PEACE WITHIN

“May today there be peace within.  May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.  May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.  May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.  May you be content knowing you are a child of God.  Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.  It is there for each and every one of us”
– St. Therese de Lisieux (1873-1897)

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CHRISTMAS: UNEXPECTED GLORY

“It passes like a red, green, and gold blur of lights, wrapping paper, and familiar carols.  Bombarded by gift requests, holiday programming, church pageants, and relatives, it seems that the most blessed of seasons may hit as hard and fast as a Texas tornado.

Christmas has commenced, yet instead of joy, peace, and glory to God, it produces physical, emotional and financial overload.  With all the activity and sensory stimulation, it is no surprise that we often become “thrill junkies”.  What a strange response to Christ’s humble birth.

Yet something that we desperately need is to be quiet and observant instead of continually seeking the blast of overwhelming images.  We need to learn that tranquility is to be cherished as a time to seek God.  It is amazing how much we can miss when we don’t take the time to be still and see how God is moving.

Who would have expected that an ordinary young shepherd boy could defeat a mighty warrior like Goliath?  And who would have guessed he would make a great king?  Yet David was able to accomplish great things through God’s provision (see 1 Sam. 17).

It was not through the spectacular and pretentious great wind, earthquake, or fire that God spoke to Elijah.  When God spoke to Elijah, He did so in a gentle whisper (see 1 Kin.19).

When Christ chose the disciples that would take His message to the world, He did not choose those who graduated first in their class at the rabbinical school.  Instead, He chose ordinary, uneducated fishermen who were willing to follow Him and become fishers of men (see Acts 4:13).

And no one in Israel would have anticipated how God would send the Messiah.  After all, God had told the prophet Haggai, “I will shake all nations, and they shall come to the Desire of All Nations, and I will fill this temple with glory” (Hag. 2:7).  Who could have guessed that meant that the birth of the Christ child would take place in a barn or that God’s salvation would be accomplished on a cross?  These were completely unexpected places to find God’s phenomenal glory displayed.  Truly, God works through the common to exhibit His great power.

Stopping in the midst of a hectic schedule and looking for ways God is working in our lives is an immensely valuable practice.  It’s in the simple things that God chooses to display His glory, and by looking for God in the everyday occurrences of life, we learn that nothing in their lives is beyond God’s care.

The unimpressive shepherd boy became Israel’s great king.  Burly, unschooled fishermen became the great disciples of the faith.  Elijah heard God in a whisper.  And the Messiah was born in a manger.  Ordinary things are used to display God’s power and He is still at work all around you, in the humble matters of life.  Who knows what amazing things He can do through you.

Therefore this Christmas, enjoy moments of silence and meditate upon God’s character and Word.  Learn to look for Him and to anticipate His glory in the most unexpected places.  Because in doing so, you will strengthen the foundation of your growing relationship with Christ- and isn’t that a great Christmas present?”

-Excerpt from: The Charles F. Stanley “Life Principles Daily Bible”, pg. 1560

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“Gone but not forgotten” Photo Challenge

 

fallcolors fallsky

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GREETING CARD

 

 

 

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I like this greeting card.  It is a good reminder, encouragement and challenge.  A good reminder to live with love and passion.  It is an encouragement to do so and it acknowledges that it isn’t always easy to do.  When I saw this card, it challenged me and I asked myself how I could “jump into everything with love and passion” while exuding enthusiasm and excitement, when I feel bogged down… when I can barely muster the energy to get out of bed in the morning…  then I remembered some encouraging words to constantly learn from:

– “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, ‘With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible'”. (Matthew 19:26)

–  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. (Philippians 4:13)

– “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Jesus Christ is the maximum encouragement we can receive.  His Spirit of redemption, reconciliation and renewal helps me to learn how to jump into everything with love and passion… even when all I can do is sit in silence.  Many times, sitting in silence and meditating on God’s love is the best thing I can do, for myself and others.  It helps calm my anxiety and gives me hope while receiving the grace and love that God has for me. Before I know it, the Holy Spirit helps me to know peace and victory regardless of how I might be feeling.  Jesus has victory, even over death itself!  Remembering this fact empowers me and because I am God’s child, I have the victory in Him and can therefore jump into everything with love and passion through His Spirit!

May the “easier on some days than others” become empowered through God so that in Christ, we live with love and passion no matter how we may feel and no matter what our surrounding circumstances are.

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“Converge” Photo Challenge

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“Humanity” Photo Challenge

In this world we are surrounded by diversity at its richest!  Not only do we have endless cultures and places to explore on this earth… but we are infinite universes in and of ourselves as individuals.  Each person that has existed, is existing and will exist, is a unique piece of art!

… So what unites us as a humanity?  I can think of two things represented in these pictures:

1. Love.  The search for love, the feeling of love and the fulfillment of love.

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2.  Death.  Are we avoiding it all together (until we eventually have to face it)?  Are we uncertain of what is next?  Have we found answers that transcend this reality?

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My intention isn’t to be a “downer”…

But I’m curious about your insights on this.  Do you think much about these two commonalities?  Do you think they are in the soul of humanity?  Do we stop and think about these realities?  Should we stop and think about these realities?

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“ADVENTURE” PHOTO CHALLENGE

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Each picture in this collage represents an adventure… and making this collage was an adventure in itself.  I originally had the printed pictures (before digital photos) and made the collage by pasting them on cardboard.  I had to scan each picture (I no longer had the negative films) and I had to learn a bit of Photoshop in order to make a similar collage in digital form.

My favorite picture is the flock of birds.  I woke up around 4am to the loud sound of chirping birds.  I looked out my window and I went to get my camera to get zoomed in pictures of the birds.  Before I knew it, they were all taking off in flight from the trees.  I entitled that picture “Birdtree” because it looks as though the trees are turning into birds.  Thanks for allowing me to share my little collage adventure 🙂

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