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Archive for the ‘blessings’ Category

 

 

In a town nearby there is an old mill which was filled with all kinds of artisans.  I would look forward to my visits.  Each time I went there over the last five years, the shopkeepers seemed to improve the interior a bit more. Whenever I visited you could hear the sound of saws and see men building new shops for yet another artisan.  It was a place for students to exhibit their work, visit artists and housed so many beautiful shops offering all kinds of beautiful things in this huge three story mill.

Yesterday I drove by the remains of so much work, destroyed by fire and all of a sudden my worries seemed to vanish.  All those people who had invested their time and energy and funds into a joint effort that was ravaged by the fire.  I sat in my car looking at the devastation and thought about each shop representing that person’s work. I thought about all the crushed spirits of these people.

I had been consumed all day with my woes and cried at the thought of my burdens.  Then I turned on the news and saw so much tragedy being reported all over the world.  Just like the mill, there were circumstances in the world that people were enduring which certainly shook their lives and perhaps their faith.

Yesterday was a very gray, cool and windy day.  The starkness of it seemed to spell sadness, but instead it was as if that very starkness made me look at God’s blessings.  When my day at started out, I had read in my devotional:

“Then He spat on the ground and made mud from the spittle and smoothed the mud over the blind man’s eyes and told him, “Go and wash in the Pool of Siloam” (the word “Siloam” means “Sent”).  So the man went where he was sent and washed and came back seeing?”  John 9:6.7

Perhaps Jesus was trying to show us that when He takes His spirit and covers our eyes in the mud, we are able to truly see how He blesses our lives everyday.  We are able to see and feel compassion for others because we have endured the mud in our own lives. Through our own adversity we are able to see the pain of others instead of dwelling on our own.  I am not a Bible scholar and certainly a pastor or theologian could bring life to this scripture that would normally elude me.  But maybe, just maybe the way I saw today brings this scripture to life.

Jesus somehow removed my blindness by showing me how not to dwell on my own suffering.  By taking the mud of my own suffering, with His spirit He had led me to know compassion.  Through that compassion I was able to see the pain of others instead and pray for them.  I believe my wealth is the treasure of compassion that the Lord has taught me to know.

Sitting in that car I couldn’t help but feel that the Lord had sent me there to witness the pain of others.  He took the mud of my burdens and made me see.

“We went through fire and through water: But thou brought us out into a wealthy place.” Pslam 66:12

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It seems to me that there is no coincidence that I was encouraged by two distinct messages yesterday.  That of a friend who wrote about blessings on her blog, which I shared on my daily blog today.  The other message of why we are blessed  was the subject of yesterday’s sermon at Grace Chapel which strengthened my heart and my conviction of purpose.

Each message, though different in content, clearly spoke to my heart about why we are blessed.  A message I so dearly needed, feeling a bit weary by trials this week.  The most amazing part is that as soon as I remembered why we are blessed my energy came back.  I believe that when we focus on our lack, we become weary and when we focus on our blessings it strenghtens us. 

We all need to be renewed in our strength, and sometimes a story, a sermon or a gentle touch is all that we need.  I thought it fitting to share what I heard yesterday.  I can hardly articulate in this short post, the magnificent sermon on Genesis Twelve, verse one through four, which I heard by Jeanette Yep, Pastor of Global and Regional Outreach at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts.

So today I thought I would leave this link so that you may enjoy such a moving and amazing sermon on how we are Blessed to be a blessing.  It is my way of sharing the blessing that I have received.

Blessings, Karen 

Genesis 12

The Call of Abram

 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 3 I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram departed as the Lord had instructed, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.

 

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My daughter Sarah, gave me a beautiful pen for Christmas called a poetry pen.  I love the feel of the pen in my hand and the style suits me perfectly.  The style is vintage and it made me think of lovely ladies from another time sitting in their drawing room clothed in brocade trimmed gowns, writing poetry to be illuminated in books for keepsakes.

On my bookshelf I found two treasures this morning.  A Treasury of The World’s Best Loved Poems and The Book of Psalms.  I love poetry and certainly the sonnets of love are music to our ears when a wonderful romantic love is alive.  Yet, during my lifetime I have learned that romance wanes and sometimes romantic love disappoints.  The Psalms however, are written to remind us that not only does God love us, but He is there always in the middle of adversity.  He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.  His promises found in the scriptures of the Word of God reminds us how faithful He is to us, how He surrounds us with His angels, and He is always there to restore us.

Psalm 46 1-5

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore I will not we fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.  There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.  God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved.  God shall help her and that right early.”

My favorite Psalm which has helped me through so many difficulties is Psalm 91 and I prefer The King James translation because of it’s poetic words:

Psalm 91:1-6

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Him will I trust.  Surely He shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler and from the noisome pestilence.  He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust, his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.  Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night nor for the arrow that flieth by day, nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness nor the destruction that wasteth at noonday.” 

That Psalm is my shield and I rely on those words whenever I need comfort and protection. 

My favorite verse from Psalm 91 is verse eleven:

“For he shall give his angels charge over thee to keep thee in all they ways.”

In the book The Timeless Treasure, a commentary on the Song of Solomon Luann Dunnuck leads us through the Song of Solomon and how God has written this beautiful poetry to us.  She says “When I begin to feel discouraged and frustrated, I open my Bible to the Song of Solomon for encouragement.”  Her commentary is fabulous and leads you through each verse and interprets for us the meaning behind the symbols.

“When I found the one I love, I held him and would not let him go” Chapter 3 verse 4

When we finally understand how much God loves us, it is easy to read how He will not let us go.  In verse 9  it is written “The Beloved you have ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; you have ravished my heart with one look of your eyes, with one link of your necklace.”  When I read the book of Ruth for my Bible study I could see how the love Ruth finds is so much like our Lord and Savior.  Ruth found a wealthy man who became her provider, someone who cherished her and gave her his promise of forever love.  Our Lord has given us His promise to love us forever, and God has a storehouse of blessings that He wants to shower us with.  I love that we are His Beloved, you are His Beloved and there is no greater love than the love of God.

“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” Chapter 6 verse 3

I love this verse because it reminds me that I am God’s beloved, and so are you.  When I finally understood this, I stopped relying on the approval of people because I have God’s approval and that is the most valuable love you kind find.  In Isaiah 55 there is an invitation to come sit with God and read His poetry found in His Word and to come to know that He is Lord and He longs to spend time with us and to give us His rich blessings. The milk is His Word and the honey is His sweet promise to us. We can come to God without earning His reward, but come as we are to His throne and sit with Him a while, as He pours out HIs blessings through His Word.

 “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.

In Isaiah 55 He promises us that when we speak His Word and we listen to God speak to us, it will accomplish great things:

“So is my word that goes out from my mouth:It will not return to me empty,but will accomplish what I desireand achieve the purpose for which I sent it .

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;the mountains and hillswill burst into song before you,and all the trees of the fieldwill clap their hands.”

The poetry of scripture is a beautiful Word from God written to let us know how much He loves us.  No matter what the translation of the Bible you read, the poetry of God’s Word, will comfort you and renew your spirit when trials leave you weary.  The poetry of scripture will uplift your heart better than any love sonnet can.  To read God’s promises as He asks us to be still and listen to  His Word, will renew your spirit so that you may receive the blessings God has for you.  The poetry of scripture teaches us, His purpose for our lives and it fills us with hope and with His love.  David sang praises to God, he knew the love that God has for anyone who listens and hears the Word of God will be blessed.

“Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.  I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”

Isaiah 55:3

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I sat down to write something for my daily blog and started writing a whiney kind of piece that made me feel anxious even as I wrote it. As I went to copy something, I stumbled upon this piece I had written a while back. As I read it my spirit quieted down and I knew that this was what the Lord wanted me to post instead:

There is a place deep within my soul where the gift of creation lives, dreams kissed by images too enchanting to leave behind. When I awake from a deep slumber, the images of the night greet me and lead me to the canvas or pen and ink, I find that when I let go of my surroundings and the characters in my play, I find His presence waiting for me like an old best friend.

Spending time with Gods’ voice, I can retreat into the deepest part of my spirit. When I wander deeper still the muse of my heart gives birth to beautiful images, He is there and He always leads me to the window of my soul. That window is the entrance to heaven, where all beauty is born.

To be an artist is a gift, an ambassador to recording the images of Gods’ creation. When I am surrounded by the stillness and surrender to His will, I can capture the beauty I see, and create its’ memory. I wish I knew the path to Gods’ grace, so I could find my way whenever I pleased, so that I could create in the presence of His glory at my will. But being inspired is a gift painted by Gods’ Grace and given to us only when it is His will.

Deep within my suffering at times, He paints His beauty within my soul. as if He reminds me, you’re almost there, remember heaven awaits, your hope lies in your salvation. He whispers “I am with you always in your pain, using it to paint your life’s canvas and to write the poetry of your life.” I see myself sitting high on a mountain top, as Jesus stands by my side. I am seated at an easel as He points to something beautiful and instructs me to look beyond my circumstances and paint what I see.

Whether I paint what I see or place words on a page to recapture the beauty of the moment, He is with me, showing me the way, dancing with me as I try to find meaning in this life. There is a place deep within my soul where the gift of creation lives…but only my Savior can lead the way.

When I was finished copying the writing into my post, I looked for the perfect photographs to compliment the writing. I realized I had just photographed the lake earlier in the morning, and I had posted the perfect photo yesterday on flickr. The photo was of a window graphic which opened up revealing this magnificent view of Martha’s Vineyard.

Then I then found scripture that spoke to my heart:

“Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.” Corinthians 9:11

I was pleased with the post and knew that I had been able to create it so quickly and effortlessly that God must have someone in mind to speak to with this writing. I found a perfect piece of music to compliment the post by Josh Groban called The Prayer. Satisfied that my daily blog was written I decided to spend some time reading my own devotionals. I opened up one of my favorite devotionals called Choosing Life, One Day at a Time written by the lovely Dodie Osteen. I opened up to this page:

Love The Prisoner
“…I was sick and in prison, and you visited me.” Matthew 25:35-36

“It has always touched me deeply to receive letters from those who are in prison. One particular letter said, “We watch you on Sundays and any other time we can. It has made such a difference in my life. I thank God for leaders like you who take time for people who are locked away. It makes me feel special and wanted when your program comes on the air. You tell us that you know us, and welcome those of us who are watching from prison.”

We love to minister to those who are in prison. We are glad that our program can go inside even prison walls to take the message of love to these precious friends of Jesus. How thrilling it is when prisoners who have watched our program are released and visit us at Lakewood Church, an Oasis of Love.

What a disappointment it would be to keep the truth of Jesus’ love to ourselves and not be willing to share Him with everyone we possibly could. Share Jesus with someone today. Many people you will meet today are in one sort of “prison” or another. They may only have the opportunity to meet Jesus through you. Don’t let that WINDOW of opportunity pass you by.

“Father help me share Jesus with someone today. Everybody needs You, God, but sometimes they don’t know it. Help me to love others with Your love and be Your hands extended.

The phrase “window of opportunity” jumped off the page. The photo I had chosen for this piece is of a window. I knew then that somewhere out there on the Internet was someone who needed this message today. I then wrote this devotional and posted it here. You need to know how much God loves you and that He had me write this today especially for you. That’s just the way He is, it is said that if God only thought that one person needed salvation, Jesus would still have gone to the cross. The greatest love I have ever known is the Love of Jesus Christ. I hope He fills your soul with the peace that passes all understanding and that something written here touches your heart. You are so loved, and God’s grace is sufficient.

I usually have the song, One Day At A Time playing on this post, the song link is on the sidebar. I felt that I should play something different today, and when I found this song I knew that it was perfect…just like the words, If You Were The Only One.

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“And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude],” Ephesians 4:23

Recently I have endured one trial after another, leaving me quite weary. The Lord is faithful though, He knows how my faith is depleted and has sent me wonderful messages and messengers to remind me of how important it is to keep my faith. Just because I get tired doesn’t mean that He does. He is the same yesterday and today, it is my feelings that vacillate.

I had been aware that I was just existing instead of living in Joy every day. To me when I am just existing and getting through each day, I am not living in Faith. When I am full of thoughts of great promise my Faith sings. I was waiting for this period of weariness to pass, and then I remembered that it was my choice to dwell on the trials or remember God’s promise. It was not dependent on how I feel, but rather how I renew my mind until I am back on the road where I belong. How many times has he led me through difficult times and rewarded me with His blessings at the end of such a chapter. Yet if I am not renewing my mind consistently I fall into the same trap of sadness, despair and hopelessness. These feelings stoke the fire that dries up my faith.

I listened to the audio book Extravagant Worship by Darlene Zschech, she speaks at great length of praising the Lord and thanking Him in Faith. Praising Him in our pain even before we see the purpose for the trial and the blessing.

I watched a sermon by Joyce Meyer, in it she said: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6

I read my book Blessed Beyond Measure by Gloria Copeland, “If you will keep going with God, refusing to be drawn off by disobedience or unbelief, you will find yourself walking in your dreams. You will look around and see the goodness of God poured out in every area of your life. You will see His goodness everywhere you turn. You will be living out His plan, and enjoying His provision and dwelling in the place He prepared especially for you.”

I read in my devotional Streams In The Desert: “Blessed are those whose strength is in you…As they pass through the Valley of Baca, they make it a place of springs.” Psalm 84:5-6

“When the shadows of night needed night, gather over the garden of our souls, when leaves close up and flowers no longer reflect any sunlight within their golden petals, and when we experience even the thickest darkness, we must remember that we will never be found wanting and that he comforting drops of heavenly dew fall only after the sun has set.”

I just couldn’t find my way back to Joy. Someone approached me recently and said let yourself go, what are you afraid of…Live life to it’s fullest. I felt ashamed because I am usually the one cheering others on in their walk of believing all things are possible.

I had a dream two days ago that I was beneath this field of golden flowers. I could hear joyful laughter of those that were walking in this field. I was attempting to climb to get to the field, but I could not. I could just peek into the golden field beyond my reach and hear the joyful laughter in the distance. The Lord walked up to me and asked “Why have you lost your faith now?” When I awoke from this dream I wept, selfishly I wanted to stay in that beautiful field with the Lord. I felt sad that He had asked me that question, even in my sleep I felt ashamed that I had lost my faith after so many lessons of blessings. Yesterday I had struggled yet one more day looking around me for my answer going through a trial. Then I found a poem that made me see that I was choosing to dwell on the gloom and not on the promise:

One Day At A Time

Just for one day I will promise
To see God’s love in all things,
In the calm, the joy, and the peaceful
In the burden, the pain and the sting.

I will look to His love in the moonlight
In the wave of each swaying branch,
In each breath, in each step, in each moment
I will pause to my Lord and give thanks.

Though the turbulent waters surround me
I’ll be still as a calm peaceful lake,
For if He is in charge of this temple
Then the outcome to all will be great.

So with my new mind I’ll sing praises
And release alleluia’s sincere,
For if God and I are this temple,
Then the outcome to all will be clear.

So do not sway for a moment
When dark clouds are somber and gray,
Just look to the sunshine beyond them
And just let the Lord have His way
.
Chris Zambernard

Suddenly it was all clear…I had forgotten the basic rule in maintaining Faith…I had forgotten to count my blessings. I had forgotten to Thank God for my trial and that I believed in Him and that He had a purpose for my suffering. I ran to get all my journals to read, reminding me of countless times like this when He had allowed me to go through a trial for His purpose. He had always blessed my life and shown me why He had allowed me to go through a particular trial. I had my answer, even though He has not revealed the purpose yet for this trial, He clarified what I must do to climb back to Faith. Back to the golden fields of the Lord’s promise, back to walking on the path of golden fields with the right mind believing in God’s promise.

A Recipe for Finding Faith

To remember the Blessings the Lord has given.
To Praise Him in the middle of a trial,
To Believe that the Lord has a reason for any suffering,
To Choose Faith instead of Doubt mindfully,
To Renew my mind with the Word of God.

I stopped today and for the first time since I had that dream, I no longer wished that I had remained there. I knew now that we can have that dream on earth. When we look at the gloom all around us and fall beneath the fields of gold we cannot be blessed with joy. We walk through golden fields of heaven and laugh in joyful song when we have Faith in Our Lord and Savior. It is in the renewing of our mind that we build up our faith. We must keep things in perspective and focus more on the good, renewing our mind with the Word of God.

I remembered the verse from Romans chapter 10 verse 17:
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

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“May God, the source of hope, fill me with all joy and peace by means of my faith in him, so that my hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

In the book The Kiss of Heaven written by Darlene Zschech she writes, “God’s promise and oath are our hope, and this hope is an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. If we give God everything, including our cares He will work everything together to complete His plan for us.” I love this book because in it she writes about God’s favor, which is the Kiss from heaven. Ever since I started putting my focus on God first, I have experienced such favor. Darlene is my favorite singer, she wrote the much loved song “Shout to the Lord”. Her book is written with the same poetic words with a rich understanding of how God works in our lives. She is a gifted singer and wrtier and has a keen sense of what worship really is and can lead us in praise and thanksgiving through her words. Her song “Shout to the Lord” was written at a very low point in her life. Perhaps that is why the depth of that song registers in so many souls and hearts.

She taught me that when I am troubled and something has defeated me, when I begin to thank God for that adversity, even when I don’t feel like it, my burden is lifted. Lifted by believing with all of my heart that God only intends good for my life. When I begin to thank God for something that is hurting me, and trusting that God is in control, my spirit is lifted from that adversity. Perhaps my circumstance has not change, but my perception of that circumstance and the way I react to it has changed. When I trust that God will give me an answer, believing even when I see none in sight, He always comes through. An answered prayer led me to write a thank you to God, to remind me to always keep my focus on Him. To write the words that will remind me every time I face some adversity that God has been faithful before and He will be faithful again.

How many sweet things dwell in my mind?
Placed there by your precious Holy Spirit’s guidance
and whispered into my soul.

How much inspiration your angels have whispered into my Spirit?
Ideas that I dare not claim to be mine,
but perhaps I have sometimes.

How much Glory have I denied you Lord?
Because your guidance, as I walk thru this avenue called life
deserves all the glory.

How many sweet times have you waited for my company?
And I foolishly busied myself instead with idle tasks.

How many times have I suffered needlessly?
Instead of turning to your Word,
or inviting your sweet presence to visit within.

How many times have I disappointed you Lord?
Yet you are always there when I call on you.

How can I express my love for you? When you have your Glory
honored by more faithful and gifted servants than me.

My heart is full Lord, tears of spirit well in my eyes for the gratefulness I feel. And I am so small in your presence that all that I can do is bow down and praise you.

Amen

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