Blessed devotional walking on sunshine 9-2015

Walking On Sunshine…

But the path of the just is like the shining sun, That shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.
Proverbs 4:18 NKJV

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
Psalm 84:11 NKJV

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!
Matthew 13:43 NKJV

 

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Flourish!

Originally posted on Godandthegarden:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the Lord
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;

They shall be fresh and flourishing, Psalm 92:12-14 NKJV

Palm trees bend. They rarely break. Palms are incredibly flexible. Their top branches nearly touch the ground during the worst of storms.

Cedar trees grow huge and strong. Their wood is highly prized and exceptionally durable. The cedar is widely praised in scripture. Both Kings David and Solomon used it to build their palaces. Cedar was used to construct the Holy Temple.

When we are plantedin God, we become strong, mighty and capable of withstanding our storms.

In God, we are fruitful.

Not just busy, but productive well past what others would consider our “prime.” Despite outward appearances, we…

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B is for blessed devotional dreamer or schemer 8-2015

Dreams or Schemes?

God creates everyone for a purpose. He blesses us with talents necessary to fulfill our destiny. God places dreams within us that align our desires with His will.

Our dreams are rooted in things we are passionate about or long to see fulfilled. Some people nourish their dreams. Others smother them when faced with obstacles that seem too large to overcome.

Dreams born of God benefit others, not just the dreamer.

Schemes are often self-serving accompanied by arrogance that fuels the schemer.

Dreams bless others.

Schemes use others.

I’ve often heard, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”

Some of our plans become so far removed from what God intended that it takes time and trials for us to get back on the right track. We often become deluded when we compare ourselves to the success of others. The grass looks greener syndrome can prompt us to abandon our dreams for ill-conceived schemes.

Schemes usually manipulate and involve some type of deception. Pertinent facts are omitted. Exaggeration and persuasion are common. Schemes require orchestration by the schemer to bring about the desired result.

Dreams come to fruition through God’s will. His perfect timing and opportunities leave no doubt of His blessing on it. Our dreams don’t come to pass without hard work on our part, yet our work is fruitful.

Schemes are void of God’s involvement. Alarms of warning fall on deaf ears.

Dreams are shadowed with peace that passes understanding, confirmation to the dreamer God orders his steps.

Dreams glorify God.

Schemes magnify man.

B is for blessed devotional dreamer or schemer 2 8-2015  Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. Psalm 37:5 NKJV

When we commit our ways to the Lord, we entrust our ways to God. We submit our actions over to God, allowing Him to guide us in the things we do.

Unfortunately, committing our ways to God may force us to do things we don’t want to do. Obedience may be painful. It may even appear that we are short-changing ourselves or working against our own best interests.

Yet, when we “trust in Him” we can obey knowing that God works out all things, even the painful ones, for our eventual good. We can trust God will allow the very best to come to pass. God’s provision enables us to realize our dreams even when the facts say “no way!”

We can trust God or trust our own limited power.

I am quite grateful that God manages my life far better than I ever could. It just took me a few years to realize it!

Dreamer or Schemer?

Which do you choose?

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits.
Commit your works to the Lord,
And your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:2-3 NKJV

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Buried or Planted?

Originally posted on Godandthegarden:

Buried or Planted?

The earth covers both.

You can remain in the ground allowing the worst of the world to bury you.

Or, beneath it all you can change and become a better you.

You can choose to hibernate or suffocate.

Allow that stormy weather to nurture you.

Transformyou.

What are you waiting for?

Arise!

Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4 NKJV

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imperfect 3 devotional b is for blessed 7-2015

Imperfect!

The faded hydrangea is no longer the dewy sweet pink of weeks ago. It is drier, faded and splotchy. When faded and speckled they have a different kind of beauty all their own.

Imperfect devotional b is for blessed 7-2015  Our society would have us yearn for perpetual youth. However, like the faded hydrangea, I’m still hanging on!

How many times do we casually toss things aside or fail to appreciate things and people after the “newness” has worn off. Everyday routines and obligations can make us take for granted those dearest to us after their “shine” has long worn away.

How is it even blessings we ask God for and receive, we can so easily become bored with, dissatisfied or make last on our list of our priorities as we search for the next new “thrill?”

Relationships are never perfect as they are composed of imperfect people, but often our flawed (not destructive) relationships are more satisfying than having none at all.

Too many times we stare at the flaws instead of being in awe of the perfect people for us that God has gifted into our lives.

I dare you to look at those old and familiar things in your life with a fresh perspective.

imperfect 2 devotional b is for blessed 7-2015  Even though we may not be what we once were, we still have the potential for beauty in new and different ways.

The hydrangea pictured above reminds me that my flaws are part of who I am.

I don’t always have to war against them. I can learn to accept them, as God has accepted me.

God used many imperfect heroes in the Bible to execute His will. Most of the “major players” in the most familiar chapters had “major issues.” Jesus would go on to keep company with and use some the very “flawed” individuals of their day to preach the Kingdom of God.

The harlot.

Tax collectors.

Religious hypocrites.

As Jesus used them, God can still use us.

Flaws and all…

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,  I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV

DEADLY B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONAL 3 7-15

Deadly!

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
And He saved them out of their distresses.
He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their chains in pieces.
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  
Psalm 107:13-15 NKJV

Small, seemingly insignificant things can be deadly.

I was reminded of this a few days ago. My oldest son was rushed via ambulance to the hospital because of a wasp’s sting. We now know he shares the same allergy issues as my husband.

Ironically, my husband was stung many times throughout his life before that last sting nearly killed him some years ago.

Other “small things” are also deadly. Literally and figuratively.

Like that wasp, some things are no less deadly even when we fail to acknowledge their killing potential.

DEADLY b is for blessed devotional 2 7-15  Some of our habits may seem harmless, but when they keep us from becoming our best, we are the ones who are ultimately stung.

It is often little things that keep us from our greatest potential.

Procrastination. Inconsistency. Negativity.

A poor attitude. Lack of gratitude.

Some would argue that small things don’t make that big a difference. Besides, God forgives us of our sins.

And, yes, He does.

However, forgiveness of sins is not the same as God’s blessings and favor finding you when you choose to make better choices!  

Are you always with people involved in criminal questionable behaviors? Guilt by association may close the very doors you are working to open.

Or, are you justifying white lies to ease your mind? If you want to be blessed with greater responsibility it will require greater accountability.

Don’t allow little things or habits to become deadly. You will find a multitude of people and things eager to pull you away from what God has purposed you to do.

Instead, stay the course! Eliminate those things and habits that would kill what God is wanting to birth in you!

Small changes can produce radical results.

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A few minutes of prayer. A few moments alone.

Faithfulness.

A proper perspective.

Even the tiniest of steps will help you reach your goals if you take enough of them.

Don’t allow small things to kill off the best in you!

You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.  Psalm 16:11 NKJV

LOSS 2 B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONAL 7-15

Loss…

“Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted” Matthew 5:4 NKJV

This week I lost something very dear to me very unexpectedly. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve handled it well. I realized that today when I showed up for an appointment that isn’t for another two weeks!

We all lose things in life. Some major, some minor.

Some losses signify a chapter is closing. When we move beyond our grief we can see the beginnings of another.

Others losses are harder still and hurt to our very core.

LOSS B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONA 7-15 We rarely appreciate our blessings in their entirety. We take people and things for granted. We often don’t appreciate our “headaches” until they are snatched away. We often look elsewhere for the very blessings we have right at hand but are too blind to see.

Some losses make us reevaluate ourselves. Others are a wake up call to get back on track. Some losses we bring upon ourselves. Others hit hard without warning or fault of our own.

Living “blessed” is learning how to weather the bad as well as appreciate the good. Ideally, our losses would make us grateful for what we have instead of fixating on what is gone. I don’t know many people who always do that, myself included.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 NIV

We all grieve differently.

Some things insignificant to us are a matter of life and death to someone else. Simply listening to someone for a moment or two can mean the world to someone in pain.

Now I’m sure some of you who have read thus far are wondering just what did I lose?

I lost Lucky.

photo_1 (6)  Lucky was a stray cat who arrived at my back door over a decade ago. His arrival prompted my four-year old to begin talking. For a child diagnosed with autism, this was a very big deal! We never imagined a stray cat would become the answer to our prayers.

Sometimes our blessings come in the least likely packages. My husband and I were never cat people. But this black tuxedo cat won us over. He must have really been Heaven sent as we had two unruly dogs at the time. However, it wasn’t long before Lucky would rule our roost, dogs and all, until his death a few short days ago.

I have no doubt God has a sense of humor. He does use the foolish to confound those of us who would think ourselves wise. I’m grateful I grudgingly accepted this gift even as I dreaded something else to feed and clean.

In the end, we were the “lucky ones.” Lucky chose us and gave far more than we would ever imagine.

Sadly, God’s blessings don’t always last forever. Just as seasons change, so can our circumstances.

When we find ourselves at cross roads or lost because of our losses, we would do well to realize there is more to be grateful for than to mourn. There is always hope for the peace and joy only God can provide when we allow Him to fill our voids. 

If you are grieving a loss, no matter how large or small, you don’t have to do so alone. Our God is waiting to comfort you with open arms.  

LOSS 3 b is for blessed devotiona 7-15  To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born,
And a time to die;
A time to plant,
And a time to pluck 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;  Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NKJV

**Rest in Peace, “Lucky” Raphael. You loved us well!