You Were Made For Eternity!

“This is the true joy of life:  the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clot of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”  George Bernard Shaw

What drives your life?  Our passions originate as simple thoughts that turn into thought patterns.  These thought patterns often dictate how we respond to others and circumstances in our lives.

God has said that we were made for eternity!  When we accept His powerful love, we are driven by the things that are “infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes…”

Jesus–we live today with eternity in mind!  Grievances and ailments will exist, but as we face this new day, we are claiming Your power in us to face them.  Thank you for your “loving eye” on us.

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.  Psalm 32:8

 

 

 

 

A Daughter’s Letter

“Spread love everywhere you go, first of all in your own home.  Give love to your children, to a wife or husband, to a next-door neighbor.”  Mother Teresa

Dear Mom,

There’s no bond quite like that between mother and child.  You know me in ways no one else ever will.  You also see in me all the things I can still become and continue having faith that I can do and be whatever I want, no matter what my age.  You are my biggest fan, my mentor, my confidant, my hero, my turn-to person when my world comes crashing down, and the first person I call to tell when things are going great.  The comfort that comes from our friendship, the confidence that your faith in me instills, and your unquestioning support of whatever I do, is irreplaceable.  The kind of “there for me” that you are is the very essence of what makes a great mother.  I wear your unconditional love and support around with me every day.

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I am so blessed to have you in my life.  Thank you for always, always being at my side and having my back.  No one is in my corner quite the way you are.  I treasure you, mother, and love you more than anything.  You are an amazing soul ever ready to learn something new, always open to differing opinions, and so compassionate and kind.  You have always taught by example.  There’ll never be a day in my life when I won’t need you.  I’m her for you too. Please remember that.

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, mom.  You make the world a better place.

 

Love Always,

Vivian Grace  (10/22/2014)

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Extravagant Love: Receive and Give

In Mark chapter 14 a woman comes to Jesus and pours expensive perfume on His head.  She did this act of extravagant love surrounded by those who quickly found fault with her–judging her, and giving her advice.  I’ve grown up with this passage, and it always moves me.  Joyce Meyer took this passage and gave an even greater, deeper meaning for me.  The woman chose to love extravagantly, and Jesus, the Son of God, was deeply touched by her act of love.  It prepared Him for the difficult journey ahead.  Wasteful? Perhaps.  Could she have sold it and purchased food for the poor.  Yes.  Was the act necessary for Jesus to carry out His work on the cross? Nothing would stop Jesus’ act of love for us.

…..Some of the people there became angry. They said to one another, “Why waste this perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s pay. The money could have been given to poor people.” So they found fault with the woman.

“Leave her alone,” Jesus said. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. You will always have poor people with you. You can help them any time you want to. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body to prepare me to be buried. What I’m about to tell you is true. What she has done will be told anywhere the good news is preached all over the world. It will be told in memory of her.”

Life is meant to be celebrated and honored.  The sunrise is a time to rejoice–“This is the day the Lord has made!”

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Our lives are meant to love extravagantly.  Think of the love of Jesus and all He has done for you.  How can we not celebrate and love extravagantly?  Do we have to buy expensive perfume to show this love? Maybe, sometimes, you feel led by the Spirit to give a gift of sacrifice–all you have, to show your love and passion toward someone, or a ministry; however, the smallest of gifts can help someone face the journey of tomorrow, and the days to come.

After hearing this message, I took a walk and found Jesus reminding me of this along the way.

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(Items from Pastiche At Main, 811 Main Street, Lynchburg, VA 24501)

One store I entered had gifts for loved ones and friends that literally jumped off the shelf into my mind and heart. Love extravagantly…..

As I placed them on the counter, the shop owner asked if she could wrap them for me…”Are these gifts?”  “Yes! They are all gifts!”, I exclaimed.  The joy I felt watching her tenderly wrap each gift….

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My birthday was this month.  My loved ones and friends loved on me extravagantly.  It filled my soul and prepared me.  The gifts spoke to me as a mom, a wife, a co-worker, a friend…..I was loved.  Thank you.

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Where does this love come from?

2 John Chapter 1

I love all of you because of the truth. I’m not the only one who loves you. So does everyone who knows the truth.  I love you because of the truth that is alive in us. That truth will be with us forever.  God the Father and Jesus Christ his Son will give you grace, mercy and peace. Those blessings will be with us because we love the truth….. He commands you to lead a life of love. That’s what you have heard from the beginning.

What a thousand mercies are wrapped up in the assurance that the truth will be with us forever; will be our living support, our dying comfort, our rising song, our eternal glory; this is Christian privilege, without it our faith were little worth.  Charles Spurgeon

How can you love extravagantly today?

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God provided for Jesus–blessed Him through the act of a woman willing to give of her possessions and face controversy because of it.  Her gift prepared Jesus.  “For the Joy He endured the cross….”  I just imagine the fragrance of the perfume on His skin, and her act of love in His heart and mind as He endured a painful journey.  We may never know the act of love– a card sent, an email of encouragement, a gift, time, a hug that spurs someone on.

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As I write this, the sweet perfume from an oil I purchased lingers on my skin.  A gift of love. I realize that we can only experience this love if we are willing to receive His truth and to see life as a gift.  How many acts of love have we minimized, judged, or apathetically received because we were much like the people surrounding the woman who poured the perfume? Cynicism, jealousy, and judgment robs us of experiencing the depths of extravagant love. Let it go, and be loved. Let His love be your living support and rising song!

Talitha Koum!

Another birthday.  I’m holding on to 49! I will embrace another decade next year. For now, I’m “40 something”.  On this birthday, I’m reminded of it’s antithesis–death.  Who celebrates death?  Oh precious believer!  Jesus talked a lot about death!  We don’t rush it or hasten it, but it is a time forthcoming, eventually….

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.  I Thessalonians 4:13

Psalm 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.

Sitting in service at a local church, the pastor shared these verses, and discussed the story of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ garment for healing, and shortly after this miracle, the healing of the 12 year old girl. (Mark Chapter 5).

He reminded us, as those who wait to be with the Lord for eternity, we grieve with hope.  Oh, yes!  We grieve but we have a Hope.  We’ve all been there.  Running to Jesus and falling at His feet for healing, endurance, and answers. The woman who touched the hem of Jesus for healing was sick for 12 years.  The daddy of the little girl was distraught beyond his mind could handle.

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Can death be gain?  Precious?

I just received a text from a friend whose loved one is struggling with a life-threatening illness.

“This has been hard on all of us, and it could’ve made us question our faith, but instead we are all stronger for it.  He is definitely with us.”

The pastor shared that Jesus walked up to death and gently whispered.  Jesus is so gentle.  I love Him so….

He whispered to the little girl….

“Talitha Koum” which means “Little girl get-up!”

Did you know “Talitha” was a term of endearment of that time?  Like words we use today…sweet girl, sweet heart, my joy, lady bug, doodle bug, precious one……etc….

The daughter’s father was filled with doubt and confusion.  Jesus said to this daddy, “Don’t be afraid, trust me”  or in my Message Bible, “Don’t listen to them, just trust me.”

I celebrate my birthday today by honoring the most precious gift I’ve ever received –Jesus.  One day, I will close my eyes and awaken to Him.  I will fall on my knees, and He will say to me “Talitha Koum”–Sweet child, little girl, get up! Welcome home!

As I close this post, “I’ll Fly Away” –an old hymn is on Pandora. I’m crying tears of joy and filled with His love.

“When I die, hallelujah by and by…I’ll fly away!”

And, I just have to tell you, there is a banjo, a harmonica, and some knee slapping going on in that song!

Let us live each day in the glory that our eternal home is awaiting!  We have a hope!

I encourage you to watch the sermon from October 19, 2014, Colonial Heights Baptist Church, Pastor Randy Hahn.

http://theheightsonline.com/

What a glorious day worshiping in song with my friend and encouraging a sister-in-the Lord on her journey!  Thank you Jesus for all these things…..

I’ll close with this song playing on Pandora now…. (a song I love to sing, just ask my girls…)

Enjoy!  Swing Low Sweet Chariot!

Random Acts of Kindness

Yesterday was filled with typical school social worker duties.  When I showed up to the main campus of our local high school, a dear friend of mine was playing a CD as background music before our next meeting.  The CD?  It was the CD my oldest daughter made for our 25th wedding anniversary.  All the songs had special meaning and represented a time, a place, a season.  As each song came on while we were working, I’d tell a quick story about the song….. Grow Old Along With Me ( a renewal of vows), Ease On Down The Road (a duet we sang and recorded as a video at Kings Dominion 20 years ago), Household of Faith ( a duet we sang at our wedding)…….

This small act of kindness and sincere love meant the world to me.  It was an answer to prayer to be drawn close to my husband…….

An unexpected Holy Spirit gift from a generous friend…..

Today, be creative and be someone’s encourager.  It cost nothing but her creative mind, a sincere willingness, and a beautiful smile.

Pray and ask God to show you how to lift someone up.  It could make all the difference in their day.

Jesus, may we display the fruit of the spirit and love and show kindness…

Restored

Restored.

I marvel at those who can take an old piece of furniture, or an antique car and restore it back to it’s original purpose. When I see the before and after pictures, sometimes, it seems to be more glorious and unique than it’s original state.

Restored defined:

: to give back (someone or something that was lost or taken) : to return (someone or something)

: to put or bring (something) back into existence or use

: to return (something) to an earlier or original condition by repairing it, cleaning it, etc. Merriam-Webster

In Luke 19:10 God tells us that the Son of Man came to “save that which was lost” and to “find and restore the lost”.

Joyce Meyer shared this verse in her message “It’s time to invest in yourself”.  She emphasized that Jesus’ greatest desire is to restore that which was lost because of the enemy.

God’s Word is clear about the enemy’s purpose in your life, and what Jesus’ purpose is for you:

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10

God’s purpose for you is to be in daily communication with Him through His Word and prayer. He delights in you, and wants to see you restored!  Your circumstances may never change, but you can.  You can decide to meet with God and pray for restoration and healing, and He will deliver!

A dear friend from Camp Willow Run Mother/Daughter Legacy Retreat stated “Never look at circumstances as signs of things to come–God is bigger!”  God’s ways are higher, and He restores “that which was lost”.

Invest in yourself.

How?

By investing in God’s Word.  Deliberately spend time with Him, and He will show up and speak to your circumstances. He’ll take the insecure and give them God confidence.  He’ll take the broken and abused and restore their youth.

...who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:5

God’s greatest desire is for you to truly believe that you are “created in His image”!  His image!  He has given you authority. (Genesis 1)

You have authority to claim and speak restoration and change into your life.  Never trust what your eyes see and what your feelings tell you.  Trust in God’s Word and promises and speak them out loud. Claim them!

Today, be encouraged that God is for you, and He WILL restore!  Just like the piece of furniture in the hands of the artist, we must yield and allow His work in our lives.  We must desire the “after” and spend time with the Master artist –Jesus.    Ephesians 3 reminds us that we have unlimited resources in Jesus–He will strengthen us and change us.  Unlimited resources are at our finger tips!  Lord, I pray that we acknowledge and live a life seeking and claiming Your unlimited resources, so that we will know and grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ!