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He Picked You!!

Happy_valentines_day

Are you filled with anticipation today for the excitement that awaits you?

Perhaps suspecting surprises of flowers or candy or even a sparkly something on this special day?

NO?

Is today tough for you? Is it a day that reminds you of being alone…taking you back to your grade school and junior high days when you stood in a line waiting to be picked? You waited and waited as others were chosen, whispering to yourself each time, “pick me! pick me!”

Fast forward to adulthood as you look around and see others picked to fall in love while you’re still saying, “pick me”. It can be a hard way to spend the day.

I have good news for you…someone DID pick you!

pick me cupcakes

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Is this verse too generic for you? Let’s try it a different way. Read the verse out loud and say your name each time there is a blank:

For God so loved ____ that He gave his one and only Son, that because _____ believes in Him _____ shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn ______, but to save the world through Him. John 3:16-17

You were chosen to be you – uniquely you and loved by an amazing God. He has wonderful plans for you whether or not you have a sweetheart to spend Valentine’s Day with. I understand the pain of being without an earthly love/significant other who loves you, dotes on you and can’t wait to spend time with you. I still desire that.

But one thing I know for sure. The love of other human’s will fail. They will disappoint us. They will anger us. Some day they may leave us (at least for a time) through death.

Not so the love of God. The apostle Paul put it this way:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

God’s love isn’t always easy to comprehend on human terms. But if you reach out for Him, He will reach in and change your life in wonderful ways.

Even if you’ve known Him for years, come to know Him in a new, deeper way this Valentine’s Day.

Today, may the unending love of Jesus wrap you in a hug deeper than you’ve ever experienced before.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

blessings and peace,
Paula

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Blessings and Curses

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praising and cursing.
My friends this should not be.
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
                                                            James 3:9-10

 

I am a thinker — sometimes to a fault I guess. This passage helps me realize that sometimes I “think out loud” regarding a person and his or her actions. Perhaps I am frustrated or just don’t understand how/why they can act a certain way. I don’t mean malice against them.

But how does this “talk” sound to someone who hears it?

Does it sound as though I am speaking against a person…cursing them in a sense?

How many times would it be better to keep my mouth shut?

Quick to listen James 1-19

I have discovered that at times keeping my mouth shut will help diffuse a situation even when others around us are being critical. I find that offering an alternate opinion often actually adds fuel to the fire of complaining and criticizing. Listening to someone complain and not responding, or diverting the conversation in another direction will often stop the negativity.

Scripture also tells us

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11

If we concentrate on finding the good in others it doesn’t mean that we will never be frustrated with people or situations we encounter. It does however give us a different perspective and keep us from being outwardly critical. We will find that the atmosphere around us becomes less negative and more peaceful.

We will also find that as we are less outwardly critical we become more inwardly peaceful and positive as well. Our minds will begin to automatically think less negatively and more peacefully as we practice the presence of Christ within us.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
                                                         2 Corinthians 10:5b

We can’t do this in our own power. It involves daily…sometimes hourly calling on the Holy Spirit to give us power that is not within our own human nature. His presence in our lives is what allows us to live peacefully in a world full of negativity.

It is what this world is hungry for, even if they don’t know it!!

As people encounter this peace they may question where it comes from. This opens opportunities to talk about Jesus with them!

I invite you to give this a try today and through the coming week. Begin to think about how little comments mean more than we give them credit for. And remember what it feels like when you receive a compliment or kind word. Even small kindnesses can add up to big blessings!

Blessings & peace to you as you bless others!!
Paula

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BIG REMINDER! (and something to think about)

TOMORROW IS VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!

Happy-Valentines-Day  Wallpaper

This public service announcement is not only for those who have a significant other whom you should not forget on this special day.

It is also (perhaps especially) for those who look ahead with dread toward a day that reminds them of what they “have not”.

This alert is to give you time to turn around an otherwise melancholy time of the year.

I spent almost 20 years of my life as a single woman dreading Valentine’s Day. I felt that it wasn’t fair that other women could celebrate the day of love with their mate enjoying a romantic dinner, being surprised with roses or jewelry to commemorate their love for each other. And there I sat…

Alone.

Wallowing.

Consuming large amounts of chocolate.

One day a thought dropped into my head.

head-and-heart1“you know, you’re not the only one alone on Valentine’s Day!”

I know it’s not really a radical, mind-blowing thought, but it was for me that day. I began to really look around me at others who were preparing for Valentine’s Day. And I saw plenty of others alone and lonely, sometimes even in a marriage or relationship.

And I realized that I can make a difference to them on Valentine’s Day.

What about you? How can you make Valentine’s Day better for someone else?

Here are some ideas:

  • Mail or deliver Valentine’s to those who are alone.
  • Pick up candy, flowers, balloons, etc. and hand them out randomly to people who look like they could use a smile.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone who might need a friend.

There are so many other options. Pray about what you could do, on your own, with your significant other or as a family.

heart mittens

I guarantee that as you reach out, God will reach in!!

Tomorrow I have a very special Valentine’s message for you.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

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Loving The Unlovable

Yesterday a friend of mine challenged us on Facebook:

Consider as you walk today and for the weekend:

“..if you love those who love you, what reward will you have?”

There’s value in loving those who are difficult to love.

As I read it I contemplated just how well I do with this as I go through the mundane sameness of every day. I thought about the difference between putting myself in a position to love someone who is difficult to love and choosing love or acceptance toward someone who crosses my path in everyday situations. I actually think the latter is more difficult.

Challenge accepted, I began my day and headed to the orthopedic office where I work at the front desk. I prayed that God would give me the proper responses to those around me and that I would react as Jesus would when placed in difficult situations. As I got to work I encountered:

  • The impatient caller who was worked up because she didn’t get the answer to the message she left quickly enough.
  • The inefficient drugstore clerks who can’t seem to get people through a check-out line in a timely manner.
  • The grumpy patient checking in who didn’t have his insurance cards and didn’t want his time wasted signing forms.
  • And my favorite…the pickup truck who barreled out of a parking lot and almost hit me on the way home.

There were others of course, too many to list here. In my job we talk to so many needy patients on the phone and in person that there are numerous opportunities to choose. And I will admit I didn’t always choose love when someone was ranting on the other end of the line. I was reminded just how difficult it can be to not fall into the trap of grumpiness, sarcasm and gossip. Thankfully there were several times I caught myself softening my responses mid-conversation or looking that grumpy person in the eye with a smile.

When I changed my responses to a more loving, accepting tone I saw a change in the other person as well. It was sometimes subtle but to me it was significant. I knew I had made a difference, however small.

Bestselling author Harvey Mackay said,

“Little things don’t mean a lot, they mean everything!”

Take a minute right now to reflect over the past day or two and the little things others have done for you that brightened your day or lightened your load:

  • Did someone hold the door and let you walk through first?
  • Did a stranger smiled as you passed?
  • Perhaps a co-worker shared your workload…or a sweet treat!

….you get the idea.

If these little things made such a difference to you, imagine the difference you might make to others.

And in these situations it’s not a stretch to consider you are making a difference for eternity.

Truly I tell you,
whatever you did for one of the least of these
brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.    Matthew 25:40

So today I am issuing the challenge to you. As your weekend begins and you encounter the grumpy, impatient and rude people who are a part of our everyday life, make a choice, and make a difference.

Least of These

Please come back here and share with us how your encounters made a difference. I’d love to hear about them!

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

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Obedience ~ Words Worth Remembering Week #11

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands.

As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.

                                                                                                                          2 John 1:6

From a very young age we are taught to obey. Before we can talk or ask, “why” we are taught what is right and wrong. But as we mature we begin to question why we need to obey, a sort of  “what’s in it for me?” attitude. Today’s verse shows us that obedience is a form of love. As children of earthly parents we obey because it pleases our parents and shows our love for them, even if we don’t understand why they are asking us to obey. Obedience to God is the same.

obedience1

Oswald Chambers wrote:

There is nothing miraculous or mysterious about the things we can explain. We control what we are able to explain, consequently it is only natural to seek an explanation for everything. It is not natural to obey, yet it is not necessarily sinful to disobey. There can be no real disobedience, nor any moral value in obedience, unless a person recognizes the higher authority of the one giving the orders…A person is simply a slave for obeying, unless his obedience is the recognition of a holy God.

God did not intend for us to be slaves to His laws. He asks us to obey because we love Him and recognize Him as the leader of our lives. It is not always easy, and we won’t always understand. But when we know God is asking for our obedience we must step forward in love to Him and to others around us.

Tomorrow we begin what is recognized in Christian churches as Holy Week, the week we remember the days leading up to Jesus’ death on the cross. Jesus’ entire life was lived out of obedience and love for His Father God. All that Jesus did during His earthly life was done to show God’s love to those around Him, and through Scriptures even to us today.

There is no greater example of obedience through love than this week of Jesus’ life. Through the ups & downs, the people and places we can learn so much through each step of His obedience.

Sometimes the week before a big holiday can be crazy and chaotic. We see that at Christmas, and also now that Easter is just a week away. It can be easy to lose the impact of Jesus’ gift to us at Easter when we focus on the activities and preparation.

This week I will be posting a devotion here each morning. I pray that they will help to focus your day and encourage you to cherish the incredible gift that Christ gave us on the cross.

blessings and peace to you today!
Paula

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Valentine’s Day ALERT!!!

1 WEEK UNTIL VALENTINE’S DAY!!!

Happy-Valentines-Day  Wallpaper

This public service announcement is not only for those who have a significant other whom you should not forget on this special day.

It is also (perhaps especially) for those who look ahead with dread toward a day that reminds them of what they “have not”.

This alert is to give you time to turn around an otherwise melancholy time of the year.

I spent almost 20 years of my life as a single woman dreading Valentine’s Day. I felt that it wasn’t fair that other women could celebrate the day of love with their mate enjoying a romantic dinner, being surprised with roses or jewelry to commemorate their love for each other. And there I sat…

Alone.

Wallowing.

Consuming large amounts of chocolate.

One day a thought dropped into my head.

head-and-heart1“you know, you’re not the only one alone on Valentine’s Day!”

 

I know it’s not really a radical, mind-blowing thought, but it was for me that day. I began to really look around me at others who were preparing for Valentine’s Day. And I saw plenty of others alone and lonely, sometimes even in a marriage or relationship.

And I realized that I can make a difference to them on Valentine’s Day.

What about you? How can you make Valentine’s Day better for someone else?

Here are some ideas:

  • Mail Valentine’s to those who are alone.
  • Pick up candy, flowers, balloons, etc. and hand them out randomly to people who look like they could use a smile.
  • Pick up the phone and call someone who might need a friend.

There are so many other options. Pray about what you could do, on your own, with your significant other or as a family.

Start planning now…you have 1 week!!

heart mittens

I guarantee that as you reach out, God will reach in!!

 

Next week I’ll check in with you to see how you let God made a difference through you in the lives of others.

blessings and peace to you!
Paula

 

 

 

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Bucket Full of…

This summer I have becoming very familiar with buckets. Mind you I haven’t filled one with berries, used one to build a sandcastle or to carry worms to the fishing hole….yet. I have however put many under the eaves of the house while praying for rain to fill them.

Our water supply comes from a well and every summer we have bouts of running low, or out of water. This requires creative solutions such as ‘showering’ from a bucket and heating buckets of water on the stove for dishes. Activities that my parents recollect from their childhood only in modern times. We are thankful for laundromats, bottled water and family and friends who have enough water to spare.

I don’t tell you any of this for sympathy. It’s really just an inconvenience and reminds us of all the blessings we have and perhaps how much we take for granted. And it’s fun to play in the rain when the buckets are filling up and need to be emptied into jugs so they can catch more! For me it’s also nostalgic, reminders of trips next door to the farm for showers as kids and learning from my grandpa to brush my teeth using a glass of water instead of water running from the faucet.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about buckets, and being filled. I’ve been thinking about how each of us needs to be filled every day. Not only our physical needs but mental, emotional and spiritual spaces in our hearts and lives that need filling.

How do I choose to fill these voids?

Am I filled by what others believe about me, or say to me each day?

Am I filled by what I read, listen to or what I watch on television?

Am I filled by what I believe about myself?

To some extent the answer to all of these questions is, “yes”. Our lives are impacted by outside influences every day. The question is how much do we rely on them and how much do we depend on the Lord and the truth of scripture to fill us from within?

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6 NIV

No one can know everything about us except God, and no one understands our deepest needs the way He does. God gave us others for friendship and fellowship but He did not intend for any human to take His place in meeting our deepest needs.

Our friends may abandon us when we’re going through a rough time because they don’t know what to say or how to ‘fix what’s wrong’ with us.

God promises that He will never leave us. (Deuteronomy 31)

Family and friends may say hurtful things to us that make us question their love. But God tells us:

“I have loved you with an everlastinglove;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3

We need others around us to support us, to challenge us and to bring joy to our lives. But the truth is, when we rely only on humans for our needs we will ALWAYS be disappointed.

The Lord is waiting to fill you with whatever your needs are today….a listening ear, a pat on the back, or the assurance that you are loved more deeply than you can know. May you reach out to Him and allow Him to fill you, pushing out the noise around you that may go against His truth.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV

May your bucket be overflowing with His love, blessings and peace today!!

Paula