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Friday, February 24, 2017

Inspired by . . . weighted blankets

Have you heard of them? these blankets filled with plastic poly pellets, similar to what's inside Beanie Babies. Some people are calling them magic blankets because they are said to help calm anxiety, prevent insomnia and even help people with Autism and PTSD.

Reading about these blankets reminded me of a dream I had the other night. I was lying in bed and had a sense that a great, but not unbearable, weight had descended upon me. Not only on top of me but it enveloped me completely. 

This weight was not abiotic. I could sense it's spirit next to me even as it's essence surrounded me. The sense of peace was absolute. So much so that, even now, the memory of it gives me a sense of calm.

Such a perfect peace can only come from one Source. I awoke to feel as if I had been sheltered under the wings of a mighty, yet gentle bird.

He will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you. (Psa 91:4) [click to tweet]
Such is His great and mighty love for us! He longs to bring us under His protection. Yet so often we refuse and demand our own way.
"How many times I wanted to put My arms around all your people, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would not let Me!" (Luk 13:34)
God will never force us into His nest, even though He knows it is the safest place for us to be. [click to tweet] His word promises peace to all who love Him and accept His protection.
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread Your protection over them, that those who love Your name may exult in You. (Psa 5:11)
I've been sleeping under the weight of blankets for years. I have no doubt that these new "magic blankets" which are said to "cause[s] the brain to release neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that improve moods and induce a calming effect" will improve your sleep and help reduce anxiety.

Even so, it is important to remember that it is God, and God alone, Who gives us peace and safety for our souls.
 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psa 4:8)

Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments

Monday, February 20, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 08:52

We had a severe thunderstorm last night. The kind that has you lying in bed thinking about where the lightning might strike and roof tiles hurtling through the air. It was impossible to sleep, the rain was lashing the west side of the house hard enough to peel paint. I imagined awakening to trees stripped of their leaves and most of their limbs, standing like naked sentinels. But they are made of sterner stuff than my imagination. We had no visible damage and, best of all, there were raindrops to photograph.

I don't have a macro lens, so it's a bit tricky. But I did get one or two worthy shots.

As promised in last week's post, the pear tree is in its dress whites this week. I wish I could share the scent with you {sigh}.

If I wasn't such a ninny I would string up a hammock and sleep under its boughs. I would dream of Narnia in the springtime and the bees and butterflies would bring me nectar for food.

Trees are so much wiser than we humans. They are older and remember things we never knew. They know things about the earth that we should have kept sacred but instead, have chosen to forget.

The great, bending oaks and still-naked hackberry don't judge the pear for flaunting its spring finery. They know God made each according to its kind.

They are wise enough to see that the individual, unique and special, is still part of the whole.

Since the pear tree and the butterflies, and the south Texas weather are determined to be more like spring than winter, the #shadesofwinter challenge is becoming more challenging by the week.

This week's prompt is #winterathome and Lisa, Kristy and the other participants have posted some lovely, snowy examples!

As I pondered this prompt and what winter at home looks like for me I kept coming back to the one thing that is constant in my home during the winter. The poinsettia.

I buy one as soon as they're in the stores and their red and dark green leaves brighten my home well into spring. Despite the fact that poinsettias are a tropical plant, they symbolize winter at home to me.

What symbolizes winter at home to you?


Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My Lens,
Life thru the LensOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Friday, February 17, 2017

Inspired by . . . living the Gospel

Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth is a friend of mine. At least I'd like to think that we would be friends if we ever meet in real life. As the driving force behind the True Woman Movement and Revive Our Hearts ministry Nancy has touched thousands of lives.

I've been enriched by her bible studies over the years, and convicted and encouraged by the message in her books. I was delighted when she found love in the autumn of her life. God has a way of equipping us for our ministry, amen? [click to tweet]

I was watching the trailer for her newly released book, Adorned, just the other day. It's a beautiful video, showing numerous scenes from her wedding day. A video not unlike the one my daughter-in-law had made for her own wedding last fall.

The voice-over to the video promotes Nancy's new book, which is based on Titus 2; the scripture focuses on older women mentoring younger women. This is the true essence of Nancy's heart.

Since I was watching the video on FB, when I finished watching I moved my cursor to react to the post and noticed that among the thousands who had reacted with like or love, even wow, one person had reacted with the angry face. 

Disappointed but not surprised, I know that Nancy's message of biblical based womanhood is not embraced by everyone. But I was curious as to what the viewer could have found in the video and message that made them angry. So I scanned the comments to see if they had commented as well.

Alas, my curiosity was not to be satisfied. Perhaps they clicked on the angry face in error? That is a hopeful possibility. However, during my scan of the comments I did find one among the many good wishes and excitement about the book that gave me pause:
"You would think she's the only person that ever had a Godly wedding."
There was one reply to this comment and it mirrored my own thoughts: "What gave you that impression?" 

I sensed that this person's question was sincere so I went back a couple of days later to see if any further discussion had occurred, however, as is typical of my experience with FB, I was unable to find the post.

The negative comment and the cloud of sadness enveloping it has stayed with me. The fact that I and thousands of others can watch Nancy's wedding video and feel nothing but joy for her newfound happiness while this lady's response clearly comes from a place of hurt is a stark reminder that we don't all view life through the same lens. We can't know what this woman has gone through, or is going through that would warrant such a comment.

This post was about as far as you can get from the political arena. Yet there it was, an angry, defensive, unwarranted attack. Fairly mild, but hurtful none-the-less.

Friends, I know many of you are weary of the battle. Believe me, I'm weary too. 

Some of you feel called to debate the political [and other] hot topic issues of our day. Called to speak out against every evil you see happening in our world. If that's your calling, I salute you. And I pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the power to speak His truth with grace in love.

But if you don't feel this way - - that's okay, too. The apostle Paul didn't stand up and preach a sermon about slavery or the other evils being perpetrated in his day. 

Instead, Paul preached the Gospel. He addressed the evil in the world by pointing people to the only Solution. To the only Source of redemption and change.

And that is what we are called to do.
I [Paul] charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (2Ti 4:1-2)
And why is it so important that we "be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill [our] ministry."? (2Ti 4:5)
[Because] the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (2Ti 4:3-4)
That time may be here friends, but we must continue to preach the Gospel. But more than that - - we must live it.
"The gospel will not be heard and received by our culture, by our generation, by your children, by your neighbors, by the people in your workplace; the gospel will not be received if it cannot be seen in the lives of those of us who profess to believe it." ~Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
It's true that not everyone will be drawn to the Light of Christ in our lives. Not everyone will embrace the love we offer. In fact, openly living a life for Christ may open us up to more ridicule, contempt, and even persecution.

But there are those in darkness who ARE searching for the Light. There are those who WILL respond. As followers, we must try to be like-minded with Christ.

And if He is not willing that any should perish, then we shouldn't be either. [click to tweet]

Go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.* [click to tweet]


*attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Thought Provoking Thursday, Grace & Truth,
Inspire Me Monday, RaRa Link Up, Intentional Tuesday,
#WordswithWinter, Titus 2 Tuesday, Thoughtful Thursdays,
Encourage Me Monday, Wholehearted Wednesday,
Women with Intention Wednesdays, Word Filled Wednesday,
#GiveMeGrace, Sitting Among Friends, #Glimpsesofhisbeauty
Counting My Blessings, Grace Moments