Monday, February 24, 2014

Spiritual Stretching

There are so many things that we prepare for. We prepare for vacations, make grocery lists, to do lists, job interviews, doctor's appointments, etc. Some blogger prepare ahead of time what they are going to write about WAY ahead of time. That doesn't work for me. For one, i'm not THAT organized & for two, i do enjoy sitting down on Mondays, praying for God to give me His message & going through scripture to find just the right passages, as well as just the right creation on Etsy, which i randomly. That's how i prepare to write my weekly blog posts.

Preparation is an important part of realizing God's will also. As humans, we want to know God's will & we want to know it NOW. But we need to prepare to know & obey what God has planned for us. Are you ready to follow when God makes it clear what He wants for you? First, you meed to do some spiritual stretching & exercising. Ick!!!...Exercising!!! I debated whether to use that word or not. But these are good exercises that will prepare you for everlasting life. Just like we - or some of us - exercise for a healthier life here on Earth. Even, with my lack of mobility, i have exercises to do for strengthening.

Bible Study Stretch
"That copy of the laws shall be his constant companion. He must read from it every day of his life so that he will learn to respect the Lord his God by obeying all of His commands."
Deuteronomy 17:19 (LB)
Obviously, according to this verse, we ARE to read our Bible, every day of our life! For those of you who are already in a Bible Study group, or have a Bible Study plan, that's awesome. And you are right on the mark! For those of you who don't, you may ask, "Where do I start?" This is only my opinion, but i recommend starting with Psalms. That's were i started many years ago & they taught me how to praise & showed me that i wasn't the only one who needed help. Many others would say to start with the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John - learn about Jesus & His life & His death. And my hubby will suggest that you start with Proverbs, that are full of life principles. It doesn't really matter WHERE you begin, just begin.

Prayer Stretch
"Pray without ceasing"
1 Thessalonians 5:17
Yes! WITHOUT CEASING! Has someone been on your mind lately, but you don't know why? Say a prayer for them. Just stop for a moment & ask God to bless this person. Granted, we don't know what's going on with this person, but God does. And it doesn't matter if it's out loud or silently. Did you & your neighbor say "hi" this morning? Thank God for blessing you with nice neighbors.....for a roof over your to eat....the blessing list is endless. But, to me, the most special prayer time is when you have time alone with God. Quiet prayer time is as important of spiritual stretch as Bible Study. It's time that you set aside for just you & God. I've heard people say that they don't know how to pray. Do you know how to carry on a conversation with your BFF? Then you can talk to God. Just clear your mind & start talking. God listens to ALL prayers.

"I desire to do Your will, O my God:
Your law is withing my heart."
Psalm 40:8 (NIV)

These are your spiritual stretching exercises. Pretty simple, huh? I challenge everyone who reads this to start your stretching this week, if you don't already do this daily. The best way to prepare for a race is by stretching. Life on this earth is not a race, but it IS a marathon.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Sing To The Lord

I am the Music Director at our church & i love it! Now, don't go "Wow!" Because we have no choir & we have no praise band. Though i keep praying that we will. Our music consists of playing floppy discs on our digital piano or CDs, that i burn on my computer, on a portable CD player. Then there is me at the microphone. 

"Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things."
Isaiah 12:5

Though i have performed either singing in the choir, or a group, or playing the piano in church before, i have found that i LOVE leading the music. There is something about hymns & praise songs that makes me feel so close to Jesus. I know that He's always with me. But sometimes i just feel that my words don't do justice in letting Him know how thankful i am for all He's done for me. When i sing, there are certain songs that say EXACTLY what i feel.

It's kind of like picking out a greeting card for someone special that you are around all the time. Like my wonderful husband. We know how we feel about each other & we say "i love you" multiple times a day. But when we give each other cards, they are always mushy, sappy, romantic, & say exactly what's in our hearts that we don't say everyday.

There's a certain chorus from a song in our hymnal that has been running through my mind since the first of the year:
"Jesus, Jesus, Jesus,
Sweetest Name I Know,
Fills my every longing,
Keeps me singing as I go."

It's been a VERY rough winter for most people this year. Weather DOES tend to affect our moods as well as our physical abilities. Weather change brings a LOT of pain for me & even less mobility than usual. Honestly, it's a very scary thing for me. But those four lines above can change my mood, take away my fears, & give me peace.

So, my "words of wisdom" today is to find a praise song, a phrase, a Bible verse or passage, & in times of trouble, fear, sadness, despair, sing it, read it, say it---SHOUT IT!!! And  do it with conviction, with confidence & most of all, with FAITH, that Jesus is with you AND will take care of everything.

Monday, February 10, 2014

It's Just Paint!!!

Today's blog is dedicated to my friend, Charlotte. (I just couldn't resist.) For creative painters, we do make mistakes. It could be an actual oops, wrong color choice, or a piece that just doesn't turn out like we thought it would. Charlotte has "taught" many of us recently, not to be so uptight & frustrated when that happens, because "IT'S JUST PAINT!"  and mistakes can make it better, or be turned into something more wonderful than you ever thought it would be. This philosophy can also be applied to today's post......

How many opportunities have you missed because of lack of confidence &/or indecisiveness because you want to to what's best?  You know what kind of decisions that i mean. Will you take the job out of state? Will you teach Bible Study. Or, for those of us small business owners, will you contact that store's owner....after you've had his business card for over a year. And yes, as i started writing that, i realized that last one was me.

When decisions are not so clear-cut, you have many things to take into consideration. Some make pros & cons lists & that's fine. But the key is to meditate on God's Word constantly & keep your principles in your decisions. You may be conflicted about uprooting your family & moving to a new state. You may not feel qualified to teach Bible Study. But remember, God may not call the qualified, but He WILL qualify the called.

The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water,
Whose waters do not fail.

What a beautiful picture that this passage of scripture paints. But what it tells me is even better! If you do fail -- or if you do make the wrong decision, God is always with us no matter where we go or what we decide. He even uses mistakes to teach us.  He knows that i have made countless mistakes, aka wrong decisions. But i have learned so much from them. Most of all, i've learned to obey what God has shown me & told me.

So, we need to ask God to help us to seize each opportunity - every day. To daily read His Word & meditate on it continuously. And to thank & praise Him that even when we are wrong, HE will make it right.

Monday, February 3, 2014


The Olympic Games are fast approaching. And yes, safety is a big concern this year. But the Olympics are about the athletes. They have all worked tremendously hard to get to this point. They have endured more than most to achieve their goals. And many accomplish their goals of winning a medal. Unfortunately, some medal winners have been disqualified following their performances because of illegal drug use. Their goals were admirable, but their reasoning that the end justifies the means, was not. That reasoning contradicts everything that scripture teaches. God is just as interested in how we achieve our goals as He is in the goal itself.

"Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."
1 Corinthians 10:31

Recently, i realized that i have not done my best, this winter to honor God. Oh sure i have kept up on my blog posts, but i had also set a goal to work on new items for my shop in a different style. but i have only added one new item to my shop. I do have another one started, but i have found excuses not to go up to the studio to paint. Why has this affected how i honor God? My shop & my work is dedicated to His glory. And i did not set the goal of working steadily on new pieces with God in mind. Even though i feel that He has led me to do this, i have not dedicated this new path to Him, nor have i asked Him to bless my work.

As Christians, we must first establish the primary motivation for our goal. Since my shop is dedicated to God, for His glory. I need to quit making excuses. Yes, with the rough winter that we've had here, & my arthritis, it's been very easy to make excuses. But with these excuses, i have not worked for God through my creativity this year, so far. Also, i have promised tithes & offerings from my shop to Casa de Fe, an orphanage in Shel, Ecuador. Therefore, i need to get painting this week, asking God to guide my creativity for His glory. And to bless my shop & sales, so that i can pay it forward in His name. 

Whatever your goal is - financial, physical, spiritual, family, etc. - you need to ask yourself if the major purpose is to glorify God. That is the purpose that we were all created for, so therefore, your goals must reflect that basic purpose. Be in prayerful consideration about your goals. Use common sense & seek biblical wisdom to see if your main objective is to honor God. You can never go wrong when He is put first in all things.