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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Resurrection Eggs for Adults #4: The Garden of Gethsemane

Resurrection Eggs for Adults #4: The Garden of Gethsemane

 I had a hard time finding a picture for this post. Most portray Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. He is calm, almost serene. Hands clasped, face lifted toward heaven. The glory of God is shining down upon Him. Well, I don’t know about you other moms out there but when I am desperately praying for myself or my family. I am just that –desperate. It is not pretty. It is down on my face before God with the tears flowing.

In Matthew 26:38 Jesus tells His disciples,

Jesus in garden with glory
Calm and Serene Jesus

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”

Matthew goes on to say that Jesus “fell on His face, and prayed” (Matthew 26:38).

Luke reports  “And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:44)

Luke, the physician, would notice sweat like blood. You can ‘sweat blood’ when you are under extreme pressure. You actually break capillaries in your forehead due to the mental anguish and pain. In fact, the Greek word for agony used in this scripture is only used once in the Bible and this is it. This Greek word for agony, ‘agonia’, is a noun. It does not describe something. It is something. A thing  can be removed, a description can’t. It means a mental and emotional struggle. A wrestling. It was a wrestling that was so intense that God sent an angel to minister to Jesus. (Luke 22:43)

A Struggle for Victory

 Ok, this picture is getting there. I have been here. When you are mentally exhausted and fully given up. Complete obedience.  When we completely surrender. God can minister to us and heal our mind and heart.  Jesus did in the Garden of Gethsemane what Adam could not do in the Garden of Eden. He said ‘no’ to His flesh and said ‘yes’ to God.  We can now say ‘no’ to sin, bondage, and self seeking actions. Jesus pressed into His destiny rather than backing off. The Garden settled His mind for the road ahead.

Just like God met Jesus in the Garden, He meets us in our prayers and agony as well. God in His mercy will hear our cries and strengthen us for the road ahead. Praise God that Jesus shed his blood in the Garden that we may have Victory over our flesh, specifically our mental and emotional struggles.

 

jesus-in-the-garden
Less Serene, not on His face but there is agony. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39)

 Resurrection Egg #4

Merry Christmas…..

Merry Christmas…..

Then suddenly there appeared with the angel an army of the troops of heaven, a heavenly knighthood, praising God and saying -Glory be to God in the highest..-Sometimes I think we take for granted the importance of the birth of Jesus. Living in the timeline after the birth of Christ we forget that there were years of longing  for the Messiah to be born, the Prince of Peace, our Redeemer.

The birth of Christ was ushered in with praise. The praise did not start on earth, but rather originated in heaven with an army troop of angels. Luke 2: 13 is the first time the word praise,‘aineo’, is used in the New Testament.  It was not only verbal praise but was connected with a promise or vow.With the birth of Christ came the promise of salvation.

“For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!” (Luke 2:11, quoting Micah 5:2)

God has shown me the importance of putting the presents aside and take moments to praise Jesus. Praise Him for leaving heaven to be born on earth a baby!   Praise Him for the blessings He has given us. Praise Him for choosing to die on the cross for our sins 2000 years ago. Praise Him for loving me today and bringing  me joy and salvation. Praise Him for who He is, more than a baby in a manger…………….

name-of-jesus-1

Merry Christmas! 

 

Rejoice in the Battle…… (Psalm 5:11)

Rejoice in the Battle…… (Psalm 5:11)

“But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits.” Psalm 5:11

I love the fall. Sitting on the back porch I see the many blessings of fall. The leaves are bright and colorful. The sky is crisp and blue. Kids go running through the yard, jumping into every pile of leaves that stand in their way. Giant sticks walking around. Boys carrying limbs 3x their size.

Wait! Large giant sticks, what are they doing!

“Necessary to reinforce the leaf pile bases during the acorn battles”, kids yells out. Oohh, I never knew that.  Capture the flag, air-soft battles, and acorn battles are a mainstay at my house. It is times like this that I am glad that God has a covering and shield over my boys. Welcome to my world of boys.

Oh to be like boys who run and jump and rejoice as the battle rages on!

Psalm 5:11 mentions joy and battle in the same voice.. Oxymoron?.. Or spiritual truth to be embraced?

Joy is mentioned three times in Psalm 5:11. Each is derived from different Hebrew verbs and have different meanings.

  • The first is ‘samach‘ which means ‘to be glad’, ‘make merry’, cause to make ‘joy’.  In other words, the joy comes from Jesus and not us. God will make us joyful as we put our trust in Him.  What a promise!
  • The second is ‘ranan‘  which means to sing, shout, cry out in triumph. This is not everyday singing and shouting. This comes from the deep inside part of us. It is like the joyful cries and shouts of a woman in labor as she joyfully and triumphantly and yes painfully delivers her child.
  • The third is ‘alats‘ which has the connotation of jumping for joy, being exalted. God will exalt us in the midst of battle.

Jesus I pray that as I take refuge in You and put my trust in You, Jesus, that You will make me joyful in the midst of battle, that Your joy will go deep into my innermost being to strengthen me for the battle. As I love You, Jesus, that You will exalt me over the battle, that you will make a covering over me that protects and defends me. Thank you that you reinforce my leaf pile to withstand the battle.  Amen

Gazebo Gallery
Gazebo Gallery

Gazebo Gallery:

Describe a time that as you loved and trusted God, He gave you the joy necessary for the battle?

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…Inside and Out…Spiritual Mamas

Princess…..Inside and Out…..Honey, Patricia, Janet, Carol

In God we Trust….four words that bring so much controversy. It is not the world we grew up in and I am sure our parents thought the same way. Songs, videos, books that praise God’s name are viewed as offensive, but when we are in a time of need, we drop to our knees…. from which comes our strength, our hope, our joy. I know we refer to the faith of our ‘founding fathers’ as the basis for this, but it goes deeper than that. It is the very core of our being. It is the empty hole we cannot fill with anything else. Since the beginning of time man has tried to fill that void with all sorts of things from money, daring excitement and adrenaline rushes (natural or man made), sexual pleasure, or just wanting to be in the best house in the best neighborhood with the best job and the best family (the idea of a ‘perfect’ life). All these are fleeting and bring joy for a season.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

As a teenager, I learned that negative emotions can be habit forming and that joy has nothing to do with happy times or happy circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God and knowing that He is there with us always. Jesus will supply all we need physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. As a teenager, my parents divorced and my mom and my sister and I moved to a new town. I struggled with my identity of who I was and with acceptance as most young girls do. During this time, God brought four ladies, friends of my mom, into my life, Honey, Patricia, Janet and Carol. They filled in the ‘mama’ gaps when my mom could not. What I saw in them was the power of prayer and faith in God and Jesus’ ability to fill that ‘gap’ in my life and bring true joy. Their families and children were not perfect, but their love for Jesus was. I saw a faith and determination to trust Jesus through the hard times and rejoice with Him in the good times. Their relationship with Jesus was and still is a steady anchor in their lives. I wanted that for me; a faith that expressed itself in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A joy that permeated to the core of my being.

Honey had ( and still does) a joy that lights up regardless. I treasure her statement, ” It is not an obstacle but an opportunity for God to overcome.”

Patricia showed me how still waters can run deep. She has integrity and showed me how to stand on principles of God and not to compromise. God has His best for you, don’t settle for anything less.

Janet, a prayer warrior (then and now), showed me where my source of strength needed to come from— the word of God, my relationship with Jesus  and prayer. Through Janet, I learned that in order to be as Psalm 1 states” tree planted by the waters that produces fruit in due season”, then I needed to take time and be open and honest with God. I needed to allow the healing blood of Jesus to forgive.Our own abilities and intellect can only go so far and will only produce temporary fixes in our lives, but Jesus’ fixes are deep and permanent.

Carol showed me that Jesus is the source of wisdom and discernment, not my own mental understanding. I watched her stop many times and pray before making a decision and it didn’t matter the size of the decision. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t just pondering the situation, but was saying,”Ok God, what do you want me to do?” Wisdom, understanding and discernment come from a spiritual ear and heart tuned to hear God’s voice. In order to hear God’s voice I needed to know Him and in order to know Him  I needed to read His word.

Through these ‘spiritual mamas’ I learned to not dwell on my own short comings, failures, inadequacies and struggles, but instead to develop a love for God and to trust Him.” All things are possible to him who believes, ‘ Mark 9:23.Thank you Jesus for the praying ‘spiritual mamas’ in my life.

summer deals!

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

Gazebo Gallery:

Look around for the ‘spiritual mamas’ in your life. What characteristics did they impart to you?

A Princess….Inside and Out

A Princess….Inside and Out

See, Princesses do not paint their own bedrooms. They do not caulk holes in the walls, which is why my arms hurt. They don’t wash and paint base-boards, which is why my back hurts. Princesses don’t paint their own door frames…which is why mine probably have to be sanded and redone due to dried drips going down the sides….which is why Chuck is laughing his Heavenly butt off!! —– Sara Stophel ( a princess in more ways than one)**

We all have idea of what a Princess is. Is she weak and fragile or strong and harsh. Maybe she is a combination of both, strong when needed to govern and  tempered with tenderness and mercy in comforting her fellow men. When we look in the Bible we see women who are strong, confident, gentle, loving, caring, joyful. God created women to be such a mixture of all of these things. I take comfort in knowing that I can

Be confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.—- Philippines 1:6.

I love this verse. It means that God is not done with me yet! It means that Sara will eventually have her trim painted and it not drip!!  More than that it means that what the Holy Spirit starts……… He completes .! None of this ‘If I only I was……” or ” I wish I could have   the personality of……” or maybe if ” I could do…..”. We as women tend to allow God to start His perfect work in us only to pick up and try and complete it by our own strength and ideas of how it should be done. The phrase ‘ that he began’ in Philippines 1:6 is used only once in more in the New Testament, in Galatians 3:3:

Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?– Galatians 3:3.

Lord let us be true princesses who allow You to complete Your perfect work in us with the power of Your Holy Spirit.

I am reminded that Princesses are a compilation of the wisdom and knowledge of the Princesses who have gone before them. Godly women who have instilled their wisdom, love and prayers  into our lives. As I have thought about the many women throughout my life who were there when I needed love, support, encouragement, I am amazed, because I see that the Holy Spirit was indeed working to complete that good work. Is that work complete? No, not at all, but I am thankful for God’s grace and mercy that I am not forgotten, abandoned, or alone. I am a Princess of the most high God.

I will be sharing some things I have learned from women who have touched my life. Not that I am anyone special or unique. I am just someone who loves God with all my heart just like many of you. Someone who cannot go through one day without His strength, mercy, love. My prayer is that as you read some of these posts you will also be encouraged and strengthened as I was when these people entered my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work God’s perfect work within our lives and we will not be tempted to pick up the reigns of our life and try and complete it with human effort.

** Sara Stophel is a dear friend whose husband is in heaven singing praises to God as he did on earth. Her posts this past year have been humorous and truthful as she is allowing the Holy Spirit to complete His perfect work in her life and the life of her children. She has given me permission to copy and paste her posts in the hopes that they will encourage others.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

Gazebo Gallery:

What is your idea of a princess?