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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?

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Pictures from google.com
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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.   

 

 

 

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.}

Unexpected Path

Isaiah 43_2
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:2

In February when I posted about writing again I had good intentions to get back into my routine.  But like the old saying, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry” (Robert Burns), my life has taken on a new twist and I find myself in the midst of a new storm.

Last November I went to my doctor for a pain in my left side that turned into months of doctor appointments and tests, with a break until March when more tests found other issues.   I think I have had all scans known to mankind since this ordeal began.  The ironic thing is my initial concern of the pain is gone.  The problem (without going into much detail) is each test is inconclusive but then they find something new so more tests are ordered to get a clearer picture – and results again are inconclusive. I have felt like a human pincushion and Guinea pig! 

I am thankful to God – so far all cancer tests (blood markers and MRI) show no signs of metastatic disease from my breast cancer.  So the question remains – what is going on?

Six months later and they are still unsure. 

I have them all stumped –  I have no symptoms, no other pain (other than the pain in my side that went away), I feel pretty good other than another fight with a virus, and my appetite is normal.  The peace of God has enveloped me as I wait and has given me super human strength for patience – if you know me you would know it is indeed God’s strength and not my own. Let’s just say when God was passing out patience I got tired of waiting in line and so went on to the next of God’s gifts!

So, here I sit in limbo. 

Looking back during those months when I took my break, God was at work with preparing me for this season of waiting. So, instead of dread I feel an expectation of how God’s glory will be revealed. 

God has reminded me I am at that age now when things will begin to fall apart, sort of like an old car, when one part goes they all go.  I just need to go into the repair shop (hospital labs and doctor’s offices) for tune ups and repairs.

And, so, life goes on. 

In between work, dr appointments and to do lists (yes I am still doing them!) I have plans to get back into my writing. I have even etched out a time frame to sit at my desk with a cup of tea, dogs at my feet and soft music playing as I type away all the stories and inspirational thoughts flowing through my mind during the day.

My best laid plans often go awry as reality sets in –

 After working all day, there are the daily things that need done around the house and then time to unwind.  Any writing gets put on the back burner as I jot down some thoughts for future posts.  So you know, the dogs are on their sofas or chair – yes they have their own furniture and are gracious enough to allow us to sit with them on occasion – the only time they lay at our feet is when we are eating as they wait patiently for their treat.

We do not know what our future holds but we can face each new day with all the joys along with the uncertainties and trials knowing God is already there, preparing us for the unexpected and for helping us through our daily routines.

If your life’s journey is taking you on an unexpected path remember God is with you.  God may be walking along side you or most likely carrying you but be encouraged – all of your needs are already set before God.

Our life may be full of uncertainties – but – God is always certain and sure.

Season of Rest

Season of Rest

When I took my break I did not know what to expect. There were plenty of things that have been neglected and needed done. In my mind I became June Cleaver and Mrs. Brady (forgetting Mrs. Brady had a maid). Not only would my life be all figured out but my home would be organized and clean.

It did not take me long to recognize how busy my life had become. My life was filled with many empty activities to keep me busy and to quiet the many thoughts going through my mind. I found out that it only silenced the voice of God.

The busier I became the more I organized my to-do list, my calendar and my time. It did not take long to discover that it was more time-consuming than it was helpful.

What was causing chaos in my life had to be removed. I had to de-clutter my life along with de-cluttering my never-ending lists.

There you have it, I am a list writer. I have a list for everything. I love buying new calendars because I can create new lists. I download free apps of lists and organization tools. But with all the writing of lists to structure my life I found out I was actually creating disorder. I was being over organized so much so, that my lists were the only things that were organized.

During this season of rest I became still, longing to feel my Lord’s presence and to hear His voice.

God was already there waiting for me let go of the busyness and the never-ending lists to return to Him. He displayed His presence in glorious sunrises and sunsets, and in the winter birds’ songs of joy at the start of the day. His voice was heard in the stillness of the morning and in the solitude of the evenings.

I am once again aware of God’s Presence.

I have finally become a Mary in a Martha world – sitting at the feet of Jesus.

Through each season of my life Jesus was there, is there and will always be there. This season of rest Jesus cleared a path for me to see clearly that God, our Father will always bring organization out of our chaos.

I rediscovered:

God is always with us regardless if our lives are chaotic or well-ordered.

Jesus points the way for us when we have lost our way to free us so we can worship God in every season of our lives.

Each season will bring us closer to an everlasting life with God the Father, Jesus His Son and His Holy Spirit.

There will be times when a season takes us to a place of rest – to our mountain. A place where we will worship God, offering Him our praises, and glorifying His Name in everything we do.

We do not need a to-do list for worship.

 

“LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things” Isaiah 25:1
“LORD, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things”        Isaiah 25:1
Mount-Zion
“Exalt the LORD our God and worship at His holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy” (Psalm 99:9)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{Sunrise picture by Patty Beggs}
{Praise picture and Mt Zion compliments of Google search}

Finding Hope In Cancer

Hope 115 years ago I heard the words none of us want to hear, “you have cancer”.

On July 9, 2000 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I was 38 yrs old, a non smoker with no family history of breast cancer. I was more concerned with developing heart disease from both of my parents and never gave cancer a thought.

During my physical I casually mentioned a lump I found a few weeks earlier to my doctor and he suggested I get a second opinion since it looked suspicious. My doctor came out as the nurse confirmed with me the appointment in Oct with one of our local surgeons, he then quickly interrupted and told his secretary to get me in that week with someone else, he did not want me waiting that long. At that point I knew it was serious, and it was.

I not only had a cancerous lump, I had cluster cells and cancer cells close to my chest wall. Three different types of cancer in three separate areas in one breast. In 2 weeks time my life turned upside down from a healthy 38 yr old to being diagnosed with breast cancer.

The next 8 months I will go through a mastectomy, chemo treatments and radiation; fears and doubts. I will also discover a deepening of my faith and trust in God.

God through His Word in the book of Psalms gave me hope and through His Son, Jesus, I discovered the God of Abraham, Jacob and David and the God of our hearts today. During the next year I will experience a healing, not physically but spiritually. Although physical healing did come in time.

Through my turbulent childhood and rebellious youth and subsequent marriage to a godly man, God prepared me for this cancer journey. My childhood taught me to persevere and Tom taught me about God’s love and mercy.

It was also through this journey that Tom and I both developed a deeper relationship with God and each other that would see both of us through dealing with cancer and other life events.

The important thing to remember is God never gave up on me even when I choose to go my own way. I am thankful He did not give up instead kept calling me to Him. Troubles still came but I never had to go through them alone, all I needed to do was to turn toward God.

God did not cause the breast cancer, but He used breast cancer and many other circumstances to draw me to Him and for me to discover who He created me to be. Truthfully, I would have chosen for God to intervene and not have cancer enter my body choosing a different, easier path to draw me to Him. But cancer did come and what someone told me I found to be true, God never wastes an opportunity whether it be a trial or a joy. God will use it to bring us hope, develop our character, teach us perseverance and to accomplish His purpose that will bring Him Glory and that it will always be for the good of His people.

Difficult times come for many reasons but it never means God is punishing you or turning away from you. I feel that is through these times that often bring us nearer and dearer to God.

If you are going through a difficult time right now, remember God did not cause your situation but He will use it to call you to Him and to develop you into the person He designed you to be.

I understand when things get so bad it is all you can do to get up in the morning, but take a deep breath, get up, and find the hope you need to overcome your obstacle. Look for God’s presence in all the situations in your life. Sometimes the hope you need is right in front of you. It has been my experience that big things come in small packages, the biggest blessings God gives us are often the littlest every day things in our lives .

I found God’s hope in cancer and recently in grief.  God’s hope is knowing that we have a secure and certain future.  It is a hope that we know deep in our hearts that God is our anchor during the storms of life and knowing He is in our present and in our future.  

My prayer for you is to find God’s hope whatever you are going through; the hope that will give you strength to prepare you for whatever you are facing and the hope that will encourage you and bring you spiritual healing.

Psalm 25: 4-5 “Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths. Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long.”

Psalm 34:17-18 “the righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Psalm 46: 1-2, 10 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, …..Be still, and know that I am God.

Psalm 119:74 “I have put my hope in Your word” 

These are but a few hopeful words from Psalms. I encourage you to read Psalms and about those who cried out to God in their need and to keep this truth in your heart; God answered them and He will answer you.

Day of Pentecost

1 Day of PentecostToday in the Christian church we celebrate the Day of Pentecost. 

Pentecost is the day that the church was born. Christ was crucified, rose again, spent forty days with his disciples, then ascended to heaven. Pentecost immediately followed.  As our Pastor told the children, today is the Church’s Birthday.

From the books of Acts, the Church came into being on the day of Pentecost. “120 worshipers, including the Disciples, were fasting and praying in an upper room in Jerusalem, the Holy Spirit descended upon them in a violent rushing wind that was heard throughout the city. Small flames of fire rested upon their heads, and they began to speak in other languages. As crowds came to investigate the commotion, the Apostle Peter spoke to them about Jesus and urged them to repent. From the crowd of Jews and converts, 3,000 realized the truth of his words and became followers of Jesus.”

Today for many Pentecost is time of renewal. During our time of prayer we ask for empowerment from the Holy Spirit and a deeper intimacy with God. Pentecost is a celebration that strengthens our faith and makes us aware of a purpose much greater than our own.  

Today over 2,000 years ago the Spirit of God came to dwell in the hearts of all believers. 

The song “Spirit of Gentleness” tells of the transformation of our lives by the power of God’s Holy Spirit and fills us with the flaming desire to be His people through Jesus Christ His Son and our Savior.

The information about Pentecost is from Sharefaith.com

Praise For Our Creator

Flower arrangement in honor of Revs Ken and Christine Woods Henderson

“Praise God from all creatures here below…”
Creator of everything and everyone
There is no beginning of time only You

You filled the Heavens with Your Glory

You Created the Universe displaying Your Power and Greatness

You Created the Angels to reflect Your Beauty

You Created the Earth, the splendor of Your Majesty

You Created the Animals, each one with a purpose You ordained

You Created man and woman in Your image –
An image of Love

You sent Your Son to Light our way back to You –
Restoring the natural order of Your plan

You are present each day and are already in our future
You breathe life into our souls – giving life eternal to those who love You.
You alone we honor and worship
Creator of heaven and earth

Since before time began
We Praise You Father, Son and Holy Spirit


My time spent in Spiritual Direction with my mentor, Christine is coming to close as we both begin a new chapter in our lives. Christine and her husband have retired and will start a new life in a different state. For me, I say good-bye to a friend and take what she has taught me to new heights as I continue to discover God’s plan for me.  Two endings and two beginnings.

I wrote this during my worship time with our Lord – a quiet part of my day that allows me to express my devotion to God through writing, music, stillness, and art. Writing has become my favorite form of spiritual discipline, expressing my praise to God in words.

I dedicate this praise for our Creator to Christine who through the years guided me to finding my true spiritual self, discovering my potential as a disciple and follower of Jesus Christ, Gods own Son and leading me to a fulfilled personal relationship with God – our Father. Christine has become more than a spiritual mentor she has become my friend, my sister in Christ.

Roses in the sanctuary celebrating the service of Revs. Ken and Christine Woods-Henderson
Rev. Dr. Christine Woods-Henderson
Rev. Dr. Christine Woods-Henderson