Tag Archive | faith

Give Thanks

Whew! What a busy season the past several months have been!

Several years ago, I realized I was taking many of God’s blessings for granted. Quite honestly, I often was not even noticing the numerous ways He was blessing. Noticing and recounting these gifts of grace and joy are not merely for my benefit, but really for God.  You see, God wants us to delight in Him. He wants us to praise Him. He wants us to fully seek Him. By intentionally looking for His blessings and becoming more aware of His everyday presence, I am overcome with humble gratitude and drawn near to God.

God blesses in unexpected ways, and I don’t want to be so wrapped up in busyness that I miss His handiwork! These gifts that bring joy come in all shapes and sizes, some obvious and others minute.

First and foremost, I am grateful for His salvation. I am unworthy of this eternal gift of His grace.

I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.
Psalm 52:9 NLT

The sweet aroma and colorful blossoms of honeysuckle were a pleasant surprise; I don’t recall honeysuckle ever blooming mid November at my home on the range. This was a beautiful bright spot in the mostly brown landscape accompanied by gray skies, a blessing from the Lord.

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Encouragement from a longtime friend, an unexpected email asking “How are you?”, songbird choir filling the air with joyful melody, a smile across the room from My Love, answered prayer, a call from a son just to chat, end of wheat planting and harvest, health and strength to help others, the opportunity to live in a country with hard fought freedoms, flexible schedule to give and serve others, beautiful sunsets, starlit sky, a sweet hug, and the list could go on and on because God lavishly blesses with His goodness to each and everyone of us. Take time to notice and give Him praise and thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
 Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
Psalm 105:1-4 NLT

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RaIn!!

We have been praying for 3 weeks now, asking God to rain on the prairie. Thousands of acres burned leaving ranch land naked. Wind has blown topsoil and sand creating drifts in the ditches. Today, God has answered the prayers of many.

 R a i n ! !

Glorious rain has fallen throughout the day. The earth, like a sponge, is soaking it up as quickly as possible. This has not been our normal spring  isolated shower that dumps rain in a small area and then quickly moves on. This is cell is hovering over us, gently pouring. The weather radar indicates that it could continue raining throughout the next 24 hours or more. I not only celebrate for myself, but more so for friends and neighbors who needed this rain desperately to bring plant life back to their barren land.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

 He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
 He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.
Psalms 147: 7-9 NIV

Thank you, God, for hearing and answering our pleas!

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I hope you will praise God with me, and please pray for these ranchers in my corner of the world that have lost so very much. This rain will cause vegetation to grow, but it will take much time to rebuild homes, corrals, barns, miles of fence, and cattle herds.

Freezing Rain

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In my corner of the state, moisture of any kind has been next to nothing for quite sometime now. Therefore, when the rain began to fall last evening, I was filled with joy even when it did soon begin to freeze.

It rained through the night, and continues as I type. Already branches are snapping from the heavy coat of ice. This harsh pruning is leaving jagged breaks. Sometimes, when God prunes me, this is what it feels like – harsh, jagged, breaks. However, over time, as I submit to Him and grow He smooths out the splintered edges.

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Choring with Hubby was a bit cold, wet, and slippery, but there were many reasons to be joyful. There was a slight breeze to keep the windmill pumping water for the cows, and although the fence is sagging look at how wet the lane is! That field of wheat will certainly benefit from this moisture.

One does not need to look hard to see that beauty abounds!

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He [God] gives a command to the earth and it quickly obeys him.
 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He throws down hail like rocks.
    No one can stand the cold he sends.
 Then he gives a command, and it melts.
    He sends the breezes, and the waters flow.
Psalms 147:15-18 NCV

Glistening Masterpiece

While some of you are snowed under, others are watching the flood levels. In southwest Kansas we are still enduring an extended drought. No matter what trial we are in the midst of, God is always there.

Yesterday God’s handiwork began to shine as the sun came up. My early morning travels took me through the Oklahoma Panhandle, and I had to make several unexpected stops to try to capture some shots of God’s glistening masterpiece.

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This part of the country is dry enough, any little bit of moisture is welcome. Even if it comes as freezing drizzle in late April.

It is easy to worry when the weather is so unpredictable and one is a farmer.  However, Jesus has some great words in the book of Luke.

“I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food to eat or enough clothes to wear. For life is more than food, and your body more than clothing. Look at the ravens. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for God feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than any birds! Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things? “Look at the lilies and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for flowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?” Luke 12:22-28 NLT

Farther East the landscape had a blanket cover of canola in full bloom. God’s exclamation point to say “I am in control!”

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I Prayed for Rain

After a couple beautiful days in the 70s, these cold damp days are not so welcomed.  Yet this is what God has blessed us with. Blessed? Yes, blessed.  In our dry and thirsty corner of the state, damp is better than hot wind, and although I prayed for rain, wet snow melting-where-it-lands is better than nothing.

Still we are ungrateful and complain.  My own complaint is that I’m chilled to the bones. Other grumblings I heard while out and about today were:

  • It’s so gloomy out.
  • Now I’m going to have to wash the car.
  • It’s only enough to make things messy.
  • There’s not enough moisture to amount to anything.
  • It’s miserable out.
  • I had to pick up the kids. They couldn’t walk home in this.
  • Ugh! I just wish winter would go away.

Shame on us! We can be such ungrateful spoiled brats.

Father God, Forgive us for our ungratefulness, for our grumbling and  complaining. Thank you for the moisture you have blessed us with these past 2 days. I know you are the one true God who has the power to say to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’

For the Love of God

Due to some reading, listening to a couple speakers and a class I’m currently taking, I have been prompted to take a good hard look at my life. Too many times my life revolves around Me, Myself and I.  Me and my husband, Me and my family, Me and…  Do you see the common denominator? Me, Me, My, Me…

Satan loves it when people focus primarily on self, because then our number one focus is not on God.  Satan is the deceiver causing us to think we are better and more important than others.  We fill our schedules to revolve around ourselves.  Too many days are not begun asking, “God, what is it you want me to do today?”, listening to His direction, and then being obedient to go and do.

What would our community be like if all who call themselves “Christian” would follow those steps each morning?  Can you imagine the change if denominational barriers were torn down, or if the status of wealth and popularity no longer caused social discrimination?  What if we truly loved as Jesus loved?

Missionary Amy Carmichael said, “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”  What woud happen if we seriously followed Jesus command to “love your neighbor as yourself?” Matthew 22:39   Daily schedules would no longer revolve around “Me”.   C.T. Studd was a missionary to China, India and Africa.  He said, “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”  God wants us to be obedient now in spite of our imperfections. What better place is there to get started  than in our own neighborhood and community?

I would like to issue a challenge for the week: Each morning begin the day asking God, “What is it you want me to do today?” Listen for His direction, and then be obedient.  Be intentional in showing the love of Jesus to others in your community.

 ” If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;  but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”    I Corinthians 13:3

Powerful Words

He could have brought me a beautiful bouquet, baked my favorite cheesecake, or any number of gifts, yet none would be as special as the e-card he sent. His message was not one of empty words. It was powerful, filled with love, straight from his heart.

I didn’t even know my husband knew where to find, nor how to send an e-card. I send e-cards frequently and show him what I’m sending, but I cannot recall a time when he sent one himself. For a first time visitor to bluemountain.com or other such e-card sites, the task of selecting, personalizing and sending a card can become quite time consuming.

Before reading the personal message or opening the card, I was touched by the gesture of love and surprise I found in my “In Box”. However, a big lump closed my throat as I read his sweet, personal sentiment. Then tears welled up in my eyes as I read and watched  the slideshow card play.

My husband of 30 years is not a man of frivolous words. Rather, he says what he means and means what he says. He is not usually the first in a group to speak, but listens intently, ponders awhile, and then speaks. That’s why I treasure notes from him. I know he doesn’t scribble something hastily, and he probably read and viewed a dozen e-cards before making his selection.

Can you tell this made me feel loved and cherished? In our society, cutting and sarcastic words seem to be the norm. However, such words, even if intended as jest, often emotionally hurt and tear down. Words are very powerful, and once they leave our mouth they cannot be taken back.

 “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” Proverbs 12:28 NLT

 “Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 NLT

 The Bible is full of instruction of how we should and should not talk to one another. Quickly scan through the book of Proverbs for the key words: tongue, words or speak. There is verse after verse pertaining to what we say whether good or bad, uplifting or deflating, encouraging or insulting. A wise woman often said:

“If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all!”

Words are powerful! Choose words that encourage rather than tear down.

“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalms 19:14 NLT