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Undaunted Painting by Davis Maho

Undaunted
Painting by Davis Maho

It seems that my life is full of “I Can’ts. I can’t go backpacking with my family. I can’t eat certain foods because they make me ill.  I can’t travel easily right now due to food intolerance issues. I can’t function like I want to because of chronic fatigue syndrome. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t. I hate it.

Perhaps you have some “I can’ts” in your life too. They aren’t fun. In fact they are awful.

But God reminds me that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) That doesn’t mean that I will be able to backpack or run races or even function like I want to, but it does mean that what God wants me to do I will be able to do. He will give me the strength to persevere and accomplish what He has planned for me.

I went to a Hopi show at our local museum recently and met my son’s friend Davis there. He is a painter and had several of his paintings displayed. One painting, of a warrior maiden named He’e’e’, spoke to me. The title of the painting is Undaunted.

That is what I need to be. Undaunted by my circumstances. Full of I cans instead of I can’ts.

I can do what God asks me to do. He has allowed the awfulness of chronic fatigue syndrome and food intolerance in my life for a reason and I will do the best to serve Him and accomplish what He wishes for me to accomplish while I’m in this state.

I will be undaunted.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

And so can you….

(To see more of Davis’s work see this link.)

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Roses

Today I Choose:

 

To bloom where I am planted. (1 Corinthians 7:17-24)

To be content with the current circumstances of my life….while seeking to change what I have the power to change. (Philippians 4:11-13)

 

To believe that no matter how difficult my circumstances, all things will work together for good. (Romans 8:28)

To have a “can do” approach to my problems. (Numbers 13-14)

To let God guide me, because He knows a whole lot more than I do.  (Psalm 48:14)

To live joyfully. (Psalm 118:24)

To leave my past mistakes and sadness behind because God’s love and mercy are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

To call myself a beloved Child of the Most High God instead of thinking that I am a fool or someone who can’t do anything right. (Galatians 3:26-28)

To believe the best about others actions and motives no matter how they treat me. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

To do good to others even when they hurt me. (1 Thessalonians 5:15, Romans 12:21)

To give of my time, talents, finances and encouragement to others, because there is always someone in need of something. (Luke 6:38)

To be kind, compassionate and forgiving instead of bitter or angry.  (Ephesians 4:31-32)

To allow God to heal my broken heart and bind up my wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

To let God love me, even when others don’t. (Romans 8:38-39)

To always love others, for it is the most excellent way to live. (I Corinthians 13, Matthew 22:36-40)

 

 

 

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Keawala'i Congregational Church, Maui

Keawala’i Congregational Church, Maui

My Dear Child~

Every mistake you have ever made or ever will make has been taken care of by My Son.  (2 Corinthians 5:21) There is no reason to be sad about anything that you have done because you are free from your past! (John 8:36) You are a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

You can live joyfully in the present because Jesus came to give you a full and abundant life. (John 10:10) All you need to do is believe and you will live forever. (John 3:16)

Will you accept this gift? The cost to you is nothing because Jesus paid the price. I am waiting for you with wide open arms, so come!! (Luke 15:11-24) Come and dance through life with Me!

 

 

 

 

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Embrace the Now Whispers from the Father

Embrace the Now
Whispers from the Father

My Child~

Please stop dwelling on the past. Thinking about the past will not allow you to move forward and that is what I want……for you to live in the present.

So you made a mistake. Guess what? So do all My Children. Let it go! No parent wants their child dwelling on their errors. You talked with Me about it; you learned from it; so move on!

Someone treated you poorly? Discuss it with them if you can and leave the rest with Me. I will bring good out of your pain.

Don’t keep looking behind you. Don’t live in the past. Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes. Don’t dwell on your hurts. Don’t use the past as an excuse to stay stuck where you are.

I have forgiven your past mistakes and taken your sin from you. (Psalm 103:12) I will deal with those who have hurt you. (Romans 12:19) I will make all things work together for good.  (Romans 8:28)

I want you to live in the present. I want you to focus on loving others and doing the best you can now, for Me and for My glory. I want you happy. I want you free. I want you living an abundant life. (John 10:10)

So stop looking behind you and concentrate on the present moment. There is a whole wide world waiting for you to embrace. But you need to be free of the past to fully embrace the present.

Are you with Me? I am with you!! Let it Go and let’s move forward!!!

“This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

“Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has called me through Christ Jesus to life up there in heaven.”   (Philippians 3: 13-14)

 

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March 2014 117“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

It’s hard, really hard, to go through tough times. It doesn’t seem fair, and even though we know that life isn’t fair, we want it to be fair.

We want answers to the “whys” in life.  Why did I lose my health, my child, my spouse, my marriage, my job, my home, my ______ (fill in the blank). Why?

In tough times I have to cling to the truth that God is good. And that He allows things to happen for His purposes…..which I may not understand immediately. Or I may not understand until weeks later. Or months later. Or years later. Or maybe not until heaven.

During the tough times I choose to trust; otherwise I would be cranky, angry or maybe even depressed.

I am fortunate that today I understand why I experienced a horrible ordeal in December.  Going through that situation was very upsetting and even frightening. But now that I see the bigger picture, I am grateful that I went through it, because others will benefit.

A woman shared recently in a bible study that circumstances in our life are like puzzle pieces. When we look at one piece, it doesn’t make sense by itself and it may even appear ugly. But as the puzzle is assembled, a beautiful picture unfolds.

All things do work together for good, and whether I see that goodness tomorrow or 10,000 tomorrows from now shouldn’t matter to me.

What matters is I know God can be trusted. And so I choose to trust. (Psalm 9:10Job 13:15)

In His way and in His timing, He will let me see the big (finished) picture. And it will be beautiful.

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Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Whispers from the Father

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
Whispers from the Father

Do you ever feel like God might be asking you to do something but you think it’s too far out of your comfort zone or ability to do it?

Do you have an idea that you would like to try, but feel it would be impossible to bring it to pass?

I have felt like that. Just this past week in fact. My response was along the lines of “Ohhhh….this is beyond what I know and I’m not good at it and I don’t think I want to put the effort and time into it!”

Moses felt like that too. When God asked Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, he responded:

“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Exodus 3:11)
“What if they do not believe me or listen to me?….”  (Exodus 4:1)
“O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” (Exodus 4:10)
“O Lord, please send someone else to do it!” (Exodus 4:13)
 

God didn’t go for any of Moses’ excuses. Not one of them.

And He didn’t take Jonah’s “no” very well either. When Jonah went the opposite direction from what the Lord asked of him, he ended up in the belly of a large fish. (Jonah 1) After the fish vomited Jonah up on dry land, Jonah decided to do what God asked of him. (Jonah 3:1-3) Moses eventually did what God asked of him too. So did I.

I’m not sure why we resist God when He asks us to step out and do something for Him. I suppose we like to be comfortable. But I think life is far more exciting and rewarding if we do what God is nudging us to do. We don’t need to fear, for God promises to give us power in place of our fears (2 Timothy 1:7), to be with us (Exodus 3:12), and to teach us (Exodus 4:12). He is there for us!

Let’s get out of our comfort zone and walk the path we have never walked before. God will be with us and with His help we will accomplish something wonderful for His glory!

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I Love You Whispers From the Father

I Love You
Whispers From the Father

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”   Matthew 22:36-40

Jesus boils it down for us: Love God, love ourselves, and love others.

Do I love God? Yes. I love the creation He made for us to enjoy: the sunrises, sunsets, starry skies, mountains, and oceans. And as I get to know Him through reading the Bible, I see that He is a God that loves us immensely and cares a great deal for people; especially the poor and vulnerable among us. (John 3:16Romans 5:8, Leviticus 19: 9-10, James 1:27) How could I not love a God like that?

Do I love myself? I try to. It is so much easier to love and accept myself when I know that God loves and accepts me. If He accepts and loves me, (problems, mistakes and all) surely I can learn to accept and love myself.

Finally, and this is the biggie for me…..Do I love others? I mean, really love others? Do I take the time to acknowledge and talk to people? Do I smile at them, make eye contact, and try to brighten their day? Or am I too busy going about what I consider to be important?

My challenge is to ask myself after every interaction, “Did I show love to that person? Is their day brighter because of me?”

I want to be able to answer “Yes” to both questions. Because, in the end, love is all that matters. (1 Corinthians 13)

 

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I Love You Whispers From the Father

I Love You
Whispers From the Father

“If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” Romans 12:18

I love this verse, because it puts the responsibility for peace on us, but only to the extent that we have control over the problem.

We are not responsible for how someone else thinks or acts (unless, of course they are our child…then we better take some responsibility! 🙂 )

When we get dumped on, accused of wrong doing, maligned, or otherwise find ourselves in an unpleasant, strife filled circumstance with another person we can do something. We are supposed to do something.  We are to seek peace.

If we have done something wrong, we can admit it, apologize for it, and ask for forgiveness. If we don’t understand the situation, we can try to clarify the issue and seek resolution. We can aim to solve the problem peacefully.

But we can only do so much. We can only resolve the problem as far as we are responsible. If we have done what we can and the other person still wants to be argumentative or live in strife, that is out of our control. That is their issue.

When we have done what is possible, when we have done what depends on us to do, when we have tried to live at peace with others, when we have done all that, we can rest in God’s peace, knowing we have done our best. He will take the problem (if one still remains) into His own hands.  And since He is now taking care of it, we must leave it with Him and move forward.  (Philippians 3: 13-14)

We are to be at peace.

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Take Care of My Sheep Whispers From the Father

Take Care of My Sheep
Whispers From the Father

When Jesus and the disciples had finished eating, Jesus spoke to Simon Peter. He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you really love me more than these others do?”

“Yes, Lord,” he answered. “You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

Again Jesus asked, “Simon, son of John, do you really love me?”

He answered, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”

Jesus spoke to him a third time. He asked, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter felt bad because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He answered, “Lord, you know all things. You know that I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”     John 21:15-17

To feed God’s sheep; to take care of others,  to look after them….that is what God asks us to do.

“But,” we respond, “helping others is inconvenient.”  We would rather not interrupt our schedule. (See Luke 10:25-37   especially verses 30-32)

“Helping others is uncomfortable, ” we add. Walking down a long hallway to talk to an inmate via telephone behind glass windows is out of our comfort zone . Stepping into a kitchen that is not ours to prepare meals for the homeless can be awkward (how DOES this stove work?) It is easier to ignore the person on the side of the road holding a sign than it is to reach out to them. Going to a another country on a mission trip exposes you to different food, different customs, different diseases and different bathroom facilities (if you are lucky enough to have a bathroom at all).

“Do you love Me?” Jesus asks.

“Take care of My sheep.”

I ask myself: “Am I caring for His sheep? In the way He wants me to? Using the gifts He has graced me with?”

As I ponder those questions, and the answers, I am certain I can do better than I am.

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He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters Whispers From The Father

He Leads Me Beside Quiet Waters
Whispers From The Father

Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139: 23-24)

The start of a new year seems like a good time for me to take a look inside and examine my heart. Am I doing what is good and right? Am I doing what God would want me to do? Or not? Those questions won’t let me go until I look…..until I think about what is in my heart and what motivates me.

God already knows what is in my heart. (Psalm 139:1-4)  So why does the writer of Psalm 139 want God to search our hearts with us? I think it is because God is gentler than we would be on ourselves….but He won’t allow us to overlook what needs attention. We tend to beat ourselves up over our mistakes; or we overlook what we don’t want to see. God is gentle and humble and wants to ease our burdens, lead us, refresh us, help us live righteous lives, and give us rest. (Matthew 11:28-30)   (Psalm 23:1-3).

I realize I don’t need to struggle with what is in my heart. God already knows my heart and my motives. If there are hurtful ways in me, He will gently bring them to my attention and help me deal with them. He will help me become the best version of myself that I can be while He leads me to restful places and gently restores my soul.

It is to this kind of God that I will surrender my heart and allow Him to examine it with me….for I know He loves me.  (At the Cross–Hillsong)

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