God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-48ecclesiastes-3-10-12 What God-given tasks are done every day?  Do you know a doctor or a nurse?  Certainly, what they do is very important to their patients – and praise God, He gave them the intelligence to take good care of sick people!  Do you know a clown?  What a unique gift to be given by God – the ability to make others forget their problems for just a little while – and make them laugh.  The list goes on and on…  do you know a pastor?  I couldn’t be a pastor – pastor’s are definitely called by God.  They are special people and are much more patient than me.

We call our jobs vocations or careers – but in reality, we choose to do what the Lord has given us to do – that’s why we enjoy what we do.  I’ve had jobs in my lifetime – and believe me, they were jobs – just a way to make a little extra money.  Now that I’m retired and writing…  I am so much more happy because this is what God wants me to do.  I don’t get paid – but payment comes in different forms.  Money really isn’t everything – we just need it to buy things.

It’s a wonderful feeling to submit to God’s will in your life and have a sense of accomplishment in the bargain.  Success isn’t always wrapped around a dollar amount.  Sometimes it comes in the form of encouragement or a simple “Amen” in the comments of your blog.  Bloggers need encouragement like everyone else.

Does the task you perform to make a living also make God smile?  If you’re just doing a job to make a little extra money, I want to encourage you to re-think the way you spend your time.  Is there more you want to do with your life?  I remember thinking that the time I spent sitting in a cubicle at the office was time I was never going to get back.  I decided my time is worth more to me than the money they paid me to spend it there.

Speaking of tasks…  with some help from my friends, Lucinda Berry HIll and Marian Poppy Ballestero – there will be a very special blog post on April 9th, Palm Sunday.  Please pray for this project, for I hope it is the first of many.  I won’t spoil the surprise – you’ll just have to wait.

To rejoice in the goodness of God and do good in life is what it’s all about.  I want to do tasks that use my God-given gifts, don’t you?  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …   – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Today is the 63rd day of the year.  Can you believe how quickly this year is going?  Wasn’t it just yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s Day?  Did you make resolutions?  How are they going?  Maybe you just want to go to sleep.  Yes…  that sounds nice, doesn’t it?

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This portion of Scripture reminds us that there is a season and a purpose for everything that happens in life.  It’s not really about the day you’re born or the day you die, but it is about the time in-between.  That dash on the tombstone really speaks volumes.

How do you spend your time, or more to the point, who do you spend it with?  People are here for each other and spending time with another person is never a waste of your time.

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We were put here to be a source of encouragement and support for one another.  I think it makes God smile when we are kind and loving – even when we’re funny.  Does God have a sense of humor?  Hmm…  well, I think He does!  How would we recognize a sense of humor if He had not instilled it in us?

Today’s post is to remind us (yes, me too) – we have 302 more days left in 2017, and we need to be more mindful of how we manage our time and who we spend time with – and how uplifting we are for others.  You’re welcome!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.   – 1 John 3:1

Maybe you’re like me and this verse makes a familiar song pop into your mind.  It happens to me all the time – not just Scripture songs – but I get earworms about secular stuff too.  In this case, I’m thinking about this sweet little song:

If you have to get an earworm – that’s not a bad one to have.  I’ll probably walk around humming this all day long.  It’s good to stay focused on the love that God has for us, isn’t it?  There are so many negative forces at work in our world – and they seem to be everywhere, don’t they?  God wants us to think about HIM – think about HIS GOODNESS.  Oh wow…  another earworm:

Great is the measure of our Father’s love.  Not kinda sorta might be okay – but GREAT!  When the situations and circumstances in day-to-day living get overwhelming and stressful and negative…  think about the GREATNESS of God’s love for you!  He’s so happy when we think about His goodness and His mercy and grace.  Another earworm to think about:

Nothing injects a note of positivity into your day like taking a moment among all the burdensome situations in life to just meditate and concentrate on God’s love and goodness in our lives.  God gives His great and wonderful love in Jesus Christ, and all the gifts and powers which live in Him like fragrance in the rose. He has not failed you and He will never fail you – remember that.  One more earworm – I promise it’s the last one – well, it probably is – maybe:

God’s love is measureless and strong!!!  Keep your mind focused on His love for you today!  🙂

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  – Romans 12:10

There are two kinds of people – and I’ve known and loved both kinds.  Some people walk into a room and say…

HERE I AM!

Some people walk into a room and say…

THERE YOU ARE!!!

There are two ways you can display a basket.  It’s true – and you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the way they display their baskets.

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I’ve been to the Longaberger Homestead 3 times and we’re planning another trip soon.  While there, I’ve made a couple of baskets and learned a bit about basket weaving.  The baskets are made from the bottom up.  The one helping starts the base – so it will have a stable foundation to set on.  When you get to the top, the person helping usually pretty much takes over because making the collar of the basket is tricky.  When the final piece of wood is put on the collar, they give it a haircut.  They snip it on each side and on the end.

When you display your basket, you can put the side of it with the haircut where you see it or where others see it.  It’s not the prettiest part of the basket, but it has to be there.  See what I mean?  Those who display the haircut side where they see it more than others do – well, they put more importance on what others see than on what they see.

It may seem like a small thing – but it’s a bit of basket psychology to tuck away in the back of your mind.  Oh yeah…  it’s a thing!

Of course it’s about more than baskets – it’s about how we treat others on a daily basis.  Meeting needs, first of all in our own households – then out from there.  Showing honor and esteem to others more than ourselves is not about punishing ourselves – it’s just about being more kind to others.  Simple nice actions and random acts of kindness can go a long way toward making others feel honored.

For example, let me challenge you to thank a person in uniform for their service the next time you see them.  Any uniform – no matter what the job is.  Ah…  you’re realizing how many people wear uniforms in their jobs now, aren’t you?  Good!

Seriously…  so many people in uniforms wonder why they bother some days because they don’t feel honored – heck, they don’t even feel wanted most days.  A simple “Thank you for your service” goes a long way.  People need to be recognized for what they contribute to the world.

Law enforcement officers need our encouragement more now than ever.  Our military needs encouragement more now than ever.  If your trash man wears a uniform – go out next week and thank him for doing such a good job!  Even if he doesn’t – do it anyway.  I wouldn’t do that job – eeeeewwww.  Bugs and stuff.  Ugh – no.give-a-lift-when-needed

HONOR is not a word we hear much these days – and certainly not a concept we’re familiar with.  That needs to change – and it can change one person at a time.  Will you be part of the change for the better?  🙂

 

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

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In violence we forget who we are.   – Mary McCarthy

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When I say “domestic violence”, what pops into your mind?  Husbands or wives being abusive to their partner, right?  Well, you may be surprised to know – that’s not always the dynamic.  Domestic violence is one family member abusing another family member, regardless of what that relationship is.  These wonderful SURVIVORS of domestic violence shared with me what most encouraged them in their journey.  It’s my prayer that anyone reading this will find hope for the future if they’re experiencing domestic violence.

Barb says a portion of Scripture boosted her self-esteem:14608161_1824641337780328_725756438_n

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One sister in Christ quoted this Scripture to me one day and ever since then I clung unto it and wow, my self-esteem boosted.  – Barb

Lucinda recalls:14516464_1824635784447550_1713161907539005853_n

I remember crying to my mom one day, ‘Why won’t God get me away from him?’  And my mom gave me the best answer ever, ‘He’ll help you but you have to do it.’  – Lucinda

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a-gift-from-the-pastfear-1131143_1280Love is not physical abuse.  Love is not expressed with fists.  There are constructive ways to channel anger.  Go to the gym.  Take a drive.  If you feel the need to hit something – leave.  Walk out the door and hit something.  No person deserves to be beat by another person.0c90cc5fdae9eef26a71b8f5f28eb131

Love is not emotional or mental abuse.  Putting a significant other down verbally does not make you better than them.  People expect to see outward signs.

Linda’s lesson:

It’s literally been decades since my abuser was around, but I didn’t wear scars on the outside.  My scars are all emotional and live inside.  Even after all these years I still second guess so many things.  There’s a voice inside my head – and it’s not my voice – it’s his voice…  telling me I’m stupid, ignorant, fat, or some other derogatory name.  Nothing’s ever right about me and  he tells me I screwed something up again.  Love that again thrown in there…  don’t you?  When I hear it these days, I call it what it is… the voice that lied to me.  I call it by its name and I tell the Lord to make it go away in Jesus’ Name.  God is good because He makes the voice leave.  It doesn’t stay gone, but when I ask God to make it leave – it has to go! – Linda

983866_330028463863441_8939621389547744056_nAlthough this poem was written for a wacky holiday in March, my mind was on a day long ago when I finally got away from a person who abused me.  It’s amazing, but the situation seems “normal” until you get away from it.  It’s like waking up from a nightmare.  While you’re in it, you cope the best you can.  Once you wake up, you realize that your situation can be so much better – if only you have the courage to stay awake and trust God for the next step.  Today, I love the color purple and I embrace these rules in my house and will not settle for less because God loves me and lets me know I’m worth loving.  rules-of-this-house

As we walk this land of broken promises and dreams we have visions of better things in our lives that have yet to come. Keeping your eyes and heart on God and His plan for your life will keep you focused. – Linda

Samantha reminds us of this truth that helped her:14699901_1827900347454427_475316969_n

People cry, not because they are weak.  It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.  – Johnny Depp

The tears we cry for them are real.  Sometimes all we can do is cry and pray – the prayers are not always words either.  God hears those prayers too.  Aren’t we thankful?

Every time I prayed and asked God to show me the way, He would put my abuser in jail.  And every time I cried for weeks afterward.  Took 3 times of him being locked up before I finally understood what was being said to me.  It’s time to let go. – Samantha

Christina adds:

The abusers never blame themselves, they always blame the victims and try to make them feel deserving of the bad treatment.  One thing I learned is never to blame myself for the abuse.  And to forgive myself for any choices of a poor relationship that leads to such.  I blamed myself for years for having the wrong dad for my kids and even though, we got free from him in 2000, and my kids thankfully by God’s intervening did NOT have visitation with him, still there are hereditary traits, especially in my son!  The behavior and addiction problems and anguish is there.

You can raise kids up in church and feed them God’s Word; however, they do come to an age of accountability where they choose to follow or deny God.

For awhile I questioned where I went wrong.  God showed me in His Word, the sins of the child are no longer held against the parent, nor the sins of the parent held against the children.  That was comforting to me, as it gave me a sense of freedom.

One thing people experience though, is many places of shelter can be cruel or stressful – and some charge.  I’ve had some literally make me wonder what the difference was in the abuse.  This is one reason many victims go back – because of no sense of real freedom.  Many are financially bounded.  Many get misjudged for keeping the people or person in their lives but each situation is different.

For instance…  although my son does not know my location, he is still my son.  He will remain on my friend list.  I let him know that I love and forgive him no matter what.  But, I cannot trust him.  It actually helps to be honest if there’s a safe way to do so.

As far as the guy I tried dating – that had many problems and red flags.  He was a greedy, angry soul who didn’t know how to treat women.  At first, he put on an act of this Godly person.

He wanted to rush things…  I’d warn anyone to be careful about someone rushing.  He wanted me isolated.  It was as if he was working together with my son to keep me from my doctor appointments – and I wasn’t allowed to use his truck – yet he wanted me to marry him.  Um…  NOPE.  I made up my mind years ago to never be treated like property and never be controlled again by anyone.

The day I was moving out is the day he pushed a heavy TV on me and also took back my stove he got me for a gift.  An $800 stove for a $300 balance on the car, which by the way, needs four tires, an alignment, has no heat, no air, etc… yet he drives a brand-new truck.

He couldn’t take no for an answer when I told him I would not marry him nor date anymore.  He even has his profile as “engaged”!  His best friend tried to sabotage the car the morning I was moving out.  And my sister witnessed the ugly words he had to say as well.  I may be sleeping on a blanket in a floor with no air, no heat, barely any food, but I’m free and grateful for everything.

My therapy dog is right beside me.

God is my stronghold.  I have smoke allergies and the lady that’s letting me use her floor is a chain smoker.  It’s not easy, but I keep a towel under the door and my window wide open.  We need electrical work.  There’s no hot water here, but a cold bath is still a bath.

My son is living on the streets.  I pray daily for him to turn to God and be safe and get another job.  He was fired thrice this year.

I also have to listen to a worldly TV playing at night.  It’s hard to sleep.  I don’t want to be fed filth, but I have no choice.  Actually, the shelter was worse…

At least I do have my therapy dog and I have my Christian music I can play on my phone.  – Christina

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I will throw this bit of advice in.  Never let anyone, even your most trusted friends, know where you are if you get away.  I’ve actually got a P.O. Box in a different county, plus I have people mail to another address and then that person sends it to me – to the out-of -town box!  Never leave paper trails if possible!  And go where least expected.  – Christina

Ann’s story:14639591_1828342204076908_5160058981559141237_n

All the bad, all the hurt, all the pain, all the struggle, all the hopelessness my children and I had after being abused (including my ex molesting my children) has been turned around and we now help others who have been or are being abused.  If you are being abused, please seek help and leave because life is better and you can survive on your own.  – Ann

Here’s the Scripture verse that helps Ann:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.  – Romans 8:28

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We can make a choice to never give up.  We can decide to keep our focus and faith in God, trusting and depending on Him for all of our needs.  We don’t have to accept defeat, failure or hopelessness; we can choose faith, hope, and to keep running the race of life with patience and perseverance.  God is always with us.  Sometimes He is standing by our side, sometimes He is holding our hand, sometimes He is whispering words of wisdom, and sometimes He is carrying us through the storm.  You can choose to never give up hope!  Hope can keep you alive!  I know this from personal experience!  – Brooke

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And this from Mara:14825572_1831278580449937_1601418205_n

Safe Horizon’s PSA for 2016:

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To show your support, give to Safe Horizon & paint your left ring fingernail PURPLE.

Visit Safe Horizon on facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/safehorizon 

One last portion of Scripture I want to share:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians3:13&14

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Once you are on the other side of domestic violence, you can finally experience the true freedom that God intends for you.  It’s worth what it takes to break free and find a better life.

If you see signs of abuse of any kind among your friends or family, don’t stay silent.  Say something to someone.  Staying silent has never worked.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Sometimes the choices we make are irreversible.  Once we begin walking forward, we just have to keep going and never turn around.  Those decisions are made slowly and methodically.  Make sure you give it much thought, because you know there’s no going back.  Nothing in your life will ever be the same again.  You have to ask yourself if there may be a time in the future when you’d like for things to be the way they are.  If the answer is no, then there’s no reason to stay where you are.  That’s the only time it’s okay to take action and keep walking forward.

I’ve only done that once.  I don’t care to ever do anything that painful again for the rest of my life.

I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.  – Bobby Fulks

Sometimes decisions are made for us.  Things happen in life that are completely out of our control.  Life-altering experiences occur and that’s when we are left with our faith in God.  We hopefully have people in our lives who love us, but we know without a doubt that we have God…  and yes – He loves us.  He cares and He wants to hear what our hearts are feeling.  Even if what has happened leaves us frightened and angry and alone – He still wants to hear from us.

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Life is a little like on the job training.  We are born into this world – expected to perform at a certain level through school and receive a diploma which magically leads us to the pursuit of happiness.  Right?  Hang on, Sloopy…  let’s back this truck up.

Stuff happens in life because not only are we just human, but the people around us are… you guessed it…  human.  We all have dreams and expectations once we graduate.  We’re going to meet the right person to spend a lifetime with – we’re going to have this wonderful family together and we’ll fly off into fluffy white clouds in a classic car – like Danny and Sandy did at the end of the movie GREASE.

Have you ever seen a classic car fly???  I rest my case.  Just as a classic car most definitely will not fly, no woman could possibly fit into that leather outfit that Sandy wears toward the end of the movie.  I’m convinced that’s why most men want to watch that movie so many times.  Sigh.  I dunno – maybe it is to see the classic cars… 

Yes, life is like on the job training; however, most jobs are dull compared to the twists and turns that life takes.  When it seems your life is a rollercoaster ride, just keep in mind that Jesus sits at your side.  He doesn’t need a barf bag…  but there are times when you might need one.  Jus’ sayin’…

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The common thread throughout this topsy turvy ride of life is LOVE.  Find LOVE – a connection that makes it all worthwhile.  Love here on earth, of course…  but know that you are loved completely by your LORD.  He knows you better than anyone, and He loves you more than anyone here ever will.  We need human love to hang in there.  We need God’s love to make us whole and give us purpose.

Finding love on this earth is so difficult.  Finding love from Heaven is so simple.  🙂