Praying about “insignificant things”

If you limit your prayers to just the big, dramatic things in your
life, you miss hundreds of opportunities every day for sweet communion
with God.       ~ Will Davis, Jr

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Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing.
Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled
requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail
of your life,
Philippians 4:6     TPT

 

In our valley of vines, a Vintage Festival is held biannually. It is
accompanied by many celebratory activities. One of these activities
is the making of scarecrows. The advertising brochure states that by
participating we “will help create an exciting, vibrant, colourful and
quirky addition to the landscape.” Someone in our group suggested that
we participate and nominated me to lead this project. I thought, “How
hard can it be to make a scarecrow?”. However, now it seems (according
to someone in our group) we need to make a group of scarecrows with a theme,
and the scarecrows need not be traditional but can be lifelike figures.
Often I like to pray about any project in which I’m involved as I know
God has creative ideas and resources which I wouldn’t think of myself. I
found someone in our group who wouldn’t think praying about this project
was too strange, and together we asked God to lead the creative process.
Our first exciting answer to prayer came when someone from our group was
passing a dumpster, and found a bag full of discarded children’s costumes
(see examples below). So now we have our theme “It’s a Small World” and
we have our costumes. The scarecrows will be installed at the beginning
of April, and then I hope to give an update on the way God has continued
to answer our prayer!!
costume 1costume

When you choose to seek God’s leadership, direction, and provision for
something as seemingly insignificant as a parking place, the right wording
of a letter, or what clothes to wear to the office, you’re acknowledging
that you want and need God’s direction in every aspect of your day.
~ Will Davis, Jr

Our Heavenly Father’s Love

The Bible attributes many characteristics to God—Savior, Healer,
Friend—but perhaps the most personal is our Heavenly Father.
~ Charles Stanley

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What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—
we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. 1John 3 v 1a

 

Our Heavenly Father is present in each moment of our day.
He is with us in every circumstance of life.
He ministers to us in our poetry and our pain.
He comes to us in moments of surging joy and searing suffering.
The essence of our being is permeated
with the sweet fragrance of His presence.
The whole fabric of our lives is interwoven
with the glitter of His love.

 
Have you ever been through times when you thought, “Heavenly
Father if You love me so much, this sure doesn’t feel like love”?
I have.
However, I guess, if God is a Father, and we are His children,
then there will be times when we don’t understand His dealings
with us. Children can’t see the overall picture the way a parent
can.
I like Ann Swindell’s words. “We ask Him to help us receive the
way He’s loving us, even if it doesn’t feel like love right now.
One day, we will see it as the love that it is. It will feel like
the greatest and best love we’ve ever experienced, better than
the feeling of love that we would choose now if we could.”

Thriving in dry times

“The Fountain of Living Water never runs dry.”
― Lailah Gifty Akita

 
During a recent spell of hot weather, when the temperature
reached 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) I became
aware once again how amazingly God has created various plants
to be able to survive in oven like conditions. Some with
seemingly delicate leaves and flowers, which I thought might
shrivel in such temperatures, still remained green and growing.
(see photo).

After heatwave
As I read the words of Jeremiah 17 v 7-8  I can see that God
has given us a way to thrive in our  desert times, and it
all depends on us trusting God.
(definition of trust : firm belief in the integrity, ability,
effectiveness, or genuineness of someone)

 

“But those who trust in the LORD will be blessed.
They know that the LORD will do what he says.
They will be strong like trees planted near a stream
that send out roots to the water.
They have nothing to fear when the days get hot.
Their leaves are always green.
They never worry, even in a year that has no rain.
They always produce fruit.”

 

God’s power

Never measure God’s unlimited power by your limited expectations.
~ unknown
Yes, again and again they tempted God,
And limited the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember His power: Psalm 78 v 41-42a

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I believe the God we serve is limitless! And the power to turn
your situation around for good is in His hands…
~ Richard Roberts

Gifts

The giving of gifts is not something man invented.
God started the giving spree when He gave a gift
beyond words,the unspeakable gift of His Son. – Robert Flatt

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For this is how much God loved the world –
He gave His one and only, unique Son as a gift. John 3 v 16a

 

Our Lord gifts often come to us as softly as dew falling on petals.
Because He often moves  gently, His tender touch
can go unnoticed in our lives.
This day, may we be aware of His love.
We will be surprised by joy as we notice
His exquisite gifts decorating our day
as sparkling tinsel on a Christmas tree.
Think how it blesses His heart when His children
become thankfully and gratefully aware
of His constant love and care.

 

“All the Christmas presents in the world
are worth nothing without the presence of Christ.”
-David Jeremiah

 

An affordable gift idea:
Pray for a family member or friend. Prayer is a gift that comes
wrapped in the power of God rather than in tissue and ribbons.

Christmas Tweets

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
~ Mrs. William Stillman Martin

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“You can buy two sparrows for only a copper coin, yet not even
one sparrow falls from its nest without the knowledge of your
Father. Aren’t you worth much more to God than many sparrows?
So don’t worry. For your Father cares deeply about even the
smallest detail of your life” Matthew 10 v 29-31

 

I have noticed quite a few sparrows on my back fence, and have started
thinking about them and the messages they bring. As it’s the Christmas
season,  I’ve been thinking of them as my Twitter feed, and their little
calls as Christmas tweets. One tweet says “Don’t worry” (Matthew 6v26).
Another tweet says “You have great value”. (Matthew 10v 29-31), and yet
a third tweet reminds me to praise God. These are the trending topics!
Centuries before Twitter was invented, these little guys’ ancestors
were posting daily tweets in the “Twittersphere”.  I have no plans
to unfollow them. What a blessing they are to me. Why not take a moment
right now to listen. Do you hear their tweets and the messages they bring?

 

Consider the birds of the sky, that they do not sow or reap or gather
produce into barns, and your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not
worth more than they are? Matthew 26 v6

Resurrection

Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection,
not in books alone but in every leaf of springtime.
~ Martin Luther

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Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life.”~ John 11:25a

 

Where there was once was the sound of prisoners groaning,
there are now the sweetest songs of praise.
Where there were iron bars and gates of bronze,
there are now meadows with a million butterflies.
Where there were piles of ashes and rows of rubble,
there are fields of flowers blooming in springtime beauty.
Where there were wilderness deserts and searing droughts,
there are flowing rivers and splashing fountains.
Where there was the massive stone and the sealed grave,
there is  the empty tomb and the resurrected Lord of Glory.

 

This Christmas, if we are among those who find this season emotionally
challenging,  if we are comparing our sad emotions to the joy we assume
others are feeling,  if we feel isolated or depressed, this is not the
end of our story. We can invite the love soaked resurrection power of
the living God into the very depths of our suffering, and watch to see
what He will do.

 

I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great
His power is to help those who believe Him. It is that same
mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated Him
in the place of honour at God’s right hand in heaven,”.
~ Ephesians v 19-20

Enduring Love

If we get our self-esteem from superficial places, from our popularity,
appearance, business success, financial situation, health, any of these,
we will be disappointed, because no one can guarantee that we’ll have
them tomorrow.         ~ Kathy Ireland.

 

Give thanks to the great God of the heavens!
His tender love for us continues on forever!
Psalm 136 v 26

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I take greens to my neighbours’ hens, and when they see me coming, they
become very animated. I go into their yard, spread out the greens and
wait to hear the lovely sound they make as they peck contentedly at
their food. But what is this I see? A hen seems to be excluded. I don’t
want her to miss out so I take some greens right over to her. As soon
as I do this, one of the other hens rushes over, pushes her away and
takes over. Oh the painful consequences of the phenomenon known as ‘the
pecking order’!!  We have all experienced it. Each one of us will recall
exactly where we stood in the pecking order of our school experience, and
still the hurt of not fitting in can resurface at times in our adult life.
When we look exclusively to people to validate us, we look to those who
are as fallible and needy as we are.
We seek ‘likes’ on Facebook, we buy fashion labels; we try to impress
with material possessions. We have many ways of asking “Am I special?
Does anyone love me? Is there anyone who really values me? Only our Lord
can consistently reassure us that we are loved. We are His creation. He
planned for us to be born and has a purpose for our lives. Jesus, the King
of Love, the One who has erased the pecking order, the One who died for us
reassures us of our worth and value.
He is our source of love and affirmation.

 

Jesus has no room for pecking orders. His solution to man-made caste
systems? A change of direction. In a world of upward mobility, choose
downward servility. “Regard one another as more important than yourselves”       (Philippians 2:3 ). Jesus flip-flopped the pecking order.
~ Max Lucado

Your life matters to God

We are God’s children. He sees us He knows where we are.
We aren’t invisible to Him.
He understands our feeling of loneliness and despair.
He promises He will never leave us or forsake us.
Dr. Michelle Bengtson,

 

But Zion said, “I don’t get it. GOD has left me.
My Master has forgotten I even exist.”
“Can a mother forget the infant at her breast,
walk away from the baby she bore?
But even if mothers forget,
I’d never forget you—never.
Look, I’ve written your names on the palms of My hands.
~ Isaiah 49 v 14-16

 

Do you imagine that Jesus has forgotten you?
Do you think He doesn’t care?
Do you imagine that your dearest friend has deserted you?
Do you suppose that the One who gave His life for you,
has abandoned you?
No He has not forgotten you, see He has inscribed your name
on the palms of His hands. Isaiah 49 v 16

Fence bear
About two months ago, as I was going on my evening walk I
noticed a teddy bear which someone had found and attached
to a fence, clearly visible, so that when the owner came
by, it would be found. I remember thinking how thrilled the
person who had lost it, would be to see it there, for, like
the velveteen rabbit, this teddy bear was clearly in the
process of becoming ‘real’. It had been hand knitted with
love and now one of it’s eyes was missing. All these weeks
later, it is still there (see photo above taken this week).
To me it is such a poignant picture of us when we feel abandoned,
but unlike the teddy bear, we have the assurance that God will
rescue us for He says, “I myself will search and find my sheep.
I will be like a shepherd looking for his scattered flock.
I will find my sheep and rescue them from all the places where
they were scattered on that dark and cloudy day” Ezekial 34 v 11-12
You matter to God.

Answered prayer

Don’t lose hope. When you’re down to nothing,
God is up to something    ~unknown

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Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him,
my Saviour and my God. Psalm 42 v 5

 

Never give up your hope in God.
Never cease your expectant trust in His desire to deliver you.
Never lose your faith in the power and goodness
of your Lord and King.
At His appointed hour  faith becomes sight.
At His word your net of expectancy breaks with the fulfillment
of your heart’s desire.
That which He has promised, He will do.
Those things which He has purposed will be done.
He is Lord of all.
Hope ever in Him.

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In a post on the 31st January 2018, I wrote of a large pile of
creosote pine logs which were causing me great distress.
They had been stored within metres of my back yard. I posted
a photo of the logs and also a Photo-shopped photo of the logs
removed (my prayer partner had said, “See them as gone” and I
created this visual to help me on my faith journey.)

Gods miracle 2
It has been a very challenging journey during which my faith
has teeter tottered as I believed that God was working behind
the scenes to cause them to be removed, and then wondering why
He wasn’t. (Many, many thanks to those who supported me with your
prayers!!). I had contacted the owner of the posts numerous
times, and he was always very gracious,  but for months, nothing
changed. Then suddenly, one day in November, he started to move
them and I was beyond thankful, and am now able to post this
photo where faith has become sight.

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As I think about God’s timing,
I realize that even though it took so much longer than I had hoped,
the situation caused me to reach out to God in a deeper way, to
search my Bible and to experience anew the support of praying
friends.
I emerge from this challenge with spiritual treasures and an
increased awareness of God’s love and faithfulness.