Thursday, February 28, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Thanks for the Blessings



In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18


 
We must realize that thankfulness is not based on emotions or a situation’s outcome. We can be grateful, even during trials, because the Lord has promised to work everything for our good (Romans 8:28). That means He has a purpose for every experience, pleasant or difficult. A big problem stacked against our small resources sends us running to Him, thankful He has committed to work it to our benefit.  Charles Stanley


free for personal use or sharing

When I first started blogging, one of my goals was to encourage women to focus on their blessings.   We’re surrounded by blessings, but sometimes our view of them gets dim as we focus on our demise or troubles.  Little did I know that some of my blessings for the week would include an ambulance ride and some nifty geriatric equipment.  Let me back up a bit ....

It was a typical February Saturday in Maine.  It had snowed a little bit the night before but the skies were clear.  I left my house early in the morning to meet my mother and sister, however I never made it.  When I stepped down on the walkway, my foot hit the dusting of snow which was on top of a thin layer of ice and the next thing I knew, my foot very awkwardly twisted underneath me and I was on the ground with some serious pain in my ankle. 

I was unable to bear weight on it, so my husband called our very capable ambulance crew, who somehow managed to get me into the ambulance ~ I’m still trying to figure out how they did that.  X-rays revealed that it wasn’t broken.  I came home the same day with crutches and an air cast, and am still unable to bear weight without the use of the cast.


free for personal use or sharing

What’s the story in all of this?  I don’t know, but I’m sure God has a plan.  He knew this was going to happen before it did.   Our plans can change in an instant – an injury, a health diagnosis, car accident, death of a loved one.  

My trial is small compared to some of the trials you may be facing, but I have learned something through this and previous trials in my life….. look for the blessings.   They are there!   God loves you more than you can comprehend, and He promises to NEVER leave you.  Deuteronomy 31:6  and Psalm 139

One of the definitions of blessings is defined as:
A favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.

Our natural tendency is to focus on our problems and how to solve them rather than focusing on the blessings and giving God our problems to solve. 

We’re told in Psalm 68:19 that God LOADS us DAILY with benefits.
Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits.


There are countless blessings I’ve received this week, but here are a few that stand out to me: 

all that could have happened in the fall, and didn’t
a friend climbing into the ambulance to pray with me
Encouragement and prayers from friends and family
Watching my grandson’s faces light up when I let them squeeze air into my robot cast
 A loving husband (or home health care aide as I call him) who unselfishly cares for me
an elevated toilet seat and shower chair (don’t laugh, these are real blessings)
Hearing my 4 yr old grandson pray that God would “restore nana's ankle like a child’s ankle”
having my teenage Sunday school class come to me in my home, as I couldn’t go to them
hearing my son in law say “give nana her walker back” – wait, is that a blessing? 
Laughter – yes, laughter – it feels good to laugh


Each trial I've faced over the years, I could feel God closer to me than ever before.  It wasn’t until later in my life that I realized, He’d always been that close to me, I just needed to reach out.  


free facebook cover ~ personal use or sharing only please

Here’s some lyrics to a sweet song titled I Just Keep Trusting My Lord, written in 1962 by John W. Peterson

I just keep trusting my Lord, as I walk along,
I just keep trusting my Lord, and He gives a song;
Tho the storm clouds darken the sky, o'er the heav'nly trail,
I just keep trusting my Lord, He will never fail!

He's a faithful friend, such a faithful friend;
I can count on Him to the very end.
Tho the storm clouds darken the sky, o'er the heav'nly trail,
I just keep trusting my Lord, He will never fail!
Many blessings to you dear ones.  May you look for your blessings today and count them. 










This post is linked to:
A Sheltering Tree, Monday's Musings, Word Art Wednesday, Hearts 4 Home,
Clever Chicks, Encourage One Another, Teach Me Tuesdays, The Alabaster Jar,



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Wonderful Peace

click for larger size, free for personal use or sharing


Be anxious for nothing, 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 minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7


Do not be anxious about anything......hmm, seems a little easier said than done. I know a thing or two about anxiety and through the years, God has helped me to “chill”.  To lean more on Him, than spending time worrying about what might happen.   There's a saying:

 Don't worry about tomorrow, God is already there.

click for larger size, free for personal use or sharing


God doesn't want us to clutter our minds with distracting thoughts that come about through life's difficulties. He wants us to PRAY, to give our anxiety over to him.

Worrying causes us to take our eyes off Him. Bringing EVERYTHING to him in prayer keeps our focus on Him. What do you think He means by saying EVERYTHING? Just like it sounds, EVERYTHING.

Be anxious about nothing. A popular hymn says: What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear, what a privilege to carry, everything to God in prayer.





How do we stop worrying? Only through prayer and trust in a loving God. By casting your care on Him, you set aside the cluttered noise, and enter into the peace of God.

Exchanging the bad habit of worrying with the good habit of trusting God, brings about the peace of God which surpasses understanding.

When anxiety comes, the best solution for me is to pray and reflect on this scripture.  I also pair it up with a hymn written in 1889 titled
Wonderful Peace
.  


click for larger size, free for personal use or sharing

Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm;
In celestial strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm.


Chorus:
Peace! peace! wonderful peace,
Coming down from the Father above;
Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray,
In fathomless billows of love.


What a treasure I have in this wonderful peace,
Buried deep in the heart of my soul;
So secure that no power can mine it away,
While the years of eternity roll.



I hope this devotion has encouraged you to seek the peace that passes understanding.  Thank you to Pauline for sharing in my blog comments that Philippians 4:6-7 was one of her favorite passages.  She even has this scripture on a bracelet that she wears.  Thanks Pauline!

You can visit **here** to hear the Gaither's singing the chorus of this hymn. 

What are some of your favorite scriptures or hymns to combat anxiety? 

Have a wonderful week.



Sunday, February 17, 2013

Free Facebook Covers & a Peaceful Poem



I've been having fun playing with some graphics and have made some more free facebook covers for you.   Although their size is specific to facebook, you can use the graphics for digital scrapbooking, blogs, print them out for your collage work, or whatever (personal use).

I've dispersed a poem by Helen Steiner Rice between the graphics, titled The Peace of Meditation.

So we may know God better and feel His quiet power,
Let us daily keep in silence a meditation hour.
For to understand God's greatness and to use His gifts each day,
The soul must learn to meet Him in a meditative way.




For our Father tells His children that if they would know His will
They must seek Him in the silence when all is calm and still.
For nature's great forces are found in quiet things
Like softly falling snowflakes drifting down on angels' wings



Or petals dropping soundlessly from a lovely full-blown rose. 
So God comes closest to us when our souls are in repose.
So let us plan with prayerful care to always allocate
A certain portion of each day to be still and meditate.



For when everything is quiet and we're lost in meditation,
Our souls are then preparing for a deeper dedication
That will make it wholly possible to quietly endure
The violent world around us, for in God we are secure.



I designed these covers using my own personal graphics and some from The Graphics Fairy, who generously offers free vintage graphics every day.  They are free for your personal use or sharing, and may be used on your facebook pages.  

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I'm happy to say that I'm featured this week at The Clever Chicks Blog, thanks Kathy. 

You can find me in two different places on facebook.



Little Birdie Blessings ~ Quotes, scripture, links to other devotions, encouraging and helpful thoughts, vintage images, photography, scripture graphics.







 
Little Birdie Blessings for Moms ~ Humor, devotion, graphics, helpful ideas, encouragement and so much more.  Geared for mothers, but all welcome ~ grandmothers, caregivers, aunts, people who work with children.











Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ Love Before Time

For You formed my inward parts;
You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You,
for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well.

Psalm 139:13-14 (NKJV)




You know that God loves you now, but do you realize that He always has – even before you were born?  Even before the world was created?  He has loved you from the very foundation of time.  ~ Dr. David Jeremiah ~

A friend of mine (photo above) recently gave birth to a new baby.  It was a joyous occasion for all who knew this couple.  I was visiting them in the hospital when the pediatrician came in to examine the baby.  He checked him all over, listened to heart and lungs, counted fingers and toes and declared him, officially perfect.  


 


Nine months earlier, God began a miraculous process.   From the time the egg was fertilized, He was with this little one.  God knew all the physical characteristics before there were even bones or heart.   This tiny microscopic life, this embryo, needed only the time to grow and develop to be born.  At the time of birth, God gave this little baby his first breath outside the womb. 


Our appearance on earth is not an accident.  God has a plan for everyone that has ever been conceived.  He has loved us before our time began. 
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.

Psalm 139:15-16

The term “skillfully wrought” literally means “embroidered.  God has embroidered us.  We are part of His intricately designed tapestry, the design in which He weaves all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  It’s the design by which His intentions are slowly but surely fulfilled.  ~ Dr. David Jeremiah

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD,
thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

God’s thoughts for us, for our lives, are good.   He has a perfect plan for us if we yield to Him.  When we give each situation to the Lord in prayer, he foreknows and will provide a way out. 

When God gives us a child to raise for Him, He entrusts that child in our care.  Since children are so helpless and vulnerable, God takes it personally when they are intentionally harmed.  God made them, and put life into them. 



With the advancement of technology, we can actually see inside the womb as a baby develops.   A mathematician named Alexander Tsiaras gave a TED presentation titled Conception to Birth – Visualized.   The imagery he obtained is phenomenal.  You can view his 10 minute presentation below. 
10 minute video ~ Conception to Birth - Visualized
by Alexander Tsiaras



Even though I am a mathematician, I look at [fetal development] with marvel: The complexity of these things, the mathematical model of how these things are indeed done, is beyond human comprehension.  — Alexander Tsiaras


Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.
  Jeremiah 1:5a

Life begins at conception
, we know this because of the many scriptures to base it on. 

What was true of David (author of Psalm 139) is true of you. You are special—along with everyone else in the world.  This being true, we must be pro-life in the purest sense of the word. We are to respect and cherish all human life: the born and those still in the womb; winsome children and weary seniors; the wealthy executive and the financially destitute. All persons are unique productions of our Creator’s genius. ~ David Roper

free for personal use or sharing

If you had young children who died, or lost a baby to abortion, miscarriage, or had a stillborn child, you can be sure your baby/child is safe in the arms of Jesus.  If you are trusting in Him as your Lord and Savior, you will be reunited again someday.  

Our Creator is an artist of infinite majesty – a craftsman of breathtaking detail.  All He does is driven and guided by His infinite love for you and me. 
~ Dr. David Jeremiah

Thank you for visiting my blog today.  Please note that the personal photographs are not to be shared or pinned.  You may as always use the scripture graphic above for personal use or sharing. 

Resources: 
God Loves You, He Always Has, He Always Will
by Dr. David Jeremiah

Linked to:  Word Art Wednesday, Encourage One Another, Hearts 4 Home, Monday's Musings, Rachel Wojnarowski, A Sheltering Tree,


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Giveaway Winners Announced

Thank you to all who entered my giveaway by leaving a comment with your favorite quote, hymn and/or scripture.  I was thrilled to read what meant the most to you.  It's often difficult to pinpoint one particular hymn or scripture as there are so many that fit for various reasons, or seasons of our life.  You all did it so well. 

It is my hope to work your favorite verses, quotes and hymns into my blog posts, and perhaps do some digital art with them.  I was not able to answer everyone personally, but please be assured that every comment was read, appreciated, and will be treasured.  I have printed them out so I can re-read them and ponder your reflections. 

One of my favorite verses is from Philippians 4:8.  As one who can easily let anxiety get it's grip on me, I need to remember the instructions God gives us in this verse.  The graphic I made for this verse happens to be one of my favorites.  Yours free for personal use or sharing.

Philippians 4:8, free for personal use or sharing


Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.  Philippians 4:8

Drum Roll.........



The first winner is PAMELA who blogs at A Sheltering Tree.  Pamela has won a set of vintage postcards.  A hymn that is special to her is:


O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

Pamela saysThe first Sunday we were back in church after Sarah died, RB was trying to think of an offertory to play and all he could think of was, "Oh love that will not let me go, I place my weary head on thee..." So special to this day.







The second winner is STEPHANIE who blogs at The Enchanted Rose.  Stephanie has won a set of vintage postcards as well. 
Her favorite hymn is, It is Well With My Soul and her favorite verse from Philippians 4:13. 



Stephanie's comments: 
I, too, love the old hymns! That is what we still sing at my church. I could sit at the piano playing them for hours everyday. My favorite hymn is It Is Well With My Soul - what a precious song!



Anyway, my favorite verse is Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." That has been my life verse, especially when I was headed off to college :)








The third winner is MARIE who blogs at Spun By Me Marie has won the lace and trim lot. 

Marie's comments:
I love this quote from Dwight L. Moody. "A rule I have had for years is: to treat the Lord Jesus Christ as a personal friend. He is not a creed, a mere doctrine, but it is HE HIMSELF we have!""What a Friend We Have in Jesus"!




I love to keep pages from Our Daily Bread...one page that I have tucked inside my current devotional has this statement at the bottom of the page.
"You problems can never exhaust God's provisions."
We are so blessed...He never fails us.

One of my very favorite scripture verses is 1 Thess 5:16-18 NIV
"Always be joyful.
Keep on praying.
no matter what happens,
always be thankful.
For this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
I try to remember this each day.





The fourth and final winner of this giveaway is SHIRLEY S. who follows this blog through email.  Shirley has won a set of notecards depicting Victorian Children. 


Shirley's comments:
Music brings the sweet spirit of God so close to us. I love this old song and sing it often.  There's a miracle in the making. One just for you the Father is working even now. Your prayers have been heard and the answer is on the way. There's a miracle in the making for you today!

It is so wonderful to know that the Father is always working on our behalf. When I need a miracle, I can always depend on my Heavenly Father. Praise His Name.
The mighty sovereignty of God. It is wonderful. The word thrills my soul and lifts my spirits and makes me happy. Her favorite passage can be found in: Revelation 19:11-16



Congratulations to the winners.  Please contact me **here** and let me know your mailing address.  I'll get your prizes sent out this week.

Thank you again for all those who took the time to comment with your thoughts.  As I mentioned, I am going to try and incorporate your favorites into this blog.  Have a wonderful week, and a special Valentines Day. 

If you missed last week's Scripture Thursday, The Depths of God's Love, I'd encourage you to take a look and be reminded that regardless of who loves or doesn't love you here on this earth, God Loves YOU with an everlasting love.  He always has, He always will.

Jesus is my true Valentine
His heart was pierced for me
I cannot tell why He Loved me so well
But He proved it on Calvary.




Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Beauty of a Blizzard

Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift or firm remain?

Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life
by Priscilla Jane Owens


The blizzard of 2013, named Nemo hit my little town on the coast of Maine in a big way.  I took this picture of the side view of our church from inside the comfort of my home, the parsonage.  This was the morning of February 9, 2013.  A day that will be talked about for a long time. 

Let me back up just a bit.... the day before the storm actually struck, it was snowing.  At our bird feeders we saw an unusual sight, a bright red male cardinal who had come to feed before the storm.  He was a bit timid so I wasn't able to get as close as I'd like.  Notice the blue jay beside him, camouflaged against the birch trees.



I did venture outside to get a few pictures during the peak of the storm, however I was quickly driven back by the force of the wind and the depths of the snow.  It's one thing to view a storm from the safety and comfort of your home, quite another to actually be on the other side of the window.  I had totally underestimated how deep the snow really was.




We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
  Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.


Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life
by Priscilla Jane Owens

more beautiful frost patterns form on the windows


my son-in-law braves the elements to shovel,
but finds his efforts are in vain

my husband does the same.  I captured this through the frosty window,
notice our church in the background. 

It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy the blast, through strength divine.

Will Your Anchor Hold in the Storms of Life
by Priscilla Jane Owens


My grandsons enjoyed a brief time of play outside,
despite the howling winds and freezing temps. 

We had to cancel our Sunday Services due to the huge amounts of snow which were piled high in and around the church, not to mention the homes of our church family.  The digging out process began today.   The sun came out, and the skies were blue.  The storm had passed. 

When the long night has ended,
And the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence.
On that bright, peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest
Never comes, Lord may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
Mosie Lister

Our church and parsonage after the storm

I trust you and your families were kept safe in this storm, and that you've enjoyed a glimpse of an old fashioned Maine winter.  The kind I remember as a child.

Blessings to you all.

Linked to:  A Sheltering Tree Clever Chicks 
A Haven for Vee



Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Scripture Thursday ~ The Depths of God's Love

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities nor powers,
nor things present nor things to come
,
nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing,
shall be able to separate us
from the love of God
which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)


God IS love....He defines love....His nature is love...
His attributes are love.


God loves us so much that he sent his son Jesus to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sinHis love is: 

personal.....never changing.....no beginning or end....

He knows and loves YOU individually. 



In the year 1917, a man named Frederick M. Lehman wrote these words below that became a hymn.  Here is a portion of them.  You can find the full hymn, The Love of God **here**



Could we with ink the ocean fill,

And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.


free for personal use or sharing


Just think about the words in that hymn, a spectacular visual way to even begin to comprehend God's love. 
If you filled the oceans with ink and the skies were made of paper;
If every stalk on earth were a pen, and every person on earth a scribe
(one who copied documents before printing);

It is still not enough to contain the amount of God's love.

I told my grandsons this week, "I love you to the moon and back."  The older one replied:  "And I love you to the moon and back to the earth, and to the moon and back to the earth, and to the moon and back to the earth.... "

I'm sure you get the picture.  His younger brother said (not quite remembering all the words)  "and I love you to the moon, and to the moon, and to the moon."  A very tender moment for this Nana.  As much as we love our children and grandchildren, God loves us more than that.

Today, I had the privilege of spending time with a husband and wife, watching them loving their brand new baby, fresh from God.  They love him as much as their human hearts can possibly hold, yet God loves that little precious baby more than their two hearts combined.

So, just how much DOES God love us?



He knows the number of hairs on your head
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Luke 12:7 (NKJV)

He knows every tear you shed and stores them in a bottle
You number my wanderings;
Put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?

Psalm 56:8 (NKJV)

His thoughts toward you outnumber the grains of sand
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!
If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
When I awake, I am still with You.

Psalm 139:17-18 (NKJV)


As Elisabeth Elliot says: 
Remember, you are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms!