Just God and Me

1 Corinthians 2:9-13

But as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.” God has revealed to us through the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.  For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him?  So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God.  And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit.

Thought for the DayFind a moment today to be alone with God

Called by the beauty in the leaves, I felt drawn to a dry creek bed that was a short distance from the trail.  As I walked and stepped into the creek bed to walk, leaves began falling from the limbs above.  I watched them drift as the breeze caught them, dancing in different directions as they fell.  It was a beautiful sight to see.  Listening in that quiet place, I could hear the leaves as they touched the ground, sounding much like snow falling on a quiet day.  The sound was very still, yet it was loud to my listening ears. As I began walking back out of the creek bed, I heard loud chatter behind me.  As I turned, I witnessed a chase between two squirrels playing with each other, scampering up the trees and rustling through the leaves.  I giggled and they ran off, but only after giving me another touch of nature on my walk.  Walking up the beautiful part of the trail in our park, one can look down to see the smaller, and most colorful trees from above.  I walked a bit to find a perfect place to sit as I looked down.   I began to thank God for the beauty in those colors I had experienced over the past few weeks, and I acknowledged that the beauty of the colors was about to fade away as they have already reached their peak.

As I returned home after that walk, I realized that the time with God, as I have walked through His nature over the past few weeks, has brought much peace to my heart and to my soul.  I realized that I had not had the emotional moments of tears because of concern over a job and worry about other things happening in our lives.  God placed that beauty there for me, and there are days I felt it was placed there only for me.  Other people seemed to run through or walk quickly through the area, leaving me alone with God’s gift given just for me.  Just God and me, alone.  Just God and me, walking hand in hand through that most glorious place.   Just God and me.

Prayer:  Almighty Father, creator of everything!  We praise You in Your sanctuary.  Thank you for spending time with us, bringing us peace in the midst of life’s storms.  Be with us through every moment of every day to remind us of the beauty you have placed in our hearts.  You are our awesome God.

Prayer Focus:  Those needing to hear God’s voice

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Boxes and Boxes of China

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once regarded Christ from a human point of view, we regard him thus no longer.  Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. 

Thought for the Day:  God brings newness to our live

Bringing home several boxes of my “second grandmother’s”, Jett’s, china was not something I intended on doing.  She was a wonderful family friend who we loved and who loved us so much.  When I thought about her things, I had already pulled out several special pieces to me including a stationery desk and chair, and several smaller items.  Then I started opening the boxes thinking there would be pieces of different china patterns, but that was not what I found.  As I looked closely, I realized that all of the boxes contained the same heirloom china pattern.  In those boxes I found a complete 12 place setting and I literally could not let it go.  My thoughts went to how I could have a wonderful gathering of friends to share a meal and dessert time using this special, beautiful antique china.  What a special treat to open box upon box of some of the most beautiful antique china I had ever seen!

Eleven years ago, when Jett passed away, china was packed into boxes as her house was sold.  Eleven years ago, this china was packed and put aside.  Three days ago, Jett’s china was pulled out and brought to a new place.  Three days ago, this china was made new in my thoughts and in my home.  Isn’t this how God’s love is?  We come to God broken and ready to give up, and He makes us whole.  We come to God feeling old and of no use to those around us, and He brings us renewal.  We come to God with confession, and He forgives us.  We feel a strength and newness inside us that can only come from Him.  That beautiful china for years had been hidden as we seem to feel when we have struggles and difficulties.  That beautiful china has now been found as we find God in our midst.

Prayer:  God, thank you for bringing us newness when we feel broken and old.  Thank you for your precious gift of forgiveness when we confess our sins to you.  Thank you for the gifts that can only come from you.  Be with us today in helping others know You are in their midst.  Be with those today who are facing storms, weather storms and other storms in life.  Amen.

The Cheerleader

Ephesians 3:14-19

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God.

Thought for the Day:  You are loved and accepted

A simple picture placed on Facebook brought many remarks.  A simple picture of a boy’s press pass to a local town’s radio station where he worked part-time as a sports announcer for high school ball games.  He loved sports of any kind.  He loved the players, cheerleaders, and the people in the crowd.  As the remarks came in and were read, one caught me off guard.  A few years prior to that press pass picture being made, he was in high school enjoying the basketball and football games, and loved the life of a high school student.  Only one drawback, he was in a wheelchair.  So, one day out of the blue, he wrote a note to one of the cheerleaders that said, “How do you think they’d feel about a cheerleader who can’t jump?”  When the cheerleader read this statement, she went to cheerleader practice, huddled the girls together, and read the note to them.  By the end of the huddle, he was named as an honorary cheerleader for Camden High School.  Between that note and a cheerleader’s admiration for him, his life changed in an instant.  He was known.  He was loved.  He was a part of a team.  He was important.  As remarks to that facebook page poured in, messages such as, “Rick was one of our biggest supporters and a big part of the Lion family”, “Ricky represented Camden Lion Pride, better than anybody”, “I can still see Ricky on the gym floor!  And that big smile!!”, and “I never looked into his face that he wasn’t smiling, “What an angel looking over us now!”.  This sister, 33 years after his death, learned how he became a cheerleader for the Camden Lions and I stand in awe of a “great man”.

As I thought about the tributes that came in for my brother, I began thinking about the wonderful loving words.  Then I thought about the words that might be used for me many years after I am gone.  What words would I want to hear?  My life with Christ brings me to the words I would want to hear and I am proud that my parents and both of my brothers can be described with these words: loving, caring, patient, friendly, compassionate, kind, gentle, and so many more.  As I continue thoughts about descriptive words, I realize that the most important descriptive words need to come from our Father.  The Upper Room Devotion this morning stated, “As believers, we have been adopted into God’s family.  God is our parent who protects, loves, forgives, and accepts us.”  So, my list of words to be described as are protected, loved, forgiven, chosen, valued, accepted and “a child of God”.

Prayer:  God, thank you for loving us.  You chose us and we are your children.  Be with us as we go through this day and help us remember at any moment that we are loved, chosen, protected, and accepted by You.  We love you, Father, Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those looking for acceptance

http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2016-09-01

Treasure in the Attic Boxes

1 Corinthians 2:9

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”

Thought for the Day:  Look for God’s Hidden Treasures

That moment, that special moment, when a box is opened and in it are treasures from the past.  Over the last few days, I have been blessed to continue going through boxes of treasures that have been in the corner of the attic for many years.  The box, filled with sports pennants from different national teams that once lined the ceiling area of my brothers’ bedroom, along with jackets of favorite teams caught my emotions off guard with wonderful memories.  The box full of items that sat on my brothers’ room shelves along with the baseball record book of each game that my brother sat and scored as he watched the St. Louis Cardinals and The Atlanta Braves brought memories of my brothers enjoying life.  That was the box that made me lose myself in emotions and when I had to stop for a while.  Later, more treasures came like the handwritten letter written to my brother, Coble, from Brooks Robinson.  I almost threw that one away accidentally without knowing the treasure I held in my hand.

Treasures, those remembered and forgotten, bring special moments in our lives.  God’s treasures, those seen and unseen bring those special moments as well.  As life happens on a day to day basis, we know that God is leading us to His treasures and sometimes we do not recognize how special they are so we put them away in “boxes” and forget about them.  When we finally open the “boxes”, we see how those treasures of God helped us through times in our lives.  God’s treasures, special treasures, are there for us if we will only recognize them.

Prayer:  Father, thank you for loving us and sharing Your special treasures with us every day.  You are amazing!  Please open our eyes to see Your gifts through those treasures where we will not put them in a box to be hidden.  Amen.

Prayer Focus:  Those looking through attic boxes