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

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Thankfulness – Day 13


Heal Me

Wonderful Lord,

Today I thank You for all the medical personnel who treat the sick and injured. I also thank you for diagnostic tools, medications, and therapy to assist doctors and nurses bring healing to our bodies and minds. Thank you God, for these servants and thank You for the miracle of healing.

Psalm 103:2-4

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

 Health and Healing

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Psalm 41:3

The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health.

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. (3 John 1:12)

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: Google Images

Thankfulness – Day 7


1-cor-10-31fun

Precious Lord,

Today I thank you for fun, recreation, and celebration. Thank you for the opportunity to enjoy Your creation and many, many blessings. Thank you for giving us permission to celebrate (Leviticus 23).

 Ecclesiastes 2:24

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God,

1 Corinthians 10:31

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Day 7 FUN Ecclesiastes3v13

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Luke 15:23-24

And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.

 

Enjoy the blessings of the Lord!

 

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Images: Google Images

Thankfulness – Day 5


smelling a flower

Holy God,

I thank you for creating us to have the ability to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste. You gave us these senses to enjoy and interact with Your creation, every single day. We take these gifts for granted. Help us to slow down and enjoy these marvelous blessings.

Proverbs 20 12

.Psalm 34:8

O, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

 Matthew 12:16

But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.

 

Consider how God’s great gifts allow you to interact with the world in remarkable ways.

 

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Images: Google Images

Oblivious to the Blessings


blessings

I was living an almost charmed life.

My adopted home town was a very safe and livable community where everything I wanted or needed was nearby. The schools my children attended were great. I had wonderful, close friends, and a good job. I was a member of a significant church that reached out to everyone and had programs for all types of people. I lived in that community for 20 years. I expected life to always be that way. I thought I had a grateful heart, but looking back, I was oblivious to how fortunate my circumstances were.

This past summer we moved to another state. My expectations were that we would live in a similar community and attend a church similar to the one we just left. I thought I would find a job quickly and make new friends easily. I expected life to be the same, I would just have a different address. The truth is, it’s been an adjustment.

Thinks are different here, not wrong, just different. It is more than the names of streets and where to shop, the local culture is different too. It’s a way of life that in some ways doesn’t value what I took for granted. This difference has made me appreciate all I had even more. I was truly blessed living in in that small community in Texas. At the time, I didn’t see, and certainly didn’t appreciate, how God was showering me with His Love all the time I lived in that other city. He was feeding me, nourishing my soul. He blessed me in so many ways, but most of all, He blessed me with Himself.

Now that I am not experiencing the same circumstances I feel like my spiritual life is parched. I’ve been thanking God for what I had, and have asked Him to relieve the drought I am experiencing now. But that request is wrong. There’s a passage in the Old Testament explaining that when there is drought do not lose confidence because God has blessed you with deep roots.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

This passage reminds us that God will keep us filled, despite difficult situations. But the passage goes on to instruct us to bear fruit in every season, even during a dry spell. I can’t (and shouldn’t try to) recreate the same situation I was in. Instead, I should use my experiences to be a blessing to others. I didn’t realize it at the time but our great God was preparing me to go out into the world to do just that. Luke 6:45 tells us, “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”  God filled my heart. Now it’s time to share what I was given.

Someday I will experience abundance again, but this time, I pray to not be oblivious to the blessings God sends my way. James 1:17 reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” It doesn’t matter what the situation is, God is all I need.

May the Lord richly bless your day as you share your blessings.

betheblessing

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Images: google images.

A Life Road Map


productivity-treasure-map

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

God opened up a new opportunity for my family. It was a call to move to a new place, to leave everything that was familiar. Now we’re here. In an unfamiliar city. We’re in a rental house. My children aren’t happy, and I haven’t found my purpose either. I have too much time on my hands. So what do we do now that we’re here?

For the Christian, the predictable answer is to turn to the Lord, but that’s easy to say and hard to do. During my quiet time I have found my mind wandering. I think about not having a job yet, that my children are unhappy, and I am lonely. I think about my friends back home, and the things I would be doing if I was still there. I turn to Facebook. I think about everything but God.

It occurred to me that God just wants me for Himself for a little while. I need to spend more time just loving Him. I need to let Him feed and strengthen me in preparation for what He has planned next. That “next” may be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Now is the time to prepare. To do that I need to separate myself from the distractions of this world and focus on God. But how?

I’ve been reading a series of books by James Bryan Smith. I finished reading The Good and Beautiful God (I highly recommend this book.) I’ve just started the second book in his series, The Good and Beautiful Life. In an early chapter, Smith suggests an exercise – to write a letter to God about what you want your life to look like. This takes some thought – it’s an exercise that requires you to think about God, and His plans for you, not just your own desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” So what are those heart’s desires?” I trust God will let me know.

As Smith suggested, I wanted to write a letter to God about what I want my life to look like, but it was an overwhelming thought. I avoided the exercise for several days. Finally, I realized I had to break it up into more manageable pieces. So I thought about all the aspects of my life and wrote to God about what I want in these areas: Spiritual, Family, Marriage, Friendships, Financial, Health, Work, Hobbies, and Relaxation. It was easier to focus on just one aspect of who I am, then move on to the next. As I finished my letter, a familiar verse came to mind.

Jeremiah 29:11

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.

I trust that God does have a bright future in store for me, but I’m impatient. I want to know what it is. Now. Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse, but do we really think about it fully? The verses that follow verse 11 are perhaps more important to understanding verse the verse itself.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  (Emphasis mine).

So that’s the key. It’s time to search for God with my whole heart, and no preconceived ideas. It was time to rewrite my letter to God, this time praying for the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer. The end result is a more than a letter; it is a road map for my life, blessed by God. As you look at the life before you, consider talking to God about how he created you and what he created you for. You may find God has actually given you a treasure map. After all, He only wants the best for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

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.

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Blessings on your day.

Image: google images

Scripture:  www. openbible.info

The Power of a Word


power of word

 

In 2014, my good friend Gennie* challenged me to select a word (and a verse) to focus on for the year, a word God would lay on my heart. Within moments God gave me that word – perspective. I prayed and worked on having God’s perspective in all matters and I think the challenge made a difference. I repeated that challenge again this year and selected the word perseverance; Hebrews 12:1 is my verse for 2015.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

I chose the word because perseverance is more than determination. It means “a steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose…especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.” It also means “continuance in a state of grace to the end, leading to eternal salvation.” God is full of grace and love – He shows it constantly. Grammatically, perseverance is noun, but to me, it’s a verb. It’s a word that requires action. It means to constantly remain focused on the plan God has for me, and for me to work toward achieving that plan.

My verse for the year, Hebrews 12:1, reminds me that my brothers and sisters in Christ are available to support and encourage me, if I need it. One of the beautiful benefits of fellowship is knowing you can go to your brothers and sisters for prayer. We encourage each other.

Focusing on a theme, or word, is important and helpful because it gives us a clear purpose and direction. If we remain focused on what God has in mind for us we remember our work and trails are for God’s glory, and we don’t spin our wheels focusing on something that doesn’t matter. It also puts the focus of our life back on God and reminds us to pray (without ceasing – 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Focusing on what God has planned for us reminds us that we are not alone in the journey; He is constantly by our side.

Finally, focusing on a word affects your thoughts. Frank Outlaw wrote:

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”

 The year is still young. You can pick a word or a theme for your year, one that will bring you closer to God. It will give you spiritual refreshment, strength, and peace, and give Him glory.

*Gennie’s blog is “journey to the hills.com.” I highly recommend it.

 

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images