Resolutions

I used to make resolutions every Jan 1.  When I was younger a few of my resolutions were to study harder in school and to do my chores without complaining. As I got older it changed to dieting, keeping my house cleaned, not grumbling too much or reading my bible more, along with many other goals.  And without fail by February I was back in my normal habits.

So eventually I stopped making New Year resolutions and instead decided to stay focused on God’s Word.  Without a reading plan or study guide I let the Holy Spirit guide me into the different aspects of Spiritual Discipline.

Soon a few minutes reading a 5-min devotional each morning turned into meaningful prayer time.  Eventually my prayer time was expanded and included worship and more in-depth devotions.  Now, I get up earlier just to spend quiet time with God.  The time is spent reading, listening to worship songs, praying and even coloring.

This year again I will not make any resolutions and will continue to walk confidently in faith and being content in my circumstances. Instead of diet plans and goals I choose to pray unceasingly and serve God by being the Light of Christ.

By February I know I will be struggling to get up early on a cold winter morning, instead opting to stay snuggled under the warmth of blankets.  But then an opportunity comes to worship as my alarm goes off and Pandora begins playing praise and worship songs.  What a blessing – I can stay in the warmth of the bed God has provided and worship Him in song.

When spring arrives, the warmer weather and the smell of fresh clean air will bring distractions that will tempt me to stray from my faith journey. Yet, another opportunity will come to praise God when I see the first Robin and watch the squirrels frolicking in the warm breeze. The first crocus to bloom brings hope and a new abundant life as we all rejoice winter is over and spring has arrived. The scripture from Isaiah says it beautifully, I paraphrased, “The (winter and frozen ground) shall be glad; (the bare trees) shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing.” (Here is the original scripture verse – Isaiah 35:1-2a ESV)

There will be struggles, disappointments, sorrow, and hardships in the New Year.  But each new day will bring the peace of Jesus; beauty and hope; laughter and love.

We do not know what the New Year will bring, so let us honor and worship God our creator wherever we are, whatever our circumstances and whenever the opportunity opens before us.

Let our lives bloom in 2018 wherever God plants us.

Where is God planting to you?

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Pictures from google.com
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One Winter Morning

There is a stillness as I look out my window.  The sound of a gentle rain on the windows breaks the early morning peace.

The neighborhood dogs are quiet, birds are silent, squirrels are still and the daily sound of automobiles rushing here and there, are motionless, creating a unique beauty of a city at rest.

Soothing.

Calming.

Peaceful.

The mountains surrounding our little valley are covered with a mist that seems to settle on everything with tenderness.

As I sip my morning tea I look out the window as day light breaks and noticed colorful leaves still on the trees that glistened in the morning mist.  Bare trees are silhouetted against a gray sky, the streetlights illuminating the droplets of rain on outstretched branches like sparkles of diamonds. The weathered wood fence and an old garage are but shadows in the misty air.

Our Creator has painted a beautiful masterpiece this morning.

Teaching us to be still in His presence.

To delight in this moment.

To prepare for the Light of the World – Jesus Christ

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Giving Thanks

ThanksgivingWe each have our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving.  Each tradition brings families closer as we gather to be thankful for what God has blessed us with during the year.

Like many other Americans the third Thursday in November we give thanks for our blessings throughout the year.  Thanksgiving is a beautiful part of our American heritage in thanking God for a bountiful harvest. 

When I was growing up we did not have much.  My dad’s favorite quote was “why is there so much month left at the end of the money” he even had it on a plate that always hung in our home. There were times that we had breakfast for supper (which I still enjoy today!), and a German meal called Eintopf (one pot) basically a meat broth base that has whatever is in your kitchen thrown in – still a favorite. 

But Thanksgiving, we would always have turkey; during our lean times and during our times of plenty.  And trust me every part of that turkey was used for meals for over a week. We would have a table filled to the brim of all the holiday fixings. I can still hear my mother saying how she never understood the holiday and why we only have turkey once a year and why do we need to eat it to be thankful.  Never one to really like turkey she once told me every year she always tried to get my dad to get a ham. Yet when dad passed away we still had turkey. Traditions gotta love them!

We may have struggled all year but there were many blessings to be thankful for.  The year my mother had her first heart attacked, thankful she survived.  Then there was the year my father passed away and my brother killed in an accident, when it was hard to find thanks – we found God’s blessings.  My faith still growing and being attacked by other events, I could not understand how a loving God could take half of my family away.  But blessings were found in His presence and in the love between a mother and a sister.  I would have to say that was the first time I saw God. He was in each face of the people who gave us comfort, support and food. I would see God’s face many times in my life; in the doctors and nurses who cared for me when I was battling breast cancer and in the pouring of love from close friends and strangers when my husband passed away. And every day in-between in the different way God reveals Himself to all of us, I see Him.

There are many joys to be thankful for; parents who cared for us the best way they could, finding a godly man to share my life with and my children are just a few.  I am thankful for our Heavenly Father who sees to our needs and provided a way for all of us to be in a restored relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus. 

We can have thankful hearts toward God even when we do not feel thankful for our circumstances. We can grieve and still be thankful. We can hurt and still be thankful. We can be angry at sin and death, still being thankful toward God. Scripture calls it a “sacrifice of praise” – “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name”. Hebrews 13:15.

Giving thanks to God keeps our hearts in a right relationship with Him and saves us from a host of harmful emotions and attitudes that will rob us of the peace God wants us to experience.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6–7

This Thanksgiving when you gather with friends and family offer your sacrifice of praise to our Lord.  Then the day after Thanksgiving make it a daily practice. Lift praises to God during the times of blessings and the times of trial.  And watch God at work in your life. 

Greet each day with thanksgiving remembering what Jesus did for you.   

 

 

 

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Secrets

Secrets
 
Is there something you have hidden away hidden in your heart?
 
We have all experienced hurts and disappointment in our lives.  We each have a secret we are ashamed of or a hurt so deep we have buried it deep behind the recesses of our minds.
 
God knows our secrets, our hurts and our shame.
 
We cannot hide anything from God.  He created us and breathed life into us.
 
He knows.  He cares.
 
God comes to us arms wide. If we let Him.
 
Isn’t that awesome?  He will not force Himself on us, but is waiting to heal our hurts and wipe away our tears of shame.  His arms outstretched, are welcoming us to His embrace.
 
God sent He sent His Son Jesus to restore us, to bring healing and erase all our shame.  All our sins, deep secrets, wrong choices, our pain and our sorrow Jesus took upon Himself at the cross.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

What Jesus has done for others – He will do for you.  When Jesus pardoned the sinner of their sins, Jesus has already pardoned us.  When Jesus has healed someone from addiction He healed the broken.  When Jesus lifts the hopeless out of depression – He lifts up the lonely .  When Jesus comforted the grieving – He comforted me.
 
Our past is an open book to our merciful God, no matter how deep we may try to bury our hurts, we will never have to walk alone. Jesus walks with us.  Even during those times you think no one cares.  Jesus cares.  God cares.  When it seems, all hope is lost – remember God sent His Son to travel with us on our journey.
 
It is no secret Jesus heals our wounds, restores our hope and seals us to His heart forever.
 
Isaiah 43:2
“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.  When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not burned up; the flames will not consume you.”

Patty Beggs  Sept 2017
Picture is taken from google – unknown
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Morning Mist

Misty summer morn
Casts a shadow of forlorn
As nature sings
Arise sun arise
From your slumber
A new day is born

                           Patty B. July 22, 2017

{Picture unknown source, internet}

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Finding God In The Unexpected

As spring ends and summer begins we witness new life emerging from a winter slumber.  We expect the birds migrating back to the north and anticipate the tiny buds of tulips, crocus’ and daffodils breaking through the cold ground reaching up to the warmth of the sun.  

Most years by June 1 the sun is already blazing in all its glory while we feel the summer warm breezes on our faces. Long walks in the sunshine replace the umbrellas of a rainy spring day.  But for some reason this year, spring seemed to have carried over into the summer months.  Cold nights, more rain than sunshine kept our furnaces running. Light snow glistened on our tulips and daffodils. June did not come as gently as years passed.  It was unexpected yet God was expected as the clouds lifted and summer returned with all of His splendor.

Nature teaches us to expect the unexpected with things out of our control.

God teaches us to expect Him in all the unexpected of our lives.  

What about the unexpected in your life? 

I expected God when I heard the unexpected words, “you have breast cancer”, words that turned my life upside down.

My life consisted of biopsies, a mastectomy, every scan imaginable searching for any lingering cells followed by months of two different types of chemo, radiation followed then more scans. During that time, I gave myself into His care.  He came to me in the last place I had expected – and He was the first One I expected to hear my cry.

This disease was unexpected.  But God was expected.  I expected God in the most unlikely place – I expected God in cancer. I expected God’s promise “Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5   I gave myself into His care, trusting in Him to never leave me – God kept His promise.

Joseph’s betrayal by his brothers was unexpected, but God was expected in his prisonJoseph’s story.

Paul encountered a violent storm at sea and was shipwrecked. Everyone else panicked, except Paul. Calm and confident, Paul expected God as the waves crashed around everyone on board.  Paul shipwrecked.

It is easy to miss God altogether if you are not expecting Him.  We can expect Him in the smallest detail of our life and in the biggest challenges we face.  We can expect Him in His Word, through His Son – Jesus and in the power of His Holy Spirit.

Whatever you are facing – expect God.  He is with you.

Patty Beggs  July 2017
Picture unknown source
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A White Dogwood Tree

427966_3554187091944_911756793_nThis past spring as I sat looking out my window at my white Dogwood Tree, the white pedals glowing in the dusk I was reminded of the hope Jesus offers of peace and rest.

As I watched twilight give way to darkness it resembled a blanket being pulled over daylight welcoming the darkness.  This darkness overtakes me as I witness the beauty of God tucking in His creation for a nights rest and His whisper gently telling me to “be still” in His care – even in darkness He is with me.

Nightfall replaces the peaceful calm of early evening when the glow from a neighbor’s home illuminates a noble White Dogwood Tree.  With a radiant quiet beauty it reminds me of the Light of Jesus in our dark world. In the shadows comes a quiet beauty as night fall descends and tranquility settles over my drowsy neighborhood.

Everything around me is dark except for the brilliance of one solitary tree.

I have walked in the darkness many times – darkness of death, illness, and sorrow. Yet, there has always been one Light constant, never changing in my darkness.  Like night must come, so we all must face the darkness that life sometimes brings.  Our night.

If we are not careful we will wander around in the darkness never experiencing the Light of Hope that Jesus offers.

Hope the light of day will come. 

We know every night when we lay down we do not fear the darkness because morning will come and the sun will shine down on us once again. 

We have hope of a new day.

When we face the dark times in our lives, we do not need to give in to the darkness. For in the darkness there is a glimmer of the Son’s divine Glory, reassuring us of His Light within us, like a neighbor’s porch light casting a soft glow on a blooming Dogwood Tree.

A reminder of Jesus’ presence in our lives.

At times His Light is strong like a beacon boldly showing us the way and other times a faint glow gently leading, like the shadows of a White Dogwood Tree silhouetted in the night sky.

We have hope of a dark free world.
Patty B.  June 2017

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{Pictures of my Dog Wood Tree
in the light of a spring day ~ Patty B.}
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Harrison

2016 HarrisonMany of us have pets or as we lovingly call them our fur babies! 

Over the years we have had many doxies and one beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog mix or fur babies as we call them – each one with their own unique personality.  And just like our children, we worry over them when they are sick; we feed them, protect and love them.  And in return they give us unconditional love and companionship.  There is nothing better than getting puppy hugs at the end of a long day.   

Last week we noticed one of our “babies”, Harrison would not go down the yard on his usual walking the perimeter routine. Then when he came inside he clung to us, his little paws hugging our necks and not letting go while his little body trembled as if something scared the life out of him.  We did find a hole where they were digging so most likely whatever critter they were after was not happy with them.  Later that night we noticed Harrison’s nose was swollen, so fearing he was bitten we took him to the vet.  We found out he had two abscess teeth.  The vet told us that the critter they were flushing out could have swatted at his nose as he was digging causing his tooth to dislodge and causing the nose to swell enabling us to notice the abscess sooner.  She also did say he could have fallen or hit his nose and that we will never know, other than whatever happened although giving us cause for alarm, was a good thing because it allowed us to take him to the vet sooner. 

If left untreated I hate to think of the consequences. 

He is home now after surgery where they also removed other teeth that was starting to show problems.  He is recuperating and enjoying the extra attention we are giving him.   

I saw how God had His touch on Harrison.  Some may say it was a coincidence that the “critter” did something to Harrison.  But I can tell you years of  flushing out critters (and bringing some home to us) they have always managed to have the upper hand – or paw. So I am thanking God for the critter or the accident that caused the chain of events that led us to take him to the vet now.   

I know Harrison’s time here on earth is limited.  But I am thankful to God for allowing us to watch over him a bit longer. 

God created all the animals, birds and sea life before He even created man.  God brought every one of His animals to Adam to name them. God declared His ownership over animals when He said: “For every animal among the trees is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10-11 NLV). He then entrusted them into Adam’s care, and today God entrusts them to our care. “A righteous man regards the life of his animal.” Proverbs 12:10 

I am thankful God entrusted to us the care of His doxies and one special Bernese Mountain Dog.  I am also thankful that our God is a compassionate and loving God who encourages us to pray over our beloved pets, or the creatures of the forests and even the birds at our bird feeders knowing He will watch over them.   

Everything God has created is perfect even to smallest ant.  And everything God created has a purpose, including each one of us.  

 “Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”   Revelation 5:13 

We will even worship our Creator together.

Harrison with his brother Silver

Harrison with his brother Silver

 

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One Life

1 standing alone

A woman stands alone.
A silent scream.
A world falls apart.
No one stops.
No one listens.
A lonely life –

Life goes on except for the one who is hurting.
For her, life stopped.
A heart beats yet a soul has died.
Dreams fade no longer within reach.
Life has no meaning.
A broken life –

A woman unnoticed.
People walk by.
No one hears or sees her pain.
She is strong to many.
She is weak to herself.
A weakened life –

A Hand reaches out to the one who is hurting.
Bringing Life and Hope.
A lonely heart beats.
Awakening a weary soul.
Bringing life to lost dreams.
A renewed life –

The Light of the One who reaches out
Removes the darkness.
Takes her hand.
Showing the way.
God’s Strength, God’s Hope.
A transformed life –

                              {Patty Beggs 2016}

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Spring Rain

picture found on google

Spring Rain

Spring rain softly falling
Quiet reflective moments
Peaceful tranquility for a weary soul

Melodious serenade of birds
The sounds of heaven
Softly permeates tender hearts

Gentle breeze rustles through trees
Voice of God tenderly whispering
“Rest my child – be still in Me”

Patty Beggs June 2016
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