GOD’S PRESENCE

We often think about finding God’s presence in each of us and sharing that with others. But, have you considered how God created the world and all of creation before creating humans? God’s presence can be found in ALL of creation.

Have you ever noticed God’s presence in…..

The evening sunset….blog 2

   The puffy, white clouds…

      The crystal, clear water…

         The hot, sparkling afternoon sun….

 

The colorful wild flowers…blog 1

   The picturesque path in the woods…

      The birds chirping away…

         The bright fall foliage….

 

The quietness of the sparkling snow…blog 3 right

   The ice and snow on the river… 

      The brilliant rainbow in the sky…

         The rolling hills and mountains?

 

If you take a minute to look,

   You will find the presence of the Lord

       In these places too.

ALL of creation shares in revealing God’s presence and praising Him!

You will go out in joy and be led in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  –Isaiah 55:12

MISUNDERSTOOD

Have you ever felt like you’ve been misunderstood and that everything you said was not coming out right or taken how you intended it to be?

It seems like it happens a lot to me…whether in my family, at work, or with a friend.
I know so often my physical appearance or body language also lends itself to coming across one way, when that is not the way I intended or feel in my heart.
With our technological society these days, I know you take more of a chance that what you are typing might be misunderstood.. The reader might not be able to interpret your “tone of voice” or the expression you were trying to relay. There is even more of a risk that how you meant something to come out, may in fact, not come across that same way. Especially when I am communicating something via typing, whether at work or home, I find myself first thinking about what I want to say, the best way to try to say it, then proofing and rereading it to try to make sure it comes out the way I intended or to try to make it clear enough for the reader to understand what I’m trying to say or ask.
For me, it can be frustrating and even crushing if the person I’m in direct physical contact with, or the reader, doesn’t end up understanding it in the way it was intended, even after spending so much time trying to convey it in the way intended. I think it bothers me because I end up feeling misunderstood and in my heart, I want to be honest and sincere in my interactions, as well as represent Christ to others. I try to be genuine and don’t want to be fake or pretend I’m something that I’m not. Sharing the Lord’s goodness with all those I meet is important to me.
texted pic
Photo credit by Dominic Scaglioni under Creative Common License (CC BY 2.0). Words added by hopetoinspireyou.wordpress.com
It was rather ironic that I ran across this quote this week:
“The most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood. The best way to understand people is to listen to them.” –Ralph G. Nichols
I think this is true to a point..that we want to understand things in this life and that we want others to understand us. But, at the same time, I think we can’t always understand why some things happen, or we can’t comprehend why things are like they are. Being understood by others is a basic need for us because it gives us validation and helps us know we are really okay. To really understand another, it does require listening and maybe not adding our two cents. The other person may need someone to listen and understand, not judge them. It is truly how that person sees something or what they are feeling at the the time. Remembering that everyone has different life experiences that make them unique and shape the way they see things can help us understand someone a little better.
I am learning that if I end up being misunderstood, I just need to let it go. I need to keep trying my best to explain what I mean, and if the other person doesn’t see it that way, it’s okay. Maybe they are having a bad day and have their own “issues” that make them see something differently. I need to keep trying my best in being faithful and sincere.
The other thing I need to remember is that God is the only one who truly understands me and that is really the only thing that truly matters. God even understands me better than I understand myself!  (I’ll add that sure is a relief!) That is because He made me and formed me. And, God knows my heart, what was trying to be communicated, and how it was being communicated. I only need to “answer” to Him.
And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts.  –1 Chronicles 28:9

WHERE ARE YOU?

Jesus says,

“You are so precious to me

I have given you so much–

    the land that you walk on,

    the air that you breathe,

    all that you have and are.

But, my friend, where are YOU?

I need YOU to be…

   MY hands,

   MY feet,

   MY heart,

each and every day.

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Photo credit courtesy of Maria Jose Bustamante under Creative Commons License (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Don’t let this world that I’ve given to you

take away from ME.

I know there are so many “things”

to pull you in different directions–

  away from ME.

Be concerned with the things that will

last for all eternity; not the temporary

things of this world.

Make sure you keep ME first in your

life as you go along serving…

    your families,

    your church community,

    your friends,

and everyone you meet.

I need mostly, YOUR HEART,

full of love and compassion

to give to others.

EVERYONE I place in your path

is an opportunity to share a part of ME.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.  –Romans 12:9-13

Even though I have shared this song before, I still think it fits well with this writing. May you be blessed with listening to Offering, by my favorite Christian band, Third Day.

BELIEVE IN YOURSELF

Have you ever stopped to think about how believing in yourself can make you more confident and enable you to do things you never thought about doing before? I don’t know if you are like me, but I’m hoping I’m not the only one that might not be too confident in every aspect of my life.
I’ve noticed at work that if I am more confident, or better yet, have the support and open communication with my supervisor or co-workers, that I can accomplish more.  It is a struggle for me to not feel overwhelmed with everything, but trying to have a more “I can do” attitude is very beneficial. I need to keep reminding myself that yes, I can do this task or that item.  Yes, I’m definitely a work in progress with that struggle!
Gaining some confidence in one area of your life will strengthen you in other areas of your life as well. Being confident and open minded has definite benefits and carries over to all aspects of one’s life.  If you are more confident, you are willing to try new and different things. It can open up a whole new world for oneself. New opportunities, new challenges, and new adventures in this journey of life.
I recently did my first back to back Third Day concerts!  Since they were so close to the area where I live, I just couldn’t resist going to both!  The second day I traveled over 3 hrs on some slightly crazy roads by myself. It was a little scary but I just told myself I could do it.  The second concert I went to by myself but felt like it was what I was suppose to do. It was a nice quiet, reflective time. It was a little scary being alone in a big town, finding my way around, and walking the streets, but I did it. I had to believe that I could do it and then just do it! I would just have to deal with whatever happened. In the end, it would all be alright.  Knowing there are people praying for you is also something that can help you believe in yourself more too.
P1070832IMG_20150425_205705349_HDRDavid Scotty Albany
A gracious David Carr, drummer, (left), & Scotty Wilbanks, keyboardist for Third Day, kindly posing for a picture before heading on the bus. The guys are so good to their fans.
One of my friends I’ve come to know through social media recently made a trek to the state of Washington to do a good 3 hour hike on Mt. Rainier. It has been a dream of hers to do this, and despite some physical limitations, she has been working on training and strengthening her body for this endeavor. She believes in herself enough to step out in confidence and do this. She has been greatly blessed through this experience already and has more adventures in going to Hawaii to visit some good friends. It will be her first time there.
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I’m thinking of a relative of mine that is usually more negative but is taking steps to have a dream of owning her own home become reality. This is a big step in believing in herself and stepping out in confidence to go after that dream. Believing in herself and having confidence is something she has struggled with all of her life. It is great to see her take these baby steps, to step out in confidence and faith.
Doing these writings weekly has been a big step in believing in myself and trying to have enough confidence in myself to try to express my thoughts to share with others….sharing the Christ in me. Often times, fear and doubt creeps in, but I try to remind myself of the people that share with me how they have been blessed through my sharing.
Recently, all spur of the moment, a co-worker & myself ended up donating blood. It was just too coincidental that I had read about a fellow blogger doing a “How Can I Help” ministry of caring for a month. One of the things he did one day to help others was to donate blood. The one day at work I was getting coffee on another floor when I heard an announcement for a blood drive that day at work. What are the chances that I was on that floor at that exact time of the announcement? We don’t get announcements on our floor, AND I have never heard any announcement on the floor I was on either! I thought to myself, well, I’ll go right after work to see about donating blood. It has been probably a good 25 years since I donated. Much to my surprise, I half jokingly mentioned the idea to my co-worker who I remembered had always wanted to donate blood before but never did. I was really shocked that she mentioned we could do it during work time, and she said we better go right now before she chickened out.
I tell that story to show that we each believed and had faith in each other to do it, and we found out that together was better! A friend was praying for us during our donation so that was powerful how God worked that out too. I am very proud to say we both actually followed through with donating the blood and even survived! We both agreed it wasn’t quite as bad as we expected, and that we would be willing to do it again. It felt good to believe in ourselves, have confidence and step out knowing we were helping others through the donation.
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What helps us believe in ourselves? I think knowing who we are in Christ is a big factor in that. We need to continually remind ourselves of Bible verses that will give us strength and encouragement. Having people believe in us and encourage us is another huge factor. Sometimes, we all need that human factor or voice to help us gain confidence in ourselves. Someone encouraging or reminding us we can do something can go a long way.
On the flip side of that, sometimes our words can damage someone’s self esteem and set us back in that fear and doubt more. Often times I think we don’t even know we’ve done that until it’s too late….the words have come out and can have a lasting effect. I mention that to help make us aware of maybe thinking a little more before we speak. Our words can have a huge influence on people.
Can you think of times in your life when you encouraged someone to believe in themselves?
How about people that have believed in you and helped you believe in you?
Have you ever thanked those people?
It is much easier and better to encourage one another rather than cut down and discourage another.
Be on the look out for who the Lord puts in your path for you to help them believe in themselves!
I have great confidence in you; I take great pride in you. I am greatly encouraged; in all our troubles my joy knows no bounds.  –2 Cori 7:4