To Be...Renewed, Refreshed 24

"Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul."
Proverbs 27:9

January 24
Well, we are visiting some other friends today (the 23rd) and have realized we left our computer plug in our previous hotel.  So here's a thought for the 24th, but I'll be missing in action until possibly the night of the 25th.
This amazing woman has been my steadfast friend for 43 years! That's a long time to stick by anyone.
We've walked through the deepest of heartaches together and prayed without ceasing for things in almost every category!  Both of us have buried siblings to very tragic deaths and we have rocked one another's babies, held one another through tough parenting times and now are rocking one another's grand babies. We have loved and been loved by one another's parents. While my parents are gone, her's now are struggling.  As I go to visit them I wonder if this will be my final earthly visit with them.   

Jeremiah 31:25 says,  "I'll refresh tired bodies; I'll restore tired souls."  
This getaway has done just that for me.  While I hated to spend the money on travel it has been well worth is as my stroke headaches, which had reoccurred for the past seven months have gone away!  Rest, renewal, and refreshment for our souls is attainable. Glad I found some!

To Be...Amazed by God and Say So

This is our early evening view!

January 23
Watching an ocean sunset is a powerful experience. Blink and that big ball has just dropped into the ocean! All we have to do is step out into creation and we know God is!  What do we do with the knowledge?  Does jubilation pour from our souls daily?  Do we stare across at a friend over coffee and say, "Isn't God amazing?"

We recently visited friends and family in Florida and the change of scenery and lack of household responsibilities afforded us the opportunity to bask in God's greatness. That opportunity exists everyday, but sometimes we get stuck in our ruts and forget to exclaim to the world around us...
How great is our God.

"Do everything readily and cheerfully-no bickering, no second guessing allowed!  Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so I'll have a good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. You'll be living proof that I didn't  
go to all this work for nothing."  Philippians 2:14-16

"In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 7:12 

To "Out of this World" Believer

Our beautiful daughter in law and her babe.
January 22
Studying Romans 8 the phrase "all things" occurs several times.

"God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32

"But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." Romans 8:37

All these things we face are part of the earthly life process.
All these things have purpose in preparing us for an eternal life.
When we recognize that Christ's love for us is on an eternal time line and about more than happiness in the here and now, we adopt an "out of this world" perspective and appreciate the process!

I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the food we had at a dinner last week.  My palate was popping with happiness as it tasted these farm/sea to table fresh delicacies. I ate a piece of Mahi Mahi that was so moist it must have come right out of the ocean. Coconut jasmine rice, lobster bisque with coconut creme and green beans, mango, avocado, red onion and fresh greens danced in my mouth! Can't even begin to describe the desserts, but they were "out of this world" and made me get a glimpse of the heavenly banquet that awaits us!  There is so much more to come than what we've experienced here on earth!  

To Be...Aware of God's Goodness and Acknowledge Him

Snowy days remind me of God's covering.

January 19
"Only when you are overwhelmed with the goodness of God can you overflow with the goodness of God to others." Ann Voskamp

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."  John 16:33

Read out loud just a few of these thoughts about who God is in Psalm 104. Your heart can't help but thrill when you contemplate that God chose you to experience life. Yes, its full of ups and downs, but its an temporary experience He chose to give us. May we acknowledge Him!

"O my soul, bless God!  God, my God, how great you are! Beautifully, gloriously robed, dressed up in sunshine, and all heaven stretched out for your tent.  You built your palace on the ocean deeps, made a chariot out of  clouds and took off on wind-wings.  You commandeered winds as messengers, appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.  You set earth on a firm foundation so that nothing can shake it, ever.  You blanketed earth with ocean, covered mountains with deep waters; then you roared and the water ran away-your thunder crash put it to flight.  Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out in the places you assigned them.  You set boundaries between earth and sea; never again will earth be flooded. You started the springs and rivers, sent them flowing among the hills. All the wild animals now drink their fill, wild donkeys quench their thirst. Along the riverbanks the birds build nests, ravens make their voices heard.  You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns; earth is supplied with plenty of water. You make grass grow for the livestock, hay for the animals that plow the ground."  Psalm 104:1-14 MSG

To to laugh at the Future

January 18
Along the lines of yesterday's entry, I read in Jesus Calling about how life can look like a treacherous sea with waves that appear to be coming to crash onto you.  Very timely, as I awakened looking out upon the Gulf of Mexico.
Sarah Young wrote:
"The future is a phantom, seeking to spook you. Laugh at the future...You are surrounded  by a sea of problems, but you are face to Face with Me, your Peace. Stay close to Me. Fix your eyes on Me, the One who never changes.."

"Fear not for I am with you." Isaiah 41:10

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9

To be...content in our sufferings and have joyful anticipation of what's to come.

January 17
The text came early, my girlfriend had fallen in her kitchen and broken her ankle.  Whatever we were facing at that moment paled in comparison. I said, "At least I'm not in a cast!"  Then the virus hit and day three of the fever I said, "I think I'd rather be in a cast than going through this."  Next a call came seeking prayer for a childhood friend. Her son-in-law had died unexpectedly and her daughter had just found out she was pregnant with their second child. Suffering with flu was mild compared to walking alongside a daughter with such great heartache.  A Caring Bridge alert popped up. That's always a heart tug.  A neighbor had lost his battle with leukemia and this sweet family now faces life without their beloved husband, father, grandfather. Another friend was boarding a plane with her husband trying to reach his brother before he died. They didn't make it. And yet another friend has fallen and will be in a cast for eight weeks.

This is life, yet we are never ready to accept the suffering.  It was the perfect week for me to be studying Romans 8 with my Bible Study Fellowship sisters.  Our notes stated "For believers, suffering belongs only to this present age...God will reveal glory within us-'the inner me' that will receive a resurrection body and live forever will participate in glory!"

"What we are suffering now is nothing compared with our future glory." Romans 8:18

This world is short lived!  Check out the charge at the end of this passage in The Message.

"That's why I don't think there's any comparison between the present hard times and the coming good times.  The created world itself can hardly wait for what's coming next.  Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead.  Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens."

To Be...Available

Snow Day at the Beach! So much fun for this sweet family.
The bomb cyclone got them!

January 16
Are we available to serve the Lord today?  Can our calendars be cleared for the Almighty?
Does it take a snowstorm to slow us down?  God has ways of urging us into availability.

Mary was made available.  Esther was made available. Samson was made available.

The story of Ruth and her mother-in-law coach is a beautiful picture of God working things for good when we show our availability and trust in the Lord.

"Take a bath. Put on some perfume.  Get all dressed up and go to the threshing floor.  But don't let him know you're there until the party is well under way and he's had plenty of food and drink.  When you see him slipping off to sleep, watch where he lies down and then go there.  Lie at his feet to let him know that you are available to him for marriage.  Then wait and see what he says. He'll tell you what to do."  Ruth 3:3-4

Father, we bow before You and worship You today.  We come before You with thanksgiving and with hearts that are available to follow Your lead. For You make all things beautiful in Your time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.