My Therapy


Scripture for the day:  Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created . . .”

I went outside early this morning and watched the sunrise.  I listened to my world slowly awaken with the sounds of birds singing, calling to their mates.  The crows were loud, shattering the silence with their piercing caws.  The hummingbirds were quiet as they came to feed, their only noise a whirring of wings.

The grass was sparkling with dew, each blade dressed with shimmering gems reflecting the new-day’s light.  The flowers were fresh and bright, enjoying their overnight respite from the sun and wind.  I sat still and listened.  I breathed in the fresh, cool air.  For the moment, I just was.  No need to talk.  Just inhale, exhale, enjoy.

My yard became busy with breakfast.  Cowbirds came to the feeders, eating hurriedly, with great commotion.  A turkey hen came to scratch and eat under the feeder, turning occasionally to look at me .  The chickadees, titmice, sparrows all took their turn at the feeders, but then the real show began.  It was time for the buntings and finch to eat.  First came a male goldfinch, all dressed in his bright yellow plumage, ready to brighten any day.  Next came a pair of Lazuli buntings.  They are not supposed to be in my area, but they’ve been here all week.  Apparently they didn’t read the book.  Then, right on time, came a pair of Indigo buntings.  All that was missing was the painted bunting, but he was elsewhere today.  My eyes feasted on all the beauty around me.  What a glorious way to start my day!

I read the first chapter of Genesis about creation, and I was so humbled, so thankful, so blessed by all God gave to me.  I’m thankful today for every blade of grass, every flower petal, every wild creature, every weed.  As God said repeatedly in Genesis “It is good.”  Take time today to sit outside and take in the beauty of God’s world.  It is the best therapy in this world.

Song for the day:  “Majesty” by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLvit7kMfiY

The Pencil


A few weeks ago, I read a blog that touched my heart.  The author was anonymous, so I am unable to give credit.  I would like to share the thoughts and expand on them a bit.

A pencil maker told a new pencil there were five things he needed to know before he was sent out into the world.  If he never forgot them, he would become the best pencil he could be.

1.  You will be able to do great things but only if you allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand.

2.  You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time but you will need it to become a better pencil.

3.  You will be able to correct any mistakes you make.

4.  The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

5.  On every surface you are used on, you will leave your mark.

Now, let’s replace the pencil with you.  Remember these five things and you will become the person God designed you to be.

1.  You will be able to do great things but only if you allow yourself to be held in God’s hand.

Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye.”

God has a plan for each of us, and He will guide us in the right direction if we allow Him to hold us.  He has given each of us special gifts, and it is His desire that we use those gifts.  If He is holding us in His hand, we will develop those gifts and use them to His glory.

2.  You will experience a painful sharpening from time to time by going through various problems and difficulties, but you’ll become a stronger, better person because of it.

Proverbs 3:12 “For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.”

Revelation 3:19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.”

We learn and profit from the hard times in our lives.  God uses difficulties to sharpen us, make us better, stronger.

3.  You will be able to correct any mistakes you make.

Psalm 37:23-24 “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.”

We all make mistakes.  We stumble at times, perhaps even fall, but through His grace we can stand up and start again.  When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin in our lives, we can go to the throne of grace, confess and be forgiven.  God doesn’t remember our mistakes and neither should we.  Learn from the mistake but don’t dwell on it.  Move forward in God’s grace.

4.  The most important part of you will always be what’s on the inside.

1 Samuel 16:7 “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him.  For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”

Proverbs 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”

Focus on what is inside you because that is what matters.  Charm, beauty, outward appearances are all fleeting. What remains is the heart, and that is what God sees.

5.  On every surface you walk through, you will leave your mark.

John 13:35 “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 I will make my mark every where I go today.  Will my mark be one of love or disdain?  I am a disciple every day, not just when I feel like it or want to show His love.  Everywhere I go, I either show I am a follower of Christ and honor Him with my life or I don’t.  Do I take the time to share the gospel with others?  Do I witness, share my testimony, tell people what Jesus has done for me or do I stand still, quiet, uninvolved?

I will make a mark today.  It is my prayer that He will hold me in His hand, show me the path to take.  If I need to be sharpened, I pray that I will take it graciously and learn from it.  When I stumble, I pray that I will recognize my sin and give it to Jesus.  I will make my mark on everything I touch today.  I pray it is for Jesus.

Song for the day:  “Living for Jesus”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rChnJ15-mj0

Redeemed!


Scripture for the day:  Psalm 119:1-3 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord.  Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.  They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths.”

There’s a song in my heart, a smile on my face, and words of praise on my lips today.  Why?  Because I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!  I claim this scripture today and seek Him with all my heart.  I seek His guidance, His will for my life, and I rebuke Satan and all his wiles.

Philippians 4:8 says “Dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  I am filled with His spirit today, choosing to do His will instead of mine.

Instead of negative thoughts and emotions that Satan would thrust on me, I choose to think on God’s truth, those things in my life worthy of honor and praise.  I am thanking Him today for my health.  He brought me from the brink of death with cancer to renewed life in Him.  Thank you, Lord!  He has given me a wonderful family, and their love is a source of great joy in my life.  Thank you, Lord!  I have numerous friendships, some long-lasting, some transient, short-lived, but valuable just the same.  For all my friends, I say, “Thank you, Lord!”  He has given me a mission, work to do for His kingdom and in His name.  I cherish all the opportunities He has placed before me, and I praise Him for the strength to work.  Thank you, Lord!

As I go about my day, I will not compromise with evil.  I will choose to walk with His hand in mine, go wherever He leads.  May I go willingly, thanking Him with every step for His love, His steadfastness, His guidance.  Without Him, where would I be?

Song for the day:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-3yQWbPfZg

His child and forever I am!

God’s Protection


Scripture for the day:  John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.”

Early American Indians had a unique practice of training a young brave.  On the night of his 13th birthday, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away to spend the night entirely alone.  He had never been away from the security of his family or the tribe before.  When he removed the blindfold, he was alone in the middle of a thick woods.  He was terrified!  Every noise was menacing!  After a very long night, dawn broke.  He looked around and saw flowers, trees and a path.  Then to his utter astonishment, he saw the figure of a man standing just a few feet away holding a bow and arrow.  It was his father.  He had been there all night.

To me, this is the perfect illustration of God’s protection.  God is love!  He sent His Son to die on a cross to save us. He protects us in ways we cannot fathom.  We’ll never know the number of times God has protected us — stood watch over us — all night.  If we accept Jesus, our spirit is protected from eternal damnation.  That is God’s ultimate protection, but He protects us daily in small ways.

John 16:33 says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

Trials will come.  We will feel alone in the wilderness at times, but Jesus is always there with us.  Like the young Indian brave, we are never alone.  Jesus is standing watch close by.

Job 1:10-12 talks about protective hedges.  Satan accused God of protecting Job, so God allowed the protective hedge to be removed from around Job.  His family, servants, wealth and health were all threatened, harmed, taken away.  God allowed Satan to attack Job and all he had.  Sin can create a void in the protective hedge in our lives, but only God can allow Satan to harm us through it.

Proverbs 1:33 says “But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.”

I can pray believing in God’s protection for my family because He promises protection in His Word!  He is our refuge, our strength, our hope in times of trouble.  We are never alone!  And so today I give every circumstance to Him, knowing that He loves me and will protect me and those I love.

The Bible tells me so.

Song for the day:  “In Christ Alone” by Kristian Stanfill (Newsboys Version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qcPMQnXzNU

Wonderfully Made!


Scripture for the day:  Psalm 139:13-14 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 139 is a favorite.  I love the idea that God created me in His image, and that I am wonderfully made!  When I look in the mirror, I see imperfections, flaws.  But, when God sees me, I am perfect, made in His image!

I attended a meeting this morning where miscarriage and fertility issues were discussed.  The speaker was a pastor’s wife who has two sons with her on earth and five babies in heaven.  It was very touching to hear her story, and tissues were on every table.  Most of the ladies had been touched in some way by the loss of a child.  Perhaps it wasn’t them personally but a family member or friend.

When I read this Scripture, I am reminded that not all beings that God creates, knits together in the mother’s womb, will ever know life on this earth.  Some will never be held in their mother’s arms, will never take a breath, but they belong to God.  They are sinless, living with their Father in heaven and praising His name.  What a joyous thought!  But the heartache remains in those left behind.

The speaker shared how her 5 miscarriages changed her.  She talked about layers of grief, and how hard it is to deal with the loss of a child.  I was reminded of my mother who carried her first little girl to term, but the doctor broke her neck in the delivery.  My mother held her baby, but she never brought her home to the nursery she had prepared.  My mother carried that scar with her all of her life.  Every Memorial Day she would place pink rosebuds on her baby’s grave.  She bought the flowers lovingly and placed them with great care.  She cherished the task.  It was an act of love.  I often thought about my sister, Charslie Diane, and wondered if we would have been great friends.  She was always a part of our family.  She just wasn’t visible.

The lady shared how deep her depression grew, even to the point of suicide.  She said she was so wounded, and yet she couldn’t tell anyone.  Our society isn’t terribly understanding about miscarriage.  You often hear “Don’t worry.  You’ll have other children.”  Or “You’ll get over it in time.”  From listening to the speaker today and remembering my mother’s life, I realize you don’t get over it.  No matter how many children you have, you will always grieve for the one you lost.

Psalm 34:3 says “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.”

The speaker talked about picturing her 5 babies praising God with song and dance!  She shared how she sometimes joins them in their jubilant praise, and she rejoices with them.  She and her husband made sure that their two sons were saved so that one day they can all be together in Heaven one day!

That is how I picture my family:  Charslie, Mother and Daddy singing and dancing in heaven.  I know that I will join them one day.  What a day of rejoicing that will be!

John 16:33 says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  Illness, loss of babies, parents, friends are all a part of our world.  Trials will come, but the lesson may be in our reaction to those deep heartaches.  We have a choice.  We can live a wounded life and let the cancer of negativity destroy our world or we can live an enriched life and learn from our trials.

I choose victory in Jesus, and I will live to the fullest, singing, dancing, rejoicing in Him!

Song for the day:  “Praise You in This Storm”, Casting Crowns

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUWbmtbzDno

My Ark


Scripture for the day:  Genesis 6:5-8 “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.  So the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.’  But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

Fast forward from Noah’s time to now.  Nothing has changed.  Wickedness and evil are prevalent in our hearts today just as in Noah’s day, and I’m sure the Lord is grieved.

God had instructed Noah to build an ark, and he did so.  He was obedient to God’s call on his life.  2 Peter 2:5 says, “and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.”  

God had Noah build an ark, a place of safety, and when the time was right God invited Noah inside and shut him in.  God closed the door.  Noah had done all that God commanded him to do, and He kept him safe.  Genesis 7:1 “Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Come into the ark, you and all your household, because I have seen that you are righteous before Me in this generation.”  God kept His promise to Noah and protected him because he was righteous in God’s eyes.

With all the evil in our world, it isn’t hard to believe that God is fed up with man, grieved in His heart.  The day of judgment is at hand.  Our ark is in the atoning blood of Jesus.  Just as pitch kept the ark sealed and safe, Jesus is our safe place.  Jesus will protect us when the flood of God’s judgment comes upon the earth.  His shed blood covers those who have accepted Him and have been granted His grace.

When will God’s patience with man end?  Will it be today, tomorrow, next year?  Matthew 24:36 says “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”  It’s time to get ready.  The day of judgment is nigh.

Song for the day:  One Day

“Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; buried, He carried my sins far away; rising, He justified freely forever:  One day He’s coming–O glorious day!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Gnat Farm


Scripture for the day:  Romans 15:7 “Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.”

I love fresh herbs!  They make food taste amazing, and they are far superior to their dried cousins.  It is winter, however.  All my beautiful herbs are either fast asleep or dead in my garden.  Not to worry!  I bought a basil plant and uprooted a tarragon clump from the garden.  I bought a small bag of Miracle Gro soil, found a couple of pots and behold:  an indoor herb garden, growing happily in a sunny window with fluorescent lights as needed.

Everything about my little windowsill garden seemed perfect until I noticed gnats swarming around my basil.  I decided to check the bag of soil, and sure enough.  Inside the bag gnats were swarming.  Is that the “miracle” inside every bag of Miracle Gro?  Do they secretly tuck a gnat farm in every bag they sell?  Hmmm.  Not to worry.  I can live with a few gnats if necessary in order to enjoy fresh basil and tarragon.

I’m thinking today about all the wonderful people in my life.  Admittedly, some of them came with a few gnats, little quirks that I find annoying.  Some even came with a whole gnat farm just like my windowsill garden.  And then there is me.  Gnats galore!

I am so happy with my basil and tarragon that I don’t mind the gnats.  I even say good morning to them when I turn on the light.  I accept them, embrace them if that is part of the joy of having fresh basil.

Christ died on a cross to save me.  He accepted me into His kingdom and He loves me, gnats and all.  I didn’t have to get rid of the gnats before He accepted me.  Thank goodness.  I can’t figure out how to get rid of gnats.  Period.

So may I accept those God places in my life.  May I love them, encourage them, help them to grow and thrive.  May I ignore the gnats, accept them as being a part of my relationship with that person.  May I always see the good in the person and ignore a few pesky gnats, just as Christ did for me.

Song for the day:  “Your Grace Still Amazes Me” by Phillips, Craig and Dean

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fXVUYC_ykwE

His grace amazes me, and He loves me, gnats and all.

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