Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘Bible’

God’s Handiwork


God’s Handiwork

 

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Jesus Christ to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)

What good work has God prepared for you to do today?

person writing on white book

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Each day as I pray and meditate, read and study Scripture, and enjoy a plethora of devotionals, I ask God,

  • What do You want me to do today?
  • Who do You want me to meet?
  • What do You want me to say?
  • How can I reflect Your love?

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I plan my day before I leave and walk down the circular staircase into the “real world.”

stairs down

BUT, I remain open to God’s nudges and His leading…

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I know God has prepared good works for me to do today. What are they?

And what do you think He has planned for you??

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Thanks for visiting.

Leave me a comment about your
plans for Good Works today, okay?

See you tomorrow.

Walk in Wisdom


WELCOME!

Let’s take a WALK in WISDOM together today.

This wheat field offers opportunities
to wander a while:

woman in black hijab headscarf walking on field

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“W” is a letter with
a wealth of opportunities for
words that encompass
the qualities we need
to
add more meaning
and
find greater purpose
in life.

With WONDER and WHIMSY

Fill your eyes with the wide-open wonder of the world. It is a magnificent place, isn’t it? The water is one of the wonders that brings the whimsy to my surface. Makes me want to run in the waves and wiggle my toes in the sand. Makes me want to explore the wishes I would love to see come true.

woman wearing orange swimsuit while holding pink inflatable beside body of water

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Explore WISHES

To live a more meaningful life and find greater purpose, we need to open our hearts to explore our wishes, make our bucket lists, and dream big!

Bob Goff is one of my favorite whimsical people.
I have not met him in person, but I love his book, Love Does,
and I am a huge proponent of his life’s purpose:
to help people Dream Big and fulfill their
heartfelt wishes.
Check him out:

https://dreambigframework.com/

On his website it says,
“Bob has inspired millions to dream big and make life more awesome. He is driven by a desire to help others unlock their potential to love and be loved greater. What goals and dreams have you been putting off out of fear or the thought that you can’t do it, that it’s too hard? Chances are, Bob could talk you out of those thoughts and send you charging into your next adventure.”

Let WISDOM Guide You

Sometimes wisdom is found in silence.

Prov. 17:28 in The Message, Bible translation by Eugene H Peterson reminds us:
“Even dunces who keep quiet are thought to be wise; as long as they keep their mouths shut, they’re smart.”

The wisdom of the Bible guides my prayer life, my daily walk, my associations with others. That particular verse in the NIV (New Revised Version) says, “Even a fool is thought to be wise if he keeps silent.”

Mom’s version of that was,
“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool,
than to speak and remove all doubt!”

Mom was always trying to get that message across to me. As a child I must have been quite the blabber-mouth. Bob will tell you that I still am, but I think I have improved through the ages. I hope I’m not as big a motor-mouth as I once was. My third grade teacher wrote on my report card, “Janet must learn, she can’t talk ALL the time.”

I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

A good part of walking in wisdom is learning when to speak and when to listen… and developing the habit taught in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.”

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With wonder and whimsy,
Explore wishes.
Let wisdom
guide you.

Thanks for walking this journey with me.

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SEE you tomorrow.

 

Understanding and Umbrellas


Understanding
was the first “U” word

that popped into my mind
when searching for
the quality we ALL need
to
add more meaning
and
find greater purpose
in life.

 

man and woman holding hands on brown wooden table

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Understanding and Wisdom go Hand in Hand

What are the common roots of the two words?

I turned to scripture to find the answer to that question. This is a copy of my Bible page. As you can see, it is well marked! Look at how many times Proverbs 2 uses “wisdom” and “understanding.”

Understanding + Wisdom = Compassion

The Book of Proverbs teaches us, if we understand what is right and good, we will see what is just and fair. As a result, it will naturally follow that when we see injustice, when we witness someone being treated unfairly, we will have a heart of compassion, determined to respond.

Compassion is an Umbrella

OnahDave on HumePoets.com posted a poem today titled Drenched:

“Wrecked and broken by pain,
she drenched in the unlimited
down pour of her sorrow.”

When I read his poem, my immediate response was, “Give her your umbrella!”
When we understand another person’s pain, our compassion compels us to reach out with an umbrella of protection.

grayscale image of woman walking through the rain while holding umbrella

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Umbrellas Take Many Forms

Sometimes the umbrella is a song! Today I visited my friend, Carol, who (at the advanced age of 95) is struggling to hang on to life. Her son and two daughters were in the hospital room with her.

Carol was having a better day today than when I saw her yesterday. Her children could tell because she was being a bit cantankerous!

Hah! She reminded me of my mom during her last days. Her mind rallied to the point that she knew what she wanted and what she didn’t. Her ability to say, “No!” rallied – – – and she exerted her independence while bed-bound and hooked up to oxygen. Like my mom, Carol is a strong and courageous woman.

Her daughters and I sang some cheery songs to her and enjoyed her smiles and nods – and her ability to squeeze my hand in appreciation. Her son snapped a few pictures. These are moments to remember!

Disney’s Sing-A-Long Songs – Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah VHS

was our first song. You know, you can’t help but smile when you sing that song! It sent an umbrella of joy over the entire room!

Then we sang Frank Sinatra’s “Dream Your Troubles Away.” Do you know that one? You can change “Dreams” to “Prayers” … and sing “Pray Your Troubles Away.” That thought fits the hand-in-hand analogy of understanding and wisdom as described in the second chapter of Proverbs. Here are the song’s revised words:

When skies are cloudy and gray,
They’re only gray for a day,
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Until that sunshine peeps through,
There’s only one thing to do:
Just wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away.

Your castles may tumble
That’s fate after all,
Life’s really funny that way.

No need to grumble,
Smile as they fall,
Weren’t you queen for a day?

Just remember that sunshine
Always follows the rain.
So wrap your troubles in prayer
And pray your troubles away!

 

Sometimes, We Gotta Let the Rain Fall

Max Lucado has written a book titled, Unshakable Hope.
In a message promoting his book, he wrote,

“I’ve discovered that nothing lifts the weary soul like the promises of God. This book contains some of my favorite [promises]. Picture God’s words falling like rain from heaven on you. Imagine these promises as gentle spring showers. Receive them. Allow them to land on you, to soak you. I’m trusting that God’s words will prosper in your life.”

Understand God is in the Storms of Life

Rick Hamlin in today’s Guideposts prayed,
“God, don’t let my cynical heart
prevent me from seeing
You in unexpected places.”

Sometimes our vision is blurred by the storms that smack us in the face. The unexpected difficulties can put us in dark places where vision is limited. We wonder, “God, where are You?”

Even Jesus had such moments. “My God, my God, why hast Thou Forsaken me?” From the cross, He cried to His Father. It’s understandable that we sometimes have similar thoughts.

Sometimes we need to set aside the umbrella, lift our eyes to the sky, and dance in the rain – in spite of the trauma.

Wrap your troubles in prayer – and pray your troubles away –
or not!
Sometimes the clouds are meant to stay – more than a day –
But sunshine follows the rain.
Even if that sunshine is our promise of Life Eternal.

Relish the Beauty of God’s Promises.

scenic view of mountains during dawn

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Try to understand!
And be ready to put away your umbrella
or pass it along  –
use it to protect and encourage a friend.

Keep a song alive in your heart!

God bless you.

See you tomorrow.

Thrill to the Quest


Thank you for continuing with me
on the quest to
Add greater meaning to
and
Find larger purpose in
Life

Today’s letter in this A-Z series is “Q”

In their book, Spiritual Literacy, Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat wrote,
Savor questions and thrill to the quest.
See your life as a journey
that quickens your faith
and deepens your soul.”

Be a Seeker

The cover page to the Brussat’s book says, “A book that belongs in every seeker’s home…”

That’s me! A seeker! How about you?

seek for adventure

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A seeker always is looking for:

  • adventure
  • a better way
  • a new way
  • a “funner” path
  • a creative hobby
  • a clearer direction or purpose for life
  • a way to improve a skill
  • ideas for improving his/her diet
  • motivation for a healthier life
  • other bloggers who can help him/her remain inspired or learn new skills or just laugh a little

Do any of those resonate with you?

What would you add to the list?

Don’t be Afraid to Improvise

I recently had an abundance of carrots that needed to be used. I googled “Carrot Soup” and discovered this wonderful new (to me) site called “Eating Well.” The carrot soup recipe is simple and easy.

food healthy cooking fresh

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Check it out at http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249990/carrot-soup/

I followed the recipe, but when I was finished, I decided it needed some enhancement. I went back to the site on a quest for enhancement ideas. Right next to that recipe was one that added curry to the soup. We love curry. Also, I wanted it to be a bit creamy. I had some half and half on hand. I added that.

You know, when you are on a quest for improved flavors, improved health or attitudes, improved life-styles … you name it … you have to be adventuresome! Mix it up.  Improvise. Think outside the box!

photo of white and brown cardboard box toy figure

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Think Outside the Box

Recently I have been on a quest for ideas to enhance the birthday party for my great-grandson. It’ll be at our house this Saturday. He’ll be two on Sunday. We have about 25 friends and in-law-family of my granddaughter coming to join us. What can we do besides eat and socialize?

I asked Siri. She led me to fatherly.com, a website with an article titled, “20 Original Ideas for a Second Birthday Party.” From a rainbow party to a fairytale fete, these birthday themes are touted to be perfect fits for two-year-olds.

The article on fatherly.com said,
“They have simple tastes.
They want cake,
shiny things to wave about,
and to run free…
Second birthdays should be glorious play dates.”

I pray for good weather, and I pray that my granddaughter will have other two-year-olds here for my great-grandson to play with. But, whether she does or not, the ideas I discovered on this site satisfied my quest for answers to “What can we do besides eat and socialize?”

Balloons sounded like a great idea to me. If our unpredictable Montana weather is bad that day, balloons can hit furniture and not put dents in it!

toddler girl sitting on ground surrounded by balloons

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Now, we need to choose a theme –  and get busy. Thinking outside the box can sometimes result in extra work. Don’t be afraid of it!

Let Your Quest Quicken Your Faith and Deepen Your Soul

If one of your quests is like mine: to look for clearer direction or purpose for life, what questions do you ask? Where do you go for answers?

My go-to source for such answers is clear to you if you have read any of my other posts. Rarely do I leave you without a reference to God, to the Living Lord who walked on earth and showed us the Way, or a reference to Scripture. I will not disappoint you this time either.

It’s not just Google or Siri to whom I turn when I have questions. They are a great help when it comes to history, places, recipes, party ideas… but when it comes to matters of the heart and soul, nothing beats the Good Book!

person holding opened book

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Use the Bible’s Concordance

My NIV (New International Version) Study Bible has a great concordance. I can look to the back of the Book for words that reference my questions. It will list all the places in the Bible where the idea I am seeking is mentioned.

For instance, when I was concerned about a friend who was excessively worrying, I went to the word “Worry” in the Concordance. I found the perfect scripture to add to the card I was sending to my friend.

Phil.4:6-7 “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Jesus Christ.”

Thrill to the Quest

Let the references from Siri, the links you find on Google, and the assurance of Scripture never fail to thrill you! Technology is amazing. But so is our Certain Help in times of trouble. Don’t forget to call on the Lord. Pray!! When all else fails, He will never fail you!

Keep your quests alive!
God Bless You, my Seeking Friends…

See you tomorrow!

 

Naomi’s Nurturing News


Welcome to Day #14
of my A-Z series:
Adding Meaning
and
Finding Purpose
in Life

Today’s letter is “N”

The title, “Naomi’s Nurturing News” is inspired by the Biblical account of Naomi, a destitute widow. The story is told in the book of Ruth.

We all have a lot to learn from Naomi and God’s steadfastness in her life.

When a famine occurred in her home area of Bethlehem, the widow migrated with her two boys to Moab, where she intended to ride out the famine – and then eventually return with them –  where she imagined her sons would marry hometown girls. She dreamed of living a productive and happy life near them, filled with grandchildren.

However, her dreams were shattered when her sons married Moabite women, produced no grandchildren, and then both sons died. She did eventually return to Bethlehem, but she was a beaten-down woman who told her old friends who greeted her by name to call her “Bitter” instead.

With God working behind the scenes, a few chapters later, we see a transformed Naomi, filled with joy and a new zest for life. Yes, our God is an awesome God. The Good News from Naomi’s story is the power of nurturing love to bring life’s true meaning and purpose to fruition.

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Naomi’s Nurturing News

Naomi is a woman whose story
Inspires me to want to know
How to develop her nurturing spirit
And watch my family’s greatness grow.

Naomi moved from Jerusalem
To Moab with her two sons.
She dreamed that they would marry
Israelite women – but they were not the ones

The boys selected for their wives –
Instead Moabites were chosen
And when her sons both died,
Naomi’s life seemed hopelessly frozen.

She told her daughters-in-law that
Jerusalem was calling her home.
“Stay here and remarry,” she encouraged.
“Don’t come with me to roam.”

But one of those lovely ladies,
(Ruth was her name, we read),
Told Naomi she would go with her
And take care of her every need.

In spite of Naomi’s objections,
Ruth did exactly that – she went –
And stayed with Naomi faithfully;
Loving her back with every second spent.

Naomi’s nurturing spirit
Helped Ruth find Boaz, her new love,
And eventually came the baby, Obed,
A gift from God above.

Instead of dying bitter and alone,
Naomi’s life was full, not hollow.
Her nurturing spirit invited love –
Her faith is an example we can follow.

Don’t let life’s troubles stop your heart
From reaching out to others in love.
The more you give, the more you’ll get,
In blessings galore from our God above.

prayer time

Luke 17:6 teaches us, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”

Naomi’s story reminds me that life is not always fair. Our dreams do not always come true. We will have days (maybe even months or years) of questions, wrestling, and searching for answers. But, God has room for our questions and our searching. God is with us during our periods of bitterness, our uncertainty, and our doubting. God does not give up on us.

To find more meaning and to ultimately fulfill our purpose in life, we need Naomi’s mustard seed faith. We must trust God and cling to Him. Develop consistent prayer time … regular, open, heart-felt conversation with God. He will give us what He gave to Naomi: a new zest for life.

Trust – and work with our nurturing God as He writes a new chapter in your life.

He has promised to protect and provide for you all your life. Pick up your mustard seed faith – and watch Him fulfill His promises in you!

See you tomorrow.

Will You Imagine That?


Welcome to Day #9 in the A-Z series,
“Adding Meaning and Finding Purpose in Life.”

Today’s letter is “I”

Imagination + Intention = Inspiration

It’s hard to imagine a child without imagination.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to their ability to play make-believe.

woman wearing fairy costume

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Mary Ann & Frederic Brussat in their book, Spiritual Literacy, wrote,

“Give imagination free rein in your life.
Explore its images and ponder its meaning-making moments,
and it will always present you with something
new to be seen, felt, or made known.”

boy child clouds kid

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

 

The Imagination of a Child

Our little Superman with the plastic cape reminds me of our 4 year-old friend, Cord. He can turn a beanbag chair into a pirate’s cave in two seconds. With the intention of hiding from his Sunday School teachers when we walked into the room, his imagination takes hold, and under the beanbag he tucks himself, and with a flurry and a pirate’s roar jumps out to surprise us. Of course, we always fake surprise – and welcome the pirate onto the children’s wooden bench in the classroom.

Can We or Will We?

The question is not, “Can we imagine things as little chldren do?” The question is “Will we?” Will we keep our imagination alive and allow it to help us see the pirate’s cave in the beanbag chair? Will we maintain the intention to use our imaginations to inspire us to greater creativity?

In the Bible, Matthew 18:1-4 says, “At that time, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child and had them stand among them. And He said, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus was not suggesting the disciples become “childish.” He was telling them they need to be “child-like.” There’s a big difference.

To be “child-like” is to be humble. It is to be imaginative and playful, happy and trusting, open and engaged. Will we allow our imagination free rein to help us see things anew, feel things more deeply, and know people more openly? Can we? Will we?

Imagination used with positive intentions is magical! It is one of the keys to living life more fully with greater joy.

Add the Magic of Intention

Imagination becomes indescribably incredible when it is applied intentionally to create a better world around us.

Some one had to imagine that first wheel and intentionally chisel away the squareness of the stone to make it round so it would roll, don’t you think?

brown carriage wheel

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Someone had to look at this world as it is and decide, “That’s not the way I want it,” and intentionally create a way to improve it. They imagined a clock before a clock was developed.

the world the way i want it

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

They imagined a computer smaller than the one that took up a whole room before the Apple was invented. They imagined a computer combined with a phone that could fit in the palm of your hand. They used their imagination with intention and were inspired to see if that fictional Dick Tracy watch that I grew up seeing in the comic books could actually become a reality.

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Photo by Hoang Do on Pexels.com

 

rose gold aluminum case apple watch with white sports band

Photo by Alexandr Borecky on Pexels.com

Imagination needs intention
before the two can equal
the inspiration that
changes your life and mine.

You Decide

Some changes are positive. Some are not. Everything in this world can be used for good or evil. It is up to us to decide how we use our imaginations. What intentions we have.  What thoughts linger and direct us. And where our inspiration leads us.

photo of a sign and eyeglasses on table

Photo by Binti Malu on Pexels.com

I pray that
we can use our gift
of imagination
to inspire us
to fulfill our purpose
intentionally
and glorify God
each day
of our indescribable,
incredible lives.
Don’t you?

Will you imagine that?

 

Accept Grace & Express Gratitude


Day #7 in the A-Z series: Adding Meaning and Purpose to Life

G = Grace and Gratitude

Are you grateful for God’s chisel?

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Photo by Werlley Meira on Pexels.com

You know, our lives are filled with things that crowd out what’s really important. Sometimes, we clutter our time with frivolity. (Do you ever feel like your blogging might qualify in that category?) Transforming our lives so that the most significant goes to the top of our to-do list is not an easy task.

The shaping tool that God uses is like a chisel. By His Grace, He chips away at our selfishness, our self-centeredness, our pride, our laziness, and our greed. When we accept His Grace, He replaces those attitudes with generosity, concern for others, diligence, and a far-sightedness that only He can give.

Unlike my SnapChat app that can instantly turn my skin silky, vibrant, and wrinkle-free, and surround me with hearts of love, God’s chisel is not a one-click deal!

I am grateful for the shaping tools God uses to help me slough away the detrimental parts of my being. (I wish it COULD be a one-click deal, don’t you?)

In yesterday’s devotional page in Daily Guideposts, Isabella Yosuico identifies some of those shaping tools:

He sends people to challenge some obstinate defects in me.

He puts me into circumstances beyond my existing skills to control… to compel me to grow.

He allows problems that overwhelm me. They are sometimes so beyond me that I have no choice but to turn to a Higher Power, and surrender to His/Her solution.

By Grace, I have

Love,

Courage,

Strength, and

Wisdom.

By Grace, I can exhibit

Sympathy,

Loyalty, and

Power –

The Power that lifts me into The Word.

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In my eight decades of living on this troubled earth, I have found the wisest and, ultimately, the easiest path to a meaningfulness, purpose-filled, contented life is to submit fully to the Chiseler’s Hands. The Word, my Bible, is my guide. Its guidance directs my attitudes and actions. The Holy Spirit is my constant companion. I am grateful for its presence in the heart of me.

The Grace of the Holy Spirit + Gratitude = HAPPINESS 

Tales from the Mama Duck – family5power –
posted this from the image: Medium
on the subject of Gratitude today:

gratitude=happiness
May The Chiseler’s grace continue to shape me.

God Bless You, my “Ideal Reader.” I am grateful for you.

May God’s Shaping Tools continue to chisel away at you, too!

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