The Simplest and Greatest Things in Life: HOPE

‘The simplest things in life are the things most precious-HOPE….’

Hope moves us forward. It’s like the fuel in our car, the butter on our bread, or the warmth of the sun on our face.

History tells of those who said the only thing that got them through trauma and tragedy was HOPE. We can have hope every day because Jesus Christ was our perfect sacrifice.  We not only have the promise of eternal life but the courage when life can feel hopeless. I know because there were times I felt there was no hope.  God reminded me time and time again,

The Lord is there to rescue all who are discouraged and have given up hope.  Psalm 34:18 (CEV)

We can HOPE even when:

  • Things are super tight until the next paycheque
  • When the ex-spouse is throwing curve balls and a court date is approaching regarding child custody
  • The work place is tough and you need a positive attitude toward some people who stand at the water cooler
  • Your child is ill and you need wisdom
  • Your child is adjusting to the separation/or divorce
  • You are extremely lonely and wonder if you will ever find love again
  • The car broke down AGAIN
  • People are talking behind your back…

And on and on it goes….

Hope isn’t about crossing our fingers, toes, or our eyes!  It’s an action word when we believe there is much to live for despite some tough circumstances. God gives TRUE HOPE.

Does our situation instantly change? It may not, but in those situations God imparts hope to keep us facing forward. If I didn’t have God’s hope in my life, I am not sure where I would be today. His hope helped me step forward from my divorce, raise my two children, find a job(s) to support the three of us, and provide when the bank account was looking pretty grim. I spent time with feelings of loneliness wanting someone to love me. There were times I was lying in bed sick-as-a-dog without a husband to hold my hand. God kept saying, I’m here, don’t give up!

God proved to me that He was what I needed and He still does today. He wants us to ask Him for hope.  What does your list look like of help and needing hope? Will you partner with God with all the issues you are facing right now in life?

The cool thing is that if we can grasp the wonderful HOPE He gives us, we can in turn encourage and help others.

He comforts us when we are in trouble, so that we can share that same comfort with others in trouble.  2 Corinthians 1:4 (CEV)

Open your HOPE Chest:

  • Truth is, we all have plenty to live for because of His HOPE. Will you take this HOPE?
  • Understand that life is worth living with God as your HOPE
  • Memorize Psalm 34:18
  • True Fact: Each day there is a promise with God’s Hope.
  • Are you seeking God and wondering what life can offer. Check out:  https://www.allaboutgod.com/god-loves-you.htm

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next time: LOVE

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THE SIMPLEST & GREATEST THINGS IN LIFE

A couple of years ago I bought this little picture for my wall. I liked the images of the barn and sheep because we own a sheep farm.  The words encircling those two images were packed full of truth. I want to take the next few weeks to share these four important words that are tools for survival and success in life.

 

HOPE

LOVE

JOY

FAITH

The first part of the quote says, “The simplest things in life are the things most precious” and I agree.

It has been said that “you can’t buy happiness”.  Many find themselves on a shopping spree, planning another trip, buying a bigger home, a fancy car, or a cottage on the lake. It doesn’t take long to realize that while it is fun and exciting, the monthly payments will be coming! Shopping is fun, a vacation is needed, and our cars need to be replaced.  The problem is when we believe it will bring true happiness instead of the ‘simplest things that prove precious’ which bring inner peace.  That is what balances it all out.

Over the years, I am found these four foundational qualities to be tested and true.  It helped when life didn’t make sense, when people hurt me, when I was tired of being lonely, or when I felt God was silent. I would love you to join me as we talk about these precious words that God has gifted to us if we allow Him to lead and guide us.

We can’t buy hope, love, joy or faith.  God is the one that will fill our inner most being with these qualities.  With these we can face each day with His help, His promises, and His peace.

Just as God told the Israelites, He still has the same message today,

People of Isaiah, I am the holy Lord God, the one who rescues you. For your own good, I teach you, and I lead you along the right path.  Isaiah 48:17 (CEV)

Will you take up the challenge to put these four important words into your vocabulary but most of all into your heart?

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:

  • Will you partner with God to let Him teach you and lead you?
  • Memorize Isaiah 48:17
  • Remember you can’t buy happiness.
  • Think through the phrase, “the simplest things are life are the things most precious”.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next time: HOPE

 

Frozen!

The road that leads to our home has been an exceptionally cold and wintry winter.  Burr, we are frozen! How about you?

Whether your home is made up of a single person, a single parent, or a two parent dwelling, the darker, cooler months of winter can match the inner spirit that finds it easy to freeze up too.  Routine has set in and quite honestly, it can seem quite dull.  It’s easy for negativity to creep into our thinking and actions.

How can we can have a more positive perspective in the challenges we face each and every day?

Here are three things to consider:

  1. Reflect that we are put here on earth for such a time as 2018!

Nothing about me is hidden from you!
I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below, but with your own eyes you saw my body being formed. Even before I was born, you had written in your book everything I would do. Psalms 139: 15-16 (CEV)

Things may not seem all that positive at the moment. Sometimes life throws curve balls that are unfair and hurtful. I get that. I am living some of those days as I type. Because of the sin condition in this world, it will hand us unwanted situations. God knows this and He wants to help if we will trust Him and ask for help. I often want Him to instantly take away the issues, but I know He will journey beside me IN those issues.  As I reflect back, I can see that God never failed me despite what people do.  Will you trust Him with what is on your plate?

  1. React

Often our reactions to situations tell us if our heart thermometer has become frozen. We start to blame everyone and even God?  I am not saying we welcome the trials in our life. I mean who does that? I spent many hours crying over the loss of my marriage, the pain of divorce, and the loneliness of single motherhood.  I got angry when things were unfair in my situation, but at the end of the day, the choices I had to make needed to be filtered through my personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  I had to ask Him to deal with my frozen heart and melt it so I could make wise decisions.  I had to watch the words that came out of my mouth because I couldn’t undo them.  Yes, I regret some of my reactions and have had to deal with those.

Calling a trusted friend, reading my Bible, and asking God for the next steps helped me as I reacted to each and every situation.  It’s hard work, but it pays off.

  1. Rejoice

When we ask God to warm our spirit, that is when we can rejoice in the victories.  Some small, some huge. Give yourself a pat on the back. Choosing to do what is right and true will never go wrong.

Some very unfair situations will always be in our life. That is a given. However, I can rejoice that God will always help me work through them. I truly believe that God works behind the scenes of our life that we don’t even know about.  I continue to take my sometimes frozen heart and let the warmth of God’s love melt the part I need for every situation.

Millions of people are in the same boat.  Injustice reigns in our world.  Human trafficking, the decline of freedom of religion, poverty, abuse, illness, and maliciousness is a daily occurrence.  That is why our relationship with Jesus Christ will move us forward. He knows all about injustice and sin of the world so He will keep our heart beating the right way.

Winter is here, but we have hope. In Irene Hannon’s fictional book, Thin Ice, she wrote, “We do have seasons in our lives—some happier than others. The important thing to remember on winter days is that spring always comes…unless we choose to miss it by hibernation in the darkness.  Sometimes we have to make the effort to step into the sunshine.” (pg. 143)

As you face this week with all the many issues, how will your heart beat?  Will you fight the tendency when your heart wants to become frozen?  Let’s ask God to help keep our hearts softened to God’s wisdom and direction.

Wishing you all a God-filled week.  Here we go!

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:

  • Will you trust God with the path you are living?
  • Memorize Psalm 139:15-16
  • When your hearts start to freeze, ask God for help.
  • Use the three R’s: Reflect, React, and Rejoice in the decisions you are facing.
  • Remember you are not alone!

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Quote from: https://www.amazon.ca/Thin-Ice-Novel-Irene-Hannon/dp/0800724534/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1516631756&sr=8-3&keywords=thin+ice

Ready, Set, Go!

Does that phrase sound like your daily grind?  Waiting each week is a new schedule that needs to be checked off as each event comes and goes! When that is done, the next 7 days starts yelling, “Come on!”

The older I get, I find myself not having the same stamina I had 10 years previous. However, I also realize that some things are just not as important anymore and that some things will just have to wait.

I read a little booklet years ago called “Tyranny of the Urgent” by Charles E. Hummel and this will be on my list to re-read again for 2018.  It is a 32-page booklet that can be downloaded or purchased, packed with information about what is important in life.  Would you care to join me?

https://www.amazon.ca/Tyranny-Urgent-Intervarsity-Press/dp/087784092X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514381849&sr=8-1&keywords=the+tyranny+of+the+urgent

We have goals and resolutions for this year and that is important. What I find for myself is the need to have balance and boundaries while achieving them. It is good to ask why we have these goals, what is really important, and what will they accomplish.  Most importantly, where does God fit into them all? When God is the focus, then our time management will center on what is priority in our home, our kids’ lives, and our career.

What will 2018 be for you? It’s a New Year, a New Start, and a New plan of action.  There will be unscheduled things that pop up so you can then have perspective to know what is the best to do first.

I want to give you, again, my favourite verse that sets this year in motion.

The Lord said:

 Forget what happened long ago!
Don’t think about the past.
I am creating something new.
There it is! Do you see it?
I have put roads in deserts,
streams in thirsty lands. Isaiah 43:18-19 (CEV)

Hello January!

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Check out the booklet, Tyranny of the Urgent
  • Take some time to decide what is important for you and your kids
  • As you face each week and balancing scheduled and unscheduled events, evaluate what is the most important to do and what can wait.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

The Story of the First Christmas

Just as Linus told Charlie Brown in The Charlie Brown Christmas, we too need to be reminded of such a blessed time of year because of the True First Christmas Story.  Read along with me and why not read this to your kids.

“About that time Emperor Augustus gave orders for the names of all the people to be listed in record books. These first records were made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

Everyone had to go to their own hometown to be listed. So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David’s hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David’s family.

Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, and while they were there, she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.

 That night in the fields near Bethlehem some shepherds were guarding their sheep. All at once an angel came down to them from the Lord, and the brightness of the Lord’s glory flashed around them. The shepherds were frightened.  But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, which will make everyone happy. This very day in King David’s hometown a Savior was born for you. He is Christ the Lord. You will know who he is, because you will find him dressed in baby clothes and lying on a bed of hay.”

Suddenly many other angels came down from heaven and joined in praising God. They said:

“Praise God in heaven!
Peace on earth to everyone
    who pleases God.”

After the angels had left and gone back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.” They hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and they saw the baby lying on a bed of hay.

 When the shepherds saw Jesus, they told his parents what the angel had said about him. Everyone listened and was surprised. But Mary kept thinking about all this and wondering what it meant.

As the shepherds returned to their sheep, they were praising God and saying wonderful things about him. Everything they had seen and heard was just as the angel had said.

 Eight days later Jesus’ parents did for him what the Law of Moses commands. And they named him Jesus, just as the angel had told Mary when he promised she would have a baby.”

Luke 2: 1-21 Contemporary English Version (CEV) https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+2&version=CEV

Merry Christmas Dear Ones. May your season be filled with Peace and Joy because of Jesus’ birth.  

See you in 2018!

 

‘Tis the Season for New Traditions! Fa la la

Everywhere we look there is Christmas lights, Christmas movies on the television, a tree with homemade decorations and twinkly lights. ‘Tis the season of Peace and Joy, but maybe your heart feels void of that?

For some, Christmas is a reminder of a hurtful and painful memories. A loved one has passed away, a child is overseas, or a divorce still vibrates off the walls of your home. Christmas was like that for me for a number of years. I was now a single mom planning Christmas for my girls.  I had a good support system but it was still hard to process Christmas present with Christmas past.  It meant a conscious effort to make new traditions and new memories while slowly moving ahead.

The traditions the girls and I made weren’t enormous.  In fact, they were the little things we did that gave me a sense of joy despite the circumstances.  It was baking together, picking a silly Christmas movie to watch with a bowl of popcorn, sleeping by the tree, or driving around looking at the lights.

The word, New, can become the new normal.  It won’t erase the old memories, but it will help for a new life with new traditions. What do you think you and your kids could do this year for a new tradition? Maybe it will build on an old one or be something totally different.

What about these suggestions:

  • volunteering at a mission or soup kitchen during this season
  • make cookies for some neighbours ( I know you will have a mess to clean up)
  • make handmade Christmas cards for the people on your street?
  • Find another single parent and kids and go see the Christmas lights? When there was opportunity, we would go to a live nativity production.
  • Check out your local town’s festive schedule and see if there is something that interests you.
  • Check out the numerous free concerts and productions to attend at local churches.

My favourite verse talks about new traditions,

Forget what happened long ago!
Don’t think about the past.
 I am creating something new.
There it is! Do you see it? Isaiah 43: 18, 19b (CEV)

So…Fa la la…’Tis the Season to make new traditions….the sky is the limit!  You will be glad you did.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Make a point to try one new tradition this season. If that one doesn’t work, try another
  • Remind yourself that the word, NEW, can be a good and positive thing
  • There will always be a past, but you can make the best of the present
  • Memorize Isaiah 43:18, 19b

YOU CAN DO THIS!

A New Christmas Movie..THE STAR

The Star

A wonderful and beautifully animated movie about the very first Christmas.

A special twist to the story of Jesus’ birth from the animals perspective all leading up to the Christ-child born in a manager.  You will get to know a donkey named Dave, a bird named Bo, three silly  wise men camels who are Felix, Cyrus and Deborah, and Ruth the Sheep to name a few.  It’s a journey of the life of Mary and Joseph who need to return to Bethlehem for their census and how Herod’s soldier and his mean dogs, Thaddeus and Rufus are on the hunt for them.  This journey is filled with humour and adventure. Our granddaughters enjoy the movie!

Grab some hot buttered popcorn and enjoy this movie made for all ages because the first Christmas is the reason for the season and the meaning of our everlasting future.

 

Thanks to Graf Communication and Affirm Films movie (with Sony Pictures Animation and Sony Pictures Entertainment) for the opportunity to see this movie.