Wildfires and Flourishing in Barrenness

Wildfires 2015, These photos are from a friend of mine…her view…her life…her reality..

Jenny's back deck
View from Jenny’s back deck

Jenny's back deck

Forest Fire

Back in 2010 I wrote the blog below. It was more of an essay on flourishing in barrenness. FireCurrently, as I watch the fires rage out West, my heart is ripped apart thinking about the devastation. I’ve been praying for those in the path and those dedicated to halt its progress.

Beauty4AshesThere really can be beauty from ashes, you have to look hard.  I can imagine how hard it must be to see through the smoke and tears out there.

2010 Post

During a powerful windstorm I was watching leaves fiercely being plucked from the tree in my front yard. The afternoon wind relentlessly yanked the amber leaves until at dusk; all that remained was the skeleton of the tree.

How beautiful that tree was at sunrise and by night fall it was vastly changed.

It made me think of Job. Job woke up one day on the top of the world and in a short period of time he was stripped of his wealth, his family, and friends.

How many times have I been stripped of something and temporarily my faith goes with it? As a writer, rejection is a huge part of my life. Sometimes I allow rejection to strip me of my confidence and belief that I am doing what God has called me to do.

I watched a documentary on Yellowstone. They were discussing forest fires. Looking at the the barrenness left behind by devastating forest fires, I was heartbroken at all the glorious green that was turned to rubble and stripped by the raging flames. The charred blackened earth looked desolate and barren, similar to the way my spirit feels sometimes.

I learned about a certain tree whose seeds can only regenerate after a fire. Yellowstone geologists showed tiny shoots that emerge amidst the black barrenness within days of the fire. They even mentioned that the burned out area is like a firewall of sorts that will protect the area from another fire for up to 100 years.

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house.” Job 42:10-11
so-much-to-do-so-little-time@blogspot.com
so-much-to-do-so-little-time@blogspot.com

Interesting that growth happened in the midst of what seemed to be desolation. Growth with roots! Job was restored, the forest regenerated. So the trial yields something beneficial?

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So that when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7.

ACTION ITEM (added)  Pray for the people in the fire…literally the firefighters as well as the Jobs in your life who are under fire spiritually!

Point to Ponder: Are you in a season of barrenness or testing? Do you feel God allowing things to be stripped away? Look deep perhaps you will see the tiniest shoot of growth, it may be small but it has the potential to grow into a flourishing forest of faith. Enduring the stripping seems worth it when you know the outcome will be positive – that is His Promise!

5 ways to Creatively Connect with the Creator in Prayer

folded hands“Our Father who art in Heaven….”  I remember our nightly ritual, brushing teeth and bed time prayers with folded hands.  I knew the prayer by heart. I could offer it up in my sleep, and often said it as my Father carried me to bed.  As I got older, those words became more powerful and the practice of prayer more personal. I began to learn about the value of personal prayer.  Coming from a charismatic background I’d seen prayers for healings yield lengthened limbs, and bid diseases away.  I saw doors of opportunity open and relationships restored as a result of prayer.

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces

wonderful results.” (James 5:16b NLT)

Sometimes our prayer life can become routine or stale.  I felt like my prayers were becoming laundry lists of petitions lacking sincerity.  I decided to shake up my prayer life a little by reading some devotionals and old school prayer books and was blessed by how new the practice of prayer became.

Last Blog we discussed visual reminders to keep a focus on God’s presence, this blog I am going to share with you some things I’ve incorporated that keep me focused on prayer time and block out distractions

             My prayer beads were a gift from my ministry partner.  They are smooth and purple.

Prayer Beads
Prayer Beads

Sometimes I will just hold them as I pray each stone representing a different prayer of thanksgiving and I’ll go through them again with petitions…helps me balance my conversation with God. Sometimes I will just sit quietly and thumb through them allowing for silence for God to speak.

“The LORD is near to all them that call on him, to all that call on him in truth.”

(Psalm 145:18)

Shower door prayer reminders
Shower door prayer reminders

2              I am known for writing the name on my hand of someone to pray for throughout the day. (YAY for Sharpies)  I also keep a dry erase pen in my bathroom to write on my mirror and shower door so that I can be prayerful while I am getting ready for work.  “A day hemmed in prayer is not likely to unravel” (Note: Do not confuse Sharpie w/dry erase. Much harder to get off mirror; lesson learned the hard way.)

“Be anxious for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

             This past year, I have been making coloring part of my Sabbath.  I will sit on my

Coloring Book and pencils
Coloring Book and pencils

back porch with soft music playing and chose a picture, while I color it, I lift my prayers to God.  It makes prayers less rushed and more heartfelt. I find the contemplative quiet in between is so beneficial to the  “Listening” part of prayer.  It really is a two way conversation.

“Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” ~ Andrew Murray

Prayer Journaling
Prayer Journaling

4              Journaling prayers has always been a part of my life, but I had gotten away from keeping record of answered prayer. Answers are such an incentive and encouragement to our prayer lives.  The bible is full of answered prayers which show the Power of Prayer.  Journaling our prayers gives us a gentle reminder that the God who answered us back then….is the same God we are seeking today.

 

5              These prayer stones were stones I intentionally

Prayer Stones
Prayer Stones

picked up on Lake Erie several years ago.  I wrote topics on them in sharpie and set them in a basket. Throughout the day I would take one out and pray about that specific need and lay it on the table. At the end of the day the basket was empty and I had some great unstructured conversations with God.  Often I will leave a particular stone out to remind me  to pray about an issue that burdens me.   It prompts me to be a “Prayer WARRIOR and not a prayer WORRIER”

I am super excited about the movie coming out called WAR ROOM – it looks fabulous and is centered on prayer.  Check out the trailer here :  http://warroomthemovie.com/

Prayer is part of a Christian’s daily walk.  Prayer is connecting to the Creator.  You don’t get to know someone by only spending one hour a week with them. Talking with God daily will increase your faith and your connection to him.  We are called to pray without ceasing in Thessalonians 5:17.

My prayer is that you will find a method that works for you and that as you grow deeper in your relationship with the Savior; Prayer will become something you crave.

POINT TO PONDER:  What can you incorporate into your prayer life to make it more meaningful to you and to the Lord?

What is a tzitzit?

I was sharing with my #Periscope* devotion group #HOPEscope* about how I often use visual objects to keep me focused on God during the day, and during my prayer time.

This particular day we were discussing how he is our firm foundation.  I mentioned that HE is our Rock. The lyrics “On Christ the solid rock I stand” were playing in my head.  I showed them a rock I set out as I reminder of this truth. I mentioned the variety of other ways that a visual person, such as myself, can use items to represent truths and remind us of scripture.

Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand
Rocks represent the Christ who is the Rock on which I stand

Sometimes it takes something to pull our thoughts back to our Creator.  In my ministry I often leave the audience with a token, a book or a bookmark to help them remember what was shared. I’ve gotten emails from people  even years later who mention they still use the token to remind them of a particular truth.

For a visual person, images are extremely powerful in processing the world.  As a lover of Nature and the Creator, I often see the fingerprints of God where ever I look outside.  My heart longs for the sea constantly as I feel HIS presence so strongly there.  My connection to the Creator is both enhanced and strengthened by the visual.

God's thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.  Psalm 139:17/18
God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of Sand.
Psalm 139:17/18

Today I was reading in Numbers 15:37-41

37 The Lord said to Moses, 38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the Lord, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

Even God saw that HIS people needed tangible reminders of his commandments or his words.

These reminders were called tzitzit [tsiˈtsit] the Hebrew name for specially knotted ritual 
fringes, or tassels, worn in antiquity by Israelites and today by observant Jews and Samaritans.  They were a tangible reminder ordained by God.

A collection of nature photos and verses.
A collection of nature photos and verses.

Now these were the same people who saw the seas parted and manna fall from heaven.  They “experienced” first hand (not just read about) intense miracles and blessings from the very hand of God.  They were first and second generation evacuees from Egypt…and yet…they forgot.  They got sidetracked from God and what he required.

God created us. He knows how we think. He knows how we can be distracted like the Israelites.  The world is a busy and noisy place and it causes us to be sidetracked much like the Israelites were.  If distractions were prevalent  back then before electricity and social media…flash forward.

POP up ads lure people into situations that are unholy. We have beeps/whistles/passwords and codes.  We are forced to remember so much other information that often what  God speaks to us gets shoved out or put aside.  While I have seen Social Media used for good and to positive ends, there is no denying that it can become a huge time waster and massive distraction.

It is prudent that as believers we utilize whatever means possible to remember the

Gifts from the sea inspire me
Gifts from the sea inspire me

commandments and promises of God. Having tangible reminders visible helps pull our focus back to our Creator.  It might mean setting our phone alarm to remind us to pray or study the word, or putting a Post-it note on our computer.  I don’t see many of us sewing tassels to our clothes. The word of God doesn’t change though our visual reminders might.

 

 

Sea Glass reminds me  that God can take Trash and make into treasure.
Sea Glass reminds me that God can take Trash and make into treasure.

39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the LORD, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God.”

The word consecration literally means “association with the sacred”.  I want to be associated with God how about you?

Next blog will be focusing on Prayer and Tangible ways we can stay focused or make it more meaningful!

POINT TO PONDER: What visual reminders speak to you about the awesomeness of God?

(*Periscope is app where my show #HOPEscope airs mornings after 7am and eves after 8pm I am over there at ” kissedbycreator “)

Soul Fire

I watched her collecting twigs.  She gathered them diligently and then sat down at the fire ring carefully building a pyramid of sticks.  It was the beginning of a nice fire and I told her so.  But she replied, “I don’t have time to build a big fire, I just want to feel the heat now.”  It was 37 degrees and the sun had just set so warmth was a definite need.

IMG_2944She grabbed some dryer lint from our fire supplies and torched the twigs.  They burned big and bright and put off some great flames and heat…for a about a minute.  Her disappointment grew before the last ember faded. A cool breeze tossed the papery white ashes across the campsite leaving no evidence a fire ever existed, just moments before.

IMG_2941We talked about fires and to really feed a fire it needs to be built in stages until the base is hot enough to catch the harder, bigger, solid wood. Then not only does the flame last but the heat that it gives off will continue to give off warmth long after the flames die because the embers of a hardwood continue to give off heat for hours.

101_9417

As we talked we rebuilt the fire and eventually with time and patience and the proper fuel had a fire for smores, supper and snuggling long into the night.  The next morning she was able to add some bark and pine needles with a few small sticks to the still warm embers from the night before.  In no time she had created a lovely morning fire.

It made me think about our faith journeys and what it takes to ignite our passion and walk with the Lord.  We need fuel.  If we slack off and cool down the embers of our faith, they are much harder to rekindle.  The fuel we use to build and grow our knowledge and faith in Christ needs to be constant.  A diet of light twigs such as feel good teachings with a big flourish but little substance will not keep us stoked and on fire for the Lord.

The fire th101_9424at fuels our souls has to be more than just kindling. To be strong in our faith we need to look to the Pillars of Faith.  Those teachers that stood the test of time who lived and died sold out to God.  We need to dig deeply into the word of God and feed on its truth’s.  We need to go regularly to the foot of the cross.

Tossing in some spiritual feel good fluff now and then to fan the flames isn’t a problem as long as the balance of our diet is the solid teaching and truths that will sustain us long after the kindling turns to ash.

Soul Fire Starter Recipe:

15 Minute Tune Up

  • Be still for 2 Minutes
  • Be Thankful for 2 minutes
  • Be Quiet for 2 minutes
  • Be in the word for 5 minutes
  • Be prayerful 4 minutes

Camp Fire starter Recipe:

  • Cardboard Egg Carton or paper Dixie cups
  • Dryer Lint
  • Wax (old candles)

Fill the the containers with dryer lint then pour melted wax over top of the dryer lint.  Sprinkle a little more lint on top to float on the surface.  Cool.  Place in fire build over top and light the fire starter.  It will burn for approximately 15 minutes.

Point to Ponder: What have been good fire starters for you when you’ve hit a cool spot in your faith? How have you gotten your faith journey back on track? Share it with us

ACTION!  Congratulations Lisa from Grove City on winning our April contest.  Our May contest will feature some campfire fun for the family.  Winner will be drawn June 1st.  So leave a comment and sign up to enter!

Hand crafted by God

 

It was Palm Sunday when the photo of my soon to be 21 son came onto my phone.  My eyes were drawn to Jacob’s hand. Attempt 2 at china photo The one that was boasting a thumbs up on a 12,000 foot peak. In China.  China?  How did my little boy go from lying on the floor and playing with Matchbox cars to a Man on top of a mountain half a world away.  How did his chubby little fingers turn into the strong man hand that found its way to China?~Time.

cross in palmEarlier that day, because it was Palm Sunday, I was contemplating the hands of Christ.  Now I know that Palm Sunday is really about the branches…from a palm tree.  But my wordsmith mind was busy juxtaposing the whole vine and branches and nails in the palm and what must it have been like for Mary.

Mary, the mother of Jesus and the first holder offolded hands Jesus’ hand.  Her son too found himself on top of a mountain.  I wonder what she thought. When she received Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh as baby gifts did it plant a seed of knowing or did the whole trajectory of Holy Week take her by surprise? Culminating by weeks end with the raw groaning pangs of seeing her little boy’s palms brutally pierced and bleeding.

Her boy was innocent.  He was falsely accused. Her hands were tied, his fate was in the hands of his Father. I can remember going to bat for my son when he was falsely accused and standing up for him in his defense.  Mary didn’t have that chance.

101_9456Pontius Pilate washed his hands of Jesus which sent him to the cross.Palm Sunday forced my thoughts back to the hands.

God’s hand shaped and formed universe and he breathed life into all of humanity.

For My hand made all these things, Thus all these things came into being,” declares the LORD “But to this one I will look, To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word. ~ Isaiah 66:2

thorns

The hand of God punished.

“You who have forsaken Me,” declares the LORD, “You keep going backward So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting!” ~ Jeremiah 15:6


The hand of God saved and protected.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”~ Isaiah 41:10

His hands Healed.

Hands in fountain“Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.” ~ Matthew 8:3

His hands offered proof.

“And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord.” ~ John 20:20

From His beginning and from ours we have been in the palm of His Hand.  He goes with us, he will never leave us.  He never lets go of us.  He was pierced for our transgressions.  He was falsely accused and willingly executed on our behalf.  When life becomes a handful, remember who is really holding it all together.

Point to Ponder:  Has there been a time when you truly felt the hand of God in your life? How did you know it? What did it feel like?

Leave a comment about how you knew and felt the hand of God guiding you.

Those who comment AND sign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token crafted by the hand of God.  Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added.  Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!

Enter Today!

 

Nothing Artificial Added

IMG_2561Nothing Artificial” “All Natural” is what it says on my peanut butter, my orange juice and the almond milk in my fridge, (Yikes the Almond milk is 2 weeks past the ‘use by’ date).  A toothpaste and a deodorant or two are in the cupboard boasting the same status, “all natural”.  Shoes in (my husband’s) closet have a label stating Genuine Leather – no man made materials.

If there was a label on my heart…what would it say?  Have you checked the label of your faith lately? What ingredients IMG_2556does it testify?

What does it declare?

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately.  Immersing myself in reading and teaching of people who are genuine Christians and discovering those who are less so. Now, hang on.  I am not judging here, but just trying to see what GENUINE faith yields.  Exploring what a GENUINE relationship with Christ looks like in life and just this week in death. Pondering if my Faith is Genuine enough to withstand what God might call me to. 

Is my heart GENUINE enough to lead?  Is my relationship with Christ authentic enough? Am I the real deal?  Could I be a counterfeit Christian?

One of blogs I’ve been following is Kara Tippets http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/home/2015/3/22/homecoming which chronicles her journey and fight against breast cancer.   It’s heart wrenching and faith challenging.  She was the real deal in life and in this past Sunday…in death.   She recently posted:

“I feel too young to be in this battle, but maybe I’m not in a battle at all. Maybe I’m on a journey, and the journey is more beautiful than any of us can comprehend. And if we did understand, we would hold very loosely to one another because I’m going to be with Jesus. There is grace that will seep into all the cracks and pained places when we don’t understand.”

Last year I walked a similar journey with a dear friend that ended last May just like Kara’s. Since then my blog has been mostly silent save for a few musings.  During the hiatus I have been struggling with what Genuine Faith looks like and do I have it? Below are some journal thoughts

podsHebrews 11:6 says:  “But without faith it is impossible to please him, for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Am I pleasing Lord?

Jesus warned in Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”

Will I be one of those let in?

I want nothing artificial or man made on the ingredient list forblog heart ice my soul or heart.

I want the banner of my soul to read, Organic, Genuine All Natural, Nothing Added.

What characterizes a Genuine faith or an authentic heart for God?

To live a life dependent on Christ means we must be humble.  We need to be “Christ Sufficient” not self sufficient. It’s not about us, if we are honest.  Apart from Christ we can do nothing.  Therefore anything we accomplish is because of GOD.  Proverbs 25:9, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.”

Am I humble enough Lord?

Kiwi_2426The status of our heart depends on what it craves.  “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:2) I watched a movie where this verse was quoted: “Man does not live on bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). Hunger for God’s Word is always a characteristic. Our cravings and the nourishment that quenches it speak volumes about the authenticity of what we allow to fill us up.

“What do I hunger for Lord?”

How do we get filled up?  E. M. Bounds wrote, “What the Church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use…men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”

Are my heartfelt prayers real enough Lord?

After exploring what makes for authentic or genuine faith, I made a list for myself of things that could hinder it.  What is the “man made” stuff that spoils the “organic” or “all natural” state of my faith?

Some of the artificial ingredients I found were:

Apple

  • Distractions and rationalizations that keep me from prayer.
  • Pride that wants to take credit for the things that work in my life.
  • Giving in to unhealthy cravings or feel good gospel that in not in line with scripture.
  • Filling up on worldly things to satisfy my hunger pangs.
  • Uninspired prayer.

I am working toward a more authentic relationship with Christ which hopefully will result in a genuine faith.

Point to Ponder:  What would the sign over your heart or the label on your faith read? Leave a comment below about what defines “Genuine” or “Authentic” faith for you.

Those who comment AND sign up on the email list (top right) will be considered for a drawing of a special Kissed by the Creator token that is 100% Natural.  Totally Genuine and Nothing Artificially Added.  Prizes will be awarded on April 15th!

Enter Today!

What is your “whether” forecast?

 (not a typo)

DSC_1339Basically the question is whether you will trust him or not?  When you have done all you can do.  When you realize it is not up to you…will you trust that God can help you weather the storm?

I’ve walked the cancer journey with a friend recently and some of her family members put their trust in the doctors, science and alternative therapies…while the patient put her trust in her Heavenly Father who could choose to bring about a healing or not.

DSC_1340Despite the cancer that ravaged her body…she never gave up the notion that God could heal her.  She believed that we were all given a certain number of days from the day of our birth to live out.  She chose to live them out with reckless abandon in her early years where she was young and carefree.  With age comes wisdom and she began down a road of restoration in her later years which included coming to the real knowledge of her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

During her cancer valley she prayed with people, and sought comfort in the scriptures. She continued to put down spiritual roots and invest in those around her.  There was a light that shined from her that people were drawn to.  Though most of her days were cloudy with storms always hovering around the edges, she chose to focus on the glimpses of the SON.

She chose to praise God whether she was healed or whether she wasn’t.

I ponder my “whether” forecast.  Whether I will trust him or not….regardless of the storms in my life.clouds

One of my favorite shows is Storm Stories.  I love to hear about people’s preparations for a storm, what they clung to during the storm and key things that made them successful in weathering the storm.  But if there was no storm, there would be no story.

Our lives are like that.  The story…is in our storms and how we whether them.  Whether we trust God to deliver us and protect us or not.  When we allow Him to truly reign in the midst of it … He gets the Glory.  The decision whether to trust or not, I believe happens before the first drop of turmoil or trouble.

My friend made a commitment before her diagnosis to trust God in any type of weather.  As I watched her lingering between both worlds; with cancer exiling her from earth while her citizenship in heaven was being finalized, I realized she had weathered a storm no one would ever want to face.   And while she didn’t control the weather…she was still living out and controlling her “whether”.

Her storm preparation was a grounding in the word.  She was successful by keeping her eyes on Jesus and filling her mind with all things regarding Him. Each day she Put on the Full Armor:

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”   Ephesians 6:10-18

double rainbow on cliffShe focused not on man’s diagnosis but on what the Great Physician’s prognosis was.  The doctors were amazed that she eeked out as much time as she did on earth, beyond their expectations, and though she was not healed on this side of eternity…she was healed. She is out of the storm.

Her storm story is a beacon for others, yours can be to.

What’s your “whether” forecast?  Will you trust him Whether or not?  Have you weathered a storm?  People need to hear your storm story.  Ponder sharing it here or with someone.  If God brought you through something, give Him the glory and share the story, it could make and eternal difference in someone’s life.  Wondering about your “Whether” forcast?  I’ll be happy to pray with you.  Connect with me over at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kissed-by-the-Creator/141769015852210 or here and I’ll be glad to help you shore up a storm preparation plan.

 

37 Degrees and Sunny

101_9325The other day I walked out of the house into a bright sunny day, surprised to see the temp in the car read 37.  Car was frosted over but the thought of a coat or jacket was far from my mind as the sun blinded my eyes.   My spirits were high and I felt ready to tackle the day.

Flashback to a week earlier it was 47 degrees and cloudy with a chance of rain and I was bundled up like a mummy wearing a turtleneck, a jacket and a coat!

Pondering the difference of that day and this, I realized it was all about the Sun.  ~ Have you noticed what a difference the sun makes?

DSC_1697

Recently I experienced a beloved friend transition from earth to heaven.  In observing the family surrounding her, I saw the ones walking in the SonShine – making plans to release her to Jesus.  They focused on her pain free life ahead and being grateful for each moment.  While others, seemingly remained cloudy in their acceptance of the inevitable and were unable to relinquish her into the heavenly realm.

DSC_2232Just like navigating a ship, plane or boat in the sunshine; there is a sense of clarity and a vision beyond the end of your vessel.  So too is operating in the SonShine.  There is a clarity and an abilty to think long term and a vision of how the Will of God is at work.

Operating a vessel in cloudy or foggy conditions, leaves room for error in judgment, mistakes and missed opportunities, operating your life away from the Son..yields the same misfortunes.

Are you facing a challenge? Are the Clouds too thick?  Let your forecast be for the Son to shine and  God to reign in
DSC_0881your life.  The Son can make all the difference.

Point to Ponder: What area of your life needs SONglasses?  How can you change what you are doing so that the Light of HIS wisdom mercy and grace can illuminate your cloudy situation?

 

 

 

 

What I learned at Camp ~ Whitehall REVIVE!


Whitehall Retreat-Center.1

Things I learned at Camp…

Whitehall Camp: Revive Our Relationships April 25-26

  1. Church of God sisters are a super audience
  2. This group knows how to rock the door prizes
  3. They know how to do a coffee house! Great music and eats.
  4. Soaking in Good for the Soul.
  5. Red cars + sunshine + loud music = tickets.
  6. Angela knows biscotti.
  7. God is the author of Restoration!
  8. Trials and Tests, make for great Testimonies.
  9. Every church camp has four legged ambassadors.
  10. Always take an umbrella to camp.

100_5401It was a pleasure to get to know you and share with you what God put on my heart about Relationships.  I pray that you will continue to grow your relationship with Christ and to strengthen your Godly Girlfriend Relationships that you may hold one another up when the storms of life hit!

For those of you who wanted the passage I read on Friday night.  See below:

 

Be Not Afraid

by Frances J. Roberts (Come Away my Beloved ~ Revised)

O my child, rest in Me.

Yes, quietly settle down in My care, as a bird settles in a nest.

For I am watching over you, and in love I will care for you.

There is no danger with which I am unable to cope.

There is no enemy too formidable for Me to handle.

I am able to carry out all My purposes, and to keep you at the same time.

Be not afraid;

Neither allow terror to strike at your heart.

My power is at your disposal.

My presence stands around you,

And nothing can harm you so long as you are in My care, and that is forever

POINT TO PONDER:  What one thing can you do now to grow your most important relationship…the one with your HEAVENLY FATHER?

Frozen : The Lenten Challenge

We drive through the crowded parking lot, mountains of gray snow at the edges hogging up much needed DSC_0277spaces.  Rachel says, “look at that disgusting snow its so gross and dirty. I am so ready for spring. I hate wearing coats, hats and gloves.” 

Quietly I pray for a new layer to cover up the gray.  White to cover the black.  It was Ash Wednesday. I thought of the significance.  It was the ashes on the plowed lot that made the snow mountains gray and dirty.  Ash mixed with winter white.

Our denomination doesn’t celebrate Ash Wednesday but my Methodist roots and the Catholic neighborhood I grew up in filled me with memories and meaning of what that day commemorates.  Like advent…it is a time of preparing our hearts.

It’s been a long winter here in Western PA.  I heard someone say the other day it had been a long winter in her heart. blog heart ice

Ironically one of the hit movies this year is called Frozen.  I pondered all these icy metaphors and thought about the cold heart.

DSC_0260Like the tiny shoots of grass and daffodils beneath the layer of snow, the cold heart harbors tiny invisible seeds of hope.  What does it take to melt a cold heart?

Love. Forgiveness. Grace. Mercy.

These are all things we can give or offer to someone who  is frozen

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People ask “What are you giving up for Lent?”  I ponder is it really about giving something up or pouring something out?   What if we use the 40 days to try to thaw the frozen hearts around us? Bathe their hearts in the warmth of mercy. If they are brittle from bitterness … foster them with forgiveness.  Love the lonely and wrap the stumbling with grace.  Take a 40 day challenge to thaw the frozen.  What will you give up for lent?  A bit of yourself?  A bit of your time?

Is your heart the one that is Frozen?  Are you chilled to your soul, unable to pray, seek or ask?  Are you wrestling with the ashy dirty feeling of sin, fear, or regret?  Are you brittle from reaching out and being rejected? Are the windows of your soul frosted up ~ blocking out the SON ?  Do you long to bathe in the warmth of … something…anything?

James 4:8  “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

Take a 40 day challenge to thaw your frozen heart. Write one thing each day that you are thankful for. Do one small kind gesture for someone else. A smile, open a door, … gratitude will help thaw the edges.

Comment to me or message me and I will commit to pray for you during lent. Let it go.  Allow God to resurrect your life before Easter Sunday.  Are you up for the challenge? Your Creator is waiting to make your story HIStory and your time of testing, your Testimony. Remember, you were worth dying for…that is what Easter is really all about.

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One of my favorite Easter Hymns: For Those Tears I Died.

You said You’d come and share all my sorrows,
You said You’d be there for all my tomorrows;
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised You came there to stay;
I just had to pray!

And Jesus said, “Come to the water, stand by My side,
I know you are thirsty, you won’t be denied;
I felt ev’ry teardrop when in darkness you cried,
And I strove to remind you that for those tears I
died.”

Point to Ponder: Seek out the Frozen. Look in the mirror. Is your soul ready for spring?DSC_1006