A Challenge to You and Me

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This challenge is as much for me as it is for anyone else. In the busy-ness of daily life, I don’t pause often enough to really be aware of and grateful for all that I have. It’s not just the things, but the people, places, surroundings, and even circumstances.  I mean not just casually, but to really consider those “things’ and how they impact my life, and to take time to really rejoice.

This all started when I was reading Deuteronomy 26, which is a really great scripture on how to present your offerings.  I highly recommend it. My Pastor, George Pearson’s has taught on it’s importance — it’s about being thoughtful, recognizing the goodness of God in providing for us, and presenting our offerings with thankfulness and joy.

Anyway… it “dawned” on me that I should be more mindful not only when giving an offering, but in my every-day life. I think God is pleased and loves it when we think this way because thankful thinking draws us closer to Him. And because by recalling all that He has done, we become more full of faith and receptive to what He wants to do for us now.

So…for the next 6 weeks (or more) I am challenging me and you. Let’s regularly pause to consider the people, relationships, places, surroundings, circumstances and things that we should be grateful for. Pick just a few each day and take a moment to really rejoice over them, and to thank God for them.  Then, follow it up with a quick prayer and ask the Father to minister and provide for someone else who is in need of those things.

For example: Today i am extremely grateful and thankful for words, for the love of God and for being able to share with you. It fills my heart with joy and I am so blessed to share my grateful grace-full life with you. Blessings, dear ones. Oh how He loves you and me!

And thou shalt rejoice in every good thing which the LORD thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.  Deuteronomy 26:11 KJV

Visiting Mackinac Island

It was a whirlwind trip over the Labor Day weekend, but it was also a breath of fresh air that left me wanting more.

Time alone with my daughter, Mary, now that alone is something to treasure! But I also enjoyed a glimpse of a slower pace of life even during our 1 1/2 days on Mackinac Island.

Beautiful blue skies, a slight warm breeze, and the quiet created by the absence of motorized vehicles. The clip clop of horses hooves, a carriage ride in the beautiful woods, and small waves rolling toward the shoreline. Top that off with a large veranda with rocking chairs and a view of gorgeous gardens as well as the Mighty Mac. A harpist playing in the main room, an ice cream shop, lots of small shops to visit, a delightful dining experience… and an 8 mile bike ride around the island. Our time was short, but it was sweet and an unforgettable memory. I hope to get a chance to go again!

 

 

Grateful for Family & Faith

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I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately, and the people and things for which I especially grateful.

I’ll start with my Mom, Pat. She just turned 78 and celebrated her 60th high school reunion. She is an amazing woman with a generous heart and a love for Jesus, and her family. Last week our extended family enjoyed a stay at a cottage that slept 18 — paid for by her!  We had a great time fishing, playing games… being together. But so much more valuable than that, I know she prays for us, really prays.

Next has to be my husband Ed of almost 44 years. We might not always see ‘eye to eye,’ but I feel like we always see ‘heart to heart.’  My partner and best friend, he lives out his love for me every day, truly I am blessed. He never discourages me from anything I set my heart to do. I like to travel, he doesn’t, and he is really okay with that – I go with his blessing.  And, when I take a stand of faith, I know he stands with me. He is great cook too and can fix just about anything!

I am grateful for each of our three children, Jon, Mary and Tim. They are each kind, caring and strong individuals in their own ways.  Each of them have different personalities, like to do different things… and I love to spend time with them. Plus, they are all so smart!

I am also grateful for my heritage of love and faith, and these memories to name a few: Great Grandpa Beverwyk who took me fishing in the creek; Great Grandma Beverwyk and her Pentecostal prayers; Grandma Bosgraaf who taught me about the love of Jesus and early Christians in the “catacombs” in her Michigan basement; Grandma VanZyll and singing hymns with her just before her move to heaven; Great Aunt Dorothy who taught me so much about Holy Spirit; Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Brandt who loved us unconditionally as a very young married couple – I loved Saturdays at their house, where we had burgers, creamed corn and ice cream with homemade hot fudge sauce; and my Dad who was there for me when I really needed him.

I also am so grateful for my grandchildren, Dominick, Kennedy and Alonna. Each one is unique and wonderful, and such a source of joy. I love every memory we have, and look forward to making more.

I am grateful for prayer too, and to be able to “pick up the mantle” and add to my mom’s prayers, and continue praying for each one in my family.  I pray and expect them to know and experience the love that God has for them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campfire Memories and favorite songs

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Some songs I learned over the years have just stuck to me like glue.  This one is from my early days at Jack & Jill Bible Club Camp in Cedar Springs, MI. It was around a campfire there that I first came to know Jesus as Saviour.

He is able, He is able, I know He is able, I know my God is able to carry me through. He healed the broken-hearted, he set the captive free, he made the lame to walk again and he caused the blind to see. He is able, He is able, I know He is able, I know my God is able to carry me through.

Of course there are lots of other songs, but I’ll just share a few here:

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God almighty, early in the morning my song shall rise to thee…

I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses, and the voice I hear calling on my ear…. And He walks with me and He talks with me, and He tells me I am his own…

Every body ought to know, every body ought to know, every body ought to know, that Jesus lives. He’s the Lily of the Valley, He’s the Bright and Morning Star, He’s the fairest of ten thousand, every body aought to know.

Fairest Lord Jesus

Onward Christian Soldiers

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus

I hope this will bring to mind some good old memories for you too, and remind you of how much He loves you!

 

 

 

 

Oh how He loves You and Me

Spending time with the Lord I heard him say this, and I pray it will bless you too:

Draw near, don’t hold back! Oh my child do not fear, I am not the accuser,
I am your father. I love you with a perfect, unfailing, everlasting love.
Who you are is very precious to me.
I call you into my presence to spend time with you.
Not to tell you what you’ve done wrong —
but to remind you of what Jesus did to make it right, to make you right in my sight.
I am longing for intimacy, trust, a conversation with you.
I want to tell you how I love you, and how pleased I am
with the good choices you’ve made, and how I have plans for you.
Plans to fill your future. I want to share myself with you,
to overwhelm you and fill you with my love.
There is nothing about you that surprises me, nothing I won’t forgive.
Do not let the lies of the enemy keep you from me.

Jesus prayed these words for those who will believe in him:

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; …  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
JOHN 17:20 & 23

Faith Sisters

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Faith Sisters – I think all women need them. They are fellow followers of Jesus, women of the Word, of like precious faith – and yet not religious, but very real women! These are women who will answer my call at any time, listen to anything I need to say (without shock or dismay). They will pray, tell me the truth – what the Word says, set me straight when necessary, and encourage me in the faithfulness of God.

I am privileged to have several women like this in my life. Some are like mothers, nurturing me with the love of God. Others are like sisters, we learn and grow together in grace and faith.  No matter time or distance, the Father’s unconditional love has bound our hearts together. I am humbled by the gift of these Faith Sisters, and so grateful for each one and how God has used them to strengthen my faith. My prayer is that all who read this will find and connect with the Faith Sisters (or Brothers) that I know He has for you.

One of my mothers in the faith wrote this beautiful poem and gave me permission to share it with you. Just as Roberta effortlessly radiates the love of Jesus, I pray these words will minister His peace and grace to you.

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 MOST PRECIOUS TREASURE

Be encouraged, little Daughter:
Your God is on your side.
Draw near. Bask in My Presence.
Let My Love abide.

Allow My living waters
To wash away each thought
That counteracts My promises
And the life that Christ has bought.

You are My precious treasure
Purchased at great cost,
The sheep that I came looking for
Who is no longer lost.

Arise and shine right where you are.
Let’s join in harmony.
Your world awaits your entrance.
Through you, they’ll soon find me.

I find in you, great pleasure.
You’re the apple of My eye
I promise: I’ll not leave you.
I’m always standing by.

By Roberta M. Spinney; shared with her permission.

Be Thou My Vision

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Some of the old hymns are so rich, and this is one of my favorites; according to wikipedia it may have originated in Ireland as early as the 6th century. This is an English version  by Eleanor Hull from 1912.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Finding a treasure – His peace

 

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The Bible is such a rich treasury! I am reading Rick Renner’s book titled, Sparkling Gems From The Greek 2 (very good!), but I also enjoy digging into meanings of words in the whole bible. For example, the word Peace. In English, I tended to reduce it to “the absence of conflict.” But oh, it is so much more! In fact, understanding this one word has impacted my life ever since I learned it. Dr. Billye Brim taught me about it and I am so grateful!.

The meaning of peace in Hebrew includes: safety, security, prosperity, abundance, health, welfare, to be well, to have favor, wholeness and completeness. Or to put it simply, to have nothing missing, lacking or broken in my life.

I continue to dig in the Word and learn more about this peace. I  believe God’s will is revealed in His Word (and He means what He says). As a result, I choose to believe the Word, expect to receive it, trust Him, hold it close to my heart, and I refuse to let go of His peace.  Here are a few examples:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace Numbers 6:24-26

 

Rest or Worry – I get to choose.

I cannot both rest and worry at the same time. If I am worrying, I am not resting.  I might be able to relax… but at the back of my mind there would always that “what if,” so that’s not real rest. The great thing is that every moment of every day, I get to choose. Will I worry? Or, will I trust Him and rest in His care.

A lesson on rest. A few years ago, we went through an unsettled time. We sold our home and hadn’t been able to find a new one yet – and then my husband became ill and needed surgery, complications…and still no new home. As he recovered, we moved everything into storage and lived in a borrowed home for a while (Thank God he provided a temporary home!).

During these months, the Holy Spirit sweetly led me into peace using Psalm 23. Every night as I lay down to sleep, negative thoughts would come, but He taught me to refuse and refute them one word at a time using Psalm 23. I began to meditate (choose intentionally to think about and expand upon, roll over in my mind, and even speak to myself) what a word meant until I fell asleep.  I started with…

The Lord – yes Jesus is My Lord, my Father is the Most High God, the King of Kings, the creator, the source of blessing. He is the one who calls me beloved, and He has promised to meet all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus…  

My – yes that means belonging to me. He is my Lord. He said to cast all my cares on Him and expect Him to care for me…. He also cares for my husband, we both belong to Him.

Shepherd – He is responsible to care for me and my husband. He is our shepherd, we hear His voice and we follow his leading, he rescues us when we need it, just like he rescued the one sheep in His Word. He provides for us, He leads us and shows us what to do. He provides for our needs, gives us rest, heals us, and  delivers us.

Often I would fall asleep while meditating on these few words. But if I woke up in the night, I would start at the next word and continue on, thinking about green pastures, still waters, how He restores my soul. Sometimes I still meditate this Psalm while falling asleep, it brings me into a place of rest.

He has been teaching me about rest for years, and thankfully He still is. I have found true rest comes from knowing God and His character and in learning to trust in His love.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23 (KJV)

Check out this great commentary and all the versions of Psalm 23 on blueletterbible.org.

He is I AM

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Sometimes the Lord speaks to me in poems when I  spend time with him.  I hope this  one will encourage you to rest in his care.

I AM
My Word is a living active thing,
When you read My Word, it tells Who I Am,
When you speak my Word, it speaks Who I Am
Not who I was, or who I will be,
But Who I AM.

I never change,
And my Word never fails,
I AM one with my Word.

You read of Me as…
The one who made the sea dry ground. I AM
The manna provider. I AM
Closing the mouths of lions. I AM
The fourth man in the furnace. I AM
The One who was buried three days and rose again
That you might have LIFE ETERNAL. I AM.

Do you understand?
Yesterday – I AM,
Tomorrow – I AM,
Today – I AM!

I AM NOW,
I AM love,
I AM all sufficient.
I AM always with you.
I AM able to meet your every need.
I AM greater in you than he that is in the world.

I AM your God, your Creator, your King, and the Lover of your soul,
Your Brother, your Father, and your Covenant Companion.
I AM!