Welcome

Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by today! If you're inspired by what you see, I invite you to follow along via one (or more) of the options on the side bar below.

Did you know?

Did you know?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Inspired by . . . always rejoicing




There is a reason that Christ is described as a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. And it doesn't just have to do with the affliction He experienced here on earth. As John 2:25 tells us, "He Himself knew what was in a man."

In this age of instant images, we have all come to know, and are constantly reminded of, the depravity of humanity.

I daresay if we do not feel great sorrow over the state of our world something is amiss in our soul. [click to tweet]

It's not just what we see happening out there, it's what we are all experiencing to one degree or another in our own lives. The breakdown of relationships, increased anger and division (both in and outside of the church), even our physical bodies are breaking down as cancer and chronic illness increase. The effects of sin and decay have simmered just below the surface for thousands of years. Lately, things seem to be reaching a boiling point.

While this gives us cause for sorrow and prayer, it does not give us cause for alarm, fear or bitterness.


Nor should we mope about in an Eyore-like state.
Our Lord trusted no one, and never placed His faith in people, yet He was never suspicious or bitter. ~Oswald Chambers
In chapter six of second Corinthians Paul gives a Christian manifesto of sorts. Paradoxes abound! After all, the message of the cross is foolishness.

But it's not only unbelievers who struggle with Paul's words.


"in our sorrows, we have always cause for joy;"


How do we keep from despair, yet at the same time keep our hearts open to the sorrow we must feel if compassion and love are to rule our minds and actions? [click to tweet]


Remember the Source of your joy.


If you are looking to the things of this world to satisfy and bring you joy, you will be disappointed.
If our trust is placed in human beings, we will end up despairing of everyone. ~Oswald Chambers
True joy comes from the Holy Spirit. Our strength comes from the joy of the Lord.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Rom 14:17)
And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Neh 8:10) 
There is only one Being who can completely satisfy to the absolute depth of the hurting human heart, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Oswald Chambers
Tapping into that joy even when we are at our most sorrowful is not as difficult as you may think. 
Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, (Eph 5:18-20)
Obeying this scripture may need to begin as a discipline. You may have to force yourself to be grateful and give thanks in all things. But it will not always be so. God will bless your obedience and change your heart.

The God of your salvation will fill your heart with joy. Being identified with Christ will always mean sorrow this side of heaven. But just as we are together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection. (Rom 6:5)


And that, dear ones, is cause for great joy!

Shalom,






Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 30:52

In all the years we've lived here we've seen him twice.

A gray ghost in the night.  Caught in the beam of our headlights.

But the summer days are longer and he's been hunting earlier.

With a wingspan ranging from 3.5-5.75ft, it's been fun to watch him swoop from tree to tree and down to the ground. When he fixes those yellow eyes on you, you can't help shiver.

He's too far away and the light is too low for good pictures. But I'll share a couple anyway.

The Great Horned Owl is common to almost all of North America. 



Interesting fact: When clenched, a Great Horned Owl's talons require a force of 28 pounds to open. The owls use this deadly grip to sever the spine of large prey.



While these fierce predators can take down large birds like ospreys and even mammals larger than themselves, I was delighted to learn that they also eat daintier fare like scorpions. Mr. Owl you are welcome to dine on those delicacies at my cottage anytime.


Have a wonder-filled week, friends!

Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday v

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Inspired by . . . perseverance in prayer

I haven't written much about my #oneword365 this year.



This year has been more about perseverance than prayer.

Yet, even as I write that I realize that I've been able to persevere because of the prayer habits I've been seeking to develop in my life.

Prayer is a struggle for many Christians because in our humanness we complicate the simple. [click to tweet]

I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to pray.

We are individuals. It only makes sense that how we relate and communicate with our heavenly Father will be a little different for each of us. Certainly, there are ways to pray that will be common for all of us. But our intimate communication with Him will be unique to our lifestyle, our personality, and our faith.

There are literally thousands of books out there on how and what to pray. Read them. Many are excellent. Just remember to glean what works for you and leave the rest. Your best source is always the Bible. I recommend the Psalms. They will never stop teaching and inspiring you.

My prayer life is a far cry from what I hope it will be one day. I'm not a Daniel pray-er. I don't fall on my face for large blocks of time confessing my sin and the sin of my nation. Frankly, I'm not sure I'm ready for the response that kind of prayer might bring.

But I am learning to pray more consistently and more often. Bringing an awareness of God into more moments of my life. To learn to pray without ceasing. 

They may be short, prayers of praise, gratitude, repentance, supplication, or intercession but they are becoming more constant. They produce an increased awareness, a deeper faith, and trust of knowing He is always there. In turn, this awareness has given me the perseverance I've needed during the last several months.


If you're struggling with prayer I urge you to keep it simple. Simply talk to Him.

Certainly, we should come to Him with a humble and repentant heart. But even when we can't, what He wants the very most is for us to seek Him. Like any good Father, He will step in and do the rest.


Blessings,






Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Inspired by . . . a royal priesthood


But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1Pe 2:9)

Do you think of yourself as a priest?

I confess, I do not. A scribe, at the very least. And even that unbelievable privilege is one I am often ill-equipped to perform.

But if we are His, then we are priests because He has made us such.
And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth."  (Rev 5:9-10)
Understanding this role is a life-long journey. For me, it is just a glimmer, a shadow forming against a dark mirror. Perhaps you are further along.

Christie Purifoy in her beautiful and holy work, Roots & Sky, talks of "the work of keeping and caring." 

Holy work. 

Folding the laundry. Sweeping the floor. Taking time to be in relationships with others. 

The admonition from Colossians 3:23 that whatever work we do should be done as for the Lord, not for men. That is what makes these tasks holy work. Not the simple act performed, but the motivation, the engaging of thought combined with the simple, daily task. 

The turning of our minds from the secular to the sacred.

As we fold the laundry we think of the man or child the article will clothe. We pray for their well-being both physically and spiritually. As we sweep the floor we are thankful for the home that protects our family. We worship Him for His goodness to us.

At its heart, the priesthood is simply being a witness.

Whatever your current role in life, mom, dad, engineer, burger-flipper, caregiver, executive, unemployed, bedridden, you can fulfill the holy work of the priesthood by your witness.

It is not so much what we do but how we do it that matters.[click to tweet]
"This witness, in word and deed, in happiness and suffering, is always this: God is God, and He is love, and through Christ all can be redeemed. Everything, including our own hearts, can be made new.  Heaven and earth are full of Thy glory!" ~ Christie Purifoy, Roots & Sky, pg 157
 The turning of the mind from the secular to the sacred is not easy work. But it is kingdom work. And the benefits to ourselves and to those around us are eternal.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom 12:2)

Shalom, 




Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 28:52


"Take time to relax and rest on your day in the intimate comfort of Jesus' unchanging love."

That happy thought graces the front of one of my birthday cards from last month. I still have it propped up on my desk to remind me to take the time, if not physically, at least mentally, to rest in His love throughout the day.

It fits nicely with my goal of learning to pray without ceasing this year. Another big shift for me has been my sleeping habits. I'm in bed a lot earlier these days and subsequently up earlier. I've never been a morning person, I like to start my days slowly.... but getting up earlier has truly been a blessing. The extra time to sit and reflect on Him and observe nature has been a balm to my soul.

Who can resist rising early to experience seeing this guy bathed in the gold of the morning light?



And this sweet little white-winged dove who has been greeting me each morning for the last few days. 



I finally have a couple of halfway decent shots of the black-chinned hummingbirds to share with you this week. These are for you, Floyd!




Warning! If you spot one of these near your hummingbird feeders, get a stick and safely relocate them to another area of your yard. Adult praying mantis can kill a hummingbird. This guy was on my butterfly weed and nearly snagged a pipevine swallowtail earlier in the week.




The Black-crested titmice are another bird that can be difficult to capture. I was happy to get this picture. He looks like a youngster since his crest isn't fully black yet. Always on the move!



We have two families of cardinals that come to feed and bathe. I never get tired of them. It's fun to watch them feed their babies and their mates.



My Dreamer says I only get excited about the colorful, exotic birds and never post about the sparrows. This isn't true of course, I love all the birds.

But who doesn't get excited about seeing a Vermillion at the water trough?



A-hem, lest you think I don't love the sparrows . . . Here's a sweet lark sparrow inspecting the branch for his next meal.



And the sprinkler brought out a host of field sparrows the other day.



It was so fun to watch their little puffed up bodies playing in the pools. They are so sweet.



Once again, the cardinal made the final splash.




What are you seeing through your lens this week?

Stay cool, peeps!



Sharing inspiration here:
Nature Notes, Through My LensBird D’pot,
Saturday’s Critters, Life thru the Lens,
Wild Bird WednesdayOur World Tuesday,
Community Global, Photo Friday, Little Things Thursday

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Inspired by . . . the dance of the cross



I love the romantic expression of this verse. It's given me a lightness to my steps this week as I've pondered the words and the deeper meaning.

In my spirit, my arms lift and my knees bend into the graceful stance of a ballerina. The words dance. Mercy and truth embrace, then glide away from each other. They return as righteousness and peace . . . and kiss.

The dancers fade.  The cross remains.


This is the dance of the cross.

God's mercy, withholding from us what we deserve, embraces Truth: Jesus Christ.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. (Joh 14:6)
Christ is our righteousness. For we have none of our own.
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Rom 3:23)
God accepts Jesus' righteousness as our own and as a result, we have peace with Him. [click to tweet]
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being but to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. (1Pet 3:18)
This is the dance of the cross.

It is both a proclamation and an invitation.


Won't you join the dance?

Shalom,

The image above and many others are available for your free use. Find it here at Scripture Pictures



Sharing inspiration here:
Testimony Tuesday, #TellHisStory,
Faith On Fire, 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, Heart Encouragement
#DanceWithJesus

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Inspired by . . . Life thru My Lens 27:52
(The red, white and blue edition)

I've shared my Vermillion Flycatcher with you before. He doesn't come up to the cottage often, but when he does, it's always a treat.

Like all flycatchers, he's fun to watch as he darts through the air capturing bugs. But this time around he had other maneuvers to show me!








I hope you enjoyed his antics!


Have a safe and blessed holiday, friends!

Blessings,


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Inspired by . . . law and peace




I've had this scripture from Psalm 119 come up several times in my reading this past week. When God does that, I try to pay attention.

We all want peace. We all want to walk through this life without stumbling. [click to tweet]

This promise from God's word tells us how to achieve peace and how to be protected from those things that will cause us to stumble.

But do we really love God's law?  We want to. But it's not easy, is it?
Following His law can be inconvenient and downright painful at times.

We fail repeatedly and we forget about His grace.

The key for me in this verse is in what it instructs us to do: love God's law

Following, and obeying His law will come.

It has to begin with love.


So how do we get there? Loving a set of rules has never come naturally for me. You?

It starts with knowing His law.

We have to know what God's law says. Reading the totality of His word, not just the ten commandments, and letting it speak to your life. God's word is filled with His precepts, direction on how to live.

Psalm 119:45 says, "I walk in freedom wherever I will, because I have studied your precepts."  

Then we have to begin living His law.

Again, this doesn't come naturally. We should daily preach to ourselves the Gospel of grace, for we will fail. But eventually, His law will become ingrained in the habits and responses of our everyday life. Psalm 119:54 says, "Your statutes are the theme of my song throughout my earthly life."

Finally, the path to loving God's law is paved with trust.

Much of the time our lives don't resemble the reality of His promises. We must trust, by faith - - believing that He will do what He says He will do. [click to tweet]

Psalm 145:9 says, "The LORD is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made." And Romans 8:32, "He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?"


Knowing, living and trusting will lead to truly loving God's law because these things will lead you to love HIM. Then you will be able to lift your voice with the psalmist and declare:

"Come, listen, all who fear God,
and I shall tell you what He has done
for me;
I lifted up my voice in prayer,
His praise was on my tongue.
If I had cherished evil thoughts,
the Lord would not have listened;
but in truth, God did listen
and paid heed to my plea.
Blessed is God
Who has not withdrawn from me His