Friday, February 24, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up and a F.F.F.

What a week!

1. It's been spring-like here in the Midwest ... I actually wore sandals to work two different days! The sun has been shining. It's all good except it makes thoughts of playing hooky easy to entertain.

2.  Last week, I mentioned we were attending a gender-reveal party for our third grandchild. It's a girl!!!

Of course, already having both a grandson and a granddaughter, I had no preferences. I'm excited to welcome this little one to the family. I have found out grandkids make life special.

Actually any child brings joy to a family. Be sure and hug the little people in your lives today.

3.  I'm still whittling the to do list down. Always a good thing.

4.  Daffodils! A nice lady named Donna decided to share some of hers with me. They make the pile on my desk much nicer.


5. Something new: My friend, Michele Morin, from Living our Days mentioned praying the Examen each night.  I found the website and thought it was so cool. Guided prayer to help you reflect on your day, it still requires you to put your prayer in your own words. You can save them or even print them out. You might want to give it a try.

I'm working on a message for my March Wednesday night lesson.  The theme is "For Such a Time as This," which of course talks about Esther, but also some others will be discussed. God has a plan for each of us and you are uniquely positioned to be right where you are at this point in your Journey. More about this later ...

And so ends another week on the Journey. How did YOUR week go? I'd love to know. Leave a comment and share, or consider linking up at Susanne's space, Living to Tell the Story. It's a great community!




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Morning Page 02.22.17

One of my spiritual disciplines is taking time to write out a few scriptures each day. Something about writing them down helps me to learn. It also gives me time as I'm dotting my i's and crossing my t's to think about what the scripture says.

Often I find a nugget!

I refer to a revelation about a scripture as a nugget because it is like gold to me - rare and precious.




So, the other day, I was writing out Hosea 14:1-2

Hosea 14:1-2New King James Version (NKJV)

O Israel, return to the Lord your God,
For you have stumbled because of your iniquity;
Take words with you,
And return to the Lord.
Say to Him,
“Take away all iniquity;
Receive us graciously,
For we will offer the sacrifices of our lips.

Offering the sacrifices of our lips stood out to me. Praising on a consistent basis, regardless of our circumstances or situation, praising is the same thing as offering a sacrifice. So simple and do-able and yet such a neglected practice!

As I often do, I looked up the same verse in other versions:


Hosea 14:1-2Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

O Israel, return to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled and fallen, [visited by calamity] due to your iniquity.Take with you words and return to the Lord. Say to Him, Take away all our iniquity; accept what is good and receive us graciously; so will we render [our thanks] as bullocks [to be sacrificed] and pay the confession of our lips.


Hosea 14:1-2Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Israel, return to Yahweh your God,
for you have stumbled in your sin.
Take words of repentance with you
and return to the Lord.
Say to Him: “Forgive all our sin
and accept what is good,
so that we may repay You with praise from our lips.

That last translation really grabbed my attention ... "We may repay You with praise from our lips." Repay?

No, we certainly can't earn favor from the Lord. Nothing we do is acceptable. If we could earn righteousness (right-standing) with God, why ... there'd been no reason for Jesus to lay down His life for us!

However, in gratitude, we can dedicate our lives to Him. And we can begin, daily, hourly, minute by minute to repay Him by reminding ourselves of His glorious love, power, compassion and holiness.

He is everything!


~~~

And that is what is on my mind this morning. What is on YOURS? I'd love to know! Leave a comment and share.


This post will be shared at the community at Jennifer Dukes Lee's #TellHisStory, and also Becoming Press' Writer Wednesday linkup.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Weekly Wrap-Up and a FFF

It's not Friday, but Saturday is a good day to reflect on the highlights of the week. In fact, any day is a good day to dwell on the the good things in one's life!


1.  This week began to slow down a tad ... giving me time to actually get to the BOTTOM of my to-do list. Happy smiles.


2. Of course, this was the week of love (but shouldn't every week be a week of love?) and my honey sent me this beautiful bouquet:





3. I finally decided to spend my birthday money and bought an Amazon Fire Tablet that was $10 off. I then applied my swagbucks to the deal and ended up only paying $20 plus tax. (I'm a Prime member) Sweet!

4. I'm going to a gender reveal party on Saturday to find out the sex of our newest grandbaby! So excited.

5. Quote of the week:

It takes time to find to stillness we often need to really hear. It takes time to catch our breath, slow our stampeding heart rate and thoughts, and relax into the silence, into the stillness. Then we can listen. And hear. And obey.Speak, Lord, for Your servant is listening.
... from the Internet Cafe post, The Samuel Trait


And that's a wrap for this week on the Journey. How did YOUR week go? I'd love to hear all about it. Leave a comment, or consider linking your own post to Susanne's Living to Tell the Story

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rescued!

Again, this morning, I woke up with agonizing feelings of failure, of being not enough. I felt as if I were the most selfish person ever, jealous of my time, and wanting to do only what I want to do.
Let’s be honest – that last item is a life-time struggle for me.

I flipped and flopped awhile on the bed and finally fell back to sleep to this disturbing dream:



A man was in a boat. Behind and on either side of him was open sea but the wind was carrying the boat to the only thing visible on the horizon – a reef that stood as a barrier to land behind it. There was a narrow opening, and a guard house positioned right next to the opening.
As if by its own will, the boat headed right for the guard house. When the hull of the boat scraped the dock by the guard house, the door slung open and there stood one of the meanest, crustiest looking men ever. Standing taller than anyone the man in the boat had ever seen, he snarled and spit out the words, “What are you doin’ here?”
Fear choked the man in the boat so strongly he could not say a word.
Chuckling the guard said, “Oh, another one of you. Thinkin’ you can make it to land. Well, you’re not going to.”
“No one gets by me.”
The guard pulled out his sword and examined it. The light shown on the steel and glinted.
Seriously afraid now, the man in the boat looked around wildly for some way of escape. He reached out to grab the oars and a whip popped and snaked through the air and landed wrapped around his wrist.
Howling with pain, the man was now able to speak, “Why are you doing this, what have I done to you?”
The man laughed. “I hate all humans. It’s as simple as that. But what I love more than anything is seeing them helpless with fear. I have power in this realm and I use it.”
Calmly, the guard walked over to a chest sitting on the dock and took out tools. The man noticed a saw among them.
The guard dropped the tools into the boat and climbed in.
“We are going to take a little ride and when I get through with you, you will wish you’d never been born. You think you are something? Well, I know everything you ever did wrong. You are filthy and vile and have no right to live. You belong in Hades.”
The man shook so hard he could no longer even sit and slumped into a fetal position in the bottom of the boat. Fear greater than he had ever imagined came over him and his last coherent thought before blackness enveloped him was “Jesus, please help me. I’m a goner.”
The boat gently rocked as tiny waves hit the boat. Light began to ping against his eyelids and he slowly opened them to see sunbeams dancing on the ripples of water. He jerked awake and stared wide-eyed at the sight before him.
The guard stood on the side of the boat poised as if he would jump overboard. But now the guard looked different. Gone was the menacing sneer on the stubbly face. His head drooped staring in horror at his legs and feet for now there was no flesh on those appendages. No muscle or sinew just the skeletal remains of his frame.
What in the world?
The man suddenly realized he was sitting up being supported by a man holding him tightly around the shoulders. A man wearing white with kind eyes.
The man in white said, “It’s going to be okay. Trust me.”
Then looking at the guard, he said,
“…I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades…”
As he spoke those words, more flesh fell from the guard’s body, and teetering crazily on the edge of the boat he fell in the water screaming “Noooooo…..”.
In the silence afterward, the man looked wonderingly into the face of the man in white.
“Jesus, what happened?”
Jesus spoke sadly, “He received what he was going to do to you. His plan was to saw the flesh away from your body. Instead he lost his own flesh.”
Tears filled the eyes of the man in the boat. “But the guard was right, I am filthy and vile. I don’t deserve anything good.”
Jesus tenderly spoke “Those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. You are mine now. Go and sin no more, today you are a new man.”

*See Revelation1:17-19 ESV, Romans 10:13, John 8:11 and Ephesians 4:22-24. This post adapted from a dream I had in real life where I was the man in the boat.

I also have to share that in my dream, the man in white looked like Adam Levine!
Seriously, though, I feel like God sent me that dream to say yes, He knows all my shortcomings but because I’m His, He still loves me and will fight the devil for me.
He knows my heart is for Him. I’m believing He is going to help me with my self-centeredness.


~~~

I'm sharing at Jennifer's #TellHisStory, Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Crystal Twaddell's #FreshMarketFriday communities.



Friday, February 10, 2017

The Morning Page, 02.10.17

Things have been quiet here on the blog lately, but that does not mean things have been quiet on my journey.

Oh no!

Much has been happening, and I hope to share soon. 

Today, I thought I'd share a little nugget I mined out of some scripture a few days ago.

Our church has a nice little tradition:  at the close of our Sunday evening service, we each draw a little slip of paper that has one of the names of each person attending. The name we choose is the name we pray for all week long. (Our head usher prepares these slips.)


Sometimes, we know what to pray for our name drawn that week. Perhaps they've mentioned a need during prayer request time, or shared something in class or while visiting. It's easy to pray for their need.

Sometimes, we don't know the best thing to pray for our person. Sure, we could pray that God makes our person happy, healthy, wealthy and wise and call it a day. Somehow, I think God wants us to pray in a more discerning way.

Mulling it over, I remembered in my study of 1st Peter seeing a prayer for our brothers and sisters to grow in grace and peace. 


" ... May grace and peace be multiplied to you..." (1 Peter 1:2b ESV)


Following a rabbit trail, I did some research and discovered Paul, too, prayed grace and peace on the Romans, Corinthians, Colossians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Thessalonians; BUT he prayed grace, peace and MERCY on Timothy and Titus!

Why mercy for those two? Why, because they were in ministry! You need mercy when church people are your life's work. *smile

So,  I ended up praying grace, peace and mercy for my person. Because we all need mercy. In fact, I wished I could whisper into the ear of whoever is praying for me to ask God to plop a double portion of all three on me.

It occurred to me with the law of sowing and reaping, I could pray that for my person and I'd reap all those same things.

I wondered, was I praying as passionately for my person as the person who drew my name was praying for me?

And that's what was on my mind this morning. What is on YOUR mind? I'd love to know. Leave a comment and do tell!

~~~

I'm sharing this post with the wonderful blogging communities at Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Crystal Twaddell's #FreshMarketFriday. These are two of my favorite places!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

January Wrap-Up

Along with my belief that special people are born in January, it's also my belief it is one of the fastest moving months on the calendar. The days just fly by!

Maybe that is just how it is in my world ...

I started January focusing on my OneWord365 for 2017:







It's a journey of learning to do less. I've been wondering what I could give up in order to do less; I've already given up dusting, what else can I give up to free up my time?  Just kidding ... sort of ...

Seriously, what I've felt so far in this journey is to give up the mental clutter, as in the voices in my head chattering:

"I didn't get my to-do list done today ... What have I been doing with my life?"
"So? Don't be so hard on yourself, there is always tomorrow ... Let it go ..."

In other words, adjust my attitude on perfectionism and rigid standards. Less beating myself up ... more peace.

As long as I'm inching along and making progress, it's all copacetic. (I love using that word for "completely satisfactory.")  The race is not always one by the swift, you know. That pesky tortoise who won't give up is often the one crossing the finish line.

I keep a monthly journal of quotes, links and pictures that mean something to me. I thought of just pasting it into a post because it tells the story of what my brain has focused on last month. It would probably be a bit scary for you ...

Here's a sampling:

God continues to teach me that life is best lived at His pace
... Micah Maddox

When we open our hands and give food we are actually giving a piece of ourselves and Christ away.  That is a gift.  That is love on the move.
...Graceglimmers

The way to make time hospitable is to become a hospital for time. You cannot extend compassion toward others if you neglect to extend compassion to yourself first.... Shelly Miller


I saw this on Facebook: 

"Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones because regret is stronger than gratitude."  ... Anne Frank

Ouch! So true, though .... my regrets seem to be some of my strongest emotions.

But then ... just a few days later, you can find this in my quote journal:

Do you ever dwell on past mistakes? In Isaiah 43:18 we’re reminded to not ponder on past things, “Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past.”God is reminding us to not spend a great deal of time looking back at past failures. Today is a new day! Rejoice in it!... Cindy Spivey, Grace and Beauty
It's all about balance. Take care of those regrets so you can press on.

My January Read:

This month, I only had time to focus on one book, but what a book!  The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz filled my reading time with much to ponder.  I've already mentioned her book often this month, and even referenced her book in my teaching at church.


Here is an excerpt from my notes I thought worth sharing:



Anne Graham Lotz shared how important confession of personal sin is in order to see results in our prayer lives.

She told of reading a pamphlet by Charles Finney, “Preparing the Heart for Revival.” He wrote that to experience revival, we must examine ourselves.  She then presented a list gleaned from his pamphlet of areas we might consider. You need to read the book for yourselves but just to give you an idea of items to consider:



  • Do I read the Word so halfheartedly that later I cannot tell you what I have read?
  • Am I more concerned with dressing up for church than preparing my heart for worship?
  • Do I hinder other by putting impossible expectations on them?

It takes courage to review this list and acknowledge our shortcomings, but when you are desperate to hear from God, you will do it.

I'm excited because one of my students shared that this message convicted him of a white lie he told six months ago and he had to go make it right.

January Blogging

January has not went as well for my blog as I had hoped. We've been having hostessing issues for The Loft so we are hoping for a grand reopening in February.


My most viewed post in January was my Letter to Younger Me which contained encouragement to believe God loves each one of us lavishly.

Second place went to the post, All I Need, which reminded us, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need."

Looking Ahead

I'm looking forward to what February has to offer. The hubs and I will celebrate 41 years of marriage. Our youngest will be having an ultrasound and we will find out the gender of our third grandchild. The to-do list is getting shorter and white space will be growing.  I'm hoping to get the camera out in February. (I realized I took no pictures in January!)

Whatever happens, you can be sure I will be sharing it here on the Journey!

How did your January go?

~~~

I'm sharing this post with the communities at Arabah Joy's Grace & Truth and Crystal Twaddell's #FreshMarketFriday. You can always find awesome posts in these communities!


Friday, January 27, 2017

Happy Friday!

Hello, all you wonderful readers in cyber-space! I'm thankful you decided to stop by the Journey.




Every Friday, I get a chance to stop and reflect on the wonderful blessings God has brought in my life. I might not always have the time to post about them but I try to give thanks whenever possible. God is so very good to me!

This week brought some blessings my way:

1. I turned another year older and I can still say God is good all the time! Life is abundant and rewarding - filled with challenges - but still worthwhile.

2. Nothing sweeter than hearing your grand twins try to wish you happy birthday.  Baylee said "Hoppy birthday, Mimi," quite a few times while Brody just said "Happy, Happy, Happy." Anytime I see their adorable faces, I'm happy.

3. This week was my turn to bring the midweek bible study and I felt privileged to share what God had laid on my heart:  What to Do When You Don't Know What to Do:


  • Get your eyes on Jesus
  • Get your peace
  • Get your praise on
  • Get your armor on
  • Get your marching orders
  • Get into position and wait


At a later date, I will share and give you back-up for each of my points. I love it when I can encourage others with what God has given me.

4. The sun came out... I was beginning to wonder when I'd next see that blazing yellow orb.

5.  Quote of the week:  This spoke to me on so many levels ...


"What is your attitude? Especially when you're in "captivity" - bound in some way that restricts what you want to do or where you want to go or who you want to be or what you want to have. When God has allowed you to be in some sort of exile - cut off from friends, family, that which is familiar; when He has denied you personal wealth, health, prosperity, happiness - are you thankful to Him?"The Daniel Prayer by Anne Graham Lotz, pg. 41


And so ends another week on the Journey, dear ones. How did your week go? Leave a comment and share, or else consider linking up at Susanne's Living to Tell the Story. You'll be glad you did!