Breath of Spring

“It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”
― Mark Twain

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It was so much fun getting to know some of you better from your comments in my last post! As summer approaches, my life gets a bit fuller with the extra work around the home.  And I also spend more time in my favourite places outside. So over the next few months, I’ll be bringing you a little more of my home through less words but more photographs, creating a breathing space just for you.

(A small note regarding writing. I recently won a contest at Inscribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship  for this piece. And it’s encouraged me to fix up a few other pieces I have to be contest ready. Have you ever entered writing contests?)

See! The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. 
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land.  The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance. Arise, come, my darling; my beautiful one, come with me.”

Song of Songs 2:11-13

What are your favourite things about spring and summer?

Peace from an Empty Place

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On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19

An empty tomb.

The tomb which had held Jesus, their Saviour, their teacher, their friend, was empty. The broken body of their King, gone!

Peter and John, along with the other disciples (except for Judas for he had betrayed Jesus, and for Thomas who was not with them that day) drew together behind a locked door. John’s gospel teaches it was a first day of the week, and Peter and John had recently witnessed an empty tomb except for strips of linen, and the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.
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Then….

Then, He is suddenly standing before them.

“Peace be with you,” He says.

Peace be with you.

Even after all He had endured—whippings, a crown of thorns, a cross to carry, nails in His hands, and all the sin of world upon Him…
You can read the full post at Inscribe Writers
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Your all in all

They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. Hosea 8:7

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In Hosea 8:7 who are they? They are the Israelites who had sought forbidden relationships with Assyria and Egypt for military power, and had mixed in worshipping forbidden gods along with God. They were no longer being faithful to the One who could provide them all they needed. Harvesting good seed in grounds bathed by sunlight and filled with nourishment, produce a sturdy crop. The Israelites, though,  expended their energy on activities without roots for their souls, leaving them vulnerable. Danger was coming from foreigners–eventually the Assyrians invaded and conquered Israel.

I know I too, can spend time on hollow activities instead of taking the time to plant, sow, and wait. I can Netflix binge, or mindlessly scroll my Instagram and my Facebook accounts to ‘numb’ out. I can seek instant gratification that only leaves me unsatisfied. I can eat those four girl-guide cookies instead of taking the time to cook the nourishing spinach and eggs. I can try to fight my own battles by seeking out who I think will agree with me, commiserate and create an alliance, instead of seeking God first.

But these attempts at self-preservation only pull me apart from God. When I try to become more secure in the world without God, I’m left vulnerable to the pull of all things that only blow away in the whirlwind of time.

When we put our security in God, we become too deeply rooted to be swept away. We are less tempted to engage in that ‘quick fix’ or reach out for things that leave us hollow and wanting. Instead, we grow closer to the One whose faithfulness is everlasting.

“Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, Ordered in all things, and secured; For all my salvation and all my desire, Will He not indeed make it grow? Samuel 23:5

What things are you putting your security in? Is there something God is asking you to give up so He can be your all and all?

Linked up at #TellHisStory

 

Delight

 So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you. 1 Peter 5:7

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Days can be full of plans unraveling, work pressures building, and expectations unfulfilled leaving you feeling unworthy, unaccomplished, and disappointed.

But God delights in you regardless if your check list is complete, or you didn’t meet a deadline, or you were unable to keep a commitment.

Hold on to your plans loosely.

For your well-being to God is more important than your to-do list.

What is one thing you can do today that shows He delights in you just ’cause you are you?

The Lord your God …will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

Living Full Heartedly

The Mighty One, God, The Lord, speaks and summons the earth from the rising sun to where it sets. Psalm 50:1

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Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call on me in the day of trouble, I will deliver you, and you will honour me. Psalm 50:14-15

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God’s creations are in abundance. Every day the sun rises and the sun sets, warming and cooling the earth, bringing us the light of day and darkened nights. Although God is timeless, He knows we need these cycles of light and dark to refresh and rest our bodies, minds, and souls. He knows what the earth needs to grow our food, and the amount of waters required to quench our thirst. In places though, fresh water and food is lacking. People are thirsty and hungry, and sick. Animals are migrating, trying to find new habitats, some populations dying away to extinction.

Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s abundance in the world among it’s sufferings.

Yet, God calls us not too lose heart. Why? Because He, our Creator, knows that through a heart of gratitude we are delivered from our anxiety and worries. He commands us to call out to Him when we are troubled, so He can provide rest for our minds even when all seems to be in chaos. When we wholeheartedly trust in God’s abundance, hope prevails. Instead of being downcast, we are energized to continue to seek ways to make the world a better place. Through heartfelt love and obedience to Him we honour Him and all His creations.

Where is God showing you His abundance today? How might He be asking you to make the world a better place?

Linking up at:

Counting My Blessings

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A Command to Be Very

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This post first appeared at Inscribe Writers Online

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn it from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Joshua 1:7

The Lord not only told Joshua to be courageous, but very courageous. I wonder if the Lord added the emphasis of an adverb before the adjective “courageous” because of Joshua’s extreme circumstances? His new job was to lead two million people into a new land and conquer it. Even though Joshua had grown to be a strong leader from assisting Moses for many years, I can imagine he may have felt extremely challenged for this upcoming new adventure!

But Joshua did not hesitate, did not measure the pros and cons, or run to his friends for advise. Instead, he ordered and directed the people to ready themselves for their journey to cross the Jordan, to the land the Lord was giving to them. While directing their next steps, Joshua reminded the people of Moses commands and the Lord’s promises, and the people obeyed their leader knowing they were also being faithful to God’s plan. And they too, encouraged Joshua to “be strong and courageous!” (v.18)

When facing new challenges, I can be very hesitant to take the next step. I want to be very sure so the outcome will be successful, on my terms. I can measure my success by my circle of influence expanding, or my finances increasing, or by the amount of ‘likes’ I’m receiving. Yet, unlike the worldly definition of success, success in God’s eyes is for us to be strong and very courageous through obeying and following His word. It’s being faithful to His plan for our lives. He directs us when we turn toward Him. And then we can rest in His promise that we will be successful wherever we go.

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Lord, thank You for always being with me and directing my way. Even though my situations can get tough, and challenging, I know you are with me. May I always keep my eyes on You, may I always turn to You, for when I do life with You, I will be successful in Your eyes wherever I go. Amen

And may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

Where might God be saying to you ‘be very courageous and strong?

 

A Pathway to Goals & a little bit more

 

Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path. Psalm 119:

Hello Readers!

I’ve been quiet here. But do plan to be back writing faithfully in a few weeks!

In the meantime this is what’s been going on…

Have you ever experienced that moment when your GPS voice says “recalculating?” That moment of hesitation, waiting for the new (correct/another) direction ? Since just before Christmas, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a recalculating moment.

Below is a quote from a post I wrote entitled A Pathway to Goals

“And I felt a God nudge to let go of all I understood and how I thought things should go–a God nudge to turn and prepare my heart for Him in the wilderness where He provides comfort, hope, and renewal.” You can read the entire post at Inscribe Writers Online

And have you ever commented on another blog and got an ah ha moment?

Below is my comment to The One Word That Almost Wasn’t

 “I think I can understand too, your hesitation in not ‘doing’ as the world is always influencing us to do this, that, get better, take a course, join this program, read this devotional etc and then you’ll be a success, okay….everything will fall away if you stop. 🙂 When I think about a time of pruning, I also see a branch lifting up to receive the sunshine after being buried under a weight of extra…”

My branches are heavy and it’s a time to let go although I’m not sure all that I am to lessen…

A final note for now:

The entire life of Jesus isn’t the story of somebody climbing up the ladder; it’s a picture of someone coming down-a series of demotions. The problem with spending our lives climbing up the ladder is that we will go right past Jesus, for He’s coming down. John Ortberg

Then Jesus declared, “I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

May He quench your thirst today.

Love, Lynn

 

Be Strong in the Lord-Ruth L. Snyder

This HOPE week of Advent, I have the pleasure of hosting author Ruth L. Snyder who I know through the nation-wide group, Inscribe Christian Writers Fellowship. And she has a very special invitation for us!   

Be Strong in the LORD By Ruth L. Snyder

 “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”

—Psalm 37:3-6

I started my morning with prayer and Scripture reading. My heart was especially burdened for our family. I prayed for God’s protection and was quiet before God. My heart was filled with peace when my devotional time was finished. Less than an hour later, my husband and I were embroiled in a heated disagreement regarding our children. The longer we talked, the more we disagreed. I retreated to my piano to play hymns and reflect. Why couldn’t we resolve this situation? Kendall and I both want the best for our children, but sometimes we disagree about what this looks like. We are learning to use tools like John Gottman’s Sound Relationship House (https://www.gottman.com/about/the-gottman-method/).

Life on earth is full of challenges and problems. Sometimes we get totally overwhelmed. Cancer. Addiction. Family issues. War. Abuse. God is the only one who is big enough, wise enough, to have the solutions. We need to choose to be strong in HIM. He will give us the victory, if we trust him and not ourselves.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the phrase, “be strong,” comes from a root word that means to enable, empower, strengthen, or be made strong. Remember the apostle, Paul? We may see him as a spiritual giant, but he claims that God’s strength is best displayed in our areas of weakness.

When we feel strong, we don’t rely on God the way we should. In fact, when we have the ability to do things well, we often boast and become proud. When we realize we are weak, God is able to work through us to display his love and power to those around us (1 Corinthians 1:26-31; 2 Corinthians 12:9). Here are some examples from Scripture:

  • God enabled Samson to defeat Israel’s enemies, but when Samson chose to disobey God, he was captured (Judges 14-16).
  • God chose Saul to be King. When Samuel took a while to show up, Saul took things into his own hands. Then he disobeyed by not destroying all of the enemy, and God took the kingdom from his son and gave it to a lowly shepherd boy, David (I Samuel 9, 13, 15).

Think About It

Have you experienced God’s power in your daily living? What difference is it making in your life? Journal your thoughts, or respond in another way that is meaningful to you.

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you that you are all-powerful. Help me to remember that without you I am vulnerable and weak.  As I walk through this day, lead me. Help me to be sensitive to your voice and obedient to your will. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ruth would like to invite you to join a FREE 10-Day devotional challenge. You will receive 10 free devotionals and access to a private Facebook group to discuss the devotionals, apply them to your life, and pray.

https://equipped.lpages.co/equipped-10-day-devotional-challenge/

 

Ruth L. Snyder is the author of Equipped: Ephesians 6 Devotionals to Empower and Make You Victorious in Everyday Struggles. And TODAY the Kindle version is FREE! (Wednesday, December 4). For my friends outside of Canada, you can click HERE to purchase.

Ruth resides near Glendon, Alberta, along with her husband and five children. Ruth enjoys writing articles, devotionals, short stories, and Christian fiction. Ruth is Past President of InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship.
http://ruthlsnyder.com
www.facebook.com/ruthlsnyder
www.twitter.com/wwjdr

 

Words richer than Gold

(feature photo © Lynn J Simpson -Emerald Lake, Yukon)

Imagine.

You are climbing 1200 steps chipped in the ice of a 30 degree mountain slope. You hold onto a rope strung along the way. You carry 70 pounds of supplies on your back. It’s -40 F. And once you reach the summit, and drop your supplies, you slide down the mountain to gather another 70 pounds of supplies and climb those stairs again, and again…ten more times. And when you have all your supplies at the top of the summit, you pack them on your back and travel another 500 miles by foot, and then by boat through river rapids between canyon walls 100 feet high.

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Miles Canyon, Whitehorse, Yukon (photo © Lynn J Simpson)

You persevere. You persevere in hopes that you will strike it rich, strike gold, once you reach your destination.

This was the travels of the 30 to 40K stampeders who chose the Chilkoot Trail route at Dyea, Alaska on their way to the Klondike in northern Yukon, the winter of 1897-1898. As I researched the Klondike Gold Rush, the topic of my final writing assignment for my current writing course, I began to understand what hardships these stampeders endured for ‘riches’ that were not even guaranteed! Out of the 100,000 stampeders, only up to 40,000 actually made it to the Klondike, and only 4,000 found gold, and just a few hundred actually got rich.

And I began to ponder: How often have a sought for ‘riches’ in this life rather than persevered in seeking out His treasures that are a sure thing? When have I given up, or turned away when hardship has hit instead of continuing, knowing He never lets go of the rope no matter if I can’t see the next step in front of me?

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Yukon Railway at Carcross, Yukon (photo © Lynn J Simpson)

Proverbs tells 2:1-8 tells us:

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
 turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
 indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
 then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
 He holds success in store for the upright,
    he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless,
 for he guards the course of the just
    and protects the way of his faithful ones.

 

Did you know the word ‘silver’ shows up 402 times in the bible?  In other words, there is an abundance of silver to be found in God’s word! He instructs us to seek His wisdom that leads to success, guards, shields, and protects us.

And thankfully, to find the knowledge of God, we don’t have to summit a mountain in -40 F! Instead, we can faithfully study His word for insight and understanding.

Where are you searching for wisdom?

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Timothy 6:11-12

SoaringWithHim  &  HolleyGerth

You can find out more about my Christian Life Coaching Services at Inspiring Hope In You. Coaching is a gentle approach to uncover your obstacles and find your steps to create the changes you desire.

 

My Neighbours

I’m posting  this on the day my neighbours to the south, the United States, are celebrating their Thanksgiving holiday. Ours, in Canada, was October 14th and why the different date than the USA? Well, it ‘is complicated’ –words that titled an article on the subject in a national magazine.

There is no doubt that Canada and the USA have their differences. We have CFL and they have NFL for one, with differences such as a three downs in our game compared to their four! And I have friends who follow both leagues.

That’s the blessing of having neighbours who do different than we do, maybe even follow different rules. I’m not going to get political here. Instead point to what God’s word says about who we all are, and how we are to be.

Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers? Malachi 2:10

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8

And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14

So Happy Thanksgiving my brothers and sisters across my country border! And thank you for all the experiences I have had in your country–from the awe-striking sunset of  Maui, to the metropolitan of New York,  to the white-knuckling rides at Universal Studios, Florida, and so much more…and more to come.

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