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You are a beautiful creation.

I had to laugh when I read the saying on the picture in today’s post. I thought, that’s the perfect way to turn a negative into a positive. And a great example of thinking outside the box.

Creativity isn’t one of my strong suits.

Thinking outside the box really isn’t one of my strong suits. My organized mind loves pre-planning, thinks in a linear fashion, and serves me well. But I do envy quick-thinking people and those who can come up with alternative methods to accomplish something.

And that makes me so very grateful to have some of those people in my life. In fact, it makes for a great match-up when someone like me can pair with a more creative mind. Much can be accomplished.

Let’s rejoice in our differences.

It’s easy to be envious of others who inherently have an ability you wish you had. But I bet there are plenty of those out there who feel the same way about you. They envy your own talents.

God has created each one of us uniquely and specifically. He has specific calls on our lives and has taken care to equip us through God-given abilities, desires, and experiences to accomplish those tasks.

That should make us appreciate the “who” God created each of us to be. It should also make us appreciate the “who” he made others. And grateful for our differences.

When we come together we are the body of Christ.

Together we become the body of Christ. We function as one. Instead of being envious of others, we are content. We all use our giftings to accomplish God’s will. This both pleases Him and draws us closer to Him and to each other.

He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. (Ephesians 4:16 NLT)

Today, let’s acknowledge that God knew exactly what He was doing when He fashioned us, oh so precisely to accomplish every good work He has set before us. And let’s be grateful for the beautiful body of Christ He has created and that we are a part of it.

Love to all.

Mimi

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Praying for each other.

I got to do something this past weekend I haven’t done in a long, long time. I prayed with a stranger.

I was attending a women’s retreat with my friend who was the guest speaker. We knew no one except each other.

The praise and worship were wonderful, reminding me of sweet times I had experienced in the past. It had, in fact, been years since I had had an opportunity to get lost in worship and simply enjoy the presence of the Lord.

Prayer Time

At one session, recognizing there were people in need of prayer, the leader said she wasn’t going to do an altar call. Instead, she was asking those who wanted prayer to raise their hands. The ladies around them were then encouraged to pray for and with them.

I looked around to see if there was a hand raised nearby. Not seeing any, I kept on worshipping the Lord. But for some reason I knew God was asking me to pray for someone in the room, someone I didn’t know.

I looked again and simply chose a lady nearby, walked over, touched her shoulders to let her know I was there, and just started praying for her. Afterwards we shared a hug and I returned to my chair.

It’s so important.

I love moments like these, moments when I hear God speak and respond. Moments spent with my sisters in Christ. Moments spent praying for one another.

Back in the day, this was more the normal scenario. During or after service, we would gather near the front and pray for each other. When someone prays for you, they are actually picking up your heavy load or burden and helping you carry it.

I’m not sure why churches have stopped doing this. Most likely it’s because service times are getting shorter. There’s just not enough time to “tarry around the altar” as we used to.

The illustration says it all.

I don’t even remember where I found this picture, but it sure does show why we pray for each other, doesn’t it? We pray for each other because it’s tough to do life alone. And when we have a burden or problem or situation that weighs us down, that’s when we really need the help of the body of Christ.

We are exhorted to “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Today I got to share someone’s burden. I hope she was blessed. But one thing I know for sure: I certainly was.

Be a blessing.

My encouragement today is to look for a need, look for a burden to share. Pray for someone. Hug a friend and allow her to cry on your shoulder. Run an errand for them or provide a meal. All are very tangible ways to help carry their load.

Much love to you.

Mimi

Life is like a camera.

What a great quote on Facebook. I copied the image and found myself looking at it over and over again.

It seemed wise and even sounded easy. Yet the more I thought about the words, I realized what was bothering me. The quote reminds me it’s often easier to come up with memorable little quips about how to do life well than it is to actually live the life you want.

But take heart; there’s hope.

While there is definitely some truth in the statements, the biggest Truth is missing: God. If we merely try to carry out the four directives completely on our own, without God, then we may still end up feeling empty, despite learning to focus on the important things, capturing the good, developing from the negatives, and having a do-over.

Life can be difficult. But God still encourages us to run “…with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)

And yes, we may experience lament and guilt over past mistakes but God reminds us to not let the past hinder that race. “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)

And finally.

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples about the difficulty of a rich man entering God’s kingdom, “The disciples were staggered. ‘Then who has any chance at all?’ Jesus looked hard at them and said, ‘No chance at all if you think you can pull it off yourself. Every chance in the world if you trust God to do it.’” (Matthew 19:25-26 The Message)

So be encouraged. Today’s quote is trendy and indeed contains truth, but the words alone can’t accomplish anything. Yet with God, all things are possible. Second chances and do-overs abound. And remember, with God, we have every chance in the world of finishing our race if we trust God to do it.

Mimi

Does God look at you and see ugliness…or something beautiful?

My Apple News feed sent me the following blog post by Joshua Rogers. I’m so glad it came my way. Not only is this “guest post” a great reminder of how God sees us, but I’m now subscribing to his blogs. He is a believer who inspires and encourages. Read on and let me know what you think.

You may use the link HERE to read the story as published or simply read on as I’ve copied and pasted it exactly as presented.

From Joshua: If you think God looks at you and see ugliness—know this! 

One day when I was in my 20s, I was struggling with a lot of guilt and shame because I felt like the only thing God ever saw about me was my sin and brokenness. God must’ve told my mother.

I came into the dining room where my mom was and she said, “Joshua, look at that angel up there on the shelf,” and then she pointed to a ceramic angel behind me.

“Do you see anything wrong with it?” she asked.

“No,” I said.

Courtesy of Joshua Rogers’ mother, Paula J. Jones.

 

She went over to it and turned it around, and that’s when I saw that one of its wings was broken.

“I like that angel,” she said, “and that’s why I’ve positioned it so that I only see its beauty. I know that the brokenness is there, but I choose not to focus on it.

“Don’t ever forget that for the rest of eternity, God has positioned you in such a way that the only thing He will ever see is your beauty. That’s how powerful the blood of Jesus is.”

I think that deep inside, most of us believe that God looks at us and sees ugliness. Know this: That is not possible for believers in Christ who have received eternal life from Him. Jesus purchased our beauty on the cross and it can never be taken away.

Praise Jesus that “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). We can have confidence that “through His blood” we are “accepted in the Beloved” (1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 1:5-7).

Don’t grieve the fact that you have a broken wing – that wing is reminder, every day, of how much God loves you.

Final Thoughts from Mimi

I hope you found this simple story as powerful as I did. What a wonderful reminder that God sees us as absolutely beautiful.

Mimi

About Joshua

Sweet love shown as we care for others.

Isn’t this the cutest picture? Recently, we had three of our four grands for a sleepover. I came across them combing each other’s hair and it just really tickled me.

We all desire to be loved and cared for.

Looking at the three of them, it would appear Callan had the best deal. He just sat there while Konnor combed his hair. He was totally immersed in being cared for.

Konnor also got to enjoy the sensation of having someone else comb his hair but he had to attend to Callan. Hmm, does that mean his experience was any less satisfying? Or does it mean he was blessed as he was blessing someone else?

And then we have Addie who combed Konnor’s hair without anyone to comb her own. Well, that doesn’t seem fair. Or perhaps she had the best opportunity to give selflessly to someone else.

It’s all about perspective.

I actually think all three shared similar experiences: the enjoyment of being cared for and in caring for others.

Often in life we are in a giving time. You see this as parents are raising children or when you provide care to someone without any expectation of getting something in return.

At other times, as we give or do for others, we are indeed are on the receiving end of a blessing. Perhaps it’s when your teenager acknowledges and appreciates all you do for them. Or as you take care of a neighbor, someone pitches in to help or provides you with a meal for your own family.

And sometimes, we are in a position to just simply receive…receive God’s blessing directly or indirectly through someone else. This may be one of the most difficult positions to find ourselves in because we’re so programmed to give that we often don’t know how to receive a blessing when it comes our way.

Wherever you find yourself today, know that you are blessed. And whatever your hands find to do, do it willingly, with love for others, and with a cheerful heart.

Remember this: The person who plants a little will have a small harvest, but the person who plants a lot will have a big harvest. Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily. (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)

Prayer

Father, may we give wholeheartedly to others, fully, completely, and cheerfully.

Mimi

 

 

 

Sometimes our to-do-list needs to wait.

Today I’m sharing a recent devotional posted on Our Daily Bread.

Because we live in a world that’s super-busy all the time, we can become so inwardly focused on our own to-do list, we may miss God’s gentle interruption asking us to do something on His behalf for someone else.

Read on and see if you can relate.

Scripture to Read

Don’t judge others, and you will not be judged. Don’t accuse others of being guilty, and you will not be accused of being guilty. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. You will be given much. Pressed down, shaken together, and running over, it will spill into your lap. The way you give to others is the way God will give to you. (Luke 6:37-38)

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25)

I headed into the post office in a big hurry.

I had a number of things on my to-do list, but as I entered I was frustrated to find a long line backing up all the way to the door. “Hurry up and wait,” I muttered, glancing at my watch.

My hand was still on the door when an elderly stranger approached me. “I can’t get this copier to work,” he said, pointing to the machine behind us. “It took my money and I don’t know what to do.” Immediately I knew what God wanted me to do. I stepped out of line and was able to fix the problem in ten minutes.

The man thanked me and then left. As I turned to get back in line, it was gone. I walked straight to the service counter.

My experience that day reminds me of Jesus’s words:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38).

My wait seemed shorter because God interrupted my hurry. By turning my eyes to others’ needs and helping me give of my time, He gave me a gift. It’s a lesson I hope to remember, next time I look at my watch. —James Banks

Let’s Pray

Heavenly Father, all of the time I have is in Your hands, a gift from You. Please show me how to use it to bring glory and honor to You.

Reminder: Sometimes our to-do list needs to wait.

A Man and a Fork

Today I’m sharing with you a story sent to me by our friend and neighbor Robert. It illustrates a simple but power message.

Time to Get His Affairs in Order

There was a young man who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So, as he was getting his things “in order,” he contacted his priest and had him come to his house to discuss certain aspects of his final wishes.

He told him which songs he wanted sung at the service, what scriptures he would like read, and what outfit he wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the priest was preparing to leave when the young man suddenly remembered something very important to him.

“There’s one more thing,” he said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the priest’s reply.

“This is very important,” the young man continued. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”

The priest stood looking at the young man, not knowing quite what to say.

“That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the young man asked.

“Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request,” said the priest.

The young man explained.

“My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement.”

“In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’”

“It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming …. like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!”

“So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’”

“Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork … the best is yet to come.’”

The priest’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young man good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see him before his death.

But he also knew that the young man had a better grasp of heaven than he did. He had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice his age, with twice as much experience and knowledge.

He KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young man’s casket and they saw the suit he was wearing and the fork placed in his right hand. Over and over, the priest heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the priest told the people of the conversation he had with the young man shortly before he died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to him.

He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right.

So, the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Friends are very rare jewels, indeed. They make you smile and encourage you to succeed.

Cherish the time you have, and the memories you share. Being friends with someone is not an opportunity, but a sweet responsibility.

And just remember … keep your fork!

The BEST is yet to come!