All Creatures Great and Small…

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Fear

Harley is a beggar because she is so afraid of missing a meal.  We have cared for her for 9 years now, yet each morning and afternoon she prepares to remind us to feed her.  Harley lives with the constant fear that she will not be fed, and no matter what I don’t think I will ever ease this fear.  Watching her fear and anxiety is a strong reminder that I need to believe that my Father in heaven will care for me and not be fearful of the future.  He will provide for my needs.  “I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4.

I experienced another example of fear this past week, and I am not sure who was more fearful the baby bluebirds, the babies parents, or me!  I came home from work to find our bluebird house on the ground practically upside down.  Apparently, one of the men mowing our yard hit the fence and caused the house to fall.  I knew baby birds had recently hatched because the Mommy and Daddy bluebirds had been working non-stop to feed their young.  “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26.

Caring

My husband found me in tears and jumped into action.  His caring not just for me but the babies was touching and appreciated as I struggled not to just fall apart.  His love for both reminded me of my Father who cares for me like the birds of the air.  ” He gives to the beasts their food, and to the young ravens that cry.”  Psalm 147:9

After he put the house back up and even checked and knew the babies were alive, he consoled me while sharing the reality that the mom and dad might abandon the nest.  “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13: 34-35.

Praying and Singing

I watch the rest of the evening only to see no activity.  I laid in bed that night thinking about the babies in the nest and knew that sometimes this is the cycle of life, but how lonely and frightened the little ones must be.  I prayed for the Lord to care for the babies.  ” “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16.

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The next morning sitting on the back patio sipping my first cup of coffee, momma bluebird arrives to feed her babies.  Soon daddy bluebird follows and the chirping fills my heart.  All is right with the world again.  “Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches. ”  Psalm 104:12.

Spread Your Wings

Two days later – early in the morning mommy and daddy bluebird are still hard at work, and the chirping is growing louder and stronger.  I know that they will soon be spreading their wings to fly.  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

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I will be sad to see the babies go but happy that more bluebirds will soon fly and sing upon our earth.

Closing Verse: “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7.

Challenge:  Live your life knowing that God is in charge and will care for you just as he does the birds of the air.

#WatchGod

Another week and I continue to see smiles across the face of the person I am praying for daily.  I know that life is not great at times, but I can see areas where happiness and success are claiming her life.  Praise God!

Time…

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Importance of Time

“We all start out in life with one thing in common; We all have the same amount of time. It’s just a matter of what we do with it.”  This quote by Harvey Mackay has me thinking some about the importance of time and how I use my time.  Each day, week , and month, I find myself often wondering where time went, so I decided to analyze my time for one typical day.  Many of these items overlap but it is still eye-opening.  “Making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”  Ephesians 5:16.

 

 

What I do? How much Time I spend?
Quiet Time with God 25 mins
Me Time 15 mins
Family (including screen time) 4 hrs 20 mins
Work without Screen Time 3 hrs and 45 mins
Work with Screen Time 12 hrs and 20 mins
Social Media 2 hrs and 10 mins
Exercise 50 mins

*All times are rounded off and generalized.

What do I see?  I work too much and spend too much time in front of a screen whether work or personal.  What I say is important just does not look that important in my life.  An obvious adjustment would be to disconnect from devices.  So my question to anyone reading this is how important is time and how should our time be distributed.  Take some time to analyze your day.

Social Media

Although, I can honestly say that I am not an overly active social media user.  I do spend time scrolling, some might call it “trolling”, social media.  Most of my online activity is on Twitter and blogging.  Otherwise I am just scrolling and viewing others.  Now that I type this it seems sad because it really is a waste of my time to scroll social media apps.  Could I do without it?  My immediate answer is yes!  “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”  James 4:14.

Taking the time to analyze how I use my time really makes me realize how using social media and/or other various apps can become an addiction.  I started thinking about my time after finding this video on Facebook of all places.  Yet, It has caused me to think about my time and what my mind and life could be without so much influence and addition.

 

This video causes me to wonder whether screen time is an idol in our society.  At what point does using social media and other apps move from productive to addictive and fall into idol status. “Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love.” Jonah 2:8.

What Does the Bible Say About Time?

1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
2 a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3 a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.       
I need to use my time living life not watching it pass by…
Closing Verse:  “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalms 90:12
Challenge:  I definitely want to challenge you to take on the challenge of becoming social media free for a determined amount of time.  I am definitely accepting the challenge from the video in June!
#WatchGod:  This week my prayers continue to provide a work environment where things are booming.  Viewing social media, how ironic!, I see this person is spending more time with friends and nature.  I pray this is a calling from God and he is speaking more deeply in his/her life.

Write Your Story

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Life’s Story

My most recent morning devotions have been about loving and building relationship with God while writing your story.  I do not mean pen to paper but writing a life story.  We all have one but how we tell it is what separates us from each other.  Some tell their story with addictions and lack of self-worth,  some based on their job and how others view their work, Some are depressed and lost, but I want to tell my story through my relationship with my Savior.  Even so it is much easier to type my story than to live it. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Following God’s Path

I stop to think about my Life Story.  Each month is a chapter that leads to each year which separates my life into sections.   Looking backwards at my story,  I can see God working and moving in my life just as I can see when I tried to take control of my life and not follow his path.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  It is obvious when I am following God’s plan and everything seems so smooth and then I grab the reins and muck everything up in my life.  Writing a living breathing story of relationship can be hard, but the reflection of this story is in a marriage.

Marriage: The Example

Marriage is ordained by God and he established the union as a reflection of Christ and his bride the church.  Christ who loves me unconditionally and sacrificed his life for me on the cross.  “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,” Ephesians 5:25. Christ set the example not just for marriage but for the deeper relationship he calls me into with him.  My relationship with Christ must come first even before my marriage, but sets the example for my relationship within my marriage and how that portion of my Life Story should be written.  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:4.

Closing Verse: “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.

Challenge: Write Your Life Story

#WatchGod – Week One Update

I began my challenge last week to pray for someone for 30 days.  God has been working this past week in this persons life especially in their job.  Their job is exploding and smiles are abundant.  Praise God!  I pray that God will work even more deeply in this person’s life. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.

#WatchGod

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Loving Others

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34.  I am beginning a May Challenge that I read about recently,  and will be sharing my journey each week in my blog post.  I am sharing the challenge now hoping that readers will join me and share their experiences with me and others.  I want to hear what happens!  So……

Challenge

Here is the Challenge:

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Choosing Someone to Love

As a sidenote, I keep prayer cards one for each person that I pray for each day.  This is a tip I learned in a life group reading and discussing the book, A Praying Life by Paul L. Miller.  I feel lead to choose someone not on my prayer cards.  This might have been the greater challenge because I have a lot of prayer cards!

I looked around me at others who touch my life for that person that God was calling me towards.  That person who needed something, and then God place him/her in front of me.  “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24.

Challenge Begins

I begin my 30 days of prayer for this person today.  “Pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  I can not wait to share what I see God doing in his/her life each week!  If you accept this challenge please share what God is doing through your prayer life for this person.  Join Me in #WatchGod.

Closing Verse:   1 John 4:19-21 “We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Challenge: Ask God to provide someone for you to spend 30 days praying for.  #WatchGod

Child of God

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I read this in my devotions written by Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 ministries.  I just added my name.  As you read today replace my name with yours.  You are a Child of God.

Allie, the forgiven child of God.” and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,”  Romans 3:24.

Allie, the set-free child of God.1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2.

Allie, the accepted child of God.  “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:”  1 Corinthians 1:2.

Allie, the holy child of God.  “ And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption,”  1 Corinthians 1:30.

Allie, the made-new child of God.“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Allie, the loved child of God. ” even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love” Ephesians 1:4

Allie, the close child of God. “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13.

Allie, the confident child of God.“in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.” Ephesians 3:12.

Allie, the victorious child of God.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Romans 8:37

I am Redeemed…

 

Closing Verse:  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,” John 1:12.

Challenge:  Place your name in the statements above.  Search the scriptures.  You are a Child of God.

God’s Masterpiece

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Masterpiece

Sometimes I am sure that readers maybe get tired of my musical references, so I am giving everyone fair warning.  I heard another great song!  Masterpiece by Danny Gokey.

Side note: I hope you took the time to stop and listen to this song and somehow you were moved at what God has done and is doing and will do for you.

Monday Morning Blues

As I heard this song on a Monday morning struggling to get back into the grove after Spring Break, I was reminded of how much God loves me and the work he is continuously doing in and for me. “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” Proverbs 19:21.  The song begins almost said with lines like:

Why I’m not fixed by now
Begged and I pleaded
Take this pain but I’m still bleeding

Heart trusts you for certain
Head says it’s not working
I’m stuck here still hurting

But then I hear the chorus and I realize that the struggles of just everyday living can seem like nothing is working, life is hurting, and prayers seem unanswered.  The chorus is the answer:

You’re making a masterpiece
You shaping the soul in me
You’re moving where I can’t see
And all I am is in your hands
You’re taking me all apart
Like it was your plan from the start
To finish your work of art for all to see you’re making a masterpiece

God the Artist

This causes me to celebrate the life I know he is still creating for me.  His handiwork is still moving in his plan for my life.  “All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3.  I know that all is well.  “To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Psalm 19:1.   He is the great artist painting his great work.  ME!

I can not see the final product.  I can not see the one who will stand before God one day, but he does.  ” I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

Guess I’m your canvas
Beautiful black and blue
Painted in mercy’s hue
I don’t see past this
You see me now
Who I’ll be then
There at the end
Standing there as

Your Masterpiece

Closing Verse:

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Challenge:  Stop and see the Masterpiece that God is Creating in You.

Sunsets

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Easter Sunsets

The week after Easter this year is my Spring Break, and my husband and I were able to take a few days and enjoy the warm Florida sunshine and gulf coast beaches.  This is one of my happy places.  The best part is watching the sunset.  As the sun descents down into the gulf waters the colors and sites are like no other and I am sure there is a God.  “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”  Ecclesiastes 3:11.  God shares beautiful sunsets to remind me of his majestic presences so I have no excuse but to turn my heart and mind back to relationship with him.  “On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.”  Psalms 145:5

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Knowing God Through a Sunset

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Romans 1: 19-20

Just as I watch the beauty of a sunset and am reminded of God, I am also reminded of his creation of the light out of darkness.  His handiwork not mine is what I see  in nature and in my own life.  “When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,” Proverbs 8:27.

I think if I am really honest the sunset does remind me of life and its shortness.  The sun will set.  The end will come.  I hope that I have left behind happiness and not strife.  This is my reminder when I see the sunset.  I am not promised tomorrow.  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1.  Carpe Diem – Seize the Day!  Live for Christ today not tomorrow because we do not know what tomorrow brings.

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Anger and Sunsets

The reminder of how short life is comes this scripture that also reminds me to not hold onto grudges and anger – from Ephesians 4: 26-27, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.”  Just one more reminder that sunset could be our last one so do not leave anything undone.  Do not let your angry and the devil win.  Make amends with others before the sunsets.  Live a life of Psalms 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Closing Verse: “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” Psalm 113:3
Challenge:  Prepare for the Sunset.

He Lives

Reflection and Fast

Today is Good Friday, the beginning of our Easter weekend and the culmination of Lent.  This has been a time of reflection and fast for many.  This time of year causes me to just pause and evaluate my life and relationship with Christ.  I choose to give up a little something to only slightly feel the impact of what Christ had to sacrifice for me.  His sacrifice is one that I alone can never match, but my walk here can be for him!  In the words of Paul found in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

Celebrate the Life of Jesus

My words will not be the words that should be typed or read this weekend.  Stop and read the resurrection story and celebrate the sacrifice and love Christ had for us all!  This story can be found:

Mark 16

Matthew 28

Luke 24

John 20

Each is story is  powerful and shares how much Christ loves each one of us.

Renewal

Easter is like a New Year.  I feel a sense of renewal.  A reminder of my walk and relationship and an opportunity to make it stronger.  Let the gospel work.  I pray you stop and read.  Stop and Listen

Closing Verse:  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:  25-26

Challenge:  Find time to reflect on Christ’s Crucifixion and Resurrection.

Life Happens and God Draws Near

Brokenness

Coffee is brewing and the warm smell fills the room and I want to linger here in the presence of my Father.  He is calling me and I have not been listening.  I have been avoiding, living my own life, believing I was still in relationship with him only to find myself afraid, alone, and on my knees.  “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18.  I know I have not been listening, but God has my attention.  I know that he held my life before me and called me back to him.  I am here in your presence once again, not pretending to be whole, but broken and needy.  “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”  Psalm 147:3.  I am binding my wounds.

Self-Righteous

Who have I been?  I have been a selfish, self-righteous person, yet Romans 3:10 reads, “As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;”   I have not put others first, I have failed to not just be strong in myself, but allowed myself to wallow in self-pity.  I see all the ugliness inside of me.  Who did I think I was?  Did I feel I was better than others?  Did I forget to walk in others shoes?  How did I find my way back to this place?  I know I have allowed Satan a crack into my life and he encouraged me to think only about myself.  Why did God choose to bring me out of this pit?  I feel the weight of my selfishness lifting off of me as God is showing me my lack of relationship with him and begins to heal the brokenness.  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17.

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Broken Vessel

Walking along in my selfish life, I suddenly found myself in a situation that was like deja vu deep from my past.  Where did that ugly person come from?  This person that I thought was lost suddenly emerged like a monster from the dark.  Yet, probably not as suddenly as it seemed.  Recently, I have been a “Debbie Downer”.  I have been a self-righteous pompous person.  So finding myself selfishly raising my ugly head like a monster in the dark may have seemed sudden, but now I see that I was racing down a path of destruction. The humiliation means I want to hide, but I know that I have to move forward.  Although, the pain that comes with seeing my selfishness hurts deeply, it has been nothing like facing the emptiness where God should be in my life.  It is nothing like knowing he could choose to take my life with each breath, but has chosen to hold my beating heart in his hands.

My heart is broken because I have broken the most important person in my life.  I alone have created deep pain and sorrow that is hard to forgive.  I have hurt my husband deeply and that pain is like no other pain.  I imagine that the pain God has felt is much the same, watching his son hang upon the cross for my sins.   Words and sometimes even actions can not repair such damage, but I pray that our relationship can weather the storm.  Romans 5:1-5 promises me, “Father, we feel the burden of our sin, and it is exhausting to try and make ourselves whole.  Our hearts long for your presence.  We rejoice in our sufferings, know that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”  I am a broken vessel… (a few lyrics from a powerful song)

Broken Vessels

You take our failures, You take our weakness
You set Your treasure in jars of clay
So take this heart Lord, I’ll be your vessel
The world to see Your life in me

Oh, I can see You now
Oh, I can see the love in Your eyes.
Laying Yourself down
Raising up the broken to life

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.”  Corinthians 4:7

(1° Broken Vessels – 00:00 2° Touch The Sky – 09:32 3° Say The Word – 13:55 4° Heart Like Heaven – 18:19 5° Closer Than You Know – 24:49 6° Even When It Hurts – 33:34 7° Oceans – 39:52 8° Love Is War – 48:48 9° Captain – 56:05)

Worthy

As I contemplate my sin and move toward Christ, I realize that I am worthy in God’s eyes.  I feel God drawing near to me and feeling his strength now I can see where my focus should be.  First and foremost I need to focus on him and ensure he is the priority in my life.  “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”  James 4:8.  So I seek his presence in prayer and in my daily walk.  I think of others before myself.  I smile so others might smile.  I seek the happiness in my life that is my choice and no one else.  I trust in God.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6.  I am focusing on my heart once again in order to put my Father first in my life.

My Worth Is Not What I Own 

Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed – my ransom paid
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer,
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul

Closing Verse: “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Challenge:  Protect Your Heart.

Sometimes I Wonder Why?

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Why?

This past week I was reminded of God and how he works in my life.  I move through life and forget sometimes how much control he really has in my walk.  How he cares for me and others around me?  This week he reminded me once again of his presence in my life. “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” John 14:20.  I stood in a moment when I knew that God had been at work.

Skip it or not?

I have to honestly admit I was dreading something this past week.  The snow at the beginning of the week made it even more desirable to skip out on a promise I had made, but I knew I had given my word so I plunged forward.  I guess I felt my heart strings being pulled and did not even know why.  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.  That is the work I saw from the Lord this week.  He used everything to bring good not just into my life but to those around me.  I am not sure if those with me realized the impact but this day did not pass me by without knowing that God had been in full control and done his good work.

Where God is?

Now looking back from the other side and knowing that I almost did not go, I can see God’s full plan and the blessings he provided for me.   I thought I did not want to go, but now I know that I would not have missed it for the world.  What I thought I was going for had nothing to do with the lesson that God taught me that day.  Where was God?  He was in an unexpected place where I was not looking, yet he reminds me to look every where for him.  “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”  Jeremiah 29:13.  Maybe it was a slap in the face to remember that I am to be seeking him, but when I fail like this past week he will seek me.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

Closing Verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own           understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Challenge: Seek God first in all that you do, but know that he will seek you in a place you might least expect it.