Blessings in Our Lives

Blessings in Our Lives

Grandma's Special Herbs

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us“— 2 Corinthians 4:7

As we enter the Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of legacy. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time of remembering family and the blessings we have. Taking time to remember those blessings can be the challenge. We are so busy with every day life of errands and work and school that we may miss the everyday blessings that God has provided for us. Little things done today, impact the events of tomorrow and ultimately the next generation. But what are we passing on? Are we so overwhelmed with the cares and struggles in our lives that we are missing the blessings? Are the things we are passing on things that last for a moment, a season, or eternity? Are they truly treasures? Are we taking time to unearth the blessings in our lives?

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”                                —-2 Corinthians 4:8-9channeled-whelk

Sometimes we need to hold on to our treasure as the waves crash around us.

It is only then we realize what we are holding onto, what is deep and buried just under the sand, what comes not from ourselves but from Jesus and our relationship with Him,—- is the true treasure.

Are we passing on–how to have peace amidst the stormlove when faced with adversity…. perseverance to stay the coursejoy that comes from God that gives us strength to see joy amidst the everyday struggles and routinesgrace for the moment

To take the time to count our blessings may mean digging away the sand that is keeping it hidden and allowing the waves to wash away the rough edges to make it smooth. We may not recognize the treasure for what it is. We may only see the tip or the edge. It may appear broken and insignificant, but God sees the treasure and the blessings that is beneath. If we allow Him, Jesus has the power to slowly move away the sand and wash away the dirt and reveal the hidden treasure that was there all the time. True treasures transcend our lifetime.  True treasures lay a foundation for our children to stand on and build upon. True treasures and blessings come not from us but from what Jesus has done for us and within us. The power is from Jesus and not from us.

 

 

 

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Crystal Coast Gem- Treasures in the Sand

Crystal Coast Gem- Treasures in the Sand

cape lookout pic
My husband took this great picture of Cape Lookout lighthouse as we came up to the Island.

Cape Lookout“Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (Psalm 77:19, NIV)

 

I love the beach. I love looking for shells. The Outer Banks has great shells. Whelks and whole sand dollars, sea treasures abound. As a family we planned to visit Cape Lookout and enjoy the day which included a road trip to the ‘point’. The ‘point’ is where the ocean and sound meet. It is a mixture of waves going all directions as the currents flowing in and out of the banks find their lane so to speak. My plan was to find sea treasures the and enjoy the kids all together at one time. Shells can be elusive and the waves can claim the treasures. The road trip started out great, looking at the maritime forest, the village where people lived out on the island only few years ago with no grocery store or Walmart or restaurants! They had a one room school house for the island kids.

stuck in sand
Our Driver was great, good attitude!

 

Then we hit the soft sand and suddenly stopped. We were stuck. Every one climbed out and we moved the vehicle and went a few more feet and we were stuck again. We decided to leave the trailer and take only a few to the ‘point’ at a time. Frustrated that we would not reach our goal of the elusive ‘point’, I prayed, “Ok , God for once I will enjoy the ‘now’, the journey. I will not focus on the destination but on the process. It is beautiful day and the waves and tide pools are great and the kids are having fun.” So, I hopped out and started looking down and around. There were shells everywhere, whelks galore! I was so excited.

THE POINT

Cape_Lookout_Point_-_2013-06_-_09
When ocean and sound meet, water goes crazy!

 

We were the last ones to leave the area to go to the ‘point’. When we arrived, I was expecting more sea treasures, but there were none. I asked others and they did not find any when they arrived. We wondered around to the sound side. Looking into the water, a sand dollar glistened. My son and I started wading out and more sand dollars appeared. We were so excited! Sometimes the treasures are just beneath the surface. Some times it requires moving off the safety of dry land and heading into the unknown waters to find the treasures.

CRYSTAL COAST GEM

Sometimes the struggles of the journey reap the greatest treasures. In our eyes getting stuck or delayed on our way to the destination is an inconvenience, a nuisance, a frustration, disappointment. We only had a little time on the island and my thought was we are going to spend the whole time “STUCK”. God had other plans. Sometimes, getting ‘stuck’ is part of the plan. It may be a key part of the journey that you cannot understand. God knows where the treasures are. The delay is necessary to find the treasures you want and need in your life. Keeping calm and looking for the blessings among the struggle reaped a blessed day with the kids and sea treasures as well.

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OK, These are not the shells we found, but they look just like them. I forgot to take a picture of all of them together. We also found 10 complete sand dollars and a horseshoe crab shell. Our bag was full! Just like the nets of disciples when Jesus told them to go fishing. They didn’t see the fish, but the fish were there!
Resurrection Egg #7: Crown of Thorns

Resurrection Egg #7: Crown of Thorns

 The Great Exchange: Victory in our Mind

I love this picture. It simply shows what God does. It is the Great Exchange (Resurrection Egg #3) He replaces something that is dead and ugly and painful with something new and beautiful. Jesus was given crown of thorns by man. Crowns typically signify royalty and authority. The thorns, however, did not signify either. Christ bled from the head so that we could have healing and peace of mind. He replaced the crown of thorns with a crown that gives us authority over the sinful fruit our mind; worry, anxiety, pride, depression, lust, greed. Jesus promises to replace the crown of thorns with a crown of life, a crown of glory that will not fade and an everlasting crown. Jesus’ crowns give us authority to have full access to His kingdom.

 

crown

Crown of Thorns: aka “PLANTZILLA”

The thorns were supposed to have been two inches long and when placed onto Jesus’ head they cut into His head as they encircled it. As a nurse, I have seen just how the smallest head wound can bleed, much less multiple lacerations that went deep into Jesus’ scalp. The blood would have poured down.

Thorns are considered fruit of branches. (UGLY!) They represent the curse of the earth. The Greek word for thorns that refers to the crown of thorns is the same word that descibed the thorns that choked out the word of God in the parable. If  you have ever had to kill  or remove a vine with thorns. First of all, those vines are insidious. Even with the harshest of weed killers, they seem to thrive and spread. They flourish as they wind themselves around bushes, trees, buildings, anything in their path. They eventually kill the plants they are covering. You can cut them back and they come back with a vengeance. At the beach in North Carolina we have such a vine. I have talked to several people regarding how to remove it and kill it. The only way is cut it back and spray weed killer every year until eventually you can find where the root is. Then you did up the root bulb ( which by the way can be the size of a soccer ball). This process can take 5-10 years to completely remove it. Then you are constantly spraying every year to keep it from returning. It is a very labor intensive process that takes patience and diligence. It is battle between you and PLANTZILLA! Just when you think you have it under control, it shows up on your back deck!

Battling PLANTZILLA

Well, through this battle with PLANTZILLA, God has taught me some things regarding battles of the mind.

  1. PLANTZILLA wants to cover you and strangle you so that you can’t see the sunlight. When our mind is bombarded with thoughts of “you are not worthy”, “what is the use”, “everything you touch is bad”, “you don’t deserve anything but this”, etc. Our mind is so shrouded we cannot see the light of the Word of God. The Word of God says that “We are fearfully and wonderfully made”, “God desires above all things that we prosper and be in good health even as our soul prospers”. People who are depressed talk about being in a ‘dark place’. Jesus wants to move us from that dark place into the light.
  2. PLANTZILLA likes to come back every year. We have sinful patterns in our life that like to repeat themselves. These patterns begin with our thought patterns. These thought patterns govern our actions which determine our results. Ever heard the definition on insanity (another ‘mind’ word). Well, it is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting different results. To get different results we need to replace the thought pattern. This comes from daily reading the word of God.
  3. PLANTZILLA has a root cause from which it springs. Ok, without God, we may be able to trim back PLANTZILLA and hold him at bay. We may be able to start listening to positive thoughts and positive people in our life and change what is going on around us. Which is good. But not great. The only way we will have complete victory is to remove the root bulb. That is going to take Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It will take prayer and fasting and getting into the Word of God. It will take sacrificing some time for ourself. It will take changing what goes into your mind. What are we reading? What are we watching everyday? It is choosing to listen to God’s voice and we will have victory.

 PLANTZILLA is now plantzilla!

Jesus gave us the power and authority to control our thoughts. We are no longer slaves to them. We are no longer a victim of sinful patterns in our life. Now we can capture every thought and replace them with the Word of God.  We now have the freedom to make right decisions. We have the ability to produce good fruit and not thorns in our life. We have peace of mind. 

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.                 ( 2 Corinthians 10: 3-6, KJV)

Resurrection Egg #7