Earth Day


 

Since April 22, 1970 we’ve celebrated Earth Day annually. As I understand it, Earth Day is designed to make us more aware of how humanity is harming the planet and that we should to take better care of this world. Each year there is a different focus, but the ultimate message is, “stop messing up the planet.” I’m all for that. Let’s pick up the trash, recycle, care for the animals, and plant more trees. But, there is more to the earth than plants and animals.

God did command humanity to take care of the planet. Genesis 1:26-28 explains,

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

There are two words in this passage we might not use every day: dominion and subdue. I checked dictionary.com for the definition of both. Subdue means: to overpower by superior force; overcome. It also means to bring (land) under cultivation.

The word dominion explains further. There are several definitions of the word including:

  • The power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority
  • Rule; control; domination
  • A territory, usually of considerable size, in which a single ruler ship holds sway.
  • Lands or domains subject to sovereignty or control.

So, humanity has authority over the earth. We are to cultivate it, rule it, and take care of it. So yes, the focus of Earth Day is important, and grounded in Scripture.

 

I wonder how God feels about Earth Day.

It seems to me God has a special love for our planet. He created it – before he created man. But He did put man in charge of the earth, “over every living thing.” Perhaps we should remember that in addition to thousands of species of plants and animals, there are over seven billion people on our little planet. And God loves each one. Sometimes we forget John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” We should have at least an equal focus on people.

Let Earth Day include humanity as well. Let us show everyone the love of Christ and help them also become good stewards of the Earth

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: http://www.openbible.info

Image: Google Images

 

 

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So Much To Be Thankful For


Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

During this season of thanksgiving I thought it would be fun to make a list of some of the things to be thankful for. This list is really quite short – there are countless blessings to thank God for. I challenge to you add to this list. May you be richly blessed today and everyday. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. A Bed
  2. A Home Cooked Meal
  3. Ability to Choose
  4. Animals
  5. Aquariums
  6. Art
  7. Babies
  8. Baseball Games
  9. Beaches
  10. Bicycles
  11. Books and Libraries
  12. Braces and a pretty smile
  13. Bubble Baths
  14. Candles
  15. Candy
  16. Cards and Letters
  17. Chocolate
  18. Christmas Lights
  19. Christmas Stockings
  20. Christmas Trees
  21. Church
  22. Clothing
  23. Coffee and Tea
  24. Color
  25. Creativity
  26. Curiosity
  27. Cute Shoes
  28. Desserts
  29. Dishwashers
  30. Doctors and Dentists
  31. Education
  32. Family and Friends
  33. Family Traditions
  34. Fireplaces
  35. Fireworks
  36. Five Senses
  37. Good
  38. Fountains
  39. Four Seasons
  40. Forests
  41. Freedom
  42. Fresh Bread
  43. Fresh Water
  44. Gardens
  45. Gentle Rains
  46. Glitter
  47. God
  48. Good Manners
  49. Google
  50. GPS
  51. Hairstylists
  52. Holidays and Vacation
  53. Hot Showers
  54. Hugs
  55. Imagination
  56. Jesus
  57. Jewelry
  58. Language/Communication
  59. Lipstick
  60. Medicine
  61. Mementos
  62. Memories
  63. Military and First Responders
  64. Movie Theaters
  65. Music
  66. My Home
  67. My Job
  68. Naps
  69. Pajamas
  70. Parks
  71. Pastors
  72. Paved Roads
  73. Pedicures
  74. Pets
  75. Photographs
  76. Prayer
  77. Puzzles
  78. Rainbows
  79. Right to Vote
  80. Salvation
  81. Saturday Mornings
  82. Second Chances
  83. Snow
  84. Spell Check
  85. Spices
  86. Stained Glass Windows
  87. Stop Lights
  88. Sun, Moon and Stars
  89. Sunshine
  90. Teachers
  91. Technology
  92. The Beach
  93. The Bible
  94. The Ocean
  95. The Radio
  96. Theme Parks
  97. Today
  98. Travel
  99. Trees
  100. Wildflowers
  101. Wine

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

 

Images: Google Images

Scripture: Biblegateway.com

In The Eye Of The Storm


storms

Psalm 91:2

I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” 

My family moved to Jacksonville, Florida a little over a year ago. When we made the decision to move I never considered that we would deal with hurricanes. For the second time in as many months, a huge storm drew near to us. Herminie came through Jacksonville as a tropical storm, but Matthew passed dangerously close to our coast line as a category 4 hurricane.  Schools and businesses closed in preparation for the storm. Meteorologists warned of the danger of the storm and explained it could reshape parts of our coastline. We stocked up on supplies and water and made provisions if we lost power. Millions of people living right on the coast were evacuated. As the hurricane drew near to us the wind and rain became frightening, and lasted for hours. I made several Facebook posts with storm updates and asking for prayers. I felt those prayers. Our Heavenly Father saw us through the storm. As I type this blog the storm has passed. We are waiting for morning to survey the damage.

We also face many metaphorical storms in life; job loss, illnesses, infertility, not getting that promotion, betrayal, and death to name a few. We try to control these storms, but we cannot. In some cases we just prolong the pain. The storms we experience leave different kinds of marks on our lives. Some of these storms will change us forever. But the one thing that will never change is God’s love for us. He will see us through these storms; He is faithful and in control. Psalm 33:4 tells us, “For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness.”

I don’t know what storm you are facing, or the severity. All I can tell you is to put your faith in God, and let Him have control of the winds and rain. Something beautiful awaits you on the other side of the storm. I’ve always experienced an unexpected blessing when the storm passes.

The events of the past few days remind me of the song “In The Eye of the Storm” recently released by Ryan Stevenson. May it bring you peace.

https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?hsimp=yhs-att_001&hspart=att&p=youtube+eye+of+the+storm+ryan+stevenson#id=4&vid=047eeca0aa8530c95519b676266aa85b&action=click

Psalm 107:29  He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.

Image: Artist Unknown – found on Facebook 10/7/2016

31 Days of Praying For Your Job


work

Genesis 2:15 tells us, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it.” Work is a blessing from God. Psalm 128:2 explains, “You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” Honest work also honors God. Therefore, we should consciously devote our work to God (“For we aim at what is honorable, not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man 2 Corinthians 8:21).

In his letters to the Thessalonians, the Apostle Paul instructs believers that they must work to eat and be dependent on no one. (1 Thessalonians 4:12 and 2 Thessalonians 3:10-14.) A similar command is repeated in 1 Timothy 1 5:8. The Apostle Paul explains further, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. In your work you are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24). We must do the best job we can for God. In the end, it is God who will reward us for our work.

Since we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, it makes sense to ask God for wisdom and guidance in our work lives. For the next month commit to pray for your job, your ability to produce excellent work, your coworkers, and your employer. If you are unemployed, or seeking a new job, pray that God will open the door to the right job for you. Mark 11:24 tells us. “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

(All Scripture is from the ESV.)

Day

Prayers and Verses

1

Ask the Lord to guide you to the career he has designed you for.

Psalm 90:17. “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!

Proverbs 16:3. “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

2

Thank Your Heavenly Father for the gift of a job.

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.”

Ephesians 5:20. “Giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

3

Ask God for the skills and talents necessary to perform good work.

Exodus 35:35. “He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them skilled workers and designers.

4

Thank God for the skills and talents he has given you to do your job.

1 Peter 4:10. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”

Romans 12:6a. “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them.”

5

Pray for those appointed over you. Ask God to give them wisdom and compassion, and that they conduct themselves honorably.

Proverbs 3:13. “Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding.”

Colossians 4:1. “Masters, grant to your slaves justice and fairness, knowing that you too have a Master in heaven.”

6

Ask God for the ability to properly plan your work and complete it.

Luke 14:28. “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?”

1 Corinthians 14:40. “But all things should be done decently and in order.”

7

Pray the Lord will help you work diligently and efficiently.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.”

Proverbs 18:9. “Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys.”

8

Pray to get along with coworkers, and remember that in your workplace you may have the opportunity to share Christ with unbelievers.

1 Timothy 2:1-3. “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” 

Matthew 5:16. “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

9

Pray to have a good attitude about doing things you don’t care to do.

Philippians 2:14. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing.”

Colossians 3:23-24. “Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18. “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

10

Pray for motivation when you don’t feel like working.

Philippians 4:13. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”

John 5:16. “But Jesus answered them, “’My Father has been working until now, and I, too, am working.’”

1 Corinthians 15:58. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”

11

Pray for the humility to be obedient to your superiors.

Titus 3:1. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work.”

Ephesians 6:5-8. “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ, not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man, knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free.”

12

Ask God to help you be satisfied with your wages, and accept those in authority who require taxes and other deductions.

Matthew 20:2-4.”When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius for the day, he sent them into his vineyard. ‘And he went out about the third hour and saw others standing idle in the market place; and to those he said, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.’ And so they went.”

Romans 13:2. “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

Romans 13:6. “For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.”

13

Ask God for the endurance to do the job you have been assigned.

James 1:12. “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Colossians 1:11. “May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy”

14

Ask God for the wisdom to perform quality work.

Exodus 36:1-2 “Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whom the Lord has put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary shall work in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded.’ And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”

15

Ask God for the opportunity and ability to quickly learn new skills and more efficient ways of working.

Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Proverbs 1:5. “Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance.”

Proverbs 9:9. “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.”

16

Pray to be able to focus on the work you’ve been given.

Proverbs 28:10. “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.”

2 Timothy 2:15. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

17

Ask God to help you be a blessing to your employer.

Genesis 39:3-5. “His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord caused all that he did to succeed in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him, and he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had. From the time that he made him overseer in his house and over all that he had, the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had, in house and field.”

Genesis 39:23. “The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.”

18

Pray that you will not be tempted to rest, but have the determination to get up and work.

Proverbs 10:4-5. “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a prudent son, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”

2 Thessalonians 3:10. “For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.”

19

Ask God to help you honor him while you work, working honestly, and with integrity.

Proverbs 10: 9. “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.”

Proverbs 28:6. “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

2 Corinthians 8:21. “For we aim at what is honorable not only in the Lord’s sight but also in the sight of man.”

20

Ask God to help you advance in your career as you continue to honor Him

Proverbs 22:29. “Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.”

Psalm 37:4. “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

21

Pray for balance between your work life and home life, remembering that God rested from his work.

Proverbs 24:27. “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.”

Psalm 127:1-2. “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.”

Genesis 2:2-3. “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

22

Pray for the wisdom to use your employer’s resources wisely.

Matthew 25:20-21. “And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’”

23

Pray to work wisely and make the best use of your time.

Psalm 90:12. “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:11. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but expose them.”

Colossians 4:5. “Behave wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of your time.”

24

Ask the Lord for the desire to share with those in need.

Hebrews 13:16. “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

Luke 3:11. “And he answered them, ‘Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.’”

Luke 6:38. “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Acts 20:35. “In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

25

Pray you will not overwork or be overly demanding of the work of those under your control.

Ephesians 6:9. “Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.”

Deuteronomy 24:14. “You shall not oppress a hired worker who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns.”

26

Ask the Lord to help you be honest even when pressured to be dishonest.

Proverbs 16:11. “A just balance and scales are the Lord’s; all the weights in the bag are his work.

Luke 16:11-12. “If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?”

27

When do don’t think you can do the job you are assigned, claim God’s promise that you can do everything with Him.

Psalm 121:2. “My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.”

John 14:13-14. “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”

Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

28

Ask God to remind you that your identity in Christ applies at work too, and you would know the best way to talk to everyone you meet.

Acts 13:47. “For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Colossians 4:6. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

29

Ask God to help you model appropriate behavior at work.

Galatians 5:22-23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

Titus 2:7-8. “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”

30

Ask God for the humility to treat your superiors with respect, no matter how you are treated.

Ephesians 6:5. “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, with a sincere heart, as you would Christ.”

Titus 2:9-12. “Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior. For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age.”

1 Peter 2:18. “Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.”

31

Ask God to help you remember that you are working for His glory.

Colossians 3:23-24. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

1 Corinthians 10:31. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

 © Julie Garro, 2016

The Gift of Another Day


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Psalm 90:12

Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.

Once every four years the calendar gives us an extra day. There’s a scientific reason – the earth rotates around the sun every 365 ¼ days. Those who created our calendar added an extra day every fourth year to make up for this. There’s actually more to it than my brief explanation, but you get the idea – we have the gift of another day this year.

How will we use the extra day?

We take so much of life for granted, especially those of us blessed with families, jobs, and good health. We race to get our commitments completed, then complain that we have too much to do – work, errands, children’s activities and the like. We don’t stop often enough to enjoy or appreciate life’s many blessings. I am guilty of rushing through life like there is always tomorrow.

But life is brief. We don’t know how much time we have. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Our extra day falls on a Monday this year, so how about celebrating our “leap day” this weekend? Leave your watch in a drawer and unplug for the day. Think about how you can enjoy – really appreciate – the many blessings our God has given to us. Connect with your friends and family and hold them tight. Savor each moment with them. Go on an outing. Gaze at a landscape, or a sunset. Take a nature walk. Stop to really look at flowers, or a lake, or the clouds. Become aware of the gifts we so often overlook. Live.

Psalm 118:24

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Blessings on your “leap day.”

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com (The Living Bible Translation)

Images: google images

An Ash Wednesday Prayer


Ash Wednesday

Dear Heavenly Father,

Today we begin a season of self-examination and inner reflection. Open our hearts to see the truth of our words and our actions so that we see our lives through your eyes. We open our souls to your presence and ask you to change what needs to be changed. Lord, grant us the grace to emerge from the season of Lent with a more profound understanding of Your mercy and grace. Let your love wash over us, and seep deep into the broken places, healing and restoring our souls. Prepare our hearts for the joyous celebration of Easter.

Amen