Something Beautiful

I enjoy sewing. It gives me great pleasure to take a piece of fabric, cut it up and create something different with it. Sometimes my creations come out pretty and sometimes they don’t; sometimes they are very useful and sometimes not so much. Occasionally I even create what I consider to be a masterpiece. Well, almost a masterpiece, at the very least.

Creating these ‘masterpieces’ always leaves me with a bit of a mess in my sewing room. My scrap baskets (aka boxes) tend to get very full because I can’t stand tossing the smallest scrap. I actually take other peoples scraps when they want to toss them out! Because I truly believe they can be useful and serve a purpose somewhere down the line.

I believe this trait of using scraps comes from God.

He takes the fabric of our lives, what we consider to be scraps with all the rips and tears of bad decisions we’ve made, and designs a masterpiece to be used in His plan for this world. He knew before we were born all the mistakes we would make and He planned how He could use those to touch other lives.

When we turn our hearts and lives over to God, He doesn’t set about to mend those flaws in the fabric. He use them to create a new creation. In Second Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

God creates something new and beautiful that can be used to change other peoples’ lives. Pieces of our pasts benefit those people God brings into our lives.

He will use our mistakes to help others learn how to get past their mistakes.

He will use our regrets to lead others to change so they don’t have the same regrets.

He will use everything we give Him to encourage others to give Him their everything.

And when they do He will make something beautiful out of what they thought could never be used.

I want to challenge you to give Him all the pieces of your life and watch Him create a masterpiece! 

Then march forth today and let Him use you to …

Be a blessing,

Terisa

My Word for the Year – Intentional

Two years ago I read about having a word a year as a focus for personal development. I liked the idea and decided to begin praying about my word.

My first word was encouragement. That year I learned that I need to be more encouraging to the people in my life, and that I need to seek more encouragement in my life. I have found most of my own encouragement comes from reading and studying God’s word. And sometimes God sends people with encouraging words. We all need encouragement throughout our lives.

I started out last year with the word change. Little did I know where that was leading me. Last year involved quite a bit of change for me – God was working on stretching my comfort zone. It started with being led to begin this blog. It took a lot of courage to begin writing and posting it where other people could read my thoughts – sometimes even people I don’t know. Way outside my comfort zone!

Then, through a series of events, I felt led to begin a Bible study in my home. I had taught children both in school and church; however, I had never taught adults. Talk about being outside my comfort zone!!

This stretching carried over into physical activities also. Over the summer I began learning how to use a wide variety of power tools as my nephew and I tore down and rebuilt the deteriorated privacy fence around my yard. I am becoming very proficient at using a chain saw, a circular saw, a nail gun, and various air compressor-powered tools. I learned how to build and hang a large double gate to add access through the completed fence.

In the late summer months I became involved in beginning a ladies prayer ministry at my church, where I am being stretched by praying out-loud! You know where other people can hear me!! Old dogs really can learn new tricks.

At times I feel so unqualified for many of the things I am doing, but I just remind myself of a saying I heard long ago: God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

I am not sure what all He has in mind for me, but I know that whatever it is He will continue to teach me things I will need for His future purposes, as long as I keep saying yes to His call.

Which leads to my word for this year – intentional. This year I am being as intentional as I can be in learning more about God’s character and following His lead in His work in my little sphere of influence. I want my life to be under God’s guidance and following His direction.

I am intentionally studying His word and His character as shown in the Bible. I am intentionally developing my prayer life and seeking the Holy Spirit’s leading when I pray. I am intentionally working with other ladies to develop a mentoring program for young women in our church following Titus 2:3-5 where we are instructed to teach younger women good Godly things.

I will continue to look for ways to be more intentional in learning how to please God as He leads me to new adventures this year.

I hope you will join me as I march forth today with intentions to …

Be a blessing,

Terisa

P.S. Do you have a word for the year? If so, please share it with me in the comments section below.

 

 

Which Way to Go?

Last Thursday my husband was assigned to a new work location. The location is hours away from his present one, so his camper needed to be moved to a new campground over the weekend.

As we were heading into unfamiliar territory I googled a map to determine the best way to go. “Maps” showed several possibilities and the estimated times for each, with one possibility taking us through Dallas. Travelling through Dallas with all it’s road construction is not a choice I make any day of the week, much less on a weekend while dragging a 30 foot camper.

So I picked a backroads way with a whole lot fewer obstacles/detours along the way. At times the road was narrow, with bumps and some tight curves, and we sometimes had to take it a bit slower than the speed limit.

But I believe it was much less stressful than the trip would have been had we chosen to go through Dallas with all the construction traffic.

I got to thinking so often we travel through life the same way. We can pick a way that to us looks like the best path to take, but that path will more than likely be cluttered with obstacles and detours we wished we could have missed.

If we are wise, we will go to God and ask Him to show us His direction for our day to day lives. He has already told us the way is narrow (Matthew 7:14) and that there will be bumps along the way (John 16:33) but He also promises to be with us always as traverse the path (Matthew 28:20). He knows all the obstacles we will face if we chose to go our own ways and He wants us to ask for His help to avoid those things.

What will you choose to do today? Take your own path and struggle along or let God be your navigator as you travel this life?

I’m doing my best to follow God’s directions as I march forth today and try to…

Be a Blessing,

Terisa

 

Betweeners

Warren W. Wiersbe, author of the “BE” book series, shared this insightful story in one of his books.

There once was a preacher who commented, “Most Christians are ‘betweeners.'”

When asked what he meant, he explained, “They are between Egypt and Canaan – out of the place of danger, but not yet in the place of rest and rich inheritance.”

He continued, “They are between Good Friday and Easter Sunday – saved by the blood yet not enjoying newness in the resurrection life.”

This relates to something that has been on my mind a lot lately. Why is it that so many Christians look and act so defeated? Why aren’t more of us experiencing joy in our lives? When non-believers look at us, why would they possibly want what we say we have?

Do we really believe the words of Jesus found in John 10:10: “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly”?

Then a few days ago as I was watering the tomato plants pictured above, God brought it to my mind that Christians are just like those plants. What do those plants need in order to grow and develop into mature, fruit-producing plants?

They need warmth, water, sunlight, and food (fertilizer). As you can see in the picture some plants are growing better than others. There are several reasons for this.

When my husband and I planted the seeds, we watered them, sprinkled a small amount of bloodmeal (fertilizer) across the top of them, and placed them under a grow light.

While I make sure each plant gets it’s share of water, some of them received more bloodmeal than others. And even though I am constantly rotating the seed flat some of the seeds are closer to the light than others, resulting in quicker growth.

We, Christians, need the same ingredients to grow into healthy, mature, fruit-producing followers of Jesus. The thing is, unlike plants relying on people to provide their needs, we are responsible for providing the necessary ingredients for our growth.

We have to spend time on our knees soaking up the Sonshine of His Presence. Come before Him and adore Him, He will light up your life.

We have to seek and accept the refreshing water Jesus promised in John 4:14, when He said, “whoever drinks of the water I give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

We must feast on His Word which is the fertilizer for Christian growth. Feasting on His Word is not just reading a short passage and going about your day. Feasting involves time spent enjoying the ‘meal’, savoring the nourishment being provided and even going back for a second helping.

Then we need to seek the warmth that comes from time spent studying and worshipping with other believers. The world can be a cold, cold place when you face it alone, so don’t go it alone! Get involved in a local church and Bible study group.

Don’t be a betweener, spend time with God daily and grow in Him. Then let us march forth into the land of milk and honey where we find His promised rest and peace. As you do you will find you can daily…

Be a blessing,

Terisa

 

A Fresh Start

Well it has been quite a while since I have written a post. Way back in October one Wednesday my laptop was working just fine and the next day it told me that it could not find my hard drive. After trying everything in my ‘fix-it’ knowledge bank, I began looking for a repair shop.

A couple of days after leaving the laptop at a local shop I received the bad news that it needed a new motherboard. Two weeks later I received the worse news that they could not locate a motherboard for my laptop. So I went and picked it up. By this time it was late November, so I told my husband we should just wait until after Christmas to look for a new laptop. I received my new laptop the first week of January and by then could not remember any of my log-in information for this site!

Sometime back in November while cleaning and getting ready for holiday visitors I moved my blog notebook to a new location and had to find it to retrieve my log-in info. Then the web-site decided my password was not good anymore and I had to get a new one.

Done that! And now I am back. So new laptop and time for a fresh start with my blog and a new year.

I find that I am a bit scared to begin writing again. It took a lot of courage to begin this blog last year and now I find myself fighting that old fear again.

Fear that I don’t have anything to say that others will be interested in reading, but I am going to fight that fear because I know it is the enemy bringing up those thoughts. I know God gives me the things He wants me to write about and I am going to do just that – write.

Please join me as I begin this new year and let’s march forth to …

be a blessing,

Terisa

God is With You

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed. Deuteronomy 31:8

God knows what today holds for each one of us. He is not nor ever will be surprised by anything that has happened, is happening, or is going to happen in our lives. He knew everything about us before we were even born.

He knew the bad choices we would make and the messes that would result. He knew how He would use those messes as messages for the people in our lives when we give Him our lives.

And even with everything He knows about us, He chose to love us. God loves us with a love that is unfathomable, a love we don’t have the ability to understand.

God wants a close intimate relationship with each one of us. He wants you and me to choose to spend time with Him each day, all throughout the day. He wants to whisper in our ears moment by moment as we walk through the daily trials of life.

He wants us to learn to know Him. God gave His words in the Bible so we could do that very thing – get to know Him in all His awesomeness.

The Bible contains a lot of little stories within the BIG story of God and His reign on earth and in heaven. Read His word, study His word, learn to know God and how He uses people with all their frailties to achieve His purpose.

As you do, you will come to understand that He can and will use you, too, no matter what (or how many) mistakes you have made.

And the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed by the great things that He can do with your life when you draw near to Him.

Lean on Him and trust Him with whatever you may be facing today. He is the great “I AM”…. He is all you really need to get through this life on earth.

March forth today with the Lord who goes before you to…

Be a blessing,

Terisa

Joy in the Lord

Today I am praying that the joy of the Lord will be evident in your life and on your face. Happiness is often based on the circumstances in your life; however, your joy comes from knowing God and allowing Him to be in control of your life.

Once you have the joy that comes from knowing God, peace will begin to reign in your heart and your mind. You will develop a steadfast, solid faith that comes from knowing God is good and He is faithful to see you through all things, no matter what may come your way.

Many Bible verses speak words of joy. Here are a few of my favorites:

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:52

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. John 15:11 (Jesus is speaking here and you really need to read all of chapter 15 to see the things He spoke about that will make your joy complete.)

Here are just a few from the book of Psalm, which contains many verses about joy:

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth; Break forth in song, rejoice, and sing praises. Psalm 98:4

March forth today and let your joy shine forth to those around you.

Be a blessing,

Terisa

Praying for Patience, Really?

Well, ya’ll, today is Thursday and that means I am praying for patience to be manifested in my life and the lives of the people on my lists. Yes, really. So I thought I would write a bit about being patience, but it was taking too long for the words to flow so I changed my mind!

No, I’m just joking. I spent a bit of time this morning looking in the Bible to see what God has to say about patience (also called longsuffering, perseverance, steadfastness, or endurance in some verses), since He is the ultimate example of patience.

Before I get going here are a few definitions for some of those words:

Patience – the quality of forbearance and self-control which shows itself in a willingness to wait without getting riled up

Perseverance – steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success

Endurance -The ability to continue doing something for a long time

In this day of sooo much instant gratification many people are not developing the ‘patience muscle’. We are like the mother who prayed, “Lord, please, give me patience and give it to me now”.

However, by its very nature, patience is not to be gained instantly. This fruit of the Spirit is like all fruit, it takes time to grow and develop. And just like in the garden there is usually some pruning to be done during the growing process if you want really good fruit.

Some things to prune from your live may include:

  • Making snap decisions and snappy comments
  • Being first
  • Having your own way all the time
  • Trying to do too many things at one time
  • Lack of commitment /involvement with other people

Learning to be patience is a process that takes work and practice, but it is well worth the effort if you want to be successful in this life. It takes patience to reach goals, have sound relationships and be fruitful for the Lord.

I challenge you to make being patient a goal today. Pray and ask God to help you be deliberate about practicing patience throughout your day.

Here are a few tips for doing that:

  • Slow down and think about the things you do, don’t just rush through your life
  • Count your blessings while waiting in line at the store or traffic light
  • Meditate on the word of God when you get anxious or stressed while waiting and waiting and waiting
  • Think and then don’t react to something that rude person says to you
  • Spend some time with a child (that’ll give you some patience practice!)
  • Don’t reach for that second helping of dessert or buy another new shirt that you don’t really need, put some limits on the instant gratification reflex.

Finally, some verses about the benefits of patience and enduring (underlining mine).

But the ones that fell on good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:15

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another, not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in trials, continuing steadfastly in prayer,  Romans 12:10-12

Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like minded toward one another, according to Jesus Christ, Romans 15:5

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering (patient) toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. Rev. 14:12

And if you find yourself needing help while practicing patience just remember….

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

March forth today knowing that I am praying for you to patiently endure difficulties and show God’s grace and mercy to those you encounter as you go out to…

Be a blessing,

Terisa

When Your Prayer List Seems Endless

I want to be a mighty prayer warrior, really, I do, but sometimes my lists get so long that I begin to lose heart for praying through all of the requests. I begin to feel like I’m placing a large order at the drive-thur of a local fast food place. I don’t want my prayer time to be that way.

So after much thought about it this morning I am going to switch up my prayer requests to say a simple prayer for those on my many weekly lists.

God already knows the needs of each person on my lists and He does not need me to remind Him, so my prayers are going to center on the fruit of the Spirit being manifested in each person’s life daily.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Whatever we are going through on any given day, the fruit of the Spirit is something we all need more of daily. So know that you and yours are being bathed in prayer as follows:

Monday – LOVE – more of God’s love to be evident to you and through you

Tuesday – JOY – for the joy of the Lord to overflow in your life and onto those around you

Wednesday – PEACE – that God’s peace which passes all understanding will rule your life

Thursday – PATIENCE – sorry, but we all need more….

Friday – KINDNESS – that kind words will not be a random act in your life

Saturday – GOODNESS and FAITHFULNESS – that you will be quick to recognize God’s goodness and faithfulness in your life each day

Sunday – GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL – that self-control will allow you to be gentle with the people in your daily life

May you have a joy-full day as you march forth today and may you continually…

Be a blessing,

Terisa

 

3 Pointers for Daily Time with God

I am by nature a night-owl. I am by nature an introvert. I enjoy doing my housework alone during the quiet hours after other members of the household are in bed.  I enjoy sitting outside with just God for company as I watch the stars and enjoy the night sounds of nature.

However, a husband and children necessitated that I become more attuned to daytime hours, which took a concentrated effort on my part to accomplish. And I think I have successfully become an early bird. I usually am awake by 5 am without an alarm clock and most days I have completed more work by 10 o’clock in the morning then many people get done all day.

But come August my night-owl nature resurfaces each year. As the Perseid meteor shower enters its peak time (http://www.space.com/23066-perseids.html), my eyes once again turn skyward during the late night hours. There are many web sites offering pointers on how best to observe the glorious wonders of the ‘shooting stars’ created as the earth travels through the path of a comet.

The top three pointers on many of those sites are: 1) to get away from the distractions of city lights, 2) to allow yours eyes 30 minutes to adjust to the night vision and 3) to not focus on one area of the sky, but to let your eyes roam the entire sky because meteors can come from any direction.

So in the early morning hours as I sit in my backyard away from the distraction of city lights and allow my eyes to adjust to the night sky while trying to not focus on any one constellation I found myself thinking about how these pointers apply to my daily time with God.

For me the best way to start my day is with an early daily quiet time before the distractions of life begin to overtake my mind and my time. This is a time when I allow my ‘heart eyes’ time to adjust to God’s vision. And while ‘shooting stars’ require a no-focus attitude in order to best be seen, my heart eyes must focus only on God and what He wants me to see as I spend time with Him and His word.

When I take the time to follow these three pointers:

  1. Find a quiet place away from distractions
  2. Allow your heart eyes to adjust to God’s way of seeing
  3. Focus only on God and His words

I find my focus stays on God more throughout my day and life distractions are less stressful.

Why not try becoming a night-owl for a few days this week and observe the wonders of shooting stars while praising God’s beautiful creation.

Then begin your new day by giving these three pointers a try before marching forth to…

Be a blessing,

Terisa