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Forget the Former Things

Baby Crawling

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)

Endings. Happy times or sad?

The end of one thing is always the beginning of another. When anything ends, we tend to believe it’s the end, when truly it is THE beginning. Think back over some of your “endings”. Here’s some examples:

  • The end of crawling was the beginning of walking.
  • The end of babble was the beginning of talking.
  • The end of pablum was the beginning of solid food.
  • The end of your tricycle was the beginning of your bicycle.
  • The end of picture books was the beginning of word books.
  • The end of elementary school was the beginning of junior high school, and the end of that was the beginning of high school.

Grieving over the past

We tend to grieve over endings and actually they can be a good things. What mother hasn’t cried a tear or two over each and every one of those endings with her child? The grieving of the loss can then turn into the embrace of the new beginning. To say goodbye to one thing is to say hello to something else. ALWAYS.

As we mature in years, and the endings become more consequential, we have TWO choices: to be bitter OR to be better through these changes in life.

It is a choice

There’s always a choice how we will react. Better or bitter is a choice between grumbling or gratitude. It is realizing we are not the Master of our fate, but our God is the Master of our fate. Loss is gain when left in the Father’s hands. When faced bravely and with our eyes on Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in Heaven.”

Abundant Grace

God’s sovereignty provides abundant grace to endure even trials and sufferings, even like Job’s famous,
“Though He slay me, Yet will I trust Him.” (Job 13:15)

Corrie ten Boom

She was a women who endured unbelievable suffering in a Nazi prison camp. We could call her an expert on looking for God in the midst of all things. She is known for this statement: “No pit is so deep that He is not deeper still.” Amen! God is in the circumstances. He is in the details. We can trust Him. When we trust Him, we will find He is worthy of that trust. Worthy of our love. Worthy of our gratitude. And HE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH in all things. ALWAYS. All Day. Every Day. No matter what! For those who have put their trust in Him, the end of life on earth is THE beginning! Heaven awaits!

What about you?

Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior? To be your Lord? Are you living for Him? Where will you spend eternity? Let’s talk…

Until next time…

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
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Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


A Willing Heart

A Willing Heart

Mary, Mother of Jesus

“We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”

–1 Thessalonians 2:4

Mary’s life never robbed Jesus of His glory.

Her mission was to witness the Glory of the Son of God. She was a woman of courage and character. A poor girl in an insignificant town, from a humble family with little expectation her life would be different than most. Then, angel Gabriel came to Mary. (see Luke 1:38)

Why did God choose Mary?

I’ve been studying the Scriptures about Mary the last few days. And with my knowledge of the Leading From Your Strengths characteristic & personality strengths, I think I know WHY God deliberately chose this Golden Retriever type of personality, because of the particular situations she would need to endure in her adventure as the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Seeking approval

Mary sought approval from the One that matters most. Seeking God’s approval means turning FROM the desire for the applause of others. She went against social and cultural norms. She trusted God would not let her down. As she yielded to the purposes of God in and through her, she was able to anticipate the approval of the One who matters most without fear of public outcry or condemnation.

Mary surrendered to God’s plan

She was able through the power of the Spirit, by CHOOSING to be willing to lose all that defined her,  in order to become who God had CHOSEN her to be. He wants that for all of us.

What can we learn from Mary?

I’m not a scholar, and I’m not Jewish, but, I believe that when Mary, an innocent VIRGIN, courageously told Joseph, her beloved betrothed love of her life, that she was pregnant,  she knew that he KNEW it was not HIS baby she was carrying. The penalty for adulterous betrayal was death by stoning. BOTH their lives actually were in peril in that culture.

She gave her life & reputation to God

When angel Gabriel gave Mary God’s message, Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said” (See Luke 1).  She had responded with a willing heart, ready to do whatever the Lord asked of her. Praise God for her response, which played a part in the blessing you and I have in Jesus.” (Anchor Devo December 2019)

The angel called her highly favored

He said to her, “Do not be afraid.” Angels aren’t sweet & pretty with flowing robes that flutter into your life to bless you. Rather, they are fierce looking warriors. Why else would their first words (whenever they appear to people) are some variation of FEAR NOT.

So you might think Mary was different than you or me

You might think you could never do what she did, yet I’m pretty certain that you would obey whatever an angel told you YOU to do, too. Her first response was a question, asking how it could be that she would bear the Christ Child, since she was a virgin. (Luke 1:34) And she most certainly had intended to stay that way before her marriage with Joseph. He also told her that her barren Aunt Elizabeth was now “with child”. Her next response was one of surrender and trust.  With a willing heart, accepting the consequences. “I am your servant. May it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) The angel left her.

Aunt Elizabeth is 6 months along

Mary went to see her aunt Elizabeth. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb. And Elizabeth gave Mary an important affirmation. Any Golden Retriever personality’s indecision or concern would have melted away when Elizabeth said, “Why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me.” (Luke 1:43) Mary stayed 3 months, until John was about to be born. Golden Retrievers are people people. They are loyal. They are “let’s do this together” people.

Fear

Goldens greatest fear is loss of security and they don’t like change. From others, they want sincere appreciation and harmony. When stressed, Goldens can be indecisive and unenthusiastic, so you can see why God gave her so many clear affirmations. God knew she would need them in all the future trials and testings she would endure.

So, as each affirmation came,

“Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

  • The Angel Gabriel’s visitation to Mary to tell her of God’s plan and to tell her not to fear
  • The Angel also spoke to Joseph to tell him that Mary was still a virgin and that he also was chosen to marry Mary and to care for her and Jesus
  • The Shepherds in the stable immediately after His birth
  • Both Simeon and Anna affirmed who He was, when Jesus was taken to the temple for his purification
  • The Wise Men when he was a bit older and in the house with his parents

Courage

She had been told that she was the woman with whom God entrusted His Son. Her heart had responded with praise and joyous song (see the Magnificat in Luke 2).

As we think about her courage, let’s think about the the time she rebuked her 12 year old son (JESUS) for staying behind in the temple. Think about the wedding in Cana where adult JESUS did his first (and non-public) miracle. She had courageously pressed Him to make water into wine. Think of the time that Mary took her other children to try to get JESUS to come home because there was so much demand on Him. She was concerned about him. Because she truly cared about the people in her sphere of influence. Let’s look at some general Golden Retriever characteristics and see if they fit Mary’s personality characteristics based on what we know from Scripture about this amazing woman:

  • Patient & Willing
  • Caring & Thoughtful
  • Steadiness
  • People person
  • Let’s do this together
  • Loyal & Nurturing
  • Tolerant
  • Slower Starting
  • Quiet & Reserved
  • Other-centered

Golden Retriever personality types deal in the PRESENT.

Their focus is on what is happening right now in front of them. You can definitely see that in Mary. When someone is hurting and needing a friend, or water made into wine at a wedding, the Golden Retriever is joyfully there! They have a caring heart and listen carefully and attentively to others (including angels 🙂 ). They are always loyal and faithful to friends and family. However, if there is tension, they want to withdraw.

Mary’s willing heart

Mary was a person of discipleship, with a willing heart, and great faith. The first true follower of Jesus. Her calling was great joy in motherhood, but required tremendous suffering. The worst was watching her son on the Cross in such unspeakable agony–knowing He had come to do just that. For you. For me. And for Mary. She knew how costly her submission would be, yet she CHOSE to SUBMIT to GOD’S plan. For that, we can ALL be grateful!

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


CHRISTMAS: BELIEVE and RECEIVE

Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Lying in a Manger
Holidays can be delightful or they can be the worst time ever. They can be lonely or overwhelmingly busy. They can be a time of illness or health.

All of that is true, but mostly, Christmas being “good” rather than “bad” in your experience, depends on your relationship with the One we are celebrating. His birth (Christmas), life, death on the cross, resurrection and ascension back to Heaven.

AND the best part of it all, is that He is coming again for YOU. For Me. IF you have believed and received the Gift of Salvations He offers. There is ONLY ONE WAY to the Savior. ONE WAY to Heaven. ONE WAY to salvation. JESUS is that ONE WAY. He offers you salvation through believing and receiving that He is the One way for you to be His Child. Without Easter, Christmas doesn’t make any sense.

  • Receive the GIFT offered
  • Receive the GIFT of salvation
  • Receive the GIFT of eternal life

ACCEPT that the price has already been paid

  • Receive the GIFT that cannot be earned
  • Receive the GIFT that has already been paid for
  • Receive the GIFT that YOU cannot earn

ACCEPT that you cannot earn it
TRUST that it is finished
BELIEVE that nothing more is required

Believe that the work of Jesus sacrificed on the Cross made a way where there was no other way.  It is because Adam and Eve did not trust God but believed satan instead. That is why Jesus BECAME the sacrificial Lamb to make atonement for sin.

The work is done. PLEASE believe and receive the GIFT of eternal life that is offered to you. Don’t delay. This is serious! You never know what a day can bring.

To summarize:

  • Believe
  • Receive
  • Embrace the GIFT
  • Rest in Him
  • Walk out of the penalty of the shadow of death into His glorious light
  • Live like you believe you have been saved, and are saved for eternity
  • Each day, let your heart’s attitude be one of gratitude to the Lord for ALL His benefits

Live at peace with great joy. It is finished. You are His and He is yours. Forever and ever. Amen.

Please share…

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com


We Are All Hansels and Gretels. We Leave Behind a Trail

Hansel and Gretel Stamp

Funny story

Once upon a time, at the apartment building where I live, there was a strawberry salad thief. A resident was planning a party. She had stored the food in the refrigerator of the Commons area kitchen. Thinking it safe, she went to her apartment and to bed, looking forward to the next day’s celebrations. Only to discover the next morning that her strawberry salad was missing.

It was quickly discovered that there was a RED trail from the kitchen, down the hall, and up the stairs, right to the door of the thief. There was no doubt what had happened. It is funny to think back on, but at the time, it was upsetting to my friend who was planning a party.

The story of Hansel and Gretel

Remember in that story there was a trail of white stones that caught the moonlight and led the children back home. (We won’t discuss their home life in this article. YIKES!!!)

AND, the second time they were left in the woods to die, there was a trail of bread that was eaten by hungry birds. Eventually, they got home again, but it was a much harder journey.

What kind of trail am I leaving?

A story in a devotional book is actually what started me down this path: “Earlier this year, the owners of a restaurant called Build-A-Burger in New York State called the sheriff’s office to report their cash register was missing. Deputies checked a nearby hiking trail and found a steady trail of macaroni salad. Hansel and Gretel didn’t leave a better trail; and within a short time, a gang of three men was captured and charged with theft. It seems that along with the register, the men had also swiped a large bowl of macaroni salad.” — Turning point devotional for Thursday, Sept 17.

Scripture reference

“Be sure your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23) Hmmmmm…Even when we think we are pulling off the “perfect crime”! 😉

Isn’t that amazing?

What got them caught was their lust of the flesh. They were apparently hungry, careless and sloppy (leaving a trail of macaroni)!

Challenge question

Years ago, a group of us were asked the challenge question: How will you live your life? What would you like your tombstone to say?

I decided right then that I would want it to say: SHE CARED!!! Of course I too often fall short in my selfish humanness, but it is ever in the back of my mind, driving my behavior and attitudes.

Another Scripture verse

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 6:11-13 “We have spoken freely to you…and opened wide our hearts to you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange…open wide your hearts also.”

It is a fearful thing to open our hearts to others.

To trust. Opening our hearts to others can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. The people at Fort Street Christian Church in Omaha Nebraska opened wide their hearts to me about 40 years ago now. They were patient and kind. Gentle. And they loved Jesus above all else. Their “trail” was one that led me to the foot of the cross.

And in this month of greater focus on Gratitude and Thanksgiving, I am thanking them for that trail! They showed me the way HOME!!! To my REAL HOME!!! To JESUS!!!

What do you see as you look at YOUR life?

Isn’t it great that you can actually CHOOSE what kind of trail you leave behind! AND…it is true that…

It is never ever too late to tweak the trail of your life. I can help with that…

God bless you bunches!

Until Next Time,

Let's Connect!
Awaiting His shout,
pam_signature-c49a6c

Christian Life Coach
Leading from Your Strengths Mentor
www.loavesandfishescoaching.com