Shining a Light

#inspiration, #Jesus, #God, light, leadingLate one evening my husband and I drove through dark mountain passes. There were no streetlights and the high beam setting on our headlights was used and appreciated. Without them, we couldn’t find our way through the darkness.

When another vehicle approached us, we would dim our lights. It was surprising how many of these vehicles did not return the favour. We would be blinded by the brightness of their lights which made it difficult to see.

I thought about this and wondered if it could be related to life. When I use my talents and abilities, I am, in effect, shining my light. The purpose is to brighten the way for others.

If I stand before you saying, “Look at me” I am using my light to draw attention to myself and not for the benefit of others. In this way, I could be blinding you from seeing what you need to see.

Jesus was the light of the world but never blinded people with his light. Instead, he used it to lead people out of the darkness.

Like the moon reflects the light of the sun, my life should be a reflection of the light and love and Jesus. Only then, can I point people to the everlasting light found in the Son of God.

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” (John 8:12 NLT)

Dangerous Teddy Bear

#inspiration, Jesus, Satan, temptation, trapped“What an unusual cactus,” I said. “Look how soft and fuzzy it is at the top.”

Fortunately, I was given some interesting and extremely helpful information before I got too close.

This variety of cactus is known by more than one name. It’s called Teddy Bear cactus because of the appearance of fuzzy arms outstretched. The name Jumping Cholla gives me a less friendly impression.

I was informed the sharp barbs would actually jump onto me if I got too close. It seems the arms detach easily and attach to passersby. I wouldn’t even have to brush against it before I would experience a less than cuddly teddy bear.

This was all the warning needed for me to keep my distance. It was also a good reminder that appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes the biggest danger is hidden behind an exterior that looks safe and welcoming.

Satan loves to tempt us with things that look innocent. When we express interest, sharp barbs get a grip on us. Before we know it we are ensnared in activities we have trouble detaching from.

When faced with temptation, my best course of action is always to talk to Jesus. He knows how to keep me from temptation and how to free me when my foolish actions place me in a dangerous situation.

Because Jesus experienced temptation when he suffered, he is able to help others when they are tempted. (Hebrews 2:18 GWT)

Karaoke Night

#inspiration, #Jesus, life, personaWe had no intention of singing. The visit to a Karaoke night was purely for entertainment purposes.

The range in vocal ability and style was vast. One woman was shy and faced away from the audience when she sang. Some were modest and sang from the heart. Others had fun and interacted with the audience. They all brought enjoyment to the evening.

We overheard conversations about practice and performance skills from a few. They took this very seriously.

I was fascinated to watch and listen as the singers took on a new persona when they picked up the microphone. Once the music started it seemed as if they thought they had become the original artists. Maybe the impersonation of someone they admire helped boost their self-esteem.

This is not a judgment, as I know I’ve done the same thing. When I see how popular and successful you are, it is only natural to want to duplicate this in my own life. The trouble is, I’m not you and never will be. Instead of striving to be like you, I need to be the best possible version of me.

Ironically, the way to do that is to model myself after a well-known figure. Jesus is the only one I should be striving to emulate. In fact, he wants me to mold my life after his. The more I am able to do this, the better my life will become.

I pray that the glorious Father, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know Christ better. (Ephesians 1:17 GWT)

Not What it Seems

#inspiration, #Jesus, #prayerThe date was March 31st. The sun was shining and the sky a clear blue. Mid-Afternoon my husband and I decided to walk to a nearby coffee shop.
The temperature had been chilly lately so I put on a heavy jacket but because the sunshine was so inviting, didn’t bother with gloves or a hat. We hadn‘t gone far before I realized the crucial mistake I’d made.

The calendar may say it is spring and the sky appears to indicate warmer temperatures but that was definitely not the case. In fact, the cold air was stinging my cheeks! A quick check on my weather app showed -9°C with a real feel of -17°C.

Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. My rational mind knew there was snow on the ground but the optimistic part of me wanted to believe the air was warm.

This is not the first time I’ve believed in something that was not what it appeared On first glance, my mind tells me to believe the positive. This is not always in my best interest. More investigation is required before I make a commitment.

How do I determine what is true and what is not what it seems? I need to stop and pray about it. Then I have to wait for an answer. Jesus sees past the surface and knows what is best for me. He will direct me when I rely on his guidance.

Just as I should have checked the temperature before I headed out for a walk, I need to check in with Jesus before I make any big decisions. He is the one I can fully trust.

In him our hearts rejoice for we trust in his holy name. (Psalm 33:21NLT)

Amazing Love

#Good Friday, #Jesus, love,Have you ever loved someone so much you would risk injury to protect them? Would you go as far as giving up your life to save another?

Even before they were born I knew I would do this for my children. Now, the same holds true for my grandchildren.

But, would I freely give my life for anyone other than immediate family? Probably not.

Yet, this is just the kind of amazing love Jesus had for you and for me. He wasn’t forced but freely gave his life. I know this because of his words in the Bible found in chapter ten of the book of John.

Jesus knew he would be facing excruciating pain.  He was beaten, mocked and tortured. Why would he put himself through this?  It was to become the sacrifice for our sins.

I used to think that since I was basically a good person, I couldn’t be a sinner.  How wrong I was. I hadn’t considered the little white lies, judgments of others or a myriad of other so called small things.  Since it is not possible for me to live a ‘perfect’ life, I am guilty of sin and deserve to be punished.

The simple reason Jesus suffered and died is because he loves you and wants you to spend eternity in Heaven with Him. In response to this sacrifice, don’t think of Good Friday as just another day but consider how you will respond to His amazing love.

He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed.  (Isaiah 53:5 NIV)

Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18 NLT)

A Lamb named Tandy

#Jesus, #inspiration, #EasterThe email said, “I’m sending you a picture of one of the lambs born on our farm this spring.” A friend from childhood sent this to me. She then said that they had named the lamb Tandy.

I’ve never had an animal named after me before and was honoured to have this adorable little creature share my name.

Spring brings new life and thoughts of new beginnings. Easter symbolizes that in my life making it a perfect time to reflect on my relationship to a lamb.

The Bible has many references to Jesus being a shepherd and we his sheep. Like sheep, we don’t seem to know what is best for us. Left on our own, we tend to wander and wind up lost and in danger.

As our shepherd, Jesus leads us with love and compassion. He knows the path we are to take and guides us there safely. Our job is to listen and follow Him.

A shepherd risks his life for the safety of his flock. Jesus did much more than this. He willingly gave his life for us. There can be no greater expression of love.

At Easter, we reflect upon this sacrifice. The picture of a lamb named Tandy is a visual reminder of how helpless I would be without Jesus. I am eternally grateful to be a member of His flock.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:7 NIV
I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. John 10:11 NIV

Good Medicine

cheerful heart, good medicineA dull grey sky and a cool breeze greeted me when I looked outside. The weather forecast for the next few days didn’t appear any more promising.

However, the view from my window did nothing to dispel the joy in my heart.

My husband and I were nearing the end of our vacation. We had experienced the diversity of God’s creation. From the colourful rocks of windswept canyons to more variety of cacti than I knew existed, we saw beauty displayed.vacation, beauty, creation

Friends just met, offered conversation and companionship.

Time spent with distant family staying only an hour away rekindled shared memories.

The bonus of friends from home visiting the same area gave us adventure and laughter that caused tears to run down our cheeks.

An added blessing was the hospitality of a fellow writer who welcomed us into her home for a meal.

Deep contentment as Brian and I walked down the street, hand in hand.

fresh fruit, picked it myselfI was able to pick oranges and grapefruit from neighbouring trees and enjoy the fresh, juicy taste.

Challenges presented by new pastors in a much larger church than we were used to gave me a new perspective.

Quiet moments with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ restored my soul.
Scripture says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” and I have received life-restoring, energizing medicine.

#inspiration, #Jesus, scripture, good medicine,cheerful heart

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NLT)

Come In From the Cold

#Jesus, #inspiration, church, greetingMy husband and I stood near the church entry, welcoming people as they arrived for the morning service.

Outside was a frigid -30°C. When people entered the building we shook their hands and I said, “It’s cold outside, come in and enjoy the warmth.”

My words had a double meaning. The first was obvious as the indoor temperature brought a welcome reprieve from the cold air outside.

The second was a little more subtle. Life can be challenging and the world often seems cold. The church should always be a place of hope and a refuge from the cold.

There is no need for anyone to brave the cold world on their own.

It goes even deeper than the church building. As a follower of Christ, it is my duty to extend a warm hand and friendly greeting to all. I was once told, “You may be the only Bible people come in contact with.”

When I show genuine care and provide a safe welcoming environment I am reflecting the light and love of Jesus. Only then will they trust me when I share the difference a relationship with Jesus can make in their lives.

There is no better way to come in from the cold.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV)

Rules of the Game

#Jesus, #inspiration, BibleI have happy memories of playing card games and board games. This enjoyment of games was passed on first to my children and now to my grandchildren.

Recently I pulled out a board game that had been neglected for many years. Nine year-old Emily and ten year-old Logan were excited to play a game their mom had played as a girl.

It had been so long since I’d played Big Deal that I had to learn the rules all over again. Fortunately they were printed inside the lid of the box so we had guidelines to follow. There were more rules than I remembered and it was easy to get confused and forget some of them.

We decided to start anyway and learn as we went. Many mistakes were made and I was grateful for understanding grandchildren.  They asked lots of questions and waited for me to look up the answers. The rules were always beside me and they let us know how to play and how to win.

Life also comes with a rule book.  It’s called the Bible.  Jesus came to show the joy and peace found through following God’s laws. He demonstrated how to play by the rules in order to win the prize of everlasting life.

I still sometimes struggle with or forget some of the rules. Jesus is always beside me to instruct me as I go along. He is the one who makes it possible to play by the rules and win at the game of life.

If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them. (James 1:5 GWT)

A Child is Born

#Jesus, #God, #inspiration,
Picture compliments of Kristina May

A couple of months ago a friend celebrated the birth of a new baby. This child was eagerly awaited and loved long before she drew her first breath. The baby is not the first child in the family but this doesn’t diminish the devotion lavished on her.

She is loved unconditionally even though she can give nothing in return. She is loved for her very existence in this moment and not for what she may become in the future. Her family is committed to nurture and guide her as she grows.

This is the way God loves each one of us. I know he loves me just as I am. Even when I have nothing to give back, he still cares.

He is watching over me and is always there to nurture, support and guide me to reach my full potential. When I cry out to him in prayer, he takes care of my needs.

I can have this relationship with God because he sent Jesus to demonstrate his great love for me. Jesus left his heavenly home and came to earth as a helpless baby. He knew the sacrifice he was making. It was for you and for me. This is the greatest gift known to mankind.

Let us think of that sacrificial love as we celebrate the gift of the baby Jesus this Christmas.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 NIV)