Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Release

Release

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. -Ephesians 4:31-32

To release something suggests that we “let it go”.  Catching a fish, only to let it go back to the water. Setting the lines free so the boat can leave the dock. Releasing the anchor so one can reset it in another spot. The word, “release” applies to so many other things too. 

Spiritually speaking, we are told that offering forgiveness gives us freedom from the hurt and pain. Letting things go is healthy to our mind, body and spirit. God keeps score so we don’t have to. Severing toxic relationships sets us free. I was thinking about what things I have had to let go of. Letting adult children find their place in the world without my interference has been hard for me but freeing for them. Finding my place in things and not feeling as though I have to weigh in on everyone’s choices. Teaching myself to remain quiet and release the tendency to thrust my opinion until it is asked for. (Still working on that one!!) A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. –Proverbs 29:11  

Think about what you want or need to release. It might be letting go of a perfectionist attitude, or judging another with a critical spirit. There may be a burden weighing heavy that needs to be dealt with and forgiven. We should try to release the hardness of life that consumes many of us. It robs us of our joy and childlike wonder that pleases God so much.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sowing

Sowing

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”  Luke 10:27
 
I love playing ball with my puppy. He can catch it in mid-air and then he quickly returns it to me so we can do it all over again, again and again!! It is his favorite game to play and admittedly, he is good at it.  And he never tires of this play. The principle of “getting back what you send out” is certainly in play. 

Have you noticed that giving out kindness and generosity to people in our path has a way of returning back to us? By extending our hand to others, God is working through us to do His Work.  God commands us to love one another. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  Galatians 6:9


But likewise, when we wrong someone, it bounces off them, and comes back to us.  The trouble they cause recoils on them, their violence comes down on their own heads. Psalm 7:16.  Reflect on which way we want to treat others as it will come back to us, good or bad.  The righteous walk is the one God ordains for us. Our steps, actions, deeds and thoughts should reflect Him. We will reap what we sow. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Spring

Spring

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 
-2 Corinthians 5:17

New life is springing up everywhere. Daffodils, crocus, trees are budding new leaves, azaleas are getting ready for their annual spectacular show in a few weeks. The harshness of the cold winter is fading, making way for the breath of spring.  With Easter barely behind us, we were reminded that death brought new life. New beginnings. And as this new season unfolds, we can appreciate the meaning of it while enjoying the display of colors that Mother Nature yields.

If you are a new Believer in Christ, then you know it is just the beginning of a new life for you and the journey will be awesome with God at the helm. If you surrendered  your life to God years ago, why not use this time to renew and refresh your spirit? Get excited about Him. One of the great things about letting God direct your steps is that you can trust Him with everything. You don’t have to wonder about what path to take. God does lead us but we must be willing to follow. Trust your life with Him and let Him walk with you every step of the way.


Last week I asked my mother what does she ask God for. She looked at me and without hesitating, she said, “I don’t ask for anything, I just walk with God”. I understood what she was saying. She is not worrying or fretting. She hands it to Him and together they walk out her life each day.  Words of wisdom for all of us. Spring is a growing season. Let’s build up our seeds of faith and trust God for what He can do. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Easter


Easter

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;  -John 11:25 NIV

What is Easter? The dictionary says it is “an annual Christian festival in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, observed on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox”.

 I reflected back on my youth and Easter was something I was confused about. When I was a child, Easter meant I would get a new “Sunday school outfit”, complete with new patent leather shoes and a hat. There would be plenty of picture taking with the old Brownie camera, and it would abruptly end when my Daddy ran out of flashbulbs! We didn’t know any better then but we would put our Easter baskets, laden with chocolate, in the sunny rear window of the car while we went to Sunday school and church. A melted chocolate mess always greeted us and my little white gloves didn’t stay white for long! Good memories from those years.

As I got older, I understood enough of the “Easter story” to learn that Jesus was brutally treated and my heart ached for Him. I saw a painting at church of Jesus at the cross and it traumatized me. I didn’t understand the celebration. Easter was no longer anything I embraced. And then years later, I was taught about everlasting life and realized Easter was something to rejoice and great joy filled my heart.

The real significance of Easter often gets set aside in favor of Easter egg hunts, the Easter bunny, candy and more.  Those things are wonderful and our family will be doing doing them all. But there is more. Everything about Easter begins with love. Jesus loved us so we could live. He still loves us.  All ages can understand that. Our job as Believers is to share this new beginning, The Good News, with anyone who hungers for it and walk along side of them in love. The love that springs forth from Easter is not just for a day. It is for a season. Praying that God works through each of us to put us in situations that we can share and spread His Love. Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Palm Sunday



Palm Sunday

Then Jesus entered Jerusalem, and went into the temple. 
—Mark 11: 1

This Sunday, Christians across the world will observe Palm Sunday. Some know this day as “Passion Sunday”. It is the day that begins Holy Week and ends with Easter. Palm Sunday marks the day that Jesus humbly entered the holy city of Jerusalem on a donkey. People waved palm branches in celebration and others laid them down on the ground creating a path, showing respect. Ancient belief is that the palm branch represented goodness. The crowd shouted, “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” While crowds shouted words of victory on Palm Sunday, it would only be days later than they would demand Jesus be crucified.


Holy Week tells of the biblical account of Jesus’ last day on the earth. The events of Holy Week can be read in Mark, chapters 11-16. We can experience the journey with Jesus. There is much to reflect on during this week that includes the Last Supper and Jesus’ walk to the cross. Sadness and darkness seems to prevail on the journey with only glimmers of hope, but on Easter Sunday, hope lives in the resurrection of Jesus. It is a reminder that we can do nothing apart from Him. He makes everything “new” again. He brings life from death. Take this walk with Jesus through the Bible this week so we can fully understand His sacrifice and love for us.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Praise

Praise

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him. - Psalm 28:7

Some days my world seems to be smaller because I am seeing it from a different perspective. Teaching my little grandson has made me realize it is hard for me to make adult conversation when my husband comes home at night! Can anybody relate to this? I am well versed on Disney movies, nursery rhymes, ABC’s and playing ball with my little man! My enthusiasm and praise is measured in short sentences like “good job” and “good boy”.  And I see what praise can do to his little spirit. It is the greatest encouragement of all. His face lights up and eyes sparkle when he earns a sticker or gets a “high-five”.  What is praise? The dictionary says, “It is the act of expressing approval or admiration”.  I think of it as positive attention. And this I know…everybody needs it.  I think deserved praise is to the spirit what a hug is to the heart.

God says we are to praise Him. So often, we go to Him with our long list of requests, needs and wants and after we have deposited that list with God, we forget to praise Him. That is when we know we are off balance in our relationship with Him. When I find myself feeling down or in want, I make my list of all God has provided. Then I realize I have nothing to complain about and everything to praise Him for.

Be a person that praises. I don’t mean false praise, but one that acknowledges a good job, a good deed and creates an encouraging, positive environment. While teaching my grandson to pray, we begin with ‘thank you” for all God has given us. And then we ask God to bless our family. It is simple and sweet. God doesn’t want our fancy talk and big words. He just wants us to talk to Him like we would talk to a trusted friend. He is that and so much more to us. Think of how our praise must make God feel. He is so worthy of it.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Contentment

Contentment

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. -Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

My daughter and I recently rode through the countryside and we snapped this photo of the horse seeking greener pastures. No doubt, he thought the long stretch outside the boundaries of his fence was worth it for an extra special breakfast. We chuckled that our life is often like that, too. No matter where we are or what we are doing, it sometimes looks more appealing to hop our own fence and live in another world. Of course, it is perfectly okay to hope and dream and make plans for positive change and growth, but somewhere in there needs to be a period of contentment about where we are at this moment. To always want more and never be happy with where we are is not the road God wants us to travel.  Sometimes God allows us to set our own pace. In the flurry of so much to do, if we sit with God each day and seek contentment in our life and circumstances, it will come.
But what about being thrust into situations that you have no control over, but yet must deal with. There are so many people that living with this by perhaps taking care of an ill spouse or aging parent that needs constant daily attention. There are broken families where a single parent is doing it all. Disappointments come that steal hope. Performing demanding physical tasks and responsibilities often depletes the energy that allows one to keep going. If that is you, know that you are not alone. God sees the situation you are in and sees your efforts. You are doing God’s work and you will be blessed for allowing God to use your hands and heart to tend to those that can’t tend to themselves. If you are a caregiver, ask God for what you need and trust Him to provide it.

It is said that it is not our circumstances that create our discontent or contentment. It is us. Perhaps if we change our reaction to situations when they arise, contentment is within our reach. All things are possible through Him.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Happiness

Happiness

He that handles a matter wisely shall find good: and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he. Proverbs 16:20

Something my mother and I would do this time of year would be to bundle up and go to the beach to feed the seagulls. It didn't matter what was going on in our lives at the time, we would lose ourselves in the fun and joy of it. But best of all was to sit in the car, looking at the ocean with my mother and having wonderful talks. We both talked and both listened to each other. A great time of sharing time and love.

It has been said that happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude. You know if you have it or not. You can walk into a room and sense the environment and immediately know if it exists there.

What is happiness? The dictionary says, “pleasure, contentment and joy”. And laughter often means the presence of happiness. Look at a child who gets tickled about something and laughs over and over again. They are sharing their pleasure. However, some folks believe they don’t have anything to laugh or be happy about. They may look to life for what it can give them. Happiness wouldn’t carry the weight it does if we didn’t experience the down times too. Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be”.  And that speaks to all of our circumstances, whether we are up or down. It is considered to be one of the most worth-while things is to do to put happiness into the lives of others. Proverbs 11:25 says “Who refreshes others will be refreshed”. So when we are seeking that sweet spot of happiness for ourselves, we must first do for others under God’s direction. It is there that we will find the spiritual contentment known as happiness.