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Happy 3 Year Blogiversary!

 

 

Happy3YearBlogiversary

Yes, believe it or not, this is the third anniversary of my blog. Three years ago today I started out with the idea of sharing my faith, realizing that I was just one of the many bloggers out there doing so, yet I felt compelled to start this journey of trust.

Therefore I truthfully must give all the credit and glory to my mighty God for helping me do any of this because as I’ve shared before, I have too many days when I am not capable of doing much and need to carefully use my precious time. This is why I have to republish old posts every so often. 

THANK YOU, dear bloggy friends, for all your patience, understanding and support!

I am also thankful for many of you who have become such good friends with me through this blog. I believe that these are divine friendships that only God can orchestrate and I am thankful for each of you in my life..

I don’t know what God has in mind for the future of this blog but I do know that He is the owner and His Holy Spirit guides and leads me in what to write and how to write it.

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel
and the preaching of Jesus Christ,
according to the revelation of the mystery
which has been kept secret for long ages past,
but now is manifested,
and by the Scriptures of the prophets,
according to the commandment of the eternal God,
has been made known to all the nations,
leading to obedience of faith;
to the only wise God,
through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen.
—Romans 16:25-27

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Trusting God for Perfect Peace

Is26-3--PerfectPeace-CalmSeaHorizon

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in the Lord forever,
For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.
—Isaiah 26:3-4

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It’s no secret that this Isaiah passage is my favorite because I’ve shared it here many times before. I also pray this intentionally for myself and the people in my life who are struggling with something or other.

Life on earth is not perfect. And the perfect peace Isaiah speaks of here is not that everything bad will turn out good. This kind of perfect peace is that which can only be found in a close relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Such a relationship generates the kind of trust and faith that He will help us stay calm while the storms in our lives rage all around us.

Only Jesus can fill us with such perfect peace. He alone is the author and perfecter of our faith, according to Hebrews 12:1-2:

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Here is a great explanation of this from one of my favorite sites:

From this we can deduce that Christ is the originator of our faith in that He begins it, as well as the captain and prince of our faith. This indicates that Jesus controls our faith, steers it as a captain steers a ship, and presides over it and cares for it as a monarch presides over and cares for his people. (emphasis mine)

Read more:http://www.gotquestions.org/author-perfecter-faith.html#ixzz3CMSMrd1O

Beloved, when things are going wrong, look up! Instead of concentrating on the frustrating circumstances, turn your attention and trust to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith. He will never let you down!

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Majesty and Mercy

 

Jehovah-Majesty

Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’

—Matthew 6:9-13

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God is Hope [REPOST]

 Here is another wonderful devotional by Patricia Knight. As always, I so appreciate you, Pat, and thank you for allowing me to share these special devotionals with my readers.

hope-one-way

God is Hope

By Patricia Knight

When we visited our grandsons at their home we were entertained with their evening after-dinner game. Our son, their father, would position himself on the carpet in the living room. Already the oldest boy was maneuvering into position in the kitchen for the run and jump assault on his Daddy. At age five and starting first, he gave himself a little thrust by pushing at arm’s length from the kitchen cabinets. In stocking feet he appeared to fly with a minimum of three to four steps to reach his Dad. Then, they both ended up in a congealed mass of love and fun rolling with arms and legs flailing out of control.

Daddy-Son-onthefloorNext in line, the four-year-old would rev his motors in the kitchen, his feet barely hitting the flour as he flew to his destination. His Dad was ready for him with arms outstretched. They would roll and tumble in the victory of the game, laughing and hugging in a big rollicking ball.

With each boy excitement mounted. The youngest was already running into the kitchen preparing for the game with his little fourteen-month-old body of determination. Having learned to walk only a few months earlier, he was hoping his actions would be the same as for his brothers; there was no doubt he had watched from the sidelines many times.

The littlest must have known he needed an advantage, for he started his journey in the middle of the kitchen floor. From the beginning he had a victorious grin plastered on his face. He was off and, uh, running. His shoes echoed “slap, smack” on the floor as he struggled to keep his balance while those hesitant tottering steps resounded on the surface of the hard kitchen floor.

He was gyrating with giggles and squeals. His top-heavy body struggled for stability with each new step. Just as he was ready to fling himself at his Daddy, he checked quickly for his parent’s outstretched arms. His Dad was waiting, smiling proudly at the mettle of his little toddler. The game ended all too soon with the son engulfed in a loving embrace in his Daddy’s arms.

Romans8-24-25

Most of experience hope many times a day. Even though they were unable to verbalize the process, the boys hoped their father’s outstretched arms would catch them, that his body would cushion them from the fall, or that he would laugh with hugs as he had done so many times before. “But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24, 25).

Hope is dynamic, involving a confident expectation. Hope relies on God’s blessings and provisions with the expectations of future goodness in our lives. Hope involves trust in One who can deliver. God is hope. We base our hope in God upon evidence of past events where He has proved He is able to keep His promises. Jesus is called the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13). When we believe in our Lord and put our trust in Him, we transfer our worldly hope to Him.

Ps119-147Hoping in our Lord is so different from the hope of what will happen to us or around us. When we believe in God, we transfer our trust and worldly cares to Him. We are free to put our hope in God, awaiting His good works and provisions for us. “I have put my hope in your Word” (Psalm 119:147).

We willingly transfer our cares and concerns, wishes and desires, to God. If we only place hope in ourselves or in other people, there evolves a perpetually disappointing cycle. As we transfer our hope and trust to God, He gives us strength by removing the burden of hope from our own lives. God’s love and understanding are vast compared to our limited resources. “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength” (Isaiah 40:31).

There may be times when we are ready to give up on all hopewhen the situation seems hopeless and we have no more strength to hold on. God is in the business of hope and strength renewal.

Those who have no faith in God can only cherish a desire with anticipation, without any basis for expecting attainment. However, the Christian has his hope placed firmly in God, who is the fulfillment of all hope. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

We can place our hope on a firm foundation of God’s promises. All of His covenants to His people from the beginning of time have been accomplished exactly as God specified. Since God is immutable, all of His promises remain constant and without error.

1-corinthians-13-13Faith and hope are inseparable. Having faith in our God is defined as trust, belief, and hope combined. Faith and hope are both dependent upon belief in a God who is worthy of faith, hope, and love in God’s Word. “And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love” (1 Corinthians 13:13).

For centuries the Israelites were promised a Savior who would establish His kingdom and rule on earth. That promise was fulfilled when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Like the people who had witnessed Jesus ascend from earth to His heavenly home after His three years of ministry among them, we, too, hope for the promise of Jesus’ second coming to earth to rule in righteousness. “There is surely a hope for you and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:18). God wants to simplify our lives by assuming our expectations. His Word is full of promises to His people. We are able to expect a beautiful life and a future full of greatness when we hope in God’s Word.

During their nightly playtime our grandsons eagerly ran to their father’s outstretched arms, hoping the same events would play out in excitement as they had the previous time. We, too, are invited to run into the arms of our heavenly Father, the same arms that were outstretched on the cross for us. There is hope in the crucifixion and resurrection and the promise of eternal life with our Savior and Lord. We know because God has promised it from the beginning of time (Titus 1:2).

Titus1-2

“…in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” (Titus 1:2)

“God is Hope” is taken from Pat’s book, REJOICE!

REJOICE

AnnaSmile…..

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The Time Bank

Eccl3-1--Time

To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NKJV

 

Time is something that we either do not have enough of or that we waste. In my own case, I have often referred to painful days that I spend not being able to do much as wasted days. Yet God has shown me that what I might consider as wasted He is using for my good and His glory. 

When I am not able to do much, I still can pray for others and sing songs of praise and worship in my heart to my Savior and King. That’s not only something, it’s what we were made for. How can we look around and not see the glory of His creation? And if we understand that He made all of it from nothing, how is it possible for us to not acknowledge it by praising and worshiping Him?

As Solomon’s words above tell us, God created all things, all purposes and all times. It is up to us how well we use the time allotted to us.

My good friend, Donna Baker, sent me this video the other day titled “The Time Bank.” It speaks to how important time is to us. 

Beloved, if you cannot view the video here for any reason, click here to take you directly to the youtube site.

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Cast Your Cares [REPOST]

Here is another great one from Pat Knight, reposted from June 2013.

Cast Your Cares

Guest Post by Patricia Knight

1Pet5-7

“Cast all your cares on Him for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

 Some days we feel like gathering up remnants of worries and sins, all frayed from receiving such a vigorous workout, and seek a disposal means for them. Search no more–God commands us to turn all of our cares over to Him. There is a key word that indicates exactly how to conduct the transfer of our anxieties to Jesus. Very specifically, we are told to “cast” our cares on Him.

Cast is an active verb. God wants us to deliberately throw our troubles and cares at Him.  God is always ready and waiting to receive our miserable care package. Our Lord is constantly alert to our needs; it is not His wish that we be overburdened.

Have you ever observed the expertise of a fly fisherman? There is no hesitancy or reluctance to the art. Casting a fishing line is a powerful and decisive action accomplished with a quick flick of the wrist. Once the line connects with the surface of the water, it is energized and ready to accomplish its goal.

Fly-Fishing_CastingJust as the fly fisherman’s line is thrown with great purpose, we are commanded to give our worries, cares, and weights a resolute fling in the direction of Jesus. Then we are able to walk away with no intention of retrieving anything from our bundle of burdens.  It now belongs to Jesus to swoop up for disposal, patching, or complete replacement.  There is no better way to deal with troublesome occurrences in our lives.

The action of casting heavenward in prayer is in itself remedial. Knowing we have a Person who desires to accept our brokenness provides great encouragement as we forcefully throw our burdens to the Lord.

Casting our cares on God is not a singular event. Life is full of ongoing hardships and tribulations. Our goal is either total elimination or a solution for our troubles.  God stands ready to catch our continual flow of anxiety. If we hone our skills at casting directly at the heavenly Father, He then knows we are serious about giving up the burdens to which we so desperately cling.

Just as we admire the grace with which a fly fisherman plies the art of fly-casting, be reminded that God is imbued with grace; the author of mercy and compassion. He waits patiently to reclaim us from the petty or the monstrous cares that plague our daily lives.  If God wants to relieve us of our cares and we desire to dispose of them, why drag through life over-burdened any longer?  Let go and let God transform your life to His purpose.

psalm-139-vs-23-24

“Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me to the way everlasting”
(Psalm 139:23-24).

Pat, thank you again for sharing your heart with us!

Beloved, life is indeed hard. We live in such a stressful time that I am very thankful for Pat’s timely reminder to cast all our cares on God.

AnnaSmile

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The God of our Salvation!

psalms-68-19

 

Blessed be the Lord,
Who daily loads us with benefits,
The God of our salvation!
—Psalm 68:19

 

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In Memory…

In memory of the brave Granite Mountain Hotshots who perished on June 30, 2013

 

GMHSInMemory

I am blessed and privileged to know several firefighters. All of them—and I know this holds true for all firefighters—put their lives on the line every time they suit up in their turnouts. Whether on the job or in their personal lives, they are selfless and giving people who always seem to think of others before themselves. They are the embodiment of 1 John 3:16:

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 

The collage below shows the long funeral procession from last year, 19 white hearses accompanied by fire and police vehicles. The lines of people on both sides of the highway spanned miles.

The memorial service took place in Prescott, close to where we live, and Rick and I were privileged to open our home to my son, Alan, along with Justin and Zane, two firefighter buddies from Dallas Fire Department who are also members of the Dallas Pipes & Drums. Each of them attended and were involved in the memorial service, along with many, many others.

HotshotCollage

 

Let’s not forget the sole survivor of that Granite Mountain Hotshots crew, Brendan McDonough, who read “The Hot Shot’s Prayer” during the memorial service:

When I am called to duty, Lord …

To fight the roaring blaze …

Please keep me safe and strong …

I may be here for days.

Be with my fellow crew members …

As we hike up to the top.

Help us cut enough line …

For this blaze to stop.

Let my skills and hands …

Be firm and quick.

Let me find those safety zones …

As we hit and lick.

For if this day on the line …

I should answer death’s call …

Lord, bless my hot shot Crew …

My family, one and all.

 

Ps34-18--brokenhearted

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I want to thank all firefighters for their unselfish and giving service, even though that never sounds adequate to express what’s in my heart. God bless you and your families with His everlasting love and peace…

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Independence Day … and an update [Repost]

Independence Day

I am very thankful that we can still celebrate Independence Day here in the United States. Many of us typically celebrate with fireworks, picnics, barbecues and family get-togethers which commemorate probably the most important day in our country’s history. As a nation, the United States of America is very blessed because of the sacrifice of all those who fought to procure our freedoms.

--PatrioticSoldier

The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
    the plans of his heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord,
    the people whom he has chosen as his heritage! —Psalm 33:11-12

Let us never forget how blessed we are as a nation … under God … whose freedom was bought at a great price.

Update on Monday’s post about the

19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Firefighters

I do not want to minimize the importance of this July 4th commemoration, the reason we celebrate it, or the enormous sacrifices made by the men and women who serve in the various branches of the military to protect our country and our freedoms. But I also need to share further information about some other heroes who sacrificed their lives to protect us earlier this week.

Please forgive me if it seems that I am dishonoring or disrespecting our military in any way by talking about these other brave souls. It is absolutely not my intention to do so.

This is just a simple tribute to the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshot Firefighters, and the family and friends they left behind. A wonderful Facebook group established to honor the memories of these fallen heroes and to support their families created the great banner image below.

I did not personally know any of these brave men but my son did and so did several of my friends. We are all grieving their deaths, most of whom were so young.

IndependenceDayHonoringOurHeroes

The Yarnell 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots:

yarnell19-2Credit: Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots Facebook page

Andrew Ashcraft, 29
Robert Caldwell, 23
Travis Carter, 31
Dustin Deford, 24
Christopher MacKenzie, 30
Eric Marsh, 43
Grant McKee, 21
Sean Misner, 26
Scott Norris, 28
Wade Parker, 22
John Percin, 24
Anthony Rose, 23
Jesse Steed, 36
Joe Thurston, 32
Travis Turbyfill, 27
William Warneke, 25
Clayton Whitted, 28
Kevin Woyjeck, 21
Garret Zuppiger, 27

You can read the “Families, Friends of The Yarnell 19 Speak Out” story here.

Several members of our church are retired firefighters who come out of retirement every year to help fight these wildfires. I am very thankful to each and every one of them for their service over the years.

Our church has been for praying for the families of the 19 men who perished in the Yarnell Hill fire and for firefighters who are still fighting the Yarnell fire as well as other wildfires in Arizona and other western states.

Please keep in mind—and in prayer—that there was a survivor of that horrible wildfire incident last Sunday. Of the 20-man Granite Mountain Hotshot team, one of the men survived. This was most likely because he was assigned to be the lookout that day and happened to be away from the rest of his team. He was up on a ridge checking weather conditions and radioing the information back to the rest of his team when they perished.

I’d rather not share his name here because he is more than likely struggling with why he was the only survivor. Maybe someday he will be ready to talk about this; maybe not. At any rate, he should be allowed the time and space to get through his many conflicting emotions about that fateful day without media or anyone else crowding him.

Our church held a prayer meeting on Monday night which I was sadly not able to attend, but I’m thankful that one of the ladies had the foresight to take some photos to share with us.

This is the result of how they decorated one of the parking lot fences:

Pray4FireCrewsLook closely and you’ll see it reads “Pray 4 Fire Crews”

The next photos show the alternating messages on the digital sign outside the church:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. —John 15:13

Still Here!

Blog-Break

I put myself on a blog break last month, which you can read about here, but I think I tried to come back too soon and too strong. Our summer monsoon season has started, and for me that means constant migraines—yes, I mean 24/7 quite literally. So for about another month, I’ll continue to lay low to conserve energy for other things, but you’ll still hear from me here once or twice a week as my energy allows.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people,
and he will dwell with them.
They will be his people,
and God himself will be with them and be their God.
 
‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.”

He who was seated on the throne said,
“I am making everything new!”
Then he said, “Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true.”
—Rev 21:3-5

 

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