Cherish

The Gypsy Mama

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. Please visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. That is like the one rule we all really care about. For reals.

OK, are you ready? I’ve had this word on my heart for you all week. Usually I’m wondering what the prompt will be right up until nearly midnight myself. But this week – this week I think a few of you at least need this word…

Cherished…

GO!

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I am nostalgic. I keep momentos. I believe in surrounding myself with things that I love.

I have certain pieces that are cherished.

*Pictures of family, before everything went digital.

*A lock of hair from my son’s first haircut.

*The table that my late husband made, just for me.

*My grandmother’s earrings.

*The emails from my husband when we first getting to know each other.

There are many things that hold a special place in my heart, these things that I cherish. I can’t imagine not having them…if something happened to them, I would miss them. I might not look at these things every single day, but I know that they are there. Waiting.

And yet, these things will not last forever. All things in this life eventually fall apart, fade, decay. My grasp on them will loosen as time goes on.

I came into this world with nothing…and I will leave that same way.

My true treasures, the ones that will never be destroyed are the things that I lay up in Heaven.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6 NIV

 

 

I Am Loved

“How is God calling you to become the Beloved?”

 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Colossians 3:12  NIV

The God of the universe calls me His. One of His chosen. That knowledge still leaves me breathless. Not only did He choose me, but He loves me…dearly.

Even though I have been a follower of Christ for decades, I still in my more contemplative and quiet moments, shyly ask Him, “Why”?

Why me? Why now? Why do you call me Your beloved?

“I fail You, all the time,” I mutter. This spoken from a heart that knows.

And His reply comes to me from The Word.

Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Psalm 100:3 NIV

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Corinthians 3:5 NIV

I will not even try to understand an infinite God. His ways are not my ways.

But, He answers the why question by His actions.

God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 NIV

Grace was given.

Grace being the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to deserve it.

I am quiet. I ponder these verses.

I am loved.

Life Change

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Why is it that when I want to have good habits, healthy habits, interesting habits…it is so hard? Sigh. Oh, the bad habits, I’ve got that covered. They are not a problem, I know those habits, oh so well. I wish that was not the case. Sigh, again.

I want to eat better, exercise more…be healthy. I want to read more and travel more. I want to try new things and meet new people. I overwhelm myself with all that I WANT.  Now, I’m not saying wanting these things is all bad. It’s not. I think God wants for me to have an exceptional life and to live abundantly…but, what does that really mean? For, me? For, you? On a daily basis, where habits are formed?

What, out of my myriad list of things that I’d like to change from once in a while, hit or miss attempts, into habits, do I choose? What is the habit that is the most important? The one habit that, if I’d stick with it, would literally change my life?

 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 ESV 

And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV

Obviously, as a believer, Jesus has things planned for me. Good things. Things that will make me more like Him, and after all, isn’t that the goal? To be more like Him, every day?

To know Jesus, more.

How do I do that? In practical ways? In meaningful ways? In real ways?

1. Communicate- Philippians 4:6-7 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

2. Celebrate- Colossians 2:6-7  Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

3. Emulate-  Philippians 2:5  In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus

 

 

 

Love With Fierce Determination

A heart being used as a symbol of love. Photo ...

“Actions can change feelings.”

“Motion can result in emotion.”

“Love is established not so much by fervent promise as by often-repeated deeds.”

I read this in yesterday’s devotional. The truth of the words struck me. Love is not always about the other person, most of the time, it is about me. What am I doing? How am I showing love?

In this world, love has been cheapened, distorted, and tortured. There are people looking for love in all the wrong places, wanting, hoping, seeking to find what seems so elusive. Love is treated like a game, instead of a commitment. Marriage is seen as unnecessary by today’s standards, and vows are said with the intent, “I’ll stay with you as long as I love you.” Love is understood as an emotional whim, not a fierce determination.

There are times, even in close relationships that love feels lost, or old, or broken. None of are perfect and neither is our love. But, there is One who does have perfect love and it is through His Word that we can learn what love should be.

I am reminded what love really is…

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails … (NIV)

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (NIV)

Ephesians 5:33
However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (NIV)

1 Peter 4:8
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (NIV)

1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. (NIV)

1 John 4:8
Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (NIV)

 

 

Words That Describe God

Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;102_2364
  you are the one Israel praises.  Psalm 22:3 NIV

The words of scripture let us know that, God indeed, inhabits the praises of His people…..

The words that describe Him, leave the heart full.

* Faithful * Forgiving * Glorious * A Refuge * Ever Present Help * Father * God * Love * Peace* Just * Avenger * Mighty * Powerful * Helper of the fatherless * Judge * Jealous * King * Maker * Provider * Advocate * Most High * Comforter * Mighty Rock * Wise * Adonai * Jehovah * Eternal * Compassionate * Glory * Only True God * Righteous *

And…

Jesus, name above all names.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2: 9-11  NLT

* Alpha and Omega * Ancient of Days * Chief Cornerstone * Bread of Life * Christ * Lord * Faithful and True * God’s Son * Great High Priest * Shepherd * He who searches hearts and minds * Light * Holy and Righteous One * Jesus * King of Kings * Lamb of God * Savior * Rabboni * Messiah * Passover Lamb * The Word * The Great Physician * The First and the Last * Wonderful Counselor * Word of Life * Salvation

And, the Holy Spirit

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. Acts 2: 1-3 NIV

* Holy Spirit * Holy Fire * Spirit of the Living God * The Gift * Voice of the Almighty * Holy One * Spirit of Truth

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This day…..Thanking the Great I AM, for all He IS.






Reminded of Time

When bad things happen, when tragedies occur…

Death Valley

Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

Shock and grief immobilize us. We don’t know what to think or say.

It seems so unfair and well….just wrong. Wrong that people have died, wrong that some were so young.

These times remind us. Remind us of things we’d rather not think about.

None of us…not one…are promised even another hour, much less, to live to an old age.

It sounds so harsh, to say something like that. No one likes to hear it…or think about it.

Most of us are so cavalier about our time. Precious time. Time we will never get back.

Live life, knowing. Knowing that this life too, will one day end.

What will your legacy be?

How do you want to be remembered?

13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4  NIV

 

 

It Is Really Going To Be Something

However, as it is written:

Heaven

Heaven (Photo credit: adyyflickr)

“What no eye has seen,
    what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”—
    the things God has prepared for those who love him— 1 Corinthians 2:9  NIV

I’ve been thinking about this lately.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3 NIV

Christ is preparing a place… for me.

I recently watched a video where one of the speakers said, “God created this Earth with all its beauty in only six days…..what must my place in Heaven look like, since He has been there preparing it for me ever since He went back?” (that was my paraphrase of the speaker’s words)

I had never really thought of it that way before…

God created each of us uniquely. None of us are exactly the same. Even though we might share some of the same likes or dislike some of the same things….only He knows what really makes us tick. He alone knows all our thoughts that we can’t put into words. It is He that knows what makes us each smile on the inside…those things that give us comfort and what leaves us awestruck. He knows how best to prepare…

It is really going to be something.

I just know it.

 

 

Jesus Messiah

The choir members voices rose, filling the sanctuary. I listened to the music, as it surrounded me with the reality of the words. They were singing one of my favorite songs. Every time I hear that song, I don’t know whether to jump out of my seat and raise my hands towards heaven, or fall to my knees in thankfulness.

The song is by Chris Tomlin, and is entitled, Jesus Messiah.

English: Chris Tomlin performing a concert in ...

The chorus goes like this:

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

As I get ready to begin my Christmas decorating, I am reminded that Jesus came to this earth as a baby. The Son of God humbled Himself to be Emmanuel, meaning “God with us“. He gave up his place in Heaven for the brokenness of humanity. For you and for me. I love this song because it reminds me that Jesus did not stay a baby. He grew up. He made a way for all of mankind. He is the bridge between God and us…and for that I am so very thankful.

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Today I am thankful for:

* the hard beating of geese wings

* frosty morning air

* Thanksgiving and thanksgiving

* making pumpkin rolls with my sister

* Christmas movies and tree decorating

* well wishes from friends

* good books

* Christmas music

* getting laundry done!

* not having to tutor until later in the day

* clean (or clean enough) house

* my husband

* singing along to Christmas songs…pretending I’m Mariah Carey (the girl has a set of lungs)

* Jesus, The Way, The Truth, and The Life

* My Redeemer

* The Baby in the manger, Jesus of Nazareth, and God in the Flesh






Into His Image

This day, at A Holy Experience, we are writing on: The Practice of Joy…. What does it mean to choose Crazy Joy? How do we authentically walk through hard times? How do we practice the “gigantic secret” of Christians?

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Present

How do we choose joy?  Is true joy a choice, something we make for ourselves? Or does it just happen to us? A whim? A destiny? How can we choose to be joyful on a daily basis? And can real joy change our lives?  I’m not talking about happiness which is circumstance driven. Happiness is a fleeting emotion…it can’t be depended on. I’m talking about a joy that comes from knowing.

I was startled when I first read Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. Her written words so closely echoed my own thoughts. I could relate, when she said, “When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn’t all become a gift? For He might not have.” (p.94)

Doesn’t it all become a gift? It isn’t difficult to find joy. It is there in the every day. Often times I am too rushed, too busy, too self absorbed, too afraid, and much too cavalier to see the joy.

There is something that happens when thanksgiving is being lifted up. Being thankful to the Giver of all Gifts, changes the heart. Each good thing becomes even more precious. Each hard and difficult time shapes me. As a follower of Christ, both of these things conform me into the image of Christ. As a follower of Christ I know that the greatest gift I’ve ever received is the gift of salvation. If I never was given another gift, He alone would be enough.

Jesus is the gift. He is joy…and it is through Him that all the other things make sense.

Little White Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve taken pictures of this country church several times before. It is very picturesque, and captures my love of simple beauty.

While looking at this church I think of all the people that have worshiped there. How many people have sang hymns to the Heavenly Father in this holy place? How many prayers were uttered to The One who always hears? How many marriages were celebrated? How many tears shed for the ones that have gone on?

I think a lot about history. I wonder about these things through the eye of my camera.

Oh, the stories to tell…..