HOME B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONAL 2015

Home!

A few days ago I enjoyed the opportunity to go home.

Not to the house in Georgia where I live with my husband and two boys but back home to my mother’s house where I grew up and lived for nearly twenty years.

Everyone should have a “safe” place to turn.

Not necessarily a physical structure, or even a destination but a corner of the world where one can retreat and just…be.

We are often called upon to be many thing in our lifetimes. A spouse. A parent. A child.

Employer. Employee.

Supervisor, facilitator, worker bee.

We are often labeled by others and even label ourselves to such a degree it is quite easily to forget who we were created to be.

I can’t always run home to mom when the urge hits me like a hammer, but my Father is always near.

Unlike people, God understands every hurt and pain. He is ever-present waiting for us to ask Him, like a small child, for direction. Why this and not that? God protects. God is patient. I don’t even have to drive for hours to find His understanding.

There is a quote “you can’t go home again.”

I beg to differ.

Yet, home will inevitably change.

What once loomed large is now quite small. What was once so small now towers over you.

Roles change.

Perspective changes.

The things you took for granted can become oh, so precious.

My daddy planted Magnolias in the yard when I was about two years old. They were very small plants when he placed them in the ground. I doubt he ever imagined how tall they would become. They are several stories tall.

He passed away years ago but when I look upon the trees, I can smile.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME B IS FOR BLESSED DEVOTIONAL 2015  Likewise, I planted ivy the year I married and moved out of my parents’ house and it is now everywhere!

I know my mother shakes her head each morning as she walks by it to get the paper. I’ve left a bit of myself (maybe too much!) there in the shadows of trees my father planted.

Just like my physical father, God “planted” things for me and even in me to grow.

Faith. Love. Hope. 

I can smile at the growth from the many “trees” God planted for me now. I didn’t always appreciate the “trials” necessary for them to mature but in hindsight I am so glad He did!

Home is any place where I can just be me.

The “me” God created me to be!

Not a person scrambling to meet the expectations of others. Or, a person failing to meet my own goals and aspirations in what I perceive to be timely manner.

Home is where I can sit and smile and hear God talk to me. Leisurely. Familiarly.

I am grateful I don’t have to travel to God.  He is always near.

What about you? Are you home yet?

The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just. Proverbs 3:33 NKJV

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In Remembrance …

As we celebrate a long Memorial Day Weekend here in the States, let us be mindful of those whose sacrifices allow us the freedoms we have today. Take time to remember those who serve, have served and especially those who gave their lives that we may enjoy the blessings we so often take for granted.

“The memory of the righteous [is] blessed,” Proverbs 10:7  NKJV

RED ROSE DEW 2015

Hopeful?

As I read this morning the word hope jumped out at me. It has haunted me lately in the words I hear and things I read.

I consider myself a rather positive person, trying to see the best in people and situations. I’ve learned to trust and realize that God often uses the worst situations to bring out the best in people.

I have had faith. But hope…I’m not so sure.

I’ve been faith filled that God will resolve my problems, predicaments or whatever I’m dealing with yet it I think I’ve managed to do so without being hopeful.

Merriam Webster defines hope as to “cherish a desire with anticipation.” Cherish is defined “to feel or show great love.”

Faith on the other hand is “belief and trust in God.”

I have believed and trusted God but I haven’t always “cherished with desire” and certainly not in a loving manner in regards to some of the changes I would like to see.”

Sadly, frustration with various circumstances can leave me far from loving.

It is easy for me to believe God can do whatever needs to be done, but today I realize I have not anticipated His deliverance with “great love.”

Desperation?

Maybe.

Love?

Not so much.

I wonder if some of the changes I’d like to see would come about if I not only believed God can change them but I acknowledged with hope that He loves me enough to change them?

I have had ample trust enough to survive varied circumstances, yet I’ve failed sometimes to be hopeful with the expectation to thrive beyond them!

What an eye opener for me this morning when Jennifer over at I Give God all the Glory  passed along Psalms 33 for me to read. In particular, Psalm 33:20-22 set off an alarm in my head.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
 

Trust and hope.   WHITE ROSE PETALS 2015

I always thought faith was enough. But now…

I love my kids. I know I am pleased when one of my boys trusts me and expects something good is going to happen. I like it when they trust me and know I’ve moved beyond whatever mistakes they made and they can anticipate a gift I wrapped for them is going to be something they have “hoped” for.

Wouldn’t our Father be just as pleased?

And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 1:13 NKJV

Abide these three.

Maybe hope is what I’ve been missing all along…

 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word. 1 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NIV

MOTHERS DAY 2015 4

Happy Mother’s Day!

Celebrate and enjoy the great women in your life!

Who can find a virtuous wife?
For her worth is far above rubies.
The heart of her husband safely trusts her;
So he will have no lack of gain.
 She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.
She seeks wool and flax,
And willingly works with her hands.
She is like the merchant ships,
She brings her food from afar.
She also rises while it is yet night,
And provides food for her household,
And a portion for her maidservants.
She considers a field and buys it;
From her profits she plants a vineyard.
She girds herself with strength,
And strengthens her arms.
She perceives that her merchandise is good,
And her lamp does not go out by night.
 She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hand holds the spindle.
She extends her hand to the poor,
Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of snow for her household,
For all her household is clothed with scarlet.
She makes tapestry for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.
She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies sashes for the merchants.
Strength and honor are her clothing;
She shall rejoice in time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.
She watches over the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and call her blessed;
Her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many daughters have done well,
But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.

mothers day 2015 5   Proverbs 31:10-31 NKJV

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Ten Things I Learned From My Mother…

Keep your eyes on your destination, not your current location

Good manners show respect for other people

The value of a good education

A great attitude can take you farther than a good education

Money can’t buy common sense

Don’t expect to receive anything you aren’t willing to work for

How to cook with love

Generosity

Prayer Works!

Unconditional love

Celebrate your mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, godmothers, teachers, community leaders and all the women who have positively impacted your life. If possible, give them flowers while they can smell them and kind words while they can hear them.

Be grateful for all the great women God has placed in your life. 

“Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise:  “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3 NKJV

B IS FOR BLESSED WAIT FOR IT DEVOTIONAL 15 3

Wait For It…

“But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary,They shall walk and not faint”  Isaiah 40:31 NKJV

As I was in the yard today, a beautiful hawk flew overhead. The first time it flew over me I was in such awe I forgot I had a camera hanging around my neck. I told God how beautiful it was and He sent it back to me not once but twice!

Usually when I hear hawks, I must search for them to get the shot.

But I didn’t have to do that today.

It came to me.

This was a great reminder that sometimes the things we long for, pray for and even struggle for, God will send to us.

We don’t always have to chase them!

I’m very much a work hard and earn it kind of gal. I try to instill that ethic into my teenagers. Yet, sometimes I can become so blinded by the work mentality, I don’t give myself adequate room to receive God’s grace.

Today’s hawk reminded me we don’t earn the grace God gives us. He freely sends it our way. Sometimes we can become so fixated on a painful past we fail to envision the new thing God is trying to give us!

I have managed to provide my kids with the things they need. However, I also enjoy surprising my kids with the things they want. This is especially true when they work hard or give something their all.

I don’t know why is it often so hard to grasp that our Father is willing to do the same for us as well? When we seek God, we please God. 

I’ve tried harder lately to seek God so I can see God all around me. This has not become a chore or a “to do” but rather treasured time that has given me more than I ever imagined.

So, two weeks ago when God gave me an unexpected gift, I embraced it.

I won a prize in a writing contest. I did not ask a million questions. I did not over think it. I just said “thank you.” The prize offered a solution to a dilemma I’d been pondering for nearly two years! My prize was a gift of favor and it was also a gift of encouragement.

Then last week God gave me another gift.

I’d lost something a while back and decided to just be grateful for all the other blessings in my life. I was determined not to focus on what I lost.

But God gave it back to me.

Unexpectedly.

Miraculously.

God offers a season of favor after a season of struggle. Just as spring follows winter, new life, new hopes and new opportunities follow our cold winters and harsh storms.

Yet, if we become accustomed to the struggle of the storm, especially a lengthy battle, we may fail to embrace the warmth that ushers in new life.

YLW DAISY 2 BLESSED DEVOTIONAL 2015   Our storms never displace the sun. It is the Son/sun that dries up our rain.

We’d all do well to abide sometimes instead of constantly strive.

Allow yourself that undeserved grace.

Fuel your faith like never before.

Wait and see what God brings to you…

Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
Blessed are all those who wait for Him.

Isaiah 30:18 NKJV

b is for blessed devotional old wood new life 2015

Dead Wood, New Life!

It dawned on me just recently why I love spring so much. I certainly enjoy the beauty of flowers and fresh green leaves. Warmer temperatures are also a plus. Yet, since I’ve learned to make gardening less of a chore and more of a joy, it is the promise for new life that makes me appreciate spring the most.

One of my favorite southern staples is the hydrangea. I love it because in most varieties, new life for each spring comes from its dead wood. I’ve found the same is true with some of my roses. The dead wood is the skeletal remains left when the first freeze zaps those green leaves right off. Without the leaves, my plants look less suited for the garden and more apt for a haunted house.

I learned the hard way that when the dead wood was cut, there would be no blooms that spring. Green leaves eventually emerged, but no flowers.

Not even one.

Those awful looking dead stalks laid bare by the cold of winter are necessary for later blooms!

If God does that much for my garden, how much more is He doing for me?

Our dead wood can produce new life as well. Those times when we feel like we’ve been stripped bare actually teach us what we need to manage our new beginnings. I believe it is far easier for us to appreciate some facets of life after we’ve experienced loss. Our “dead” situations can impart wisdom, compassion and knowledge that we can later access when God ressurects our dry bones!

I’ve experienced a few “resurrections” for which I am very grateful. There were times I felt dead, dry and brittle. I probably looked the part as well.  It felt like my “winter” would last forever. But I clung to hope and continued to pray. I’ve since learned the absence of a “yes” isn’t’ necessarily a “no.”

Sometimes God’s silence simply means, “Not now.”

I think some of us become so disheartened with our defeats/death that we lose hope for future blooms and fruit yet to come. So much in the garden has to “die” before it can ever produce again. There are things in each of us that must die if we are ever to grasp hold of the blessings our Father would give us.

old wood blessed devotional 2015  If you have a “dead” situation or simply feel like all the life has been sapped out of you, fear not! Our God specializes in resurrecting the dead.  With God, there is always hope for a new and victorious life.

Even here on earth.

Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. John 12:24 NKJV.

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.  And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NKJV