COME AWAY WITH ME

“…Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  –Mark 6:31  (NIV)
I think Jesus’ command to His apostles back in His day also applies to our lives today.
Have you ever had the blessing of getting away from the busyness of life to just spend time being…being with the Lord and enjoying the many blessings that are all around?
…Maybe it was on your vacation where you experienced God’s presence in the beauty of the environment you were surrounded by.
 
 
…Maybe you had the privilege of attending some kind of retreat where you had a close encounter with God.
 
 
…Maybe you just took time to be alone with Him and experienced Him in the peacefulness and solitude.
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                                                 Canandaigua Lake, NY
I know this summer I was truly blessed to attend a three day retreat at a place with a beautiful lake setting where you could commune with the Lord in a reflective way. Spending time with like minded people is always a blessing too where you can share your faith with others. It provides opportunities for making new friends in the Lord and learning from other’s stories as well.
Taking time to get away from the routine of life and spend time with the Lord is a necessity especially in today’s fast paced, technological world that we live in.
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It is enlightening to read the many scripture passages that show how many times Jesus took time to spend alone with God, His Father, getting away from the crowds of people and even His disciples.
“One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.”  –Luke 6:12  (NIV)
“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”  –Luke 5:15
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”  –Mark 1:35  (NIV)
“After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.”  –Matthew 14:23
I encourage you, if the opportunity ever presents itself to you, to attend a retreat or any get together that will strengthen your faith.  It will help you refocus and concentrate on the really important things in life once again.
Even taking time daily to go to your quiet corner and commune with the Lord will enrich your spirit and get you in tune with the Creator.
I think the most powerful story of Jesus taking time to pray with God was right before He was going to be handed over to be arrested before being put to death.  Jesus knew the most important thing He could do was pray to His Father.
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Photo credit by Waiting for the Word under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

” 36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”  –Matthew 26:36-46  (NIV)

Father, may we grow daily to be like your Son, Jesus….taking time to pray continually to you and being one with you.  Amen.

CELEBRATE YOUR LIFE

I can’t help but share these thoughts today….as this is the day I get to celebrate ME!
baby
                                                      One year old!
When you think about your birthday rolling around, what kind of feelings does that elicit?
Feelings of happiness or feelings of dread?
As I’ve gotten older, I find that it is easier to think about the negative aspect of birthdays. Like the part of the  aging body having more aches and pains and not working as well as it used to.  And then there’s definitely more gray hair to color! Thankfully, I still feel young at heart…now if only the body would realize that too!
But, I think it’s good to shift our focus to celebrating US!
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                               Nice crooked bow for Kindergarten!
Think about when you hear of someone expecting a child, especially maybe as a first time parent. Isn’t there so much joy and happiness to celebrate this new life?  One thinks of all the hopes and dreams you have for this child and what the future will be like.

I guess it seems almost like God wants us to rejoice in those same ways once a year when our birthday rolls around.  There are so many things to celebrate.

After all, we are God’s child…a great reason to celebrate!

8th grade
                                                                8th grade
Over the years, I have grown to appreciate the specialness of birthdays.  They remind me that I am special to the Lord, and that He is Lord of ALL creation.
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                                         High school graduation
Birthdays make me think about the reasons to celebrate in the Lord…
…to celebrate the fact that our life is a GIFT from God.
…to celebrate the MIRACLE of OUR life.
…to celebrate how SPECIAL and UNIQUE the Lord made each of us.
…to celebrate the fact that the Lord knew us even while we were in our mother’s WOMB.
…to celebrate the fact that the Lord has a divine PURPOSE for our life.
Birthdays are also a great time to take inventory of how far we’ve come in our walk with the Lord and the direction we’re heading.
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                                                    The current ME!
So, when your birthday rolls around this year, don’t worry about getting older, but rather…REJOICE & CELEBRATE the fact that YOU are a special part of God’s creation!

When I think of celebrating ME, I can’t help but think of my favorite, what I call “life song,” Offering by Third Day. I know I’ve shared it before, but take a moment to click the link below and really listen to the message of the song. For me, in my heart and soul, this song holds such special meaning and truly summarizes that MY life is my OFFERING to Him for all He has done for ME.

This song is an older song of Third Day’s, so it was such a blessing to hear them play it live at the last concert I went to! Such a wonderful song!!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  –Psalm 139: 13-14  (NIV)

ADVERSITY

I continue to be blessed by and in awe of those people I meet who have had what I consider, great adversity, in their life.
As only the Lord could work out, last weekend, my youngest son accompanied my husband and me to a dinner & social gathering at some friends’ of ours.  They usually have these Sunday night gatherings that are open to any family and friends that are available.  They usually cook the main staple and the attendees pitch in and bring a dish to pass. (Thanks, Ken & Sandy, for being so kind and generous and sharing the love of the Lord with us all!)
Toward the end of this past Sunday, the three of us “happened” to sit down at the table where this gal in a wheelchair was. (Maybe it was because that is where the desserts were!) We overheard this gal ask these other two people if they were going to be around the next weekend and wanted to participate in a Big Ball tournament which is an annual benefit to help this gal with medical expenses.
My son, the baseball enthusiast, looked over at me and said he’d love to play. At the time,we had possible plans to be out of town, but I said if we did not go out of town, that would be fine for him to participate.
As you may guess, we did not go out of town, and my son got to play Big Ball for the first time! I was blessed to drive and accompany him to the benefit as well as be there to watch him play.
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                                                Ready to run to third base!
While watching my son play three Big Ball games on Saturday and one on Sunday, I had the true blessing of talking with this gal, her father, her mother and step-father.  In my book, they are all wonderful examples of people overcoming adversity in their life and making the best of it.
When I’m at these events, I find myself praying for the people and thinking of how inspiring their lives are to me. I brought things to help pass the time, but I didn’t need any of that. I just got lost in my thinking and praying.
Can you imagine what it must be like to…..
 
 
….be paralyzed for the past 8 years
 
 
…to not have use of your arms, hands, or legs
 
 
…to not be able to walk
 
 
…to be told you’d never drive
 
 
…to not let your situation get you defeated?
Well, this gal, through lots of determination and perseverance, rather than stubbornness (the word her father used) has regained the use of both arms and hands! And, she was determined to drive….and she does now! She has her goal set on walking again one day, and I really hope she does!
What a true inspiration and living example of how to not let adversity get the best of you.
It is pure joy to talk with her, to hear her positive outlook on life and to see her overcome so many obstacles. She has had numerous surgeries for several different ailments.  But through it all, she has a wonderful, peaceful attitude.
She currently endures a three hour drive each way four times a month for medical intervention.
I am so thankful that my son wanted to be a part of the Big Ball tournament. I know my life was blessed by talking with this amazing gal and her family.
Like I said, it was my son’s first experience playing Big Ball. He was part of one of the non-competitive teams which was a mish-mash of people from young to older, with a range of no Big Ball experience to years of experience.  Unfortunately, they lost all four games so then the tournament ended for them.
The last game was a tough loss as both teams had not scored until that final inning, and if they lost then they were out of the tournament.  His team was up first in the inning and scored two runs.  The other team had their last ups, and  ended up getting three runs with two outs.
big ball 2nd baseman
                                               Ready to play defense!
It was a tough loss for my son because the team fell apart defensively during that last inning.  And, to make matters worse, he ended up making one error that did not help the situation.  It reminded him too much of the last game of his travel baseball season where it was the same kind of situation.
I always find it difficult to know what to say at times like that. In thinking about it now, maybe I missed an opportunity to tell him some about adversity and even sharing more about this gal. I always try to tell him to do his best, and it’s never one person’s fault if you lose a game…it’s a team.
My heart smiled a few times when first the gal’s mom (which I didn’t know at the time) wondered who that second baseman was. I was a little hesitant to say that was my son, since I wasn’t sure if she was going to say something good or bad. Thankfully, it was good…she said, “He is good.” (I breathed a sign of relief!)
On Sunday, the gal’s step-dad came to me and introduced himself and said, “You have a fine young man there.”
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   Photo credit by BK under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)
All of this also made me think about adversity….
…maybe you are an athlete and do lose almost every game you play
…maybe you have cancer or some other chronic illness
…maybe you have a loved one serving in the military and they are deployed
…maybe your spouse died unexpectedly
…maybe you are trying to find someplace to live
…maybe you are unemployed and need to find a job
…maybe your child has some kind of addiction.
Through all of these things, our attitude and perspective on life is so vital to how we handle the situation.
We can dwell on the negative and let that defeat us…
or
We can choose to dwell on the positive and try to overcome our situation one step at a time!  As this gal often reminds herself, there is always someone else worse off.
I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  –John 16:33 (NIV)
 
So, I encourage you to try to take that first step to overcome whatever adversity you are facing  in your life today.  Try to reach out to another to help encourage you or help you in some way, and always remember you are not alone….God is with you through it all!
…And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.  –Matthew 2:20 (NIV)

EVERYDAY MIRACLES

Do you ever stop and wonder why we don’t see the many and great miracles that were done back in Jesus’ day?  Maybe we need to reflect on our current lifestyles and the “little” miracles that occur every day in order to gain a better perspective on this question.

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Photo credit by Danielle Lynn under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

 

Our lifestyles these days are rather “instant” and technically advanced, compared to Jesus’ day.  We rush and run from one place to another, merely “doing” our routine.  All this advancement is great, as long as we keep the proper perspective on life.

 Amidst the hustle and bustle of each day, we need to take time to see the “little” miracles God sends our way.

The miracle of nature…..

–how the sun and moon appear each day

–the seasons that come year after year

–the birds flying south to keep warm

–the trees changing with the seasons.

The miracle of your body….

–how you were formed in your mother’s womb

–how you were part of the miracle of the child birth process

–the blood pumping through your body performing so many functions

–the hairs on your body growing when you don’t even notice

–how your eyes provide you with beautiful sights

-your ears can hear all kinds of sounds

–how your heart beats continually as you progress through this life.

The miracle of circumstances in your life….

–the relationship that was restored

–the people that offered to pray for you when you were having a health test

–how you found strength to make it through a long, rough day at work

–the “chance” meeting you encountered at the store

–how you quit smoking after so many years.

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Photo credit by  Scott Costello under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)

This thought of everyday miracles seems to resonate in my life lately.

I was talking on the phone to a co-worker whom I’ve never met, and I was in awe of listening to him tell the story of how another co-worker was on his way walking to his car when someone stopped him to help with a problem. Thankfully, this occurred at just the “right” time! If he had not been stopped, he would have been getting in his car at the time that the parking ramp collapsed where his car was.  That gave me goosebumps and made me stop and thank the Lord for an everyday miracle right there!

Recently I was at a minor baseball league game with my youngest son. I happened to run into a co-worker who works on my floor, but not in my department. For some reason at the game, we hugged each other and I noticed a cross necklace she was wearing. I went to her at work the next day, felt led to share my blog site with her, and we talked about God and my favorite band, Third Day. It was just what she needed that day to help her through a rough time. I consider that baseball game encounter, along with our follow up discussion, an everyday miracle!

This blog (#55!) happens to be at the one year mark of when I started this blog site! I consider this site an everyday miracle in my life! I am truly in awe of how God, through a series of circumstances, worked every thing out which led me to write again….just trying to share the things that are in my heart about our great God.  God also used His ordinary circumstances to provide an “editor” for me…using a simple comment via Facebook on a mutual friend’s post. I’ve never met my editor in person yet, but ironically we grew up in the same hometown! I am so blessed to have an editor who I can run things by and who encourages me along this path. You are such a blessing in my life, and I am so blessed by your sharing of your faith with me, Jenny! She always reminds me that “God never works in a vacuum…not ever!”

Can you think of some everyday miracles you have experienced in your life? Feel free to share them in the comment section below.

It is so refreshing to see God at work in the “little” details of life performing His everyday miracles!

If we recognize God’s little miracles every day, our faith in Him is going to grow and grow—and, as our faith increases, we will learn to trust Him more.  We might even see the Lord perform even greater miracles!  Keep your eyes and heart open to His everyday miracles!

You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.  –Psalm 77:14 (NIV)