God’s Gift of Creativity


creativity

 Job 37:5-7 (NRSV)

“God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. For to the snow he says, ‘Fall on the earth;’ and the shower of rain, his heavy shower of rain, serves as a sign on everyone’s hand, so that all whom he has made may know it.”

It snowed here yesterday, leaving a delightful and sparkling white blanket over our world. There wasn’t enough snow to build a snowman, but my daughter was able to make snow angels, a fond memory from my own childhood. Snow may not seem like a big deal to you, but here in Texas, we rarely get it.

 The falling snow reminds me of the creativity of God. I am often astonished at the diversity of nature, both landscapes and animals, and the splendor of the stars. God has not reserved creativity for Himself; He has also given it to us. Consider the ability we have to create beautiful and intricate works of art, or compose music so mesmerizing it nourishes your soul.

 When I see something another has created that is unique and pleasing, I feel like I don’t have a creative bone in my body. That thought is displeasing to God because He created each of us in a unique way (Psalm 139:14).  What we are really feeling is jealousy toward the ability of another person. It’s time for us to take inventory of the skills and abilities our Lord has blessed us with.

First, thank God for the abilities He has given you. Use them with a spirit of wonder and humility.  Second, use and develop your gifts and talents. God gave us these abilities for a reason. He expects us to use them. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” so we are to use our gifts for the glory of God. Proverbs 22:29 states, “Do you see a man skillful in his work?  He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” This verse tells us that God wants us to use the creativity He has given us for the benefit of others and that He wants our creations to be noticed. Whatever we create should reflect His glory.

We have all been given a mind, with the ability to use our imagination. There are hundreds of ways to be creative. If you can’t think of any ways to be creative, just google that question.  Remember that each of us has been blessed with talents. When was the last time you tried to use or develop them? Maybe today you can take stock of the creativity God has blessed you with, and utilize your gifts. You will be a blessing to many others.

 

imagination

 

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com (ESV)

Images: Google Images

Prayer and Fasting


Fasting bible plate.aspx

I have never fasted. I have given things up for Lent, but I would not call that fasting. I don’t like to go hungry. I wonder if that means I’m missing out on a blessing, or perhaps a miracle. There is something I have been praying about for quite some time and nothing has happened. Should I add fasting to my prayers? This Lenten Season I believe I am being called to fast.

Before His ministry began, Jesus fasted for forty days (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-4.) If Jesus needed to fast, it seems I should too.

The Bible commands both prayer and fasting. In Matthew 6:16-18, “Jesus said, ‘And when you fast …’” Notice that Jesus said when, not if. Joel 2:12 tells us, “’Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.’”

Consider a few of the miracles that happened in the Bible as a result of fasting. When Daniel was thrown into the Lion’s den, King Darius spent the night fasting. The next morning it was discovered Daniel was unharmed (Daniel 6). Nehemiah fasted and prayed, then was allowed to go rebuild Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 1-3). Queen Esther requested a fast to save her people (Esther 4:15-16).

The purpose of fasting is to turn our focus to God. Isaiah 58 explains the proper way to fast, then outlines the blessings of fasting.  I have decided it’s time I fast as well as pray. I am expecting to hear from God when my fast is over. I don’t know what God will tell me, but I do expect joy and guidance. Isaiah 58:14 tells us, “’then you will find your joy in the Lord, and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.’ For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

Ezra 8:23

“So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.”

Joel 1:14

“Declare a holy fast; call a sacred assembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.”

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images

 

 

 

 

FAT TUESDAY DOES NOT MAKE SENSE TO ME


Mardi Gras; Rex Parade

Quite a party is going on right now, in New Orleans, Rio de Janeiro and other cities around the world. It’s called “Mardi Gras” which is French for “Fat Tuesday.” It is the last day of a season called “Carnival.” The Carnival season is filled with merrymaking, dancing, and eating to excess among other activities. Fat Tuesday is the culmination of these festivities, featuring celebrations, parades, masquerades, and also, sadly, drunkenness and shameless behavior.

The day after Fat Tuesday is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Season of Lent. Lent is a 40-day period of fasting and repentance, and a preparation for the celebration of Easter. Carnival is the indulgence of bad behavior before the fast, or a binge prior to asking for forgiveness. Participants in Fat Tuesday celebrations act as if you can do whatever you want during Carnival, as long as you attend Ash Wednesday services, repent and ask for forgiveness.

I fail to understand the purpose of sinning deliberately, then asking God for forgiveness. The practice is totally unscriptural. The Bible forbids drunkenness and shameless behavior (Romans 13:13-14 and Galatians 5:19-21), and encourages us to think about what is good and pure (Philippians 4:8). If we have a relationship with God, then we shouldn’t want to participate in activities that grieve Him.

God wants us to have fun (Luke 15:3:10 and Luke 15:23-24.) God even commanded celebrations (Exodus 12:14, Deuteronomy 16). Jesus attended a wedding in Cana (John 2:1-12). Celebrations even occur in heaven (Luke 15:7-10) and we await the greatest celebration of all, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19:6-9).

God has showered me with many blessings. So I’ll skip the carousing and merrymaking and take my queues from Scripture. I’ll reserve my celebrations for remembering all that our great God has done for us.

Blessings on your day.

image: google images

Letting Go


let_go

We all get involved in relationships that don’t go the way we want. Inside we say that the other person is wrong; and that may be true. However, if being right causes us intense grief and frustration, isn’t it better to just let it go?

Saying that is easy, practicing it, well- that’s an art form. So how do we deal with relationships that hurt? If possible, get out of the relationship. Since we can’t always do that, we have to learn to deal with the hurtful emotions and feelings.

I’m no psychologist, but I learned what the Bible tells us. The key is to letting go is to forgive (Matthew 6:14-15). Failure to forgive only leads to more bitterness and resentment. There’s an old saying that goes: “Resentment is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Refusing to forgive, or let something go, is not healthy for our relationships or our bodies.

What does it mean to forgive? Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to let go of resentment. We might always remember the event or words that hurt us. However, forgiveness can help us stop focusing on the hurt. Then we can look for positive responses. That’s how we begin to heal. Forgiveness may even lead to feeling empathy or compassion for the person who hurt us.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that we deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting us. We forgive the person without excusing the wrongdoing. It’s ok to avoid those hurtful situations in the future.

We also have to take into consideration the role we played in the event that hurt us. Could it be a misunderstanding? What about our responses so far? Did we do something (or not do) to contribute to the problem? Did we really have to say our peace? What have the hostile emotions done to us? We must take responsibility for our actions and forgive ourselves as well.

Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps us go on with life. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to healthier relationships, greater spiritual and psychological well-being, lower blood pressure, less stress, improved heart health and a higher self esteem. You also learn to forgive yourself.¹

We have to decide what we are going to do (or not do) to make the situation better. Then go do it (or stop doing it.) The process will likely take some time, and a lot of hard work, but if we want our relationships to flourish, we need to deal with the negative ones quickly and appropriately.

Ephesians 4:31-32

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.

 Colossians 3:13

Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

 Matthew 18: 21-22

Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.

Matthew 5:23-24

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

 Luke 6:37

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

 John 8:7 NIV

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

 1 Corinthians 13:4-6

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.

 

May you feel the peace and blessings of renewed relationships.

Scripture: www.openbible.info (ESV)

Image: google images

1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/25/forgiveness-health-benefits_n_6029736.html

Jesus, My Valentine


Valentine's-Day-candy2

Remember the little candy hearts with love sayings on them? We passed them out in Valentine Class Parties when we were kids. The sayings were short and cute, like “Be Mine,” and “I Luv U.” If God were sending us Valentine candy, the sayings might look like this:

  • I love U (John 3:16)
  • U R Mine (Isaiah 43:1)
  • I Sing 4 U (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • U R Beautiful (Palm 45:10-11, Song of Songs 1:15)
  • I help U (Isaiah 41:13)
  • I am 4 U (Romans 8:31)
  • Peace (John 20:21)
  • Joy (Ecclesiastes 2:26)
  • Faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9)
  • Friend (John 15:13-15)
  • I set Ur heart free (Psalm 119:32)
  • I am gracious 2 U (Isaiah 30:18)
  • My Plans R Best (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • I Am With U (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • Rest in Me (Matthew 11:28-29)
  • You R Worthy (Matthew 10:29-31)
  • I love U 4Ever (Jeremiah 31:3-4)

It’s easy to get caught up in celebrations and forget the giver of everything good (James 1:17). On this fun day, remember Him, who loves you more than anyone can, and who made all our celebrations possible.

 

Blessings on your day.

 

Image: Google Images

Triskaidekaphobia and Other Superstitions


1 black cat 

1 Timothy 4:7

“Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;”

There is a black cat in my neighborhood that occasionally runs in front of me. Fortunately I’m not a superstitious person. It’s just a cat, it’s not going to cause me bad luck. When I hear concern about today being “Friday the 13th” and “to be careful,” I have to wonder, “Why are you concerned?” What beliefs does this person have that makes today different from any other day?

Dictionary.com defines superstition as a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, and an irrational fear of what is unknown or mysterious, especially in connection with religion. Put another way, superstitions are based on the ignorant faith of an object having magical powers. Another word for this is idolatry. There is nothing in the Bible that supports the idea of things occurring by chance. God is completely in control.

 Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

 Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

 In 1 Kings 18:20-40 the Prophet Elijah went to great lengths to show the foolishness of superstitious beliefs. He challenged the priests of Baal to a showdown, their god against the one true God. Baal  failed to act, so Elijah mocked them—“Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 1 Kings 18:27. Our great God did perform, showing the people how foolish their superstitious beliefs were (1 Kings 18:38).

The Apostle Paul also dealt with superstition. The Greeks and Romans had so many gods they  created a place to worship the gods they did not know yet. “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you.” Paul went on to explain they should seek the one true god.

We should get our faith not from objects or man-made rituals, but from the one true God who gives eternal life.

“See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” Colossians 2:8-10

May your day be filled with blessings from the one true God.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com (ESV)

Image: Google Images

 

 

100 Ways to Show Love for Your Husband


secrets-of-marriage-6

Valentine’s Day is just two days away. It is a fun time to remember those we love the most. We’ll celebrate it with flowers, candy, date nights, jewelry, and even marriage proposals. Sadly, my husband is scheduled to work this Valentine’s Day. Fortunately, celebrating love is not reserved for one day a year. There’s always a reason to celebrate your love. Here are a few ways to always show  your love for your husband. 

 (I challenge a gentleman out there to come up with a list of ways to show love for your wife.)

 

  1. Always give him a big hug and kiss when he comes home (not a peck.)
  2. Hold hands whenever you can.
  3. Make eye contact frequently.
  4. Always wear your wedding ring.
  5. Tuck a love note in his pocket or briefcase, or stick it on his dashboard.
  6. Schedule frequent date nights.
  7. Stop on the way home from work to buy his favorite dessert.
  8. Call him at work just to say you were thinking about him.
  9. Listen, really listen to him.
  10. Be the first to say you are sorry, and really mean it.
  11. Take out the trash yourself.
  12. Watch football with him.
  13. Take a dance class together.
  14. Tell him that he’s handsome.
  15. Write your love story in a pretty journal and give it to him.
  16. Tell him what a great provider he is.
  17. Recreate your first date or other special memory.
  18. Make a really big deal of your anniversary.
  19. And his birthday.
  20. Take a shower together.
  21. Exercise together.
  22. Start a hobby you both love, like photography.
  23. Surprise him with tickets to his favorite sporting event.
  24. Make a list of why you love him, then give him the list.
  25. Make sure he gets some breakfast, or tuck a granola bar in his pocket.
  26. Tie his tie for him.
  27. Bring home a bottle of wine for no special reason.
  28. Skip the news and go to bed early.
  29. Sit next to each other instead of on opposite ends of the couch.
  30. Create a play list of romantic music you know your husband will enjoy.
  31. Compliment him in front of others.
  32. Leave a sweet comment on his Facebook wall.
  33. Go for a walk together.
  34. Plant a tree together and talk about how your love for him will continue to grow, like the tree.
  35. Light a candle at dinner time.
  36. When sitting at a table play footsie with him.
  37. Give him a massage or back rub.
  38. Meet for lunch during the week.
  39. Do something unexpected for him.
  40. Wash his car.
  41. Give him some space.
  42. Play a game with him, like backgammon.
  43. Sit next to him at a restaurant, not across from him.
  44. Praise him in front of the kids.
  45. Take coffee to him before he gets out of bed.
  46. Keep lots of photos of the two of you.
  47. Run your fingers through his hair when watching a movie.
  48. Tell him what you admire about him.
  49. Love his parents and siblings.
  50. Defend him to those who disrespectfully talkabout
  51. Pump your own gas and get your own oil changed.
  52. Make his favorite meal, for no particular reason.
  53. Get a couple’s massage.
  54. Invite him to take a bubble bath with you, complete with the candles and wine.
  55. Turn down his side of the bed and put a mint on the pillow.
  56. Write him a short poem or love letter then use Google Translator to translate the poem into French. (Give him the translation too.)
  57. Always look like a lady. Keep yourself fixed up for him. Do you hair and put on something nice, even if you’ve been cleaning the house all day.
  58. Drop off and pick up his dry cleaning.
  59. Put effort in to keep yourself in good shape so he’s proud to be with you.
  60. Bring him a glass of water or tea when he’s been working in the heat.
  61. Rub his feet when you’re watching TV.
  62. Set a picture of the two of you as the background on your phone.
  63. Let go of the small stuff. We all have annoying habits and preferences that are different from our husband’s.
  64. Work to get rid of habits that annoy him.
  65. Be a cheerleader for his successes.
  66. Tell him you love him and like him.
  67. Brag about him to others.
  68. When arguing, realize he has feelings also.
  69. Focus on what he’s doing right, instead of the negatives.
  70. Compliment him often.
  71. Flirt with him.
  72. Stop doing the dishes and slow dance with him in the kitchen.
  73. Don’t overcommit yourself. Leave time for him.
  74. Read the Five Love Languages together.
  75. Purposefully try to understand his feelings—even when you disagree with him.
  76. Show interest in his friends giving him some time with them
  77. Show interest in what he feels is important in life.
  78. Give him special time with you apart from the children.
  79. Find ways to show him you need him.
  80. Admit your mistakes; don’t be afraid to be humble. Peel away your pride.
  81. Email or text him when he’s at work, telling him how much you love him.
  82. Surprise him with a fun gift of some kind that he’d really enjoy.
  83. Reserve some energy for him so you’re not so tired when he wants you sexually.
  84. Take special notice for what he has done for you and the family.
  85. Honor him in front of the children.
  86. Get life insurance on yourself.
  87. Surprise him with a full tank of gas.
  88. Look out for his health. Schedule his dental appointments and yearly check-up.
  89. Buy a gift card to his favorite lunch restaurant then slip it into his wallet.
  90. Do little things for him—let him sleep in, iron his shirt, etc.
  91. Don’t belittle his intelligence or be cynical in your words with him.
  92. Initiate sex periodically. And respond more often.
  93. Go to a marriage seminar or retreat together.
  94. Sometimes let him enjoy his day off work without having to “work” at home.
  95. Sit with him while he’s watching TV—even if the program doesn’t interest you.
  96. Thank God for him.
  97. Trust him.
  98. Help your husband to be the Spiritual head at home.
  99. Pray for him
  100. Pray together.

 

May the Lord richly bless you marriage.

Image: Google Images