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Spiritual Maintenance

I have always loved words. I still remember when I began reading full sentences, got my first library card and the first book I read. In 4th grade a friend and I created our own comic strip based on the German Shepherd the nuns had. He drew, and I wrote the captions. From there it was not long until I discovered there were two things in life I wanted to do, become a journalist and later in Junior High School I learned about the Peace Corps and wanted to be a part of helping others. Instead of going on to college or training for the Peace Corps, I married and raised a wonderful family. I have no regrets where my life has taken me – it has and still is an amazing journey. Now, I find myself a widow with grown children. Retirement is closing in and many doors of opportunities to serve God has opened. All the years of preparation that began in my childhood dreams, took root in my early life as a young bride and mother; along with life’s struggles and joys each season prepared me for this time in my life. I took a slight detour and I traded my typewriter for the pen and paper of personal journals as I cared for my family. My life did not take me into the mission field in some faraway place – but it has led me to serve in my own communities, using skills I learned in my profession to support others in the mission field.

We all pass through the different seasons of our lives as we mature, develop new skills and move on.  But what seems like to be an ending is actually the beginning of a new season in our lives.

By the end of summer, I had planned to be well on my way to launching a new blog. Through all my excitement I forgot one important detail – God’s perfect timing. In my impatience, I began to run ahead of God and when that happens life gets off balanced.

In the story of Moses, God went ahead of Israel as He led them out of Egypt. He led them in a cloud during the day, and when the cloud moved they followed and when it stopped they stopped to rest and prepare for the next part of the journey. Today we have His Holy Spirit in us, to guide us and make us aware of when we are to stop and listen or to move ahead and follow.

Paul also tells us in Galatians “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” We are to go when He leads and to rest when He instructs.

While making these changes in my blog I missed a step – to rest and be in His Word. This is the time to take a break, to rest and listen so God can work in my life and restore my balance.

In this season of my life I am trading my computer for a sabbatical while waiting on God’s timing for when it is time to move again.

Thank you for sharing your lives and your gift of words with me.

 

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Nessie’s Nugget

Throughout my life there have been many people in my life that have walked with me on my spiritual journey. Some I did not realize were sent by God until years later. Then there are the many who came into my life for a season, just at the right moment to walk beside me. Today, I am blessed to have many who walk beside me. Nessie is one such person.
I first met Nessie around 20 yrs ago. She spoke at a woman’s retreat at my church. Through the years our paths would cross where I worked at a Christian Bookstore and other women’s retreats or luncheons. Each time the Holy Spirit flowed from Nessie’s words and we would find ourselves kissed by God.  
Last year I had the privilege to meet her again when I began volunteering with Yokefellowship Prison Ministry. Through the year she has become my spiritual mentor and good friend.
She sends us these “nuggets” of diamonds from God of encouragement. With permission she has graciously allowed me to share her diamond nugget with you. 
If you are finding yourself in a situation where you want to throw in the towel, pull the covers over your head or are just plain ole tired I encourage you today to take courage and remember Jesus has already “forged the way” for us.

NESSIE’S NUGGETS 
Blessings all,
I really can’t believe how fast time is going. As I sensed to send an encouragement to you today, I realized it has almost been a whole year since my last ‘nugget’. I must not let that happen again! “Our times are in HIS hands” and every moment indeed counts. We are to “lift up one another and continue to encourage one another as we see the ‘Day’ approaching.”
Today, I want to encourage you to ‘endure’. This little word has been coming up over and again in my own life and I am certain it has for you as well. It was a JOY to conduct a volunteer training this past week at one of my jobs for Yokefellowship Prison Ministry. Right out of the gate, I mentioned to the new trainees that ‘Endurance’ is a must for prison ministry, for there will be times they might be tempted to throw in the towel for various reasons that I won’t elaborate on right now. Anything that we do that is worthwhile will take endurance. Actually, our entire life’s journey ‘Endurance’ will be a key factor, right? Other wonderful words related to endurance, are persistence, patience, courage, fortitude, perseverance, continuance, stamina ‘to last’, guts, spunk, ‘ride it out’, and stick-to-it-ness…Wow! Sounds like a lot of work. But we can remember and take lessons from our greatest role model, Jesus, who has already forged the way for us! Whew! That takes a load off of us being that we are truly ‘yoked’ together with Him and the Holy Spirit is out front guiding us through ever circumstance of life. I encourage you today that you can do it Beloved ones with HIM by your side helping you to ‘endure’ and cheering you on all the way! Don’t Quit. Stay in the race and see it through to the end. Finish strong!
(PS: I had a test of endurance even while writing this little ‘nugget’ early this morning as the computer suddenly decided to shut down and configure right in the middle of my sentence! But, here it is …I ENDURED.)
For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. Hebrews 10:36

Nessie

 

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Change

career-change-1It is time for a change.

There have been many changes in my life the past few years.  Some not so good and others definitely for the better.

I was prepared to make a change in my writing. As I sat at my computer the thoughts would not come.  Distractions lured me away.  And I was left with wondering if writing was not meant for me.

I prayed.

God put on my heart a long ago dream to be involved in ministry.  He opened doors for me in prison ministry, a ministry in the Dominican Republic and being involved with our church missions team.

With this change in my life I automatically thought I needed to let go of my writing and my past life with husband among other things. As one ministry filled my life something else had to go – or so I thought.

The problem was whenever I thought of deleting my blog something always interfered with my plans. And how can we let go of our lives with someone we shared our life with for 35 years? Who I am today is based on my experiences that span over 50 years. They will always be a part of me just like my life with my husband.

Tonight in my quiet time I stopped talking and started to listen to God.  It was not the letting go I was supposed to do – but God wanted me to change.  I was headed in the wrong direction.

My husbands death changed me. Life goes one whether we want it to or not.  I am now ready to accept this change not only to allow it to define who I am but to have it change my relationship with God by developing a more deepening and enduring faith.

When I signed on to wordpress tonight, I was still a little unsure of the direction I was to take with it.  When I entered the page for different themes the very first one “Independent Publisher 2” literally jumped out at me.  All I did was click on it to check it out and next thing I know my blog changed.  Was it God? Yes! Sometimes God needs to give me a big push. I can be a bit hard headed.  As I look back over the past few months, I can clearly see God telling me it is time to not remove my blog but to change it.

So this is the first of a few changes you will see in the next few months.

Change is in the air – change in how I serve God in ministry and in writing.

 

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I DO NOT PLACE ANY OF THE ADVERTISEMENTS SEEN ON MY BLOG; THEY DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT MY VIEWS OR THE VIEWS OF OTHERS COMMENTING HERE. THEY MAY, IN FACT, REFLECT VALUES THAT I (WE) DO NOT ENDORSE.

 

 

 

 

 

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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?

2018-resolutions-e1514828174533.jpg

Pictures from google.com

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

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.   

 

 

 

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

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

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

dogwoodtree

 

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