That Was Easy!


IMG_1258

Psalm 16:8 I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved. (NKJV)

I begin each morning in this order – – coffee, devotional reading from the Daily Bread, Bible reading and then prayer.

My prayer today was that I please God in thought, word and deed. Nothing to it, or ‘That was easy’, as a certain company jingle tells us.

Next I sit at my computer, ready to read newly arrived emails. And I sit. And sit And – – “come on computer, don’t start my day working at a snail’s pace. I’m not sitting here to waste time”. My, that was easy – I’ve blown my good intentions already and the day has just begun.

“Whoops, Lord – sorry. It didn’t take much for me to forget”.

How easy it is to plan our day, and how easy it is to allow distractions to destroy them.

Prayer: Help us focus on what is good today. Let us follow Your directions so, at the end of our day, we end our day knowing we have done our very best, in all ways. Let us then justly claim that ‘that was easy’. Amen.

The Storms of Life


Pelee0044
When life deals you one crisis after another, it can be very easy to succumb to defeat.

Our energy levels diminish and it is all we can do to get up in the morning. Once risen, we stumble through the day not sure how we can stay the course to reach the end of the day.

In between, we accomplish nothing of value thus setting the stage for depression. We feel weary and unworthy of anyone’s time or attention and begin to withdraw into a dark place. It is a place where joy has died and anxiety rules. It is a destructive, selfish place where pity-parties gain control, bringing our lives to a full stop.

When this happens, we need to reach out to others – not withdraw.
We need to be thankful for all that we have – not keep wanting more. We need to help others and we do this, our own needs and expectations take a back seat as willing service for or to someone else, begins to grow joy in our own lives.

Life storms come and go. Some of us will flounder while others overcome the battering of the emotional and spiritual waves. Taking control of our thoughts and actions can and will take us to a better place, once we rely on God’s guidance. He will always steer us in the right direction and place our feet on solid ground.

Matthew 8:25-27 Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”

If wind and wave can obey Jesus, why can’t we? Why is it so hard for us to trust God, choosing instead to live life our own way?

Storms will come and go, but once we allow God to control our lives we can always find a safe haven. We can always find peace.

Prayer: Abba, we tend to want to control everything in our lives. We complain about the crisis points of our lives, never thinking to come to You and hand over our stuff. Please help us to be willing to hand it all to You as we strive for a better way to live. Amen

Once we do this – can we find quiet in our storms? I know we can, but we have to be willing to let go – then let God guide us in all our ways.

Easier said than done – but so worth it!

See more at:
http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com
https://www.facebook.com/#!/skyscapes

Pray or Prey!


A recent report, in our local newspaper, gives reason for concern to hikers or even just casual walkers. In an area west of Barrie – north of Angus – a couple preparing for a hike report having been stalked by cougars! (Innisfil Journal, Sept. 6, 2012)

Having left their vehicle to begin their walk they were immediately aware of movement in the undergrowth on either side of the path they were on. In addition to this they heard, what sounded like a whistling noise and felt they were being watched. Deciding to investigate whatever was there and discover what was stopping when they stopped and moving when they did, the man looked into the undergrowth then thought he was imagining things, for looking right back at him was a huge cat: a large cougar, with two others beside it. This sighting was on the outskirts of one large city and bordering another smaller one – not an area where you expect to see these creatures.

His first thought was for his wife, who he ordered back to their vehicle, and then decide how he was going to make it there safely himself. Thankfully, another vehicle suddenly arrived and the sound and that and of doors opening and closing, as more people arrived, saved him. The cats hastily retreated deeper into the bush giving him opportunity to return to the vehicle and safety. He had no doubt that their safety was definitely compromised should the distraction not have occurred. They each realized they had been stalked by the cougars, from the moment they had arrived.

1 Peter 5:8-9 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. (NKJV)

Similarly, the devil stalks each of us during our daily walk. He will creep into our lives and then destroy us, given ample opportunity. He will bide his time, stopping when we stop and moving right alongside us when we move. Planning to overcome and destroy us if we are not vigilant, taking steps to protect ourselves.

God is our over-comer: our Protector, as we grow in faith with Him in our lives, He shows us the safe paths to take; paths that lead us to growth and safety and not to destruction. Jesus is His rescuer, if you will, guiding us and bringing us to safety, just as the arrival of the second vehicle brought safety and escape from potential harm to this couple.

Prayer: Father, help us to be constantly aware of our surroundings and not be complacent in any way as we trust in You. Amen

I Needed That!


Self-pity and discontent crept into my heart silently: an uninvited guest and it charged my thoughts with ugliness.

The recent illness of someone near and dear had caused us different individual personal losses. Rest, comfort, income and confidence suffered while our tired minds tried to maintain equilibrium with our situation and inner peace.

It sadly, opened a door to negative thinking (boy, that can creep in so quickly, can’t it?) – that’s the only way I can best describe the turmoil within my heart. Then, I was prompted to watch a service on TV from Peoples Church, in which they showed a recent trip made to Israel. Families planted a tree in memory of those lost to persecution through the ages, particularly the Nazi regime and it’s atrocious ethnic cleansing.

That immediately grabbed my attention and lifted my thinking. I still have family, health, freedom, faith: so why was I wasting precious energy with self-pity: even without financial issues I still have more than many in this world.

A singer then sang one of my favorite hymns – praising our faithful Father, who makes us whole. Whose grace and mercy and love continually amaze. I needed that!

Once again, with this past tribulation overcome with perseverance, my challenges are still small compared to those that many people endure. Some of those cannot be overcome, but still they try.

I guess the reminder was necessary – I know it was and I am now seeing things with different eyes and a refreshed heart.

So – mean and ugly thoughts – you are not welcome! You will not get the attention you crave. God is first in all matters – it is just that occasionally, I need a small reminder to travel another route when the burden becomes too heavy.

Romans 5: 3-5 – And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (NKJV)

Prayer: Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou! Jesus!

The Beatitudes


Do you not know that God blesses you and draws ever closer to you, when you are treated unkindly by others? He wants you to lean on His strength. He wants you to trust in His everloving Grace. He wants you to have Peace. All this does come at a price, however, we have to cast aside the unkindness that is directed at us, just as Jesus did when people mocked Him.

The Beatitudes, can be a source of reassurance when disparaging behavior or words are directed at you. God takes notice and will deal with the thoughtlessness, in His own way.

God blesses those who realize their need for Him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is given to them.
God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are gentle and lowly, for the whole earth will belong to them.God blesses those who are hungry and thirsty for justice, for they will receive it in full.
God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted because they live for God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

My Blog: http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com
My Novel: Eleanor’s Story – A Stolen Childhood is in the process of pre-publication

Grow Sweet Pea


Beside our house is a sweet pea plant. The previous owner planted it long ago. It is a perennial and it is vigorous where it is.

I, however, do not want it growing in that spot and have attempted on more than one occasion to root it in other parts of the garden where it could be better enjoyed. Each try has failed – despite my careful choice of sites in different exposures and earth.

In desperation I prepared one more spot. I carefully dug the ground and planted a few roots with the command, “grow sweet pea or you’re out of here, once and for all”.

Despite all these failures, the original root still thrives beside the house untidily spreading itself across the ground. I am equally determined to grow a root from it in another part of the garden.

Our lives can be similarly unruly as we are placed in different locations trying an assortment of jobs, homes, pastimes. Sometimes the choices are fruitful but there are others when we fail because we choose to not take root or to use our particular skills. Sometimes, when the changes are thrust upon us, our perseverance fails us – we feel unable to prosper and we wane, unable to deal with the new situations.

Much like the sweet pea, we can each be relocated time and time again in an effort to succeed in a new place, only to fade away and die.

Daily living presents us with many opportunities; each one presumably better than where we are, but unless we can grab hold and ‘take root’, the opportunity will fall on stony ground and we will not succeed.

Mark 4:5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. (NKJV)

After numerous tries I think I have, at last, found a spot it likes. The roots are yielding strong shoots and are looking very promising. Perhaps my perseverance has paid off and I have found the right spot!

Prayer: Abba – we are not perfect but like to think we can achieve much with our dimunitive efforts. Our attempts can fail, despite our determination to make new things happen. Please grant us Your Wisdom and Discernment as we contemplate different careers, new locations and choices. Keep us beside you and let us not become unruly as we are planted in fresh ground. Amen

Like this? check my blog at:
http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

Contributor to: http://www.devotionalchristian.com

Focus!


Matthew 6:6  But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and Your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.  (NKJV)

When you pray, do you ever find yourself being inundated with other thoughts and a myriad of distractions around you?  I do, I have to confess. 

During my bible and prayer time recently, I found my focus drawn to activity in the garden.  I was trying to say the Lord’s Prayer, but I kept interjecting my own thoughts into it.  It was so persistent that I decided I would write down my attempts.  Here it is.

Our Father who art in heaven.  Uh-oh, here comes a pesky squirrel.

Hallowed be Thy Name.  I wonder did you spill the feeder yesterday, to get to the seed?

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.  You’re very fortunate you are quicker on your feet than me.

Give us this day our daily bread.  Even the squirrel!

And forgive us our trespasses   Even those of us who plot against Your squirrels.

As we forgive those who trespass against us.  Gotta be the squirrels!

And lead us not into temptation,  I plot to hurt it, but would not

But deliver us from evil.  It is one of your creations too.

For Thine is the Kingdom  And it belongs to you just as much as I do.

The Power and the Glory  I  give up!  I’ll continue to watch – but not during my bible time.  Sorry, Abba!

Forever and ever, Amen

See what I mean?  Wasn’t that pitiful?  Reading it, I was ashamed of my poor effort and my lack of focus.  My focus should have been on God and His Prayer – not on the squirrel in the garden.  

Prayer:  Abba, I thank You that you are tolerant of my weaknesses and foibles.  Forgive me when my attention is taken from You.  Direct me to focus on You and You alone, for You are more than worthy.  Amen.

http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

www.devotionalchristian.com

 

 

 

 

The Noisy Squirrel


Jeremiah 25:7 – “Yet you have not listened to Me,” says the Lord, “that you might provoke Me to anger with the works of your hands to your own hurt.” (NKJV)

I was trying very hard to concentrate on reading my Bible passages for the day. But there was an equally determined black squirrel in the garden.  It was racing up and down the trees, loudly admonishing and protesting some unseen adversary. Despite my telling it to be quiet and loudly shushing it, it continued with its noisy protesting, oblivious to scolding from me.  All very frustrating.

My protestations fell upon deaf ears! I am fairly certain that, many times, we behave in much the same way when God is attempting to get our attention — all those times when we are crazily running around, doing what we feel needs to be done; when we’re voicing opinions where none are really wanted or needed. I can almost hear God trying to shush us and have us listen to Him, instead of wearing ourselves out with what we perceive as necessary busyness and activity, which, to all intents and purposes, achieves nothing of particular value. Sadly, His calls often fall upon our deaf ears, too.

Exodus 18:19a – Listen now to My voice; I will give you counsel. (NKJV)

Now that I’ve completed my writing I’m thinking that this distraction was meant to get my attention — because the noise has stopped, and the squirrel has vanished!

Okay, Lord, I heard You!

Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for the many times when You attempt to get our attention. Thank You for persevering, even though we can often suffer from selective hearing and continue doing what we think is most important, when really and truly, You are. Amen. 

http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

Anyway!


Anyway!  the word can sound like a negative response, or justification for a wrong action or spoken word.

I (try my best to) live by the biblical laws of the Lord’s Ten Commandments, and some time ago, I’d had some unexpected challenges and I had been questioning myself.  How could I react in a positive manner?The truth was, I was angry and in need of much grace within myself; nevertheless, I wanted to overcome that negativity.  Checking my emails, I found a friend had sent me a link to Dr. Kent Keith’s, ‘Paradoxical Commandments’  and his presentation helped me to put things into perspective -perhaps, they’ll help you today in someway too – so with permission granted me by Dr. Kent Keith, here they are for you – remember to always try to Do Your Best, in all you do.

THE PARADOXICAL COMMANDMENTS

 By Kent M. Keith

  

  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.

 2.   If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior   motives. Do good anyway.

3.  If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.

4.  The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

5.  Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.

6.  The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.

7.  People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

8.  What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.

9.  People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. Help people anyway.

10. Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.

© Copyright Kent M. Keith 1968, renewed 2001

The Paradoxical Commandments were written by Kent M. Keith as part of his book, The Silent Revolution: Dynamic Leadership in the Student Council, published in 1968 by Harvard Student Agencies, Cambridge, Massachusetts. More information is available at http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/.

More of mine:  http://pattersmatters.wordpress.com

www.devotionalchristian.com

 

I’m Here – Where are You?


John 14:1-3 “Don’t be troubled.  You trust God, now trust in me.  There are many rooms in my Father’s home, and I am going to prepare a place for you.  If this were not so, I would tell you plainly.  When everything is ready, I will come and get you.  And you know where I am going and how to get there”. (NLT)

We are a one car family and so when I need the use of our car, I have to get my body out of bed early enough to travel with my husband, into town and deposit him at his workplace.  At the end of the day, I reverse that order and journey to bring him back home again so he can relax and enjoy the comforts of home.  Hopefully, it welcomes him with a modicum of order after I have done necessary housekeeping through the day, thus making it a place for each of us to enjoy come evening.

I tend to be very punctual and so, when my husband is not at the appointed place at the agreed time, I begin to display my ‘antsey’ disposition.  “Ok, I’m here, where are you?” or “Come on, Mister, I’ve worked hard at home cleaning and preparing supper and I’m tired too, I need to get home” or “I’m here, come and find me then I can take you home”.   I agree – it is sadly not the best attitude and certainly not a Godly one.

Thankfully, God is infinitely gracious and patient and will wait for us to meet Him, anytime and in any place.  He wants to be welcomed into our day and into our lives.  He waits for us to meet and greet Him and allow Him to take us along the path that leads to His heavenly abode – our eternal home, where, He has promised He has already prepared a place for each one of us: all we have to do is welcome Him and agree to take that journey with Him, trusting that there we really will find promised rest and comfort.

Isaiah 55:6 Seek the Lord while you can find Him.  Call on Him now while He is near.  (NLT)

Prayer:  Father God, Help us to look for You and wait for You and follow You on the journey of life that is Your choice for each one of us.  Help us with our attitudes and grant us grace.  In Jesus Name, Amen.