Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grateful for the Gift of Hope



I'd like to say it was a productive day; doing household daily chores, and finishing cleaning walls in bedrooms,(stepladder still in the middle of my room), but it was not. Instead, I read for 8 hours straight,drinking cup after cup of hot Tazo tea, from my hope mug, and strangely do not feel one bit guilty. As I told a friend, this is how I deal with winter sunless,cold days-hibernate. Oh, I attend to all of my volunteer duties for the week, like teaching ESL classes, as I did this past Wednesday, when the roads were very slick and snow was coming down in golf ball size. I did venture out, nervous, sliding on our country roads and thankfully arrived safely. Very few students came to any of the 5 classes.  I had 1 student in my Level 1 class come 15 minutes late. To his surprise, he had an individual tutoring lesson!  We were both blessed; he learned more English in one session than several lessons in class. I learned about his family, both here, and in Saudi Arabia. Yes, we were both blessed by building a friendship around an English lesson.


                                                                                                   I often take pictures of bird friends from the comfort of the other side of the  house windows- the warm side!  Feeding these creatures is a daily pleasure since they afford me a chance to photograph feather-puffed bodies.


They are my hope for spring days ahead!
















My store-bought,  $2.50, paperwhites
which graced my tables for several weeks were a joy to watch bloom, and again, another gift of hope for spring, now less than 2 months away.
 Hopefully!







So, what did I read for 8 hours straight?  I finished Joel Rosenberg's newest book, The Third Target, and will finish Billy Graham's book
The Reason for My Hope: Salvation.  

"Hope is the first ray of sunshine that peeks above the horizon-without fail-every morning with blazing truth, telling us we can make it through."     
 Billy Graham in The Reason for My Hope:Salvation



HOPE PIERCES THE DARKNESS!
The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is our hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

"The gift to the world came in the form of a personal Savior who paid for our freedom with His priceless life. His Spirit remains with us today, bringing salvation to all who will take hold. This hope is an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."  
Billy Graham , from The Reason For My Hope: Salvation

What is my take-away from reading these two books- one being filled with shadows of death in this dark world of fear for days ahead, to one being filled with the hope of glory in the One who formed this universe with His hands, keeping it spinning in motion, and cares for even the smallest sparrow in the tree to your heart and mine, saying;
            "I will never leave you nor forsake you."  Deuteronomy 31:6

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy
 has begotten us again to a living hope  through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
to an inheritance  incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, 
         reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation 
         ready to be revealed in the last time."    1 Peter 1:3-5

Do you know Him, friend? Is Jesus your Savior?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Giving in Jesus' Name


Isn't this what Jesus meant when He said,
                     "And the King will answer and say to them,
                             'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least
                              of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"      Matthew 25:40


Can you join with me in prayer for this inspiring family giving their all in the care of their sons affected by
Muscular Dystrophy . Please click the link, below, watch the video- you will be blessed!
I have met this family and was inspired by their faith  and hope in God, and His provisions for them- just trusting- trusting in His everlasting care and love.

www.gofundme.com/iz0s3w
                              
                                              "... His compassions fail not. 
                                              They are new every morning;
                                               Great is Your faithfulness.
                                               'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul,
                                                'Therefore I hope in Him!'"    Lamentations 3:22-24

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Year, A New Beginning Set Before Us

My  Sunday devotion time in the stillness of  an early hour found me contemplating my goal again for this new year- to have a deeper revelation of Christ Jesus in my life.

Grace gifts, yes, another year before us to run with endurance- that's what the Epistle to the Hebrews chapter 12 says;

                " ...Let us lay aside every weight , and the sin which so easily ensnares us,
                           and let us run with endurance  the race that is set before us,
                                looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
                                     who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross,
                                           despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the 
                                                  throne of God."   Hebrews 12:1-2

 I contemplated these verses, put them to memory, and thought about all the life weights I carry that truly do hinder my race of faith. Life gets hard, worries entangle, sleep eludes the night, anxieties encumber the day- so how can I run with endurance when so heavily laden? Do you feel it too?


Lay it all aside, and the sins that ensnare me daily? How?
There is only one way, this is what I desire for 2015; to have a deeper revelation of Jesus Christ in my life-

                                to run this lap of 2015 with strong endurance-
                                    looking unto Jesus, alone, to run with Him, to lean on Him,
                                         to finish this race of life with Him.

I have much to learn from these two verses of Hebrews, so I smiled when at church a few hours later; I read the Scripture verses being taught today at our new church and our new Bible study were from my morning study!
God meets my every need! As we begin a new week in the Lord, I pray we will all keep looking unto Jesus and lean hard on Him  as we run with endurance the race set before us.



Paperwhites to brighten January days

and fragrance reminding of

spring days ahead


 God bless you, friends,                                               Now Your Grace is ever with me,
Always remembered in prayer,                                     And I'll never be alone.
maureen





                                        

Friday, January 2, 2015

Reflecting On A Year Past, Looking On A Year Ahead

Happy New Year to each one of you for whom I am blessed to have visiting this blog.
We travel this journey called life together and share in each others joys, happiness, sorrows and pain because, my friends, I pray for you; most especially, my friends in the Czech Republic. God bless you and yours.
My deep gratitude for your following this blog, and I pray that some words will touch your heart to know of God's love for you. May this year ahead be filled with His abundant blessings!

And how was your New Year's Day? It has always been a favorite for me- a new beginning.
 "Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead."  Philippians 3:13
  I spent the day in quiet, total reflection and planning. That, of course, reminds me of a Proverb;

                                                  A man's heart plans his way,
                                                   But the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

This is exactly what I want the Lord to do- direct my steps, every step of 2015!
Each year, I choose a word for the year, a word that holds my passion for the year. Last year, the word was JOY.                                                         But let all those rejoice  who put their trust in You,
                                 
        Let them ever shout for joy, 
         because You defend them;
        Let those also who love Your  
         name be joyful in You.
                                            Psalm 5:11
This year of 2015, my word is JESUS  
"...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection..."
                                                      Philippians 3:10 
                                                                                                


I desire a new, deeper revelation of the glory of God in the midst of this world turmoil, anxiety, pain and heartache. I want to know Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection. I want a renewing of my heart by the power of the Holy Spirit within.
              I want more of Him, and less of me!
Oh, Father God, help me to keep myself out of the way of Your working in my life this year of conforming me to Your will and Your way, have total control over my life, as hard as that might be for me, "that I might gain Christ."  (Philippians 3:8)

How to know Christ?  As I tell my new believers at Global Media Outreach, the best way to know Christ is to study His Word, study His teachings, be His follower, cling to Him, have the mind of Christ as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2: 16;                 "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct
                                                   Him? But we have the mind of Christ."
Choose for yourself a plan to read through the Bible this year. The internet is a helpful source for many plans. I just chose one from www.discipleshipjournal.com  This plan gives two readings a day, and every 7th day a time to reflect.
Lord Jesus, help me to walk with You daily, to see and hear what You see and hear, to be conformed to You and not this world, to share Your love with all those You put in my life. Help me to use each moment, each breath You give to me, teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom, (Psalm 90:12), to bring glory to You, alone, being still in Your presence, so I may hear Your voice. Amen.

                  
                                                  





Now, one day into this new year, last year's daily journal put on the shelf, (I have 28!), new daily journal begun, Christmas tree decorations down, wrapped and put away except for my favorite Nativity set still gracing the table as a reminder of Christ's love,
I look forward to each grace moment from His Hand.
And what fun we had today- two daughters and two granddaughters gathered here to paint wedding reception table decorations. We did have one glitch though- misplaced paint bottles!
A search, high and low, through cabinets with wedding storage supplies could not locate them, so off to the store did Rachael go!!
There was a treasured find, though, to this story. My 9 year old granddaughter, while looking for the paints, found my grandmother's wedding ring which I have been wearing, but lost this past summer. I remember the day I lost it; I had been working in the house cleaning and also doing yard work, so when I discovered it was not on my finger, I was quite upset about it- searching everywhere to no avail, often retracing my steps in the yard looking closely on the ground for days afterwards.
Then, today, in the midst of our search for paint, Olivia finds my ring- in a storage cabinet on the floor!
 Thank You, Lord!  Always in His timing!




 small chalk boards used to number the reception tables for guests



tiny clothes pins to hold the guests names and their seating table number
Rachael uses Pinterest  for lots of her wedding ideas!
A Chinese luncheon completed our afternoon of fun. Many more planning days ahead for this May wedding, our family highlight of the year.
                                                " ...and looking forward to what lies ahead."  
                                                                                        Philippians 3:13

                      

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas Dawn

Christmas dawn, remembering the Christ Child, born in a stable, laid in a manger, visited by shepherds, praised by angels on high, adored by kings laden with gifts, embraced by followers today  as the Prince of Peace.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; 
        not as the world gives do I give to you.
Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
                                                John 14:27

May your Christmas,dear friends, be blessed by the One who holds eternal peace in His hands.
The One who died for you, that you may be free. The One who offers eternal life forever, for a surrendered life here. Do you know this One of whom I speak? He waits to hear from you today. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, I urge you, friend, to seek Him with all your heart.

Dear Lord Jesus,
I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose
from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life.
I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior.
In your Name, I pray. Amen

God bless and be with you, friends.
Merry Christmas,
Maureen  

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

5 Names of Jesus | GodLife, Advent Reflection

Now in the 4th week of our Advent Season; a time of reflection, a time of preparing  for the remembrance of our Lord's birth, a time to reflect  on God's greatest gift to mankind.

"Prepare the way for the Lord's coming !"  Matthew 3:3
 "For unto us a Child is born... and His name shall be called  
Wonderful,
       Counselor,
            The Mighty God,
                    The Everlasting Father,
                            The Prince of Peace."   Isaiah 9:6
            


 click here to learn of Jesus' saving love for you                          5 Names of Jesus | GodLife


This was my contemplation last week, the Week of Joy, lighting our 3rd Advent Candle; how do I prepare, how do I feel joy in the midst of such chaos, hurts, trials, hatred, killings, unforgiveness, shootings, tragedies, all whirling around our spinning world.



"This is true preparedness
of heart for coming to Christ,
the preparedness of coming to Him
just as you are."
   Charles Spurgeon 


 Yes, Father, just as I am. Please forgive me for my part in this world of chaos. Help me to remember
the joy of Christmas is not limited to Christ's birth, but is much, much more, entwined around the crown of thorns worn on His head, the triumph
                                                                                    over death,
                                                                                   His resurrection-
                                                                                   this alone gives meaning to His birth.

"Now there were in the same country, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over
their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you: You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.'" Luke 2:8-12
                                                                                

In the Word we read the shepherds did go to Bethlehem and saw the child in the manger as the angel had told them.

"Then the shepherds returned , glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.'
                                           Luke 2:20


Years later, Christ commanded all Christians to out into the world and share the Good News of His salvation.

I ask you, friend, "Is Christ your Savior and Lord?"

 He came, He died, He gave us the greatest gift of all- 
eternal life to those who seek Him with all their heart, 
ask forgiveness of their sins,
surrender this life for a life that will never end. 
This is His gift to you- you need only to give Him your heart.

 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Advent Week Two, The Bethlehem Candle

This second candle on our Advent wreath, is lit to remind us of the Father's love
in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, as the greatest gift to the world.


 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have 
eternal life. 
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn
the world, but in order that the world might be saved through
Him.    John 3:16-17



"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called 
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end..."  Isaiah 9: 6-7




"But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for Me
One who is to be Ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
from ancient days."  Micah 5:2






During this second week of Advent, let us be
a light of love to all we meet. In the rush and busyness
of these December days before Christmas, I pray that I may slow down, reflect upon God's gift of love, and share Christ's love in many ways to a dark and hurting world.


Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. "   Matthew 5: 14,16

I have been blessed in many ways this past week, but a few highlights are;
Joy of teaching ESL students and sharing an international meal with them as all the students and teachers gathered at the Chapel to celebrate Christmas.
Joy of taking photographs of a homeschooling family of eight for their Christmas pictures
Joy of weekly conversations via Skype with my dear Chinese friends
Joy of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who come to www.godlife.com Global Media Outreach
Joy of many hours singing  in preparation for our Christmas concerts this coming weekend.
Joy of decorating our family Christmas tree with our granddaughter.



Tuesday, December 2, 2014

An Advent Journey


Sunday began our Advent season, a time of reflection, anticipation, joy and hope;
               a time to prepare our hearts for Christmas Day; remembering our Savior's birth,
                              born among men, to live a sinless, perfect life,
                                 to die upon a cross, taking our sins upon Himself,
                                          that we, who call on the name of the Lord may have eternal life with Him.

                                                                     "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the 
 Son of God does not have life. I write these things to 
you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
                                                          1 John 5:12-13

 
"...looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him
endured the cross, despising the shame,
 and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."                                                Hebrews 12:1


"I have come that they may have life,
     and that they may have it more abundantly."
                                                          John 10:10



The Prophecy Candle, or the Hope Candle, is the first one lit and signifies the beginning of the Advent season. We lit this candle at our church service and at our home, as a reminder of the Biblical prophesies concerning our Savior's birth.

                                                                        "The people who walked in darkness
                                                                         Have seen a great light;
                                                                         Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death,
                                                                         Upon them a light has shined."
                                                                                                              Isaiah 9:2
"

         "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
           He was in the beginning with God.  
           All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.
           In Him was life and the life was the light of men.    
           And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
                                                                                                        John 1 :1-5                                                        


Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Cornucopia of Grace !

Thankful for Thanksgiving blessings!
 Lit candles glow on this Christmas
card designed by my artist mother-in-law, yet never finished, but put  in her art drawer, found, and now cherished by me, used to grace our table.



 Thanksgiving morning has dawned
with gentle, light falling snow upon a quiet, reflective morning.
As I continue with our Thanksgiving meal preparations, having begun yesterday, with hours of preparing casserole favorites, while listening to, and memorizing my soprano parts for our Christmas Program at our new church home;
I now reflect on His many gifts to me and our family.













Our "thankful tree" is filled with framed pictures of our children and grandchildren throughout the years, adding new ones each year.
Thank You, Lord, for the gift of family!

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy..
Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness,
And for His wonderful works to the children of men!
For He satisfies the longing soul,
And fills the hungry soul with goodness."
           Psalm 107:1-2, 8-9

Thanksgiving blessings to all!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wow! Winter Wonderland!

It was predicted and it happened!
There's  beauty here, I told myself,
so camera in hand, I ventured out,
captured very early AM peacefulness, and even went out on the roads for my
ESL teaching class.

Friends, let's be in prayer during these
very cold, winter days, for those traveling on the roads, for safety, and
God's protection.
Always carry blankets, water, emergency supplies when traveling during hazard driving conditions.
Praying for your safety, too.



"There are but two lessons for Christians 
to learn: the one is, to enjoy God in everything;
the other is, to enjoy everything in God."
            -Charles Simeon


"The question is not 
      what you look at
                 but what you see."
       Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Have You Started Your Christmas List Yet?

I started my list this past Thursday as I looked out at soft, white, whirling snow- our first of the season.
For me, nothing begins a festive, joyful season more than  giving gifts to His children,
to bring hope into their
little lives with a shoebox filled with love.

Our church, The Chapel in Marlboro, is hosting Samaritan's Purse Christmas  shoe boxes to be distributed
to children around the world in name of Jesus.
 Such fun to fill two boxes, for a boy and girl and enclosing a letter sharing Jesus' love for them!

www.samaritanspurse.org  There's still time to pack your own shoebox with collection centers listed on their website. Have fun bringing a smile to a special child!

picture from Samaritan's Purse


Next on my list are the names of our sponsored children through Compassion International.
I love celebrating our Savior's birth with gifts to His children; Esmeralda, Elizabeth, Ishimwe,  Iradukunda Grace and Fedeline.

Christmas is a perfect time to share the love of Jesus by sponsoring a child.
                                                         www.compassion.com



Next on our family list of gift giving is Compassion's Gift Catalog.
My husband likes to choose these gifts, giving his favorites:
Bibles for the children, water filtration system, and livestock.
www.compassion.com/catalog.htm



As cold weather sets in here, I was reminded of the Iraqi  refugees who had fled from the militants to seek protection, food, shelter in Northern Iraq. Now cold  temperatures in
                                       30's at night are difficult for the families in need of blankets, and warm clothing.
                                                      
                                       Samaritan's Purse has already started a Middle East Relief Effort with their
                                       Winter Coats for Iraq    www.samaritanspurse.org
You, too, can be a part of this project and send needed winter supplies to Iraq. We can all be the hands and feet of Jesus in a hurting world this Christmas.

He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord,
         And He will pay back what he has given.  Proverbs 19:17 

God bless you, friends, during this special Christmas season!