can bless our life or curse it. That is a pretty powerful statement when you realize how important what you say is in your daily walk. I have heard people say, "it figures ~ always happens to me" and it does because they have said it and now they are living it. "Just my luck" is another term I have heard often when something goes wrong and because they have said it, now they are living it. Some of these sayings came to these individuals when they were children because someone uttered the same curse on their life and they have continued that generational curse.


Let's be aware of what we say and that we do not use words that will not only cause harm to others but to ourselves.



Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.  ~Terry Squires @OneImpact Bible


 I took this picture as I was traveling with my mother during a 
snow blizzard in Tennessee 2009.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Be An Angel To Others!


And the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, “Go down with him; do not be afraid of him.” So he arose and went down with him to the king. II Kings 1:15

I love that the angel gives Elijah a reminder not to be afraid because of his circumstances. I'm pretty sure if Elijah had not been afraid it would not have been necessary to have an angel bring him this message. Fear happens to all of us even a great prophet of God. 

When I become fearful it seems that I always have someone in my life such as one of my family members or a dear friend act much like that same angel to remind me, not to be afraid. Not in a condemning, self righteous or cruel way because that would only cause me more fear. Just yesterday a friend hugged me and told me she prayed for me that morning. I realized then I was not fearful of a circumstance that particular day because someone had taken time to pray for me.

We need to always pray and encourage each other because we never know how others are struggling. Let's remove whatever unkind cruel spirit there may be in others around us by praying for them too.

 This picture was taken by my beautiful niece Theresa on a walk in Delaware, May 2014.