The two gray squirrels chased each other up and down the pine tree, then stopped abruptly. Facing downward, they remained attached to the tree trunk, their eyes darting about; fluffy tails twitching.
I watched in amusement as the furry friends carried on with their silly antics for another five minutes. Then, the one who had initiated the chase stopped in it's tracks and began digging beneath the pine-needle covered soil. Retrieving an acorn, it sat on its hind legs, cradled the acorn in its paws and nibbled until its cheeks puffed out like a balloon. Likewise, the other squirrel searched for and found a treasured source of food.
The simplicity of watching the squirrels was a needed diversion from my usual routine. Still smiling, I return to my work desk refreshed—and grateful—for the little things in my life.
We may not always have squirrels lurking about, but when we take notice, we see that we are surrounded by God's creation every day.
As you gather with those who are special to you on this holiday, may your heart be filled with the joy of provision. Thanks be to the Lord for all He has provided for you—including the little things. Happy Thanksgiving!
“Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done. Sing to him, sing praise to him, tell of all his wonderful acts. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice, look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” – 1 Chronicles 16:8-11
“For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything moves in the field is Mine.” – Ps. 50:10-11
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
While sorting through folders on my desk as I thought about what to write, I came across an alphabetical list of words I put together months ago, describing who Jesus is to me. I hadn't posted it, so thought I'd share it with you today. As you read through the list, you might think of additional words to describe who Jesus is to you? (Feel free to share your thoughts on my Contact page).
The list follows:
A Absolute, Able, (The) Answer, Almighty, Abundant, Accepting, Anointed, Alpha & Omega, Advocate, Alive, Apostle ("sent one"), Atonement, Advent, Agape, Author of Salvation, All-Knowing, Ancient of Days, Agnus Dei, Authority, Awesome, Ascended to Heaven on the third day.
B Bridegroom, Beautiful, Believing, Beheld, Beloved, Bold, Bread of Life,
Branch, Blessed, Bearer, Brother, Brethren, Banner, Balm, Bearer of sin,
Born of a virgin, Benevolent, Bountiful
C Christ, Counselor, Cross-bearer, Comforter, Courteous, Consoling, Courageous, Caring, Caretaker, Communicator, Crucified, Confidant, Carpenter, Cleansing, Compassionate, Confiding, Considerate, Changeless, Crown of Glory, Chosen
D Desire of all Nations, Destiny, Defender, Dayspring, Died for us, Deliverer, Door of the Sheep, Dwelling place, Divine, Discipleship
E Engaging, Eternal, Everlasting, Emmanuel, Eminent, Extraordinary, Esteemed, Evangelist, Elect, Excellent
F Fearless, Favored, Faithful, Forgiving, Foretold, Future, Friend, Freeing,
Fountain of living waters, Fortress, First and last, Foundation
G God’s Son, Glad, Glorious, Glorified, Good, Good Shepherd, Great, Generous, Gracious, Genuine, Governor, Gift, Guide, Guardian, Gatekeeper
H Humble, Healer, Helper, Humane, Humanitarian, High priest, Holy, Honorable, Honored, Horn of salvation, Heir of all things, Hallowed, Hiding place, Heavenly host, High tower.
I Immanuel, Ideal, Instructor, Infallible, Inspiring, Insightful, Immaculate, Innocent, Intercessor, Immortal, Incarnate
J Jesus, Jehovah Girah, Joy, Jubilation, Judge
K King of Kings, Kingdom, Kindred, Kindness, King of the Jews, Keeper
L Lamb of God, Lord of all, Light, Love, Loving, Life-giving, Living, Living water, Listener, Lion of the tribe of Judah
M Magnificent, Messenger, Master, Mediator, Messiah, Morning star, Majesty, Man of sorrows
N Near, Nazarene
O Overcomer, Omnipotent, Omnipresent
P Pacifist, Patient, Present, Persevering, Perceiver, Prince of peace, Powerful, (Our) Promise, Pure, Peaceful, Paschal Lamb, Preacher, Physician, Prophet, Provider, Passionate, Powerful, Perfect, Praised
Q Qualified, Quick to understand
R Radiant, Radical, Rabbi, Redeeming, Righteous, Revelation, Rock, Relentless, Resilient, Real, Resurrected, Revelator, Root of David, Ransom for many, Refiner, Refuge, Reward, Revered, Rose from the dead.
S Strong, Sweet, Savior, Salvation, Sacrificed, Slain, Son of Man, Son of God, Spirit, Sinless, See-er, Sword-bearer, Shepherd, Sharing, Sought, Sanctified, Sincere, Spotless, Shield, Shelter, Song, Strong tower, Steadfast, Sun of Righteousness, Servant
T (Of the) Trinity, Truth, Teacher, Trusting, True vine, True light, Treasure, Triumphant, Transfigured
U Upright, Unequaled, Unparalleled
V Valiant, Victorious, Valued, Virtuous, Virgin birth, Very present help in trouble, (The) Vine
W Worthy, Wonderful, Welcoming, Warrior, Witness, Word, (The) Way, Well of living water, Wise
X Of the Cross
Y Yielding, Yahweh
May your week be blessed and may you fully know how much you are valued and loved by the One who gave His life for you.
Photo courtesy of Syed Raza, Vecteezy.com
Did you get out to walk today? If you are fortunate enough to be mobile, you likely made foot (or shoe) contact with the earth. Maybe it was just a short distance across a sidewalk or parking lot on your way to work or school? Or perhaps you traveled over a dirt path or gravel or rocks.
If you had the pleasure of going on a walk or hike, you might have traversed over hills, a mountain, through a valley, plains, desert, or by lakes or streams.
But on days when we're busy, do we give much thought to where we go? Think about where you walked today. Do you know what was beneath the sidewalk or asphalt before the land was filled with houses, buildings, or streets? Might the land you stepped on been a pastureland, wheat or cotton fields, an orchard, a garden or farm? Or a forest, meadow, or wildlife sanctuary?
When the day is done, do you peek into the night sky to see the moon? And this time of year, do you look for the immense “Harvest Moon” as it lights up the ground around you? Such a glorious sight it is!
Sometimes we forget to immerse ourselves in nature, even that of our own backyards or city parks. Often, we get so busy looking for "things" to inspire us, that we forget to seek moments of inspiration through God's creation.
Where have you walked in God's land of creation today? The gift of His harvest is all around you. Go and seek, for the earth He created lies beneath your feet.
“If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” – Leviticus 26:3-4
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:18
“While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” – Genesis 8:22
“The earth has yielded its produce; God, our God, blesses us.” – Psalm 67:6
“Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, And our land will yield its produce.” – Psalm 85:2
“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters.” – Proverbs 25:13
“And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” – James 3:18
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
When I was a child, we lived on a quiet street on the outskirts of a Virginia town. One warm summer night, my father motioned for me to come to the backyard. I was already in my pajamas—the kind with the “feet” in them (remember those?).
I followed my father onto the grass and sat in his lap. “Look at the stars!” he murmured. I leaned onto his shoulder and looked up. I’d seen the stars before—this was different. The sky looked like crushed black velvet with a ribbon of Milky Way, brightened by so many stars I knew I’d never be able to count them. I was only five, but the memory of that night made an impression on my heart that remained.
Later, as a teenager, my friends and I became enamored with different kinds of “stars.” A friend opened her “heartthrob” magazine to the centerfold, blushing at the photo of her latest Hollywood crush. Some of those “stars” gained my attention, too.
As teens, we were distracted by worldly enticements. But adults can be distracted by worldly things, too. Maybe it’s not the latest celebrity. Instead, perhaps it's being enticed by the latest technology or swayed by attention-getting online marketing or social media advertisements. Nothing is wrong with “things”—if they don’t become our primary focus. But sometimes the influence of the world draws us away from God and His creation.
All this summer, I waited for an opportunity to see the stars in the mountains. Finally, that night arrived—reminiscent of long ago when I sat with my father in the backyard, mesmerized by the expansive starry sky.
Not every night presents an opportunity to see stars, but wherever you live, you can take in the wonder of God’s creation. Sometimes, that special place is in your own backyard.
Go to that quiet place. Breathe. Calm your mind. Rest your soul. Bask in the beauty surrounding you—for God created you to be part of it.
“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night; the stars also.” - Genesis 1:16
“Thus says the Lord, who gives the sun for light by day and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name.” – Jeremiah 31:35
“The Lord your God has multiplied you, and behold, you are this day like the stars of heaven in number.” – Deuteronomy 1:10
“He counts the number of the stars; He gives names to all of them.” – Psalm 147:4
"But I will give many descendants to my servant David and to the family group of Levi who serve me in the Temple. They will be as many as the stars in the sky that no one can count. They will be as many as the grains of sand on the seashore that no one can measure." - Jeremiah 33:22
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
Driving through town, I saw a bank billboard advertising a gift voucher for its customers. For the customer to receive the free gift, they were given “redemption instructions.” They would need to follow certain steps, such as (1) pulling up a voucher on a mobile app, (2) calling to register, (3) and presenting the voucher. But, the recipient must hurry, as the offer was only good for a specific amount of time. And hopefully, the gift they received would be something of value.
In the secular world, redemption refers to items we exchange through goods or money. Religiously speaking—from the standpoint of the Christian faith—redemption for us means deliverance—from sin through Christ’s death and resurrection.
“Redemption Instructions” for faith are simply stated, and might best be summed up in the Bible verse from John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – NIV 2011
If you are unfamiliar with God's plan for redemption, it is easy to access. With a sincere heart, profess the words of John 3:16, which is the crux of Christianity.
As Christians, we believe that Christ gave his life to atone for the sins of all, including you and me. Jesus, our Savior, has rescued us from sin and assured us of eternal life in Heaven when our time on earth is done.
To profess the words of John 3:16 is the easy part, but as many Christians know, living in a secular world is not easy, but God's promises are true.
And one thing is certain: the benefits of God's redemption plan is “out of this world!”
His gift for us never expires—and its value is everlasting.
“This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” - Romans 3:22-24
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.” – 1 Eph. 7-8
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” – 1 Colossians 13-14
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
Bible verses from NIV 2011
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.