In her devotional this morning, Cynthia Ruchti reminded me it’s Ash Wednesday. She wrote (on this Feb. 20 devotional in Daily Guideposts), “… my sins have been incinerated, a fine layer of ash is all that remains – and that layer has been blown away by the breath of Jesus’ mercy.”
What a wonderful image that is! She reminded us of the devastation of the 2019 California fires that left whole neighborhoods (in fact major parts of whole cities, like Paradise, CA) incinerated. She mourned, “The ash was so fine it left only a dusting over the footprint of each lost home.”
Cynthia reminded me that Ash Wednesday is “a time of reflection, self-sacrifice, spiritual discipline, and fasting to prepare the heart for Easter.” Her “Faith Step” at the conclusion of the message was: “Our humanity and our sinfulness have been conquered in Jesus and we are free. Ashes to joy. Dust to life. Live victoriously.”
At http://www.Christianity.com the author wrote: “Each year, Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent and is always 46 days before Easter Sunday. Lent is a 40-day season (not counting Sundays) marked by repentance, fasting, reflection, and ultimately celebration. The 40-day period represents Christ’s time of temptation in the wilderness, where he fasted and where Satan tempted him. Lent asks believers to set aside a time each year for similar fasting, marking an intentional season of focus on Christ’s life, ministry, sacrifice, and resurrection.”
I am ready to embrace this season. I am ready to “live victoriously.” I am ready for “Dust to dust” to become “Dust to Life.”
I am ready for “Ashes to ashes” to become “Ashes to Joy.“
My child, you are worrying too much. remember who I am there is nothing too hard for me. You may not see it, but I have everything planned out for you.
Verse of the Day:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” -Proverbs 3:5-6
Each morning I begin my day sitting in this old rocking chair that Bob’s great-grandpa built. It’s up in the corner of my favorite room in the house – my sanctuary.
You can see Mornings with Jesus, my #1 devotional, on the chair in front of my “All Things Grow with Love” pillow. The picture above the photo of room is today’s page. My bookmark reminds me daily of my 2020 resolution: “Walk the Talk.”
Prov. 3:5-6 is the verse on that card. It’s one of my favorite scriptures. With it tucked firmly under my belt and in my heart each morning, I read the daily devo and write in large, fat letters the 2 to 6 words that are my “take away” for the day. You can see “SIMPLY TRUST HIM” is today’s message.
At the top of my devo page I write my plan for the day … the part of it that God directs to my angelic perch from His heavenly Holy Spirit’s leading. It helps me to “Walk the Talk” when I put my trust in what He has “up His sleeve.”
What are your plans for this beautiful Sunday? I hope you take time to pray. The Faith Step that’s partly covered by my bookmark in the devo picture says, “Recall the times when Jesus answered your prayers in ways you didn’t expect. If you’re praying for something right now, don’t keep Him in a box. Expect Him to answer beyond your expectations.”
Go ahead. Listen for His leading. Step out confidently today with plans God sets before you.
Jesus responded, “ Didn’t I tell you that you would seeGod’s glory if you believe?”
Pray with me, “Thank You, Jesus, for praying with us and for us. Thank You for Your presence in our lives. Now, as we walk the talk, guide our feet where You want us to go today. Help us meet who You want us to meet. Whisper what You want us to say. Help us be who we were made to be. Show us what You want us to do as we walk in Your will. Amen”
Cristan Mihai is a blogging guru who started his blog within a month of when I did in 2012. His posts on “The Art of Blogging” have taught me so much about how to create and continue to improve my JanBeek, Loving One Another website. A constant piece of advice that Cristian repeats at least weekly is: “Punch Those Damn Keys.”
In his “About” introduction to himself on his website, Cristian wrote:
“Cristian Mihai (born 25 December 1990) grew up in Constanta, Romania. And he’s still growing up, or at least trying to. Sometimes he writes. Sometimes he gets lucky and writes something good. He can’t, however, draw a straight line. No matter how much he tries. Not even with a ruler. And, please, don’t ever ask him to sing.”
You can tell by that introduction that he has a wonderful sense of humor. You know he is an English-as-a-second-language blogger. You would never know that by visiting his website. His English is perfect! And his tips, ideas, lessons about how to improve are priceless. He offers his services in a number of ways – and he is sponsored by several companies on his website. He’s a full-time blogger. He tells us that TENACITY is one of the most effective qualities if you want to grow your blog.
What’s ironic about his “The Road to 1,000th Order” blog?
He posted today “The Road to 1,000 …” the same day I received this notification of congratulations from WordPress:
Posting for Readers
I am not selling anything on my blog, so I won’t get 1,000 orders… But I would love to get 1,000 followers! And I am pleased to know I have posted that record 1,000 number of times – pleased because I know my posts and my readers have grown and improved through the years.
I post for my readers… and to my readers. I post to encourage, inspire, educate, and occasionally just to share my love, to share my joy or to entertain.
I post to show you the scenery, people, activities, and animals in whatever corner of the world I am today, knowing it may be very different from your surroundings. I enjoy seeing where you are and what you are doing.
Each day one or two new folks join us. Each day between 70 and 120+ folks from around the world visit JanBeek. Of those an average of 15 to 20 click “like” to let me know they have been there. If I am lucky, 8 or 10 will leave a message (usually it is only 2 or 3 comments, however). Usually I have no idea who more than 75% of my visitors are (except that WordPress tells me where they are from).
Encouraged or Discouraged?
Are those numbers typical? Are they encouraging or discouraging?
They are neither. They just are what they are. The “Discover” site on WordPress has 42,500,197 followers!! What would I do with that? I’d have to hire several private secretaries to keep up!!
It is not the numbers that keep me posting. One thousand posts since 2012… of those, the last 148 have been consecutive. It is not the numbers… it is the contacts, the friendships, the connections with people I have come to love here – or conversations with those I love in other walks of my life, as well. I hope to meet face-to-face someday the new friends like Derrick and Richard who are so kind with their messages of affirmation.
It was 148 days ago when I decided to make blogging a priority after my devotional time each morning.
It was 148 days ago when I committed to taking that part of Cristian Mihai’s advice, that “Get serious about it,” very seriously.
Just “Punch those damn keys!” Say what you mean – and mean what you say. Get passionate! Share what you care about. Be the change you want to see in the world … one word, one post, one action, at a time.
Cristian Mihai – The Art of Blogging
Cristian has 131,548 followers and often offers them perks… like today, “A random person will be selected among those who order until we reach #1000 will receive six months of reblogging, one sponsored post per month for a duration of six months, and a one-on-one Skype chat with me.”
I am one of Cristian’s 1,000. I ordered his on-line book, “The Art of Blogging,” and I subscribed to some one-on-one tutoring from him. He gave me some great advice about formatting, headlines, content, and networking. I recommend you take him up on his offered perk today. Who knows, maybe you will be the 1,000th person! He’s offering a great reward!
Forgiveness is a two-way street. Not only do we need to forgive others, but we need to forgive ourselves. Sometimes that is much harder than forgiving others.
So, as this decade of 2010 to 2019 ends, commit your heart to forgiveness. Let go of any hurts from others. Tell them so. And let go of those regrets that creep into your heart and cause you to scold yourself.
None of us is perfect. We all make mistakes. We all say things and do things and think things that we regret afterward. Forgive yourself … and move on!
Let those mistakes (sometimes intentionally placed in our lives … so not mistakes at all) be building blocks toward a better you! With 20/20 CLARITY, let this new decade be a time of strength and sincerity, compassion and courage, challenge and change, faith and fearlessness.
Know in the midst of life’s struggles that you are never alone. In my devotional this morning, I am reminded of God’s love for me and His changelessness with Ps. 59:10
It is our fluctuating emotions that cause us to ask for forgiveness and then take back the guilt that God has taken from us. We try to forgive, but we remember. We remember our own wrongs. We suffer the wrongs others have inflicted on us, carrying them in our hearts long after we think we have given them to God. The devo from Guideposts for today tells me, “Stop that!”
Accept His forgiveness. Acknowledge His death that took away our sins. Know His changeless love and His unconditional acceptance of us. And pray with me the prayer Rebecca Barlow Jordan wrote as our “Faith Step” for today in the last entry of Daily Guideposts 2019:
“This coming year, as I confess any wrong things in my heart to Jesus, (either my own wrongs or those inflicted on me by others), remind me to thank Him for His changeless love and acceptance. (And help me imitate His unconditional love as I interact with others… and with myself.
Many of you know that I spend my first hour each day up in my sanctuary.
If you’ve been a follower for awhile, you may remember that one of the devotionals I read each morning is:
And I have posted in the past a list of “Take-Aways” for each day of the month. It’s been a few months since I did that. I did not post my list for November yet. Today would be a good day to do that. Perhaps you can find this list helpful. Adopt one a day, and take that message with you as you walk this rocky road called LIFE. Let it help you focus on a direction God is calling you.
November’s Take-Aways from Daily Guideposts
Remember Incredible Moments
Really “See” People
Choose Peace – Even in Chaos
Bee still to Hear/Feel God’s Grace
Keep Faith in Love
Accept God’s Extravagant Grace
Let Children Move, Moo, Climb & Clamber
Keep Your Faith Childlike
Always Give Your Best Effort
Let Your Life Praise God
Live in Grateful Peace
Unclog Your Life; Clean Up!
Bee Mindful of Relationships
Maintain Your Body
Know “Retirement” is a Misnomer
Use Your Reservoir of Love
Know God as Your Guide
Speak Only Tender, Kind Words
Hope Always in Him
Keep Eyes and Heart Open
Take Time to Feel God’s Presence
Always Find Joy in Work
Bee Still and Listen
Let Space Be Transformed
Add Exercise To Your Routine
Thank God For Your Many Blessings
Know God’s Working in You
Look into The Hearts ❤ ❤
I hope “A Thought for Each Day” will inspire you to be your best self, the person God made you to be, every day this month… and create a thoughtful habit for the New Year.
By the way, which of those “Take Aways” will you adopt for today?