Blessed blog devotional New Day 2013 3

Blessed…

Blessed is the one
    who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
    or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
    and who meditates on his law day and night.
 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.   Psalm 1:1-3 NIV

BLESSED STREAM 2015 DEVOTIONAL

give up to God blessed devotional 2015

Give It Up!

Give up self-sufficiency

Give in to Christ and be set free

God knows our faults, yet loves us still

Our hurts and pains are His to heal

 

Give up your sorrows, give up your fears

Look back no more on your lost years

Give up dwelling on past mistakes

Enjoy life! Give yourself a break!

 

Look up to God, enjoy His wealth

Give up the focus on yourself.

Christ paid the price that we may live

Eternal life is God’s to give

 

Our spirits ache and yearn for God

Accept His gift, it’s not that hard

Don’t die a death brought on by stress

You’ve tried all else; Trust God, Be Blessed!

 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV

DSC_8829 (2)

Stress Test!

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 NIV

The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts Proverbs 17:1 NKJV

Harsh winds blew this butterfly sideways. Yet, it hung on.

And we should too.

We all have some preconceived notion about how much stress we think we can bear. Most of us are reluctant to endure anything beyond what is absolutely necessary.

However, God knows our greatest potential. In order to unlock the best within us, we must often endure some trials that will inevitably strengthen and prepare us for what lies ahead.

What you may perceive as a loss—divorce, bankruptcy, unemployment or failed relationships may actually prepare you for a brighter future. The ability to withstand the stress of life’s disappointments is the same discipline required to enjoy life’s blessings without becoming consumed by them.

A prospering business or active family is very much a blessing. But each comes with its own share of challenges and responsibilities. The ability to bend without breaking or walk through fire comes with maturity and experience gained not in the good times but in the bad.

A nail is hammered into place to keep things together.  The hammering makes the nail effective and allows it to serve its purpose.

As much as it hurts, our hammering shapes us as well.

It can build us up from the inside out or we can allow it to beat us down.

yellow btlfy 9 2014  Character, endurance, and faith are tested and strengthened when we learn how to withstand trials, not avoid them.

Through Christ we can endure whatever we are forced to face and come out stronger than we ever dared imagine.

God’s grace is sufficient.

Endure the stress, and pass your tests!

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 NIV

 

welcome spring 2015 blessed devotional

Welcome Spring!

It is now officially Spring! Flowers have gradually begun to bloom, birds are singing with a renewed fervor and all manner of critters in my corner of the world are rejoicing.

The activity of the three Bs (birds, bees and butterflies) finally caught up with the calendar. This week I was fortunate to enjoy their presence and their signal of a new season.

Yet, unlike the seasons on the calendar, our personal seasons are unpredictable. They can arrive at any time.

A harsh winter often catches us unaware. It may arrive in the midst of the seasonal sun. Or, we may reap a bountiful harvest when there are few signs of life and the frozen sky still stands gray.

b blessed devotional first bee 2015 I’ve decided to mentally “spring forward” even though my plans (ha ha!) have yet to catch up with me. I’ve been waiting for a few changes all the while I suppose God is waiting for me to mature enough to handle them. Our seasons of bounty and new fruit eventually follow the long seasons of preparation and patience.

While we may think we’re ready for (fill in your personal blank) God may be waiting for us to get a little stronger, possibly a bit wiser or even gain experience so we can conquer the challenges that inevitably accompany our blessings.

And there will be challenges.

We often pray for a new this or that, yet rarely do we expect or prepare for the burden that comes with the blessing.

When God answers our prayers we often receive more than we asked for. It isn’t always a “good thing” but it may be necessary.

With that promotion may come huge responsibilities.

New house!? New mortgage.

Sometimes our answered prayers may even come with unanswered questions!

Often that little bit of “extra” keeps us grounded and humble.

It may very well be that our something “extra” allows us to keep our spiritual eyes on our Savior instead of recklessly worshiping the very “thing” God blessed us with!

So, as I wait (patiently) for a few positive changes, I am thankful for what I do have and look forward with faith that my spring will come. It may not follow the dictates of a calendar but I’ve learned God’s timing is always perfect.

I trust that when my personal spring does arrive, I am mature and wise enough to manage my harvest as God would have me to.

welcome spring 2015 robin blessed devotional  In the meantime, I will enjoy the blessings associated with this time of year. I will think forward and spring forward embracing even more of the sun’s Son’s warmth while I wait.

Will you?

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven”  Ecclesiastes 3:1 NKJV

pink buds 2015 what do you see blsd

Don’t Lose Sight!

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8 NKJV

Today I caught sight of two very large birds in the sky. I am pretty sure they were vultures but I watched them anyway. I was trying to decide just where they were going or what possible carcass had drawn them near.

All the while I was watching them I saw waaaayy up in the sky a hawk flying far higher than those two. I almost missed it. The hawk had a white underbelly that nearly blended into the overcast sky.

pink bud 2 blsd what do you see   At that point I felt a gentle “nudge” from God. My message for today was “don’t lose sight.”   

I am very aware that I am easily distracted and pulled away from goals and priorities that are important to me. As we are soon to close out this first quarter of the year I was reflecting on what goals I’d met and those I need to give more attention.

I’m doing well on a few. But others have managed to slide by the wayside.

My “distractions” aren’t trivial. They are the same life issues that most people deal with.

Job. Family. Even self-doubt.

I’ve noticed that when we set our mind to carry out something productive or walk the path God sets before us there is always that “lion” waiting in the bush seeking to “steal, kill and destroy.”

Sometimes we can become so fixated on our personal “vultures and lions” that we forget to look up to God instead of concentrating on the chaos around us.

We can often become so distracted we forget what we are trying to accomplish in the first place!

And that is exactly what the enemy wants.   

Some distractions are so loud that we fail to hear God.

Others are blinding and we fail to see God.

I challenge you (and myself) to reexamine your goals and “resolutions” for 2015 and with a renewed spirit, go after them!         

Instead of worrying about what the vultures are doing I will look higher and seek God’s guidance for my next steps. I don’t believe God’s best for us is preoccupation with things that reek or are dead.

We do best when we set our minds on higher things, that we may fulfill our purpose and enjoy the blessings God would give us.

pink bud 3 blds 2015   God can renew us just as He brings the trees through winter into a fruitful spring.

Delay is not failure. We only fail when we give up.     

I trust God’s grace is sufficient for me to meet and even exceed my goals.         

What about you?  

Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:18-20 NKJV

blcknwhitepanzy 2015 photo challenge

Forever…

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever. 

 Isaiah 40:8  NKJV

bnwrose photo chall 4

 

I want to thank Lee at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus for inviting me to participate in the Five for Five Black and White Photo Challenge.

Sherri Matthews at A View from My Summerhouse did accept my nomination! Her photos will post next month.