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Looking around my apartment this morning all I can see is blessing. Furniture and other items inherited, gifted to me, and items I purchased with money I received from a job I like going to every day.
And I am grateful.
Saw this little bird at the bus stop this morning, and my first thought was gratitude. God is my provision. Not my paycheck. Not my intelligence or talent. God Himself.
“Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds!” Luke 12:24
Point to ponder while you wander…Nature is created. It isn’t to be worshipped. But should invite you to worship The Creator. Like today with that little bird at the bus stop.
I appreciate this passage because it involves real communication between Abram and God. It showed him asking God real questions about his doubts and concerns. And God’s responses to Abram.
“Some time later, the Lord spoke to Abram in a vision and said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Abram, for I will protect you, and your reward will be great.’” Genesis 15:1 NLT
What happened in the sometime previous to this later? Well Abram went to war to rescue his nephew Lot. In doing so he reclaimed all the spoils those kings took from Sodom and Gomorrah. The first thing he did was to honor God by giving a 10th to Melchizedek. Then the king of Sodom asked Abram for his people back and told him to keep all the plunder for himself. But Abram was like…no way! Then you’ll get credit for making me rich instead of God. So he took nothing of the 90% of the remaining plunder. He asked to keep what his warriors had already eaten, and that his allies received a fair share, but gave the rest back.
Wow! That’s legit trust in God.
God’s response to Abram was to tell him that fear is a liar, and that his reward for his faith would be great.
You’d think that Abram would be celebrating that promise. But no. Abram had a father’s heart and mindset. What is the point of blessing and protection if it ends with me? If there’s no legacy, then Abram only needed enough for him and Sarai. Or he could even die right then.
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign Lord, what good are all your blessings when I don’t even have a son? Since you’ve given me no children, Eliezer of Damascus, a servant in my household, will inherit all my wealth. You have given me no descendants of my own, so one of my servants will be my heir.” Genesis 15:2-3 NLT
This wasn’t a woe is me attitude.
This wasn’t ungratefulness.
It was a father’s heart. A leadership mentality. He understood that he needed to pass on what he knew about God and set up the next generation to go further than he could.
Abram shared his heart with God, and God responded.
“Then the Lord said to him, “No, your servant will not be your heir, for you will have a son of your own who will be your heir.” Then the Lord took Abram outside and said to him, “Look up into the sky and count the stars if you can. That’s how many descendants you will have!” Genesis 15:4-5 NLT
That is a huge promise. Mind blowing.
“And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith.” Genesis 15:6 NLT
The thing that stands out to me, besides the importance of open communication with God, is that Abram had no Bible to read or way verify God’s track record on promises. He simply believed God.
I have the Word. I know His track record of faithfulness and promise keeping. I want to simply believe like Abram did.
I have promises from God that blow my mind and terrify me to my very core. I want these promises to be fulfilled because they are the dreams and desires of my heart. And the thought of a life that doesn’t include those promises sounds absolutely boring and drab.
But for those promises to come to pass I have to do my part. Trust God. And comply with the small steps of faith He has asked of me. Trust and obey. Simple, right?
Should be but not for me lately. Fear has been attacking me worse than ever. I feel paralyzed and apatheic.
You know I hate fear (if you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time). Fear is a punk and a bully and no match for God.
And yet, I find myself hiding and procrastinating. Procrastination is a symptom of fear. It is delaying until it’s too late so that you can say…”Oh I wanted to but I just don’t have time.” Or “I’m too busy.” Those are fear excuses.
I have enough time to do everything God has requested from me. I just need to choose to actually use the time to do it.
I want to comply. I want to desperately. But when I start doing it I am inundated with thoughts of how terrible my output is and fear of failure. Sometimes fear of success too. I’ve been so anxious lately that I’ve been breaking out in hives. That’s not God. God does not want that for me.
I asked for prayer yesterday from some trusted mentors and friends, and one declared this over me:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7
It’s what I am standing on today and praying over all of you. Go forth in boldness my friends in what God has asked of you. Jesus believes in you, and so do I.
Point to ponder while you wander… Before Abram received all God promised, God changed his name from Abram (exalted father) to Abraham (father of many). So for an entire year everytime someone said his name, Abraham was reminded of his promise.
Remind yourself of God’s promises every day. Remind yourself of His track record. Talk to Him about what’s on your heart. And just believe Him.
After weeks and weeks of hiding out in my room, I finally remembered I have a lovely backyard.
So I am laying on a blanket under a huge maple tree listening to worship music. The sun is shining. A breeze is blowing. So lovely.
Point to ponder while you wander…
Trees by Joyce Kilmer
I think that I shall never see
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
There’s so much packed in this little verse!!
1. Worship. Remind yourself how good and glorious and kind our Father God is.
2. He gives us good gifts. No gift is better than Holy Spirit. He enables us to thrive no matter where we are! This means…
We are powerful, even when we feel weak!
We have grace to thrive, not just so survive!
3. We have excessively generous favor, more than we need because He has more good for us than we can ask or think!
Chew in that today! More than I can ask or think? That’s huge because my imagination is pretty amazing at coming up with some crazy scenarios. Looking forward to what this more than I can ask or think looks like!
Point to ponder while you wander…all of have that power is inside of us. Enabling us. That means YOU are powerful! It means you can handle (with the help of Holy Spirit) anything that comes your way today. That’s the gift of Grace.
Mark 11. It challenges me. Calls me higher. And inspires me.
“Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:22-25 NLT
This passage has a simple message…just ask, believe, and you’ll receive.
But a life of faith isn’t lived in a plastic bubble. Life gets hard and messy ad complicated. We get all tangled up in emotion.
That is where this one small caveat comes in. Verse 25…“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Unforgiveness. A seemingly small thing that can actually taint you and imprison you in in the past, and simultaneously blocking you from receiving from God.
God takes this forgiving thing seriously. Not as a judgmental law thing, but as an I love you thing. Choosing to forgive releases you from the bondage of the past. It allows you to move forward and be healed. This forgiveness is the very thing Jesus was talking about in Mark 11 and Matthew 6.
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
Point to ponder while you wander…If you hold on to this anger and hurt it becomes unforgiveness, and that becomes bitterness! That’s why you are required to forgive others. Not as a law…but as an invitation to be free from bondage. And the added bonus…forgiveness aligns you to be able to receive from God.
Today is my birthday. Here are some thoughts…
Random Thought 1:
Number of candles doesn’t matter because me, myself, and I voted unanimously to be 25 on the outside and 7 on the inside forever. #youthrenewedliketheeagles
Random thought 2:
My name means youthful heart and my lifetime passage of scripture based on that definition is: “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from deathand crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!“- Psalm 103:1-5
Random Thought 3:
I have this scripture of the day calendar. It’s one without the year so I can use it forever. I don’t always flip it everyday, because I sometimes need to stick with one particular verse for multiple days. But I always check out my birthday verse and it is:
.”Your unfailing love, O Lord, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.“- Psalm 36:5
This was been my source of praise through the 2 year suckfest and again now in a time of deep loss and grief. I am profoundly grateful for His unfailing love and that He never leaves me when I am in need. Such a wonderful Father.
Random Thought 4: Last year was a milestone birthday…and I wasn’t upset about the age. I was amazed at the fabulous friends I was surrounded by and had a party to acknowledge & celebrate them. I loved telling these amazing women what is special about them. Most of us cried. (Now I am singing it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to… HAHA) It was my best birthday party, because I left ealing loved and oh so grateful for my amazing friends.
Point to ponder while you wander…if your birthday number is large…don’t focus on that and get all sad about how much of your life is over. Instead concentrate your celebration on the people who’ve made all those years full.
I can only do my best with what I have in my hands right now. My resources are finite and limited. But God is unlimited and the definition of infinity and beyond! He is the beginning and the end and everything in between.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Thank you Apostle Paul for that reminder in Phillipians 4:19.
Point to ponder while you wander…A Father who loves me with infinite resources and everlasting love now that is something worth rejoicing in and being grateful for!
Today I am thankful that God is a God of restoration.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 ESV
Normally I’d dissect this verse and display all the treasure found in those 4 amazical things our God of all Grace will do for us. But today I’m focusing my gratitude on restoration. Today, for me, restoration looks like this…
For those of you who don’t know the story, here is my tale of woe: About 4 years ago, my Canon Rebel jumped out of my camera bag, rolled down the stairs, and crashed spectacularly at the bottom. I took it to get it repaired, and the guy told me that the good news is the lens is undamaged. The bad news is that mechanism inside the camera that actually captures the image is broken. It would be cheaper to buy a new camera. Yeah. Worst news ever for a photographer.
To say that I was devastated doesn’t begin to cover it. I had just paid that camera off, and a photographer without a camera is like a person missing an appendage. Sound tragic? It should! It was a tragedy to me! I grieved that loss deeply.
Don’t tell me it’s just a camera. Just a possession, a thing…I know that. But many of my dreams include photography, so no camera…no dreams coming true.
Fast forward 4 years to my women’s group having a discussion about dreams. I have a lot of dreams, BIG ONES. But I felt like I needed to talk about photography, the dream I felt had been shelved. I had forgotten how much photography meant to me, until I started telling them about my passion project with God. The one that stirs my heart and moves me to tears. The one that requires a whole lot of money and other people to pull off. The one that I don’t tell people about. Then this beautiful, amazing, generous friend looks at me and says, “I have a camera for you.”
And I cried.
I am still moved by the gravity and meaning of those 6 words. The extravagant seed she sowed into my dreams. It’s at times like this that I’m also grateful God is a rewarder. I cannot wait to see what she reaps for sowing into my dreams.
Something to ponder while you wander…God is the one who restores, but He usually chooses to work through people. Are you willing to let Him work through you? Are you willing to believe in and encourage others. Are you open to investing in others with your time, talent, and finances. You may be the one to change their life.
God believes people are worth investing in, shouldn’t we?
“We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift. We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, this endless knowing and understanding— all this came through Jesus, the Messiah. No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse. This one-of-a-kind God-Expression, who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day.” John 1:16-18 MSG
Thank You, Jesus.
It is because of You we are reconnected and reconciled to The Father. You made a way. (John 14:6, 2 Corinthians 5:18 & Romans 5:11)
It is because of You we are all healed and made whole. (Luke 4:17-21, 6:19, 4:40 & 8:47, Acts 5:16, and Matthew 8:16 & 12:15)
It is because of You we are made free to choose abundant life. (John 10:10)
It is because of You that we have authority. (Luke 10:19)
It is because of You we have the peace that passes all understanding. (John 14:27)
It is because of You we know what real love looks like. (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John).
Thank You, Jesus, it is because of You that we can do all things. (Philippians 4:19)