Cover Up

17 Apr

snow, cleanse, JesusA few days of warm temperatures had melted the heavy blanket of snow covering our back yard. What was waiting for us beneath that snow was not a pretty sight. There were leaves that had been left to decompose. We had planned on raking them but the snow hit before that happened. The grass was brown, soggy and completely unappealing. While waiting for it to dry out enough to do some clean up, we were hit by more snow. Soon everything was again covered under a pretty white blanket of snow that made it easy to forget the mess that lay underneath.

This is such a great analogy of what my life can be like. There are things in life that are not dealt with and slowly covered up and forgotten. As long as the pretty cover is on for all to see, the underlying mess can be ignored. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play. I don’t want to remove the cover that makes me look good, but until I do, there can be no dealing with what is hidden underneath.

Jesus has offered each of us a chance to make our lives white as snow. By accepting his offer, it is not just the surface that is changed. We are cleansed from the inside as our sins are forgiven. There is no longer anything to hide or be ashamed of when others can see beneath the surface of our lives.

“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. Isaiah 1:18 NLT

Grab a Coffee

14 Apr

opportunity, God, blesslingsWhile talking with a friend recently, he told me that he was going to go and grab a coffee. Very quickly he corrected himself and changed that to grabbing a cup of coffee, saying that he had never actually managed to grab coffee. Laughing, I said that it would just slip through his fingers.

With this visual in mind, I started to think of things that I have let slip through my fingers. There have been many opportunities that I have let pass me by because I didn’t have the confidence to just go for them. It didn’t seem to me that I had the skills or abilities needed and I was afraid to fail.

A good friend challenged me on one of these opportunities saying “What if God wants to bless you through this?” That helped me to realize that on my own I may not be able to accomplish what I would like to, but with God guiding me, all things are possible. By letting opportunities slip through my fingers, I am refusing his gifts to me and missing out on the blessings that these gifts may bring. I have a little plaque with a quote from Roy Lessin that says: “God not only knows where He is taking you, but He also knows how to get you there.” If I respond when he calls and trust him to lead me, there is no limit to what he may accomplish through me.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Traffic Circles

10 Apr

guide safely, Jesus, InspirationTraffic Circles or Round Abouts as they are also known, are meant to improve the flow of traffic. Knowing this doesn’t keep me from sometimes finding them quite intimidating. As you enter the circle, you yield to people on your left. If they are exiting the circle at the spot you are entering, you’re fine to go. It’s when they are heading around it and changing lanes that things become tricky. The ones with 3 lanes can get a little crazy. I need to not only consider where I am going, but also figure out where the others are going.

The plus side to this is that if I am uncertain as to my exit, I can just keep travelling around in a circle until I decide which route I want to take and am able to plan my moves safely.

Sometimes I feel that I am living my life as if I’m caught in a traffic circle. I go around and around the same things, uncertain as to which route to take. When I finally make a decision, I need to evaluate the timing. Is it safe to make that move now, or should I go around one more time, just to be sure? Staying in the circle may seem safe, but it is also frustrating. How can I move forward into a more purposeful life if I’m afraid to leave the safety of my familiar circle?

On my own, decisions like this can paralyse me. When I pray and put my life in the hands of Jesus, I know that he will guide me safely along the route he has chosen for me. It’s time to quit going around in circles and embrace the adventure that a life of following Jesus will bring.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Hiding

7 Apr

God, Bible, life,One of the joys of being a grandparent is playing games with my grandchildren. Some of the games that they have enjoyed the most involve hiding. It may be people hiding or it may be objects that have been hidden for someone else to find.

Recently I was spending time with a 5 year old. She had some small inflatable rings that we’d take turns hiding for the other to find. When it was my turn to find, she would lead me right to them and then be so happy for me when I found them! Even though I made my best effort to hide the rings in plain sight, it was not always easy for her to spot them. Discouragement set in quickly so I added another aspect to the game. Telling her she was cold, and then warm, warmer and hot as she neared the object made it much more fun.

Although this was a game that brought fun and laughter to a little girl, I did find a deeper meaning in it. When I play games and attempt to hide from God, my life becomes cold. It is only as I move closer to him that my life warms up again. When I read the Bible and hide those words deep in my heart, God warms my life enough that I can pass on that warmth to those around me.

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV

Lockers

3 Apr

choice, inspiration, JesusIn the changing area of most fitness facilities there are lockers. One locker is not better than another and yet I have my favourite. For over eight years now I have been using the same locker. One day last month I arrived to get ready for my class, only to see someone else putting her belongings in the locker I use. I froze, wondering what to do. There were lots of other lockers available that had the capability of holding my belongings. The fact that it was so difficult for me to choose another one came as quite a surprise.

This wasn’t a onetime occurrence. It seems this other person has laid claim to what I considered my locker. She often arrives earlier than I do so that has given me plenty of opportunity to be flexible when it comes to choosing another locker. I must admit though, that I will go back to my old one when I find it available.

Looking back on this, I see how it could relate to my life. I become so comfortable with “my stuff” and where it is stored that I don’t think about until I am forced to. Maybe what I am most uncomfortable with is change. Changes in my life are inevitable. Jesus is the one part of my life that is constant. He sees the secrets that are in my emotional locker and loves me anyway. It is only through his unchanging love for me that I can be truly set free.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 God’s Word Translation

Puzzle Pieces

31 Mar

make a difference, inspirationIt was the last Sunday for one of our pastors, as he was moving on to another church. While he was being thanked for his service it was said that God had a plan for the new church and this pastor was the piece of the puzzle needed to complete that plan.

Thinking about this made me realize that I can be the puzzle piece that helps to make someone else’s picture complete. It need not take grand gestures. Allowing God to direct me as I do little things may be just what is needed. The piece of the puzzle I bring may only add to the picture for an hour or a day, but it will contribute to the beautiful picture God is creating in another’s life.
It wasn’t long until I saw this in action. I stopped to chat with someone I hadn’t seen in a couple of months. After telling her that I had missed seeing her, I found out that she was going through a challenging time. What she needed to hear that day was that someone cared. This conversation helped to fill in a puzzle piece that let her know she mattered.

Later, I was introduced to a friend of a friend. Spontaneously I gave her a hug instead of a handshake. With tears in her eyes she thanked me, saying that her mother used to hug her everyday but had passed away and she missed those hugs. My simple gesture had filled in the puzzle piece that showed her, through touch, that she was cared for.
Thinking back on these things, I realized anew how God can use me to make a difference. When He prompts me to say or do something, He may just be using me to be the puzzle piece that someone needs at that moment.
Love each other with genuine affections, and take delight in honoring each other. Romans 12:10 NLT
Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25 NIV

 

Be inspired today!

Changing Seasons

27 Mar

seasons of life, blessings, changeAccording to the calendar it is spring. The season officially changed last week. This morning I woke up to snow and the forecast calls for more over the next few days. In the Vancouver area, where I am from, the flowers are blooming. Here in the Calgary area, we still have winter conditions. It did warm up for a few days and enough snow melted that we could see the grass. People were happy and certain that spring had arrived. Then, a cold front moved in and we are back to winter weather.

The seasons on the calendar change like the seasons of my life. One day I feel the sunshine and warmth of spring and the next day the cold winds of winter blast me. Life, like the weather, is not always predictable. Although these changing conditions are nothing new, they still take me by surprise. One thing I do know from experience, is that life continues to change.

I have just celebrated a birthday and my calendar changed not only to a new year, but also a new decade. This is a time for me to reflect upon my life and the season I am currently experiencing. What I have discovered comes as no surprise. Life is good! I am blessed to be surrounded by loving family and friends. Volunteer roles help me to make a difference in others lives. In the past month, my first book, Inspirations from the Everyday has been released. This has taken me on an exciting path I never could have imagined as I entered the last decade.

As the season of life changes again I look forward to what is ahead. I know that God has great plans for me and I’m excited to see what this new season will bring.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

Complaining

24 Mar

stop complaining, inspirationIt had been a tough morning for the aqua fit instructor. The water was cold and there were many complaints from people as they climbed into the pool. A few went directly into the warmer pool beside the one the class was held in. Then they complained that they couldn’t hear the instructions. For some the music was too loud, for others not loud enough. The final straw came when the sound system shut down altogether. The instructor got out of the pool to see what could be done. Frustrated, she said “That’s it, I quit.” After a slight pause the word that followed was “complaining”.

She joked about leaving but what she was really telling the class was that she quit complaining and so should we! All of the complaining was not productive and didn’t change the situation, so we should just quit doing it! Not everyone heard that last word but it stuck in my mind.

How much better would my life be if I just quit complaining? If there is nothing I can do to change the situation, complaining is only going to make me feel worse. When there is something I can do, my energy should be used to focus on my role in the change. As my attitude becomes more positive there is a ripple effect that changes the attitude of those around me.

God has provided me with so much. I can only imagine his disappointment when I ignore all of the good and instead complain about what I think I’m missing. Instead I need to thank him for what he has provided and pray for guidance to move forward.

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Philippians 2:14-15 New Living Translation.

Out of Line

20 Mar

God, thoughts,wordsWe had just finished an enjoyable time with friends as we met for lunch after church. My husband was at the counter paying and I was standing slightly to the side. Realizing there were a few others in line to pay, I decided to move a little so I wouldn’t be in the way. Smiling, I said to one of my friends, “I think I’ll just get out of line here.” Hearing the words come out of my mouth I laughed and repeat them. Then I said “Normally when I get out of line it means I’m in trouble!”

I don’t think I get out of line often, but in reality it’s probably more frequent than I realize. The real question is: what does it mean to get out of line? When I don’t do what others think I should, does that mean I’m out of line? If I voice an opinion that doesn’t match with those around me, am I out of line? By being true to myself instead of following the crowd do others see me as out of line? My sense of humor can be a little off beat so maybe those who don’t know me well think I’m out of line. In my mind it is when my words or actions are hurtful that I truly step out of line. This is not something that I do intentionally. Sometimes I react without taking the time to think things through. I may not even realize that I’ve offended someone.

Others may misinterpret my words or actions but God never does. He sees into my heart and knows me better than I know myself. He knows my thoughts before I am aware of them and my words before they are spoken. When I am in relationship with him, I can’t get too far out of line.

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Psalm 139:1-4 NIV

Hazard Lights

17 Mar

calling out for help, lessonI had only been on the highway a few minutes when the vehicle I was driving suddenly veered to the side. Fighting to regain control, I wondered what had happened. The road that had felt smooth only moments before now seemed very rough. Pulling over to the shoulder I was sure that the cause must be a flat tire. For the sake of safety I decided to put the hazard lights on. Since this was not my regular vehicle I had trouble locating them. I had never given them a second thought until they were needed. Finally I located the button. Once they were on I felt much safer as these four-way flashers would alert other motorists to the fact that I was having a problem.

What I soon discovered was that having the hazard lights on didn’t make a difference to the speed in which others raced past me. It didn’t seem like they slowed down and no vehicles stopped to see if I needed help. Sitting there, I knew it wasn’t safe to open the driver’s door so I climbed over the seat and out the passenger side to check things out. It was a relief to see that everything looked fine. I must have either hit a small patch of ice or picked up something in one of my tires that had now dislodged. Climbing back into the truck I turned off the hazard lights and eased my way back into traffic. The rest of my drive home was uneventful.

This experience taught me some valuable lessons. I may feel that I put my metaphorical hazard lights on to warn people when my life is not going smoothly. What I have no control over is how others respond to that warning. Most will race on past, while a few may stop to offer assistance. What I can’t do is just click on my distress signal and expect someone to come and rescue me. Calling out to Jesus is what is needed. He will always be available to calm my fears and guide me to safety.

Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7 God’s Word Translation

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