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Sun and Shield

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Psalm 84:11 NLT
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Are you feeling unsettled? Are you wondering if there is a God? Are you wondering if He hears your prayers, moments of despair, or your requests? We all have days, maybe weeks or years of questioning? Does He see me?

Sometimes our requests are answered quickly, sometimes it feels like silence and no answers and sometimes it’s “my child, I love you and wait”!

I am learning God can be working behind the scenes and in my hurry to a conclusion I am sooooo impatient. Isn’t self control a fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5 is a gold mine of instruction.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT
[22] But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. [25] Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. [26] Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

If you aren’t feeling God answering your prayers, maybe what you think is for you is not a good thing.

He would never withold His best from you. Maybe His timing is not now or ever. He can be trusted. Remember He knows the number of your days and holds you in the palm of His hand.

Psalm 139:16-18 NLT
[16] You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. [17] How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! [18] I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT
[15] “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! [16] See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.

I have been feeling the need for the Word of God intensify. His words are nuggets of gold. They are not just words on a page but wisdom from above. It doesn’t matter if you were born in times past or present.

I used to think the Bible was filled with stories unrelateable but the more I read and meditate on His Word, the more I see our human nature doesn’t change very much over generations. Sadly, we are a mess without our Savior.

The human race tends toward its own sin nature: selfishness, wanting our own way, pride, jealousy, survival of the fittest, and me me me. I see these traits in myself and I cringe.

This mindset causes conflict leading to unrest, leading to fear, anxiety, depression and maybe war.

Look at the state of our world, our state, our community, maybe even our homes at times. We can be the bearer of unrest and conflict or choose,instead, to be a person who speaks life, pauses to bring words of affirmation, sprinkled with discipline in love, forgiveness and prayer over destructive communication.

It always boils down to choice. I choose peace not victimhood. Love in truth over fear and avoidance.

When I have spoken in fear or anger, I am learning to repent and turn back to Gods ways. It isn’t easy to break habits but it must be done. I must cast aside sins to break generational cycles.

Cast all cares upon Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 4

What about you? Be the voice in the wilderness filtering your speech after mediating on the word of God. His love is unfailing, He is our strength.

Psalm 117: 1 – 2 1 Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. 2 For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!

You are a Warrior!!!

We are living in times that require us to rise up in praise. We may be short, tall, slender, athletic, a little meaty ( that’s me) or any other shape. But we are called to stand side by side and be a Warrior. When we fall down, we are called to get stronger. The only way to get stronger is to hold onto our Creator God.

We are called to use our voice to speak truth, to pray for wisdom from God and to move into action by encouraging others and to lift up our voice in song..

I have loved the music artist, Hannah Kerr, since I saw her at Red Rocks; a beautiful outside red rock staired and seated venue outside of Denver. As the moon shone down upon the red rocks, I saw Hannah take the stage. This was her song, ” Warrior” is so powerful. It is an anthem. Its message reminds us we have the ability to stand even if we feel weak because we are strengthened by God.

If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, and worn out. Hold onto your faith. Praise is a way to actively speak truth. Even if you don’t feel strong initially, keep raising your voice. Even if you feel you cant sing well, lift up a joyful noise. In time, you will feel empowered to be Him-powered. Sing for Him!!

Enjoy this song, ” Warrior”, by Hannah Kerr. Thank you Hannah for singing out truth.

Road less traveled

Jeep travels by Mary Mesikapp
Psalm 25: 4 - 10   

4 Show me the right path, 
O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  

5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Occasionally, our family travels into the mountains on 4 x 4 Jeep trails. This time in nature reminds me to consider the road less travelled. My husband drives as I navigate with suggestions over the huge boulders, rolling rocks, and tree stumps. Water passages can be tricky especially when you never know how deep they may be. Our youngest hangs on for dear life as the jeep lurches, slides, and is temporarily at an odd angle to the mountain. Our brains are scrambled somewhat by the bumps on the trails yet our brain clears with joy when we reach our destination.

Traveling on Jeep 4 x4 trails takes trust, wisdom and a drive for adventure, much like life’s journey. Trust in the driver and the jeeps solid maintenance is necessity. On jeep trails and in life, there can be opportunities to avoid obstacles.

I can be an avoider, how about you? Yet the more time spent in the Bible teaches me to believe the obstacles may be used by God to deepen my faith.

The Lord is good. He does want to show us the path to follow. We have to let Him provide us with wisdom, which means we must drop our need to control and our pride.

We must be open to redirection, like navigating boulders. We have to take time to read His Word, it is an action step for our benefit.

We must discern who our tribe will be. Who is the leader? Who is the follower? We have to seek accountability from the right people who want us to be examples of integrity and character. There will always be people bent on our destruction. We must choose wisely who we believe.

The Lord is faithful and He is love. He is the Ultimate Best Friend and Wisdom Giver. Let Him be your navigator. He is the Compass directing you to the best things.

Thirsty

Let the Living water of God fill the empty places and bring refreshment. Are you parched in the weary state of the world or in your private life?

Let the Lord quench your thirst. I love this song by Shane and Shane. Living Water flow through Jesus and fill your life.

https://youtu.be/DlnAREAjTfU

Psalm 107:9 NLT
[9] For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God bless you today.

Mountains

Smoke and sunset MM

Some days we just need to see an example of the faithfulness of God. I shared this photograph with my father this week. My father and I love photography and see something extra special in an image. I purposely left the busy country highway in the frame for context. We can hustle and bustle our way through the day and forget to appreciate creation.

My father’s interpretation was spot on, his text to me stated: “The mountain looks red like a hot iron like the sun penetrating through the mountain”.

I responded, “Yes, I felt the same, its illumination, like Psalm 121, the Son is our helper watching and shining through the mountain metaphorically.” He agreed with my reflection 🙂 as I shared the scripture with him.

No matter what you are going through. He is there. I have a friend whose son is a Marine in Afghanistan. These past few weeks have been prayer and praise, encouragement and lifting the Body of Christ in prayer.

We need to turn to the Creator of the mountains, the heavens and the earth. He does not slumber even if we don’t understand the events in our lives.

Our battles may be across the world or in our own home or backyard. I am not sure who needs to remember this promise, however, Psalm 121 is a great scripture reminding us our help is from the Lord.


Psalm 121
1 I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

If you are blessed to see the mountains on your horizon, look to them as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.

If you don’t have mountains in your community, look at a photograph like this one. Let the Son of God illuminate the dark, scary places in your heart, mind and soul. There is life and hope to be found!!

Love really has Won!!

Sometimes a song hits you right when you need it. “Love has won!” by Citizen Way is powerful. It reminds us that we are not alone. That God is for us, that He conquered the grave and He has plans. Songs can bring hope, healing and peace. Thank you Citizens Way for the inspirational song.

I hope you feel the love of Jesus as you listen. Bask in His Love!!! His Love has Won! Thank you, Jesus!

Driftwood and Criticism

Criticism is not fun even if it is constructive. I consider criticism a statement of failure and condemnation, being judged unfairly and not measuring up to someone’s standard. It kept me angry. Synonyms for criticism vary from censure to review, assessment to appraisal. There can be negative or positive results.

Can there be rewards for constructive criticism? Should I be open to grow and be transformed into a better version of myself while I am feeling chipped away? Is there any truth to the criticism? Is this a healthy relationship?

I pondered, should I allow myself to be whittled like a dry tree branch? I have always been fascinated by people who can take a piece of driftwood or an old part of a tree and create something one of a kind, beautiful. They are able to see the beauty underneath the surface. Think about it, our God sees us the same way!!!

Photo by Kathryn Archibald on Pexels.com

On the outside the scrap driftwood appears to be dry and useless as it holds no life. It has been broken away from the main tree trunk. There are no longer pathways of sap to provide sustenance and energy. Maybe it has been floating in a river or ocean quite a while becoming further withered.

Do you ever feel like driftwood? Floating along, perhaps feeling alone, lost, distracted? The Master Craftsman could be waiting for you to float onto the shore and be ready for new things. If we ponder, the tools needed for this transformation we may use: Stillness with God, the Bible and humbly allow the cutting away of sin, forgiving ourselves, repenting and asking God for a new beginning. We must choose to let him carve away the dry.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

A wood carvers tools of the trade may be straight chisel, wood carving gouge or whittling knives each serving a specific purpose. A knife cuts away at the unnecessary layers of dead wood. It digs away layers slowly from the outside in. Could that be a chronic sin such as telling little white lies so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings instead of being truthful?

Proverbs 27 :5  An open rebuke is better than hidden love!

The gouge may allow the craftsman to gather the dry parts quicker, yet with care and patience the carver is hopeful not to gather too quickly. The gouge may be the deep consequence of returning to angry outbursts instead of listening intentionally.

Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

The chisel removes debris closer to the surface. It’s a skimmer of sorts. Perhaps an example of this in humans may be, the gentle rebuke from a parent, ” Hey, do you want to try that response again? Deep breath and we can talk more.” or ” Forgive me!”


Proverbs 26 :28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Corrie ten Boom was such a humble example of Christ, she gained more self-control as she was in the trial. Her quotes from her time in a concentration camp are found on the internet and in her book, “The Hiding Place,” a biography from World War 2. She witnessed the oppression of Jewish community including her friends. She, along with her family, chose not to stick with the status quo and many lives were saved by not turning a blind eye to the atrocities on their fellow country man.

The world is better for women such as Corrie and their example of putting to practice the words of scripture. I do not know if I could have forgiven those who committed evil. I would pray that I would choose the wisdom of God were I in her shoes.

One of my favorite quotations from Corrie ten Boom: Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls. 

What a timeless quote for daily mediation. I think honest critical comments can help us grow into who the Lord already knows we can become. There is a difference between constructive, loving communication and criticism that is meant to devour another person. Loving communication must start with words of affirmation, truth and love.

James 3: 2   Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.



James3:6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

The enemy wants us to switch gears in our minds and use our tongues to sear in fire those created in the image of God.

We must seek truth in Christ, be bold in speech and allow Him to grow our faith and bless our lives.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.     

I need to allow the dry places in my soul to be touched and sharpened by those who can help me grow. However, I am not open to be devoured by another whose intention is destruction. I pray for discernment of the Holy Spirit.

Choose wisely who we trust with wisdom. God first, of course, then friends who want to reflect Him to the world, like Corrie. May be the unpaid guardians of our soul need to be given thanks. Let God, the Master Craftsman, cut away the dry places and bring out the beauty just as driftwood!

Proverbs 27 :17   As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.

Healing

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Families are formed in many ways; single parents, grandparents, stepparents, moms and dads, and birth families, along with parents blessed through adoption. I fall into the last family group although it is not the last option. The heart beats of mothers who yearn for a child encompasses each of these family groups.

After praying a decade to have a child, God truly gave the gift of love through adoption to my husband and I almost twenty five years ago. We chose to have letters and in person contact (open adoption) with our childrens’ birth parents and family.

On this journey, I was humbled to develop close relationships with the birth families of our children. The media and many in community do not understand the love and sacrifice that it takes for a birthmother (and birthfather) to place their child out of love into the home of another Mom and Dad.

In addition, I have been blessed by contact with other birthparents/birth families. I have cried, grieved, prayed and rejoiced over the birth-families who shared their stories with me. Their willingness to allow my personal questions has allowed me to bring an open window to their hard but loving decision. It is with their input that I was called by God to write an E-book, “Healing Through Sacrifice”.

I decided to release ” Healing through Sacrifice: Bible Study for Birth mothers and Families” as a free E-book on my blog. The wisdom comes from a combination of personal and community experience.

Thank you to Temi from Christian Mommas for helping me with illustrations and providing your wisdom with formatting in WordPress. What a gift you are to me!

Please, consider visiting my free resources page to download a copy for someone who may need this resource. God bless you!

Numbers 6:24-26
 ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.
 May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
 May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.’

We are called not to dis—-

The enemy wants us disconnected, distracted, disrupted, discontent, and in disunity. No guilt or shame tossed from this fellow sinner. Are you dis………ing?

We are called to humility and seek wisdom from above and be an example of Jesus. The battle isn’t with family, friends, strangers, coworkers, any person. The battle is against the dark enemy, not flesh and blood. Scripture tells us to be strong in the Lord and stand our ground putting on the Armor of God.

Ephesians 6: 10-18 (NLT)
10 Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[e] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[f] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

When your mind feels confused or swirling like a tornado, consider the prodding of the enemy. If he can keep you off balance, you are not likely to speak for the Lord. If he can keep you in conflicts and division with others made in the Image of God, your witness to those whose paths you cross is tarnished.

When you know who the real enemy is, you can keep your connection in the right place. Stand with the truth, the Lord will not disappoint. He will give you the responses you need. Pause and Trust Him.

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Stop dis——- ing, put on the Armor of God and live in Christ!!

Hummingbird

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Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. Did you know they eat small insects, larvae and spiders in addition to their main source of energy nectar? They come in many colors and live 3 – 5 years. Did you know that their heartbeats at 1,260 / min? Amazing!!

They fly at a speed of 61 mph. They are quick to retreat when startled. They are 7.5 to 13 cm in length, tiny but mighty. I watched a few bathe in a stone fountain on a trip to Glen Eyrie Castle, Colorado Springs.

Seeing the freshly bathed beauties, I was reminded of my first interaction and a lesson from the past.

On a sunny, summer afternoon, I attempted to share the act of repentance to my child. I was blessed with a visit from a beautiful hummingbird as I shared God’s goodness and mercy. It had been a difficult day with conflicts and harsh words spoken. I needed to use a teaching lesson.

I started off explaining, Its hard to ask people we hurt and the Lord to forgive us because our sin nature fights within us. We have to admit our mistakes and humble ourselves.

I shared with my child a time when I didn’t want to admit my sin and how “it bunched up in my heart and made me feel more bitter and less forgiving of another”. “It’s a trap”, I relayed, “set by the enemy to keep your heart bound with chains”. I encouraged my child saying, “Let Him help you with the sin ( mistake), He really will warm your heart and guide you if you ask Him”.

There was pride, tears, anger in her eyes and yet I pursued the heart of my child. We sat on the green metal tandem swing, I said softly, “I will be here as long as it will take. God is here waiting for you to talk to Him. Admitting we made a mistake lets Jesus know that we want to start over and be made new again. When we accept Him into our heart, Jesus, wants us to let Him be the lead spokesperson. He has more wisdom and will guide us if we let him, even big people need to ask for help”.

We want to hide or fly away maybe at the speed of a hummingbird, instead of admit our human weakness. Our hearts hurt deeply as we struggle between seeking the peace of Jesus and the forgiveness from our Savior. Grace and mercy await us. The alternative is a feeling of brokenness and feeling a huge wall between us and Jesus. The enemy hopes we will choose our fleshy nature and stay disconnected from our Creator God.

The push and pull of this struggle reminds me of a tug of war rope. Who will win? Two choices: Confess our sin, seek forgiveness for sins, repent or stay disconnected?

We must make the choice independent of a parent or any other person.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

My child confessed her sin, asked forgiveness, and we hugged as the swing continued to move to and fro. At that moment, a wonderful multicolored hummingbird flew directly in front of our faces. It peered at each one of us as it suspended in midair. It seemed to nod at each of us, then flew through the trees. I truly felt like that was a blessing from above. You see, we live in an area that is pretty dry and I hadn’t seen a hummingbird before. I have been fascinated with this amazing graceful messenger from heaven ever since.

Matthew 6:26 NLT
[26] Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?

The grace and mercy of Jesus is attainable. Moments like this one, remind me to look for His hand in every day experiences. Being able to share the experience with my child was breathtaking.

Psalm 62:2 He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

He will show glimpses of His Creation in new ways. The God who made each beautiful creature wants to know you. He uses even a hummingbird to teach a Mom and Child. Let Him be your Rock, take the risk and let your heart beat to the rhythm of Jesus.