Proud Citizens

#God, #Jesus, #inspiration, heavenTomorrow is Canada Day. My husband and I will be joining thousands of others in our city to watch the Canada Day parade. We have our red shirts and maple leaf insignia to wear and flags to wave.  This is our way of showing our patriotism.

Festivities in honour of Canada’s birthday will take place all across our vast nation.  In our city and many others the celebrations will conclude with spectacular fireworks displays. These events enable us to come together and celebrate our citizenship in what we believe is one of the best countries in the world.

Across the world citizens of Canada have a reputation for being polite.  Kindness and care for others is also an attribute of those with a heavenly citizenship.

A friend once told me that we often go through life like tourists.  We gather souvenirs and mementos from place we’ve been and people we’ve met.  What we are called to do as citizens of heaven is to leave little pieces of heaven wherever we go.  Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

No matter what country we live in, we are also citizens of heaven. One day we will all be reunited with our Lord, Jesus Christ.  No citizenship can be better and that alone is reason for celebration.

But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, (Philippians 3:20 NIV)

The Win in the Loss

#God, #inspiration,loveThe decision was out of my control and the pressure I felt was entirely self-imposed.

When I first learned my book was a finalist for an award I was overwhelmed. Gratitude to God was present in the tears that flowed. He had blessed me for heeding his call on my life.

I’ve just returned from the Word Awards in Toronto. As the time grew closer for the winner to be announced my thoughts changed. They became more about me than the opportunity to serve God by sharing the words he’s given me to write.

If I wasn’t the winner, would that make me a loser? Would I be a disappointment to those that have cheered me on?

It wasn’t until someone else’s name was called that I realized it doesn’t take an award to make me a winner. The outpouring of love, support and positive comments I received from family and friends washed over me like a healing balm. To them and to God, I was still a winner.

You see, I let it become about me when it was never supposed to be. In the Bible it says:”If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.” I firmly believe it is the same for those who write.
The words God has given me to write are not for my benefit alone. The goal is to inspire others and point them to him. This is for his glory, not mine. To know I am doing what God wants me to is greater than any other reward.

My heart was not ready to receive an outside award. When I am completely surrendered to him and his calling on my life and not concerned about outside validation I will be ready. I don’t know when that day will come, but for now I thank him for loving me enough to keep me humble.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV)

All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5-6 NIV)

Speeding Through Life

#God, #inspiration, lesson, blessingsIt happened again. I got distracted and lost track of time. Now I was running late.

I had just pulled out of my driveway when a woman started to cross the street in front of me. Instead of continuing to the sidewalk, she walked on the road, forcing me to slow to a crawl.

After passing her I hurried on, hoping I wouldn’t be late for my appointment. Soon I found myself stuck behind a slow moving car. My frustration started to build. I checked the speedometer and realized we were going the speed limit. If this vehicle hadn’t slowed me down I would have far exceeded the limit. I needed to be more mindful of what I was doing.

It would be nice to say that I got the message. In reality it took one more case of being forced to slow down. Since it happened three times in less than ten minutes I wondered if there was a lesson for me here.

Too often I’m either distracted or rushing. When this happens it’s easy to miss the blessings God has placed before me. He sprinkles treasures though the day to delight me and demonstrate his love. In my hurried state I am apt to pass them by without a second glance. What if I failed to notice the very thing he wanted me to experience today?

This lesson stayed with me for the rest of the day as I slowed down to pay attention to him. I know there will be struggles in my quest to stop speeding through life and am grateful God is patient to guide me through them.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. (Ephesians 1:3 NLT)

Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. (James 4:8 NLT)

My Two Fathers

God, heavenly father, unconditional loveMy father didn’t know how to relate to his children. Men of his generation didn’t show emotion, so while I’m sure he loved his children; there was never any expression of his feelings.

I was an unexpected late-life child and experienced a mellower father than my older siblings. He even took the time to teach me the game of cribbage. That’s how I knew he cared. He showed love as instruction and not hugs or words of encouragement and praise.

When I was 23 my father passed away. I loved him but was sad to realize that I never really knew him and grieved for the relationship that was never to be.

This experience made it difficult for me to understand God as a loving, heavenly father. It was hard to relate to something I’d never experienced. When I was told that God loves me unconditionally and will never leave me, it sounded too good to be true. Surely if I spoke out of turn or misbehaved that love would be taken away.

What I now know is that no earthly father, no matter how loving, can measure up to the devotion God has for me. He has walked with me through joy and sorrow. He has been my strength in times of need. He freely shares his wisdom and has guided me to achieve dreams I never thought possible.

Although I have disappointed God many times he continues to love me. I am forever in debt to my heavenly father who has shown me the meaning of unconditional love.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NLT)

Are You Like a Pineapple?

Jusus, inspiration, loveIt was difficult not to be offended. I struggled not to take it personally but admit my feelings were hurt.

Why was she being so prickly towards me? I thought back over my actions, racking my brain to find something I may have done to cause this unpleasant reaction. Nothing came to mind.

I was still in the “poor me” mode when something a friend said to me recently popped into my head. She told me she’s like a pineapple sometimes, prickly on the outside but soft and easily bruised on the inside.

Perhaps my offender was hiding her bruised interior beneath a prickly surface designed to keep others from getting too close. Since this is someone I won’t be in contact with again, I will never know if she was hurting or just miserable. I choose to give her the benefit of the doubt.

It’s easy to think of times when I have been bruised inside and did my best not to let it show. If I risked being vulnerable I may have been hurt even more. Or, I may have dissolved into tears which would have shown my weakness.

How many have judged me the way I judged someone based on the mask that she wore? I can’t know what another is thinking or feeling, but I can react with compassion rather than anger and disappointment.

I’m so thankful that Jesus knows me intimately. He loves me even when I am unlovable. He sees my heart and is there to bandage my tender bruised emotions. This is the unconditional love that all of us need.

He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. (Psalm 147:3 NLT)

O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. (Psalm 139:1-4 NLT)

After the Rain

God, Jesus, Inspiration, trustThe rain had continued throughout the night and into the morning. I resigned myself to having to stay indoors.

It wasn’t long before cheerful birdsong drew me to the window. I saw the sun breaking through the clouds with the promise of blue sky to follow. Nature was calling and I was powerless to resist.

Soon I was making my way across the wet grass towards a path through the woods. The fresh aroma of the earth after a rainfall was invigorating.path through the woods

Wildflowers were scattered along the edges of the path. A few tiny blue butterflies flitted naturenearby. I smiled, remembering how enchanted my grandchildren had been to see butterflies like these in previous butterfly

The lush foliage varied from a mossy colour to the deep green of the pine trees. What a wonderful day to be alive! As I walked, I thanked God for the incredible beauty that surrounded me.

What started out as a day under dreary skies had turned into one that had me singing praises. This served as a reminder that God is with me in every circumstance.

The Bible tells me to rejoice and be glad in each day the Lord has made. The rain that falls in my life today can be used to promote new growth in the future. I will trust him as he walks with me daily, knowing the light of his son Jesus, is always shining upon me.

This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24 NLT)

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NLT)

Having a Bad Hair Day?

God, Inspiration, peace, faith“My hair is the bane of my existence,” my friend said. “I can never get it to look like I want it to.”

She has straight hair and wants to add some curl to it. I, on the other hand, have spent a lifetime attempting to straighten my natural curls.

We discussed that this is about more than wanting what we don’t have. For both of us, this is a sign of our need for control. Controlling my hair is a small step in controlling my life. If my hair falls into place I have more confidence other parts of my life will do the same.

What I fail to remember is that my plan is not always the best one. God has a much better plan for my life than anything I can imagine.

Giving up control and stepping out in faith has been a challenge. Uncertain circumstances are difficult for me. I want to know the next steps to take and what the outcome will be. Anxious thoughts can hold me back.

My trust in God is what can calm my fears. When I let go of my futile attempts to controlling my life I am more peaceful. I know that he is able to handle every aspect of my life. When my confidence is in God, even a bad hair day can’t stop me!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)

Singing in the Dark

trust, inspiration, God, faith“It must be the middle of the night” I thought. Our bedroom faces east and the early morning sun often wakes me earlier than I’d like. What I heard didn’t make sense in the darkness that surrounded me.

The sound of birds in the back yard was unmistakable. It was normal to hear their cheerful chirping n the daylight but not during pre-dawn hours.

The memory of their song danced around the edges of my mind when I arose in the morning light. I realized the sounds in the night had a message for me.

It’s easy to sing and be happy when the sun is shining and all is bright in my little world. The test comes in the blackness of the night. When all is dark around me, how do I react? Am I sure the darkness that seems to consume me will never retreat? Or, do I trust in the Lord?

God’s Word says not to be afraid in the dark times because he is close beside me for comfort and protection. He causes all things to work together for my good. I know from past experience that God has birthed incredible blessings from some of the darkest points of my life. My faith tells me to sing praises and to watch in anticipation for the dawning of a bright new day.

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. (Psalm 23:4 NLT)

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV )

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. (Romans 8:23 NLT)

What Should You Wear?

Jesus, inspiration, faith, peace, compapssionDo you ever look at all the clothes in your closet and tell yourself you have nothing to wear? No matter how much you have, nothing seems appropriate.

I’ve recently discovered that my choice of apparel or accessories is not as important as I once thought. Unable to decide which pair of earring looked better with my outfit I chose to wear one of each. This kind of spontaneity is unusual for me and I waited for the comments that were sure to come.

Imagine my surprise when my departure from the norm was not noticed. This was a valuable lesson that I am not the center of attention!

More than what I wear, it is my heart and attitude that people notice. My goal should never be to draw attention to myself. Instead I want my life to reflect the light and love of Jesus. To do this I need to wear peace, faith and compassion. These are appropriate for every occasion.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25 NLT)

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