It is interesting to see how we go through phases and stages of life.
It is quite evident when talking to our ladies at church about
what would be most helpful and supportive to them.

Some are looking for lighthearted relationship building fellowship
in which talk of the Lord just comes as a natural part 
of the experience and growth of relationships.

Others need regular and structured Bible study.

Over the days, weeks, months and years of our lives
I think we can all relate to both approaches.

I am going to get to participate in both groups.

So on Friday afternoon four of us met to begin the study of 
The Psalms.

Our hostess and leader began with a study of Psalm 145.
It was so special.
It is a poem filled with praise and so much more!



It speaks of our Heavenly Father's attributes of 
graciousness, compassion, righteousness, goodness and mercy.
Of His provision for our needs.

One generation will share with the  next the wonderful
things we know about the Lord.

It reminds us to praise daily.

We will sing His praise.
Oooh...as a musician I love this.
In my world there is no better way to tuck amazing truth
into my memory than to put them to music.

The riches of a single Psalm merely scratch the surface of the encouragement 
and knowledge available to us in the Word of God.
I look forward to sharing this journey with these friends over the next year.

If you are in this stage of life and are feeling the need to 
share scripture with friends that you would seek out those
who are feeling as you do.
It is very worthwhile and allows us to see things through
other's eyes that can be very, very helpful to us.
Your input will be helpful to your friends as well.

Fellowship.
It is a very important part of our Christian walk.

Allow me to share my favorite portions from this Psalm.

v.8,9
The Lord is gracious,
 and full of compassion; 
slow to anger, 
and of great mercy.
 The Lord is good to all: 
and his tender mercies 
are over all his works.

v.14
The Lord upholdeth all that fall, 
and raiseth up all those 
that be bowed down.

v.18-21
The Lord is nigh unto 
all them that call upon him, 
to all that call upon him in truth.
 He will fulfill the desire of them 
that fear him: 
he also will hear their cry, 
and will save them.
The Lord preserveth all them that love him: 
but all the wicked will he destroy.
My mouth shall speak 
the praise of the Lord
and let all flesh bless his 
holy name for ever and ever.

I hope these words are sweet to your heart.










“After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
Mark 1:7-8 (ESV)








For years I've written a journal of my thoughts, prays and concerns.  One day as I was writing in my journal I noticed how relaxing it was for me. Since no one would read it I wasn't concerned about my spelling, punctuation or if it was legible.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ELOUISEUK?ref=l2-shopheader-nameIt is quite different when I write a blog or this devotion.  I reread it several times before I push the publish button. I want it to flow smoothly, with proper grammar and correct spelling, because others will be reading it.

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/ELOUISEUK?ref=l2-shopheader-name

This can be  a lot like our lives.  When we are alone or with people we are comfortable with, do we care what we say, how we act or if our language is appropriate. Yet when when we are in the public our language and behavior might be different. In church we might behave especially good. 


If we don't think some of our behavior is appropriate for church, why do we think it is appropriate to for our family, close friends or when we are alone. 

God isn't a god who just sees us in church.  He sees us all the time.  One day I was in the shower and realized he even sees me there.

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Psalm 139:1-   God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I'm and open book to you: even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I'm never out of your site. You know everything I'm going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too-- your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is to much, too wonderful -- I can't take it all in! (The Message Bible)

God created us and knew all about us before we were conceived. He didn't bring us into the earth to leave us alone.  He is always watching over us, his pride and joy.  

Our goal is not to please people, but to please God who sees us all the time.

"Careful little tongue what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love, so be careful little tongue what you say. Careful little feet where you go...."  A popular Sunday school song with a lot of meaning to it
.

Noah built an ark in a land where there was no rain.  Abraham left his home to go to an unknown destination.  Sarah was old – much too old to bear a child, even a promised child. Joseph was forgotten in prison, serving a sentence undeserved.  Moses found himself and his people between the Red Sea and mighty Egyptian army. Esther approached the King even though it most certainly meant death.

Like these heroes of faith, many times we find ourselves in difficult or impossible situations.  Many times we find ourselves waiting on God.  And God has a timetable that is so different from our own.  We see the deadline on the horizon.  The bill is due. The job doesn’t come through. The family member breaks our heart.  But where is God? Where is He that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think?  Why does He tarry?  Doesn’t He know that right now would be the perfect time to answer our prayers?

Mary and Martha must have wondered that as they waited for Jesus to come. They had sent word that Lazarus was sick. They knew Jesus could heal their brother. Why did He take so long? It would be such an easy thing for Jesus to lay His hands on Lazarus and he would be completely healed.  But Jesus was in no hurry.  He had a better plan.

We know the story.  Jesus arrived “much too late”. Lazarus had been buried for several days. But He showed his exceeding abundant power and raised Lazarus from the dead.  We know that story.  What we don’t know is our own.  How will God work miraculously in our lives? It isn’t easy when we are facing our own trials. Yet God still asks us to trust in Him. Even during those days when He seems silent, the nights when we can’t feel His presence, the weeks or years that it doesn’t look like He’s working in our lives – know that He is.  It has been said “God is seldom early and never late.” He asks us to have faith.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.  Hebrews 11:6

by Regina of reginatherrienstock


This was a big hit when I made it for our soup kitchen. The kids just loved it!

"Dirt Cake"

Ingredients:

1 box of moist chocolate cake mix using two 9x9 round cake pans.
Instant chocolate pudding mix
Gummy worms
Chocolate Oreo graham cracker pie crust

Directions:

Select the size pan you want to use as the sand box; but make sure it is deep. Work around whatever theme you want to use. I used the beach theme with a pail & shovel.

Once the cakes are cool, crumble one on bottom of sand box pan evenly. Add a few gummy worms. Then spread choc. pudding evenly on top of cake (the amount of boxes will depend on the size of the pan you are using but be generous). Next, crumble only half of the other cake evenly over the pudding (You can use the whole cake if you want to if you were very generous with the pudding. You don't want the end result to be too dry.) Add a few more gummy worms. Be creative! The final layer will be the graham crackers. I used the chocolate oreo graham cracker pie crusts, because it looks more like dirt. Spread graham crackers evenly on top (be generous). Add more gummy worms.


My dad loved to golf. One of the saddest parts of the diabetes was when it robbed him of his ability to see that little white ball fly through the air.

One of my favorite memories, though, was of him teaching me to swing a club in just the perfect way to send the ball flying straight and true to the intended goal.  The lesson was fairly short and sweet....once we got through that stupid very important grip.

Here is what I know...You have to commit to the swing.  Giving it your all.  Suppose you check the swing midway?  You are going to pull the ball to the right or the left.  Think you can get away with hitting the ball and then stopping the club?  Nope.  This is going to cause you problems as well.  Somehow the science requires the beginning, ball hit, and end of the swing to be as committed and fluid as they can be.

And so it is with our daily walk.  How does it work for you to be "half in" to your commitment to Christ?  It just isn't good.  Bad things happen.  There are so many things vying for our attention and not all of them are good.

As Believers we know the beginning, the day to day living and the end.  It is vital that we are committed to the entire journey as each part has impact.

I am not talking about a list of things that we must do.  I'm talking about our heart attitude.  One that earnestly follows after Him.  A constant dedication to finishing strong. One that knows that it must keep the end goal in sight to reach it.

Swing hard, my Christian friends.  Allow your testimony to fly straight and long.  Finish well at the spot of your goal.

Never give up.  If you end up in the sand trap of life....get busy and chip out of that thing.  Don't stay there or despair.  Grab a wedge...it is designed to lift that ball up and out.  Have a few "wedge" scriptures and friends handy.    :-)

Stuck in the trees/woods?  This is tricky....but you can carefully come out with prayer and support of those who love you.

Constantly seek the advice of your Caddie....The Holy Spirit.  It is even better than having someone walk beside you with encouragement and advice....This gift is in you with all the advice and tools you need to succeed.  Be practiced at hearing and obeying that voice.

So, while this may seem a silly exercise in comparisons I hope it comes back to you from time to time when you are tempted to care a bit less than you should.  Be committed....to the end.

Becky-Good Neighbors Candle Co.




Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
Luke 9:23-26 (NIV)
This past week I have been reading through The Ordinary Hero by Tim Chester because I was asked to review the book for my church's women's group.  The aim of the author is to encourage Christians to think about Jesus' death on the cross and His resurrection.  And not just think about it, but think about how it really applies to our lives.  In other words, how can we practically apply and live out the cross and the resurrection in our day to day lives rather than just knowing it as an academic fact.
One of the many Bible passages referenced in the book is the one from Luke 9 above.  A passage which, if I am honest, challenges me intensely because my sinful nature doesn't want to deny self and make sacrifices.
But these verses are ones which apply to all Christians, regardless of whether we are suffering severe persecution for our faith as many of our brothers and sisters in Christ do in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, or whether we live in countries where there is relative freedom of religion.
I don't pretend to have hard and fast answers for those who struggle with taking up their cross to follow Jesus.  But I want to challenge you all to think through what this means in your life.  Does it mean not accepting a job or joining a sports club because doing so would mean you couldn't attend church?  Does it mean nurturing and encouraging your children, or spurring on a friend in their Christian walk even when you're tired and depressed and could use some TLC yourself?  Or maybe it means humbly putting up with ridicule and scorn because you refuse to join in with your colleagues' unethical behaviour at work.  And for some, it will mean physical death because of their refusal to reject Jesus.



However "taking up your cross daily" applies in your life, let us pray for each other, and for all Christians around the world, that we would stand firm in our faith and honour God in all that we do.

Deb - dspdavey/Domum Vindemia