Clearly Blessed, Fully Loved

Not long ago, a friend of mine blessed me with this cute little bag. At the time, I had no idea how I could put it to use, it was too big to put in a purse, I already had a bag for makeup, and so it sat for a few weeks as I contemplated what I could use it for. I’ve seen some women use these bags as mini-purses, not really my thing. Other times I’ve seen them used to hold stuff in purses or bags, but I already a similar smaller bag for my loose items in my purse. So it sat on the bottom shelf of my buffet table staring back at me each night as I painted or worked on devotionals.

One night while painting, I noticed the bag again beckoning to me to put it to use. It hit me that I could use it for my paints. I had several tubes of paints that needed a place to be stored in and so I put it use. In the beginning there were only about four or five tubes that sat at the bottom of the bag. I had other tubes of paints that were in their original store bought package that I had to open and pull out of the box every time I wanted to use them. So I tossed those in the bag as well and threw away the package. Then I added even more tubes of individual paints as I purchased them and before long my bag was full.

As I sat down to work on today’s post, I was at a loss as to what the Lord wanted me to share. I had started to work on one of my drafts and it just didn’t seem to want to come together. I had taken a deep breathe, prayed, took a sip of water, and as I glanced up from the computer I noticed out of the corner of my eye this little bag beckoning to me, grabbing my attention once more.

CLEARLY BLESSED, FULLY LOVED

I thought about how this simple little statement held a big message behind it. The clear bag while it starts out empty, begins to fill up with whatever we may put into it. We can actually watch as it begins to fill with stuff. As sinners, our bag is empty of the presence of God. When we become Christians, our bag begins to fill will the love of God as He pours into our lives what we allow Him to do. We become transparent as we grow in Him and others begin to see Christ in us. As our bag continues to fill up, we begin to see how blessed and loved we are. As it overflows, the love of God is poured out spilling into the lives of those around us.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Matthew 5:6

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

This is My commandment, that you one another as I have loved you.

John 15:12

Remember you are blessed, you are loved, and God has more for you as He fills you to overflowing. For His glory. His purpose. Are you ready? If you have read this to end, know that you have been prayed over. God bless!

Hidden Beauty~God Sees Our Inner Beauty

Not long ago my sister sent me some photos of flowers in her garden for me to paint. When I first saw this flower I was struck by the vibrant color and unique shape. Usually a flower’s beauty is seen immediately and not hidden.

Sometimes the uniqueness captures our curiosity causing us to pause and check it out. Isn’t it amazing how God will create something with a unique shape, a vibrant color, or both to capture our attention? When I see a flower like the first one above, that’s unique and different, I want to flip it upright to see underneath it. As I studied this hidden gem, I thought about how God sees our inner beauty. But what do we see? Do we see the outside of a person, their cloak that hides their true beauty? Or like God, do we see the inner beauty of a person? I’d like to say I always see the inner beauty of people but unfortunately that isn’t always the case.

Usually when I meet people, I’m friendly, non-judgmental, and accept them as they are. However, there have been times I’m sad to say when I’ve seen someone and judged them based on appearance. When I’ve had to ask for forgiveness because of my attitude. I think it’s called being jaded. When you’ve seen the uglier side of life, it can happen. You base your opinion on past experiences instead of the present. It can happen to anyone not just people who’ve seen the uglier side of life. Regardless, it’s inexcusable considering that we as God’s children aren’t supposed to be that way. Not anymore. Not when we are a new creature. When we’ve put away the old and put on the new. We are to have wisdom and discernment and sometimes, we’ll feel that nudge from the Lord cautioning us to be careful, that’s when we need to listen. But when we look at someone based on appearance, that isn’t of the Lord and that’s when we need to repent of our judging attitude. Jesus tells us

Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Luke 6:37

He also said,

Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.

John 7:24

But unfortunately it happens. If we only see with our eyes, and not listen with our ears, we’ll miss out on the true inner beauty of the person God created them to be. When we do we are the one to miss out on a hidden gem. God bless!

Joyful Friday ~Practice, Patience, Practice

Last year, I started painting again. Only this time I’m working with watercolor as opposed to oils. It started with sketches and drawings and then one day I noticed a watercolor painting and thought I’d give it a shot. After all it couldn’t be that hard right? Not as easy as I first thought. I started sketching what I wanted to paint to help me get a better feel for the painting. I tend to be harder on myself than I should be. (Some days I think I prefer my drawings over the paintings but that’s because I need to practice.) I’ll draw or paint something and I’ll ask my husband what he thinks of it. He can tell me it looks good and I’ll say something critical about it. He’s always reminding me not to be so hard on myself. He has encouraged me to take art lessons but I’ve declined ~ call me chicken~ no, truth is I’ve found some people on ~ yep, YouTube ~ that I follow and I have learned quite a bit. I find myself noticing things more often and I’ll say “God, teach me how to paint that”. I mean, He is after all the Master and His masterpieces are breathtakingly amazing. Take you for instance, you are His masterpiece and you were uniquely designed by Him for Him.

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:13,14

One thing that is a given, practice. You have to practice if you want to improve. Patience. That’s something else you have to remember. Patience. It takes time to develop your talent. It takes time to improve your skills. I’ve had this particular post sitting on the shelf since mid March. At first I put it down to blogger’s block. Then recently while reading a devotional from Intouch Ministries, I had one of those “aha” moments.

Just as it takes practice and patience to learn a craft, if we really want to discover who God is through His Word, it takes practice and patience on our part. There are three things we need to do. Meditate. As we meditate on His word, we learn about who He is. Study. Studying His word gives us a better understanding of our Lord. Pray. Through meditation and study, our prayers are our response to what we learn about God. As we learn more about God our prayers will overflow into praise, gratitude, and petitions that align with His will. (Intouch Ministries paraphrased)

I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways. I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your Word.

Psalm 119:15,16
Practice and late nights. 🙂

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.

2 Peter 3:18

God bless!

Happy Friday ~The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

Happy Friday! How did your week go? Hopefully it was a wonderful and blessed week. I suppose depending on your view of what a wonderful and blessed week should look like, some might be thinking, Are you for real? Try having one of my days…. to which I would probably say, No thank you. However, take a step back and review.

Take my week. Monday started out with a bang. Things came up that put me behind schedule. Tuesday was catch up day, and by Wednesday things were shall I say “Can I go home and start over?” kind of day. A letter that I had sent to someone to proof for me and send back would not come back properly. It was the craziest thing. For whatever reason, her computer wouldn’t let her save it in the same format so, she had to send it back to me differently and I would only receive the first of four pages. But to look at it in her email where she had sent it to me all four pages were there. After multiple attempts, she finally ended up having to copy and paste it in order to send it to me. Throughout the week on the way to and from work, there were the usual crazy drivers out there and some downright dangerous ones. You know the ones that cut you off so close that you’re hitting the brakes hard to keep from running into them? Then yesterday, my husband received news that his nephew’s son, had to have emergency brain surgery. Just a little tike too. All that and I can still say, my week was a blessed and wonderful week. Why?

For each “negative” that you may encounter in life there is an opportunity to pray. There are times when I don’t want to pray. Instead I rather grumble and complain about a situation that I saw as a negative (probably did and repented afterwards). Did I stop to consider the reasons behind what may have been happening at the time? Probably not. But I’m learning. I’m learning to pray (and for the most part I do) for the person or situation right then instead of getting grumpy and having to repent later. The hardest thing for me is when I’m heading to and from work. When traffic is crazy and people cut you off nearly causing an accident by squeezing in where there is no room.

Prayer has the power to change things. It can change your outlook and how you see others. How you view the world ~ when you look through the eyes of Jesus you will see others the way He does, with forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. We may not understand what a person is going through but we can have forgiveness and compassion for them. And that my friend can turn that day into a wonderful day by seeing those negatives as positives. About my husband’s nephew’s son, we had sent out an urgent prayer request through our church, and today we learned his tumor is benign and treatable. He isn’t out of the woods yet because they still need to do a biopsy to confirm. Praise God! If you don’t mind please continue to keep him and his family in prayer. Thanks!

Maybe your week had more trials than mine but as you step back and take a look through the eyes of Jesus, maybe you can see where those trials were blessings instead. As you head into the weekend be blessed, refresh, and gear up for another joy filled week! God bless!

Happy Friday ~ The Ring

With love, Mom

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you all had a wonderful week. It has been an interesting week. I want to share something that happened to me this week. Once upon a time….(Kidding! So not writing a children’s book!😄)

Years ago, my mother received the opened heart shaped ring above. Not long after my son was born, during one of our visits home to see her, she asked if I like the ring. I said yes and she gave it to me. She said “You’re a mom now, I want you to have it.” I asked if she was sure and she said yes, so I accepted it and wore it for a few years. This week I decided to wear my “mom’s jewelry” things that she had given to me throughout the years. I put on my earrings, put on my “mom” ring, and off to work I went. The ring didn’t fit on my ring finger, but it did fit on my pinky finger albeit a tad loosely. I thought I’ll be careful and it should be alright.

Walking to the mailbox at church to send off some mail, walking through the church building, sitting at my desk working. I did all theses things and managed to keep my ring on. As I sat at my desk working, I didn’t give it a thought. It was later on when I went to wash my hands that I noticed it missing. I thought, NO, not my ring from my mother! I’ve had this ring for over 23 years! I retraced my steps, I went to the mailbox, walked through the building, checked my laptop bag, checked my purse, but all to no avail. It was gone. I had lost the ring. The whole time I was praying asking the Lord to help me find the ring. I backtrack again all the while praying and talking to the Lord. I’m telling Him that it wasn’t the ring itself, but it was the sentiment, it had come from my mom. I tell Him that I know I shouldn’t be worried about material things but…it was a gift from my mom. I ask if it were possible, could I find it. Then I’m saying “I know its stupid to worry about it, it’s just a ring, but my mom gave it to me, if it is possible can I please find it. Please show me.” So I retrace my steps once more, still no ring, so I start going through my laptop bag taking stuff out one at time. No ring. I go through my purse taking everything out, and there at the bottom tucked in a corner, lay my ring.

I started crying, thanking, and praising the Lord. And I sat in awe of the magnitude of finding my ring. It wasn’t the fact that I found it. But what it meant to find it. Of how much I am loved and because He cares so much, He showed me where to find it. I thought about what that meant to me to lose a ring that had sentimental value, to find it, and in that moment, I thought about how far Jesus goes to find His lost sheep. He doesn’t quit. He doesn’t say I give up. He keeps searching until He finds them.

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?

Luke 15:4

Jesus says in Matthew…

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost.

Matthew 18:11

Have you had a similar experience where you asked the Lord to help you locate something and He has? How did it make you feel? I’d love to hear about your experience.

God bless and have a wonderful weekend.