Is Your Heart Healthy?

#God, #inspiration, prayer“I feel fine,” I said to my doctor, “just thought the changes to my family medical history should be brought to you attention.”

When the heart disease of past generations started affecting my siblings I decided it was time for me to be proactive.

No problems were found in the initial tests but as a precaution, I was referred for a cardiac risk assessment, which included a stress test.

This made me think of the stress I’ve had in my life. Most of it was self-imposed. When I focus on negative things I cause myself stress. This can be hard on me both physically and mentally.

Thinking of only positive things can be quite a challenge. I used to worry about many things that were out of my control. When I started bringing these troubling thoughts to God, my life became more peaceful. Praying about my worries reduced my stress. I will freely admit that I haven’t perfected this. The good news is, the more I do it, the easier it becomes.

I have learned the benefits of consciously searching for the blessings God has surrounded me with. My attitude of gratitude is what will keep my heart and mind healthy.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7 NIV)

Safe and Secure

We don’t live in a rural area s#jesus, #inspiration, sheltero I was surprised when my husband said, “Did you see the wild life in our front yard?” I looked out the window to see a large rabbit sitting at the edge of our rockery flower bed. If Brian hadn’t shown me where to look, I may have missed it. The rabbit blended into the surroundings and was so still could have easily been mistaken for one of the rocks.

Other than a slight twitching of its long ears, there was no movement for quite some time. People came and went, vehicles backed out of the driveway and still the rabbit remained.

After several hours it hopped away, only to return that evening.

We came to the conclusion that it must have felt our yard was a safe place to stop and rest.

I thought about where I can go to find a safe haven amid the distractions and dangers that surround me. The answer wasn’t hard to find. Jesus is my safe haven. He calms me and gives me rest. I feel safe and secure in the shelter of his loving care.

The Lord is good. He is a fortress in the day of trouble. He knows those who seek shelter in him. (Nahum 1:7 GWT)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

Feeding Frenzy

#jesus, #inspiration, bible, prayerWe stood at the window watching in amazement. There was a feeding frenzy going on in our small oak tree.

Never before had we seen so much activity at the feeder that hung in this tree. At one point there were even four birds lined up on the fence, waiting for their turn. The branches shook with their constant coming and going. A few more birds sat at the base of the tree, gobbling up anything that fell to the ground.

Later that afternoon a severe thunder storm hit our area. Sheets of rain obscured our vision as the thunder crashed over our heads. I said to my husband, “I guess the birds knew the storm was coming and that’s why they seemed desperate for food. They knew they wouldn’t be able to get to it again for awhile.”

This lesson from nature had me considering how I get ready for looming storms in my life. I don’t have to be in a last minute frenzy if I make plan in advance.

The best way for me to prepare for anything life has in store is to concentrate on my relationship with Jesus. When I pray and read the bible I am storing up food that will sustain me. Jesus is the bread of life and when I am walking closely with him I will never go hungry.

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35 NIV)


#God, #inspiration, #Jesus, unchangingOne morning I returned home to find my street was closed. The sign said local traffic only so I carried on. Immediately past my driveway was a full barricade. Heavy equipment was digging a hole in the road.
Later when I attempted to leave, the barricade was blocking part of my driveway. My husband moved it temporarily so I could get out. When I returned an hour later it was no longer possible to drive right to my home.
It seemed that every time I went away it was harder to return. Home was becoming more difficult to reach.
Later I reflected on this. I am very thankful that God does not put up ever changing barricades to keep me from coming home to him. My life may be under construction but the route to him is unchanging. Any road blocks or detours are of my own making.
Even when I have left God temporarily, he always makes it easy to return. Jesus promised to prepare a place for me in his Father’s home and I know that it where I will spend eternity.
Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. (John 14:23 NLT)
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. (John 14:1-3 NLT)

Who Do You Trust?

#Jesus, #inspiration, prayer“Why would anyone do that?” my friend said. We were at the local swimming pool and she had been watching a scene unfold.

A child was being given a private swimming lesson. The little boy was happy and paying attention to his teacher. Then his mother appeared on the pool deck and the situation changed. She leaned over and made suggestions to the child, effectively taking control away from the instructor.

The result was quite predictable. The more the mother interfered, the more insecure the child became. Soon the boy was upset and wanted out of the water. His mother reached to help him out of the water.

The parallel of this scene to my life was obvious to me. I have put my trust in Jesus. He knows what is best for me and is able to teach me what I need to learn. This is where my focus must remain.

Why then do I get confused when well meaning friends give me contradictory advice? I know they care about me. The information they have to share may be valid to my situation. Should I be listening to them instead?

At times like this I need to remember that Jesus knows me better than I know myself. He is patient and kind even when I question him. He has the answers to questions I haven’t even thought of yet.

At times Jesus uses others to reinforce his message to me but never to contradict it. For me the choice is clear. I will pray to Jesus for guidance and trust him to guide my life.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NIV)

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4 NLT)

When the Bloom Fades – Revised

#God, #inspiration, ambitions, life, fruit

I apologize for sending this twice today.  The gremlins got to the first copy so please delete and enjoy this one instead!

A splash of yellow amid the sea of green leaves caught my attention. “That wasn’t there yesterday,” I thought as I hurried out to the vegetable garden to investigate.

One of our zucchini plants had two large flowers as well as a few buds forming. On closer examination I saw a small zucchini with the dried remains of a flower on the end.

I thought about the showy flowers that would soon wither and fade away. As lovely as the blooms are, they have to die before the plant will produce its crop.zucchini and faded blossom

The same holds true for the fruit trees and their blossoms that we look forward to in spring. The petals have to fall in order for summer’s fruit to form.

The analogy to life was not lost on me. There is nothing wrong with promoting or drawing attention to the work I’m doing. After all, I’m pointing others to God and his creation.

There comes a time, however, when I have to die to my ambitions and let Jesus take control of my talents, hopes and dreams. They are all gifts from him anyway.

By thanking Jesus and following his calling on my life, while leaving the outcome entirely up to him, I am putting myself in the background. The fruit produced for his kingdom will be more abundant when he is in charge.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. (John 12:24 NIV)
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galations 5:22-23 NIV)

Summer Storms

#God, faith, #inspiration, safetyOminous looking clouds filled the sky, blocking the sun I’d been enjoying. The air cooled as the first raindrops hit my exposed skin. It was time to fold up my lounge chair and move inside.

A flash of lightening lit up the sky. Very close behind was a boom of thunder that shook our trailer. I was thankful for shelter as we watched the windswept rain bounce off of our table.

In less than an hour the sun reappeared, bringing with it heat that soon dried the ground.

We went for a walk along the lake shore enjoying the warm breeze. On our return we took a path through the trees and stopped to admire the black and white butterflies flitting around us.

Many people packed up and left the campground as the storm clouds gathered. We chose to stay and wait out the storm.

In life I’m also hit with sudden storms. One minute I’m relaxing in the sun and the next minute a roar of thunder shakes my world.

My initial reaction is to retreat. On my own, I don’t know how to deal with the storms. Fortunately, I’m not on my own. My faith in God tells me that he will be my shelter in the storm. I know when I rely on him he will keep me safe. There may also be lessons in the storm that I couldn’t learn any other way.

His timing is perfect and I trust that when Good leads me back to the sunshine it will be with a greater awareness of the blessings that surround me.

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5 NIV)

Fading into the Background

#God, #inspiration, sin, prayer, clean heartThe loud music at the start of class bordered on being annoying. Before long it faded into the background and I was no longer consciously aware of it. Instead, I was focused on the activity of the exercises and a brief conversation with the person beside me.

We were about forty-five minutes into the class when the instructor commented the sound system had failed and we had no more music. I was surprised to realize the lack of music hadn’t registered with me.
How is it that something loud and unpleasant can fade into the subconscious so quickly?

I thought about the areas of my life where sin has crept in. At first it is like a pebble in my shoe. I’m very aware of it and constantly uncomfortable. Soon it has become part of the fabric of my life. Others may notice, but I don’t.

This opens the door for more of the same. What once was annoying is no longer noticed. That’s how easily it happens. From there it multiplies.
To remedy this I need to pray about each situation. There is a reason for my uncomfortable feelings. When I bring everything before God he will enable me to get rid of the problem areas and make my heart clean once again.

Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10 NLT)