Each day is an opportunity.  Each day is a gift.  Each day is…

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“Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies.  Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:12-14

There once was a young girl, about 16, who longed to find true love.  She searched for it in the people she met, giving so much of herself away in hopes of receiving a small amount of love in return.  Yet, only pain, suffering, humiliation, shame and great loss ensued.

Years past.  Although her search never ceased, her heart was weary and became ever doubtful of finding her one true love.  Another series of losses, pain and suffering came.  Only this time she knew something had changed.  Something was unsettled in her heart. Calling a friend, who immediately came to her, she was prayed over in the name of Jesus.

A strange sensation fell upon her.  Was it true love?  Her friend asked if she’d wanted Jesus to be her Lord and Savior.  Again, another feeling.  Was it peace?  She said yes and asked for forgiveness of her many, many sins. Next she asked Jesus to be her personal Lord and Savior.

Then it happened. An explosion of emotion.  Her heart was filled to overflowing. She found her One true love.  Sins washed away by the blood of Christ, she was given new life.  She was a new creation in Christ.  Alive and in love with Jesus.

What this story reminds me of is hope.  When we look at each day as an opportunity, we allow the Lord to show us what it means to love others more than we love ourselves.  In Mark 12:30-31 we read,

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our mind and with all your strength.  The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

To love your neighbor as yourself means to begin to put others above you.  This friend did just that.  Leaving her own family and came to help her friend.  That story is mine.  I am the lost girl looking for true love.  My friend, Lanny, was my lifeline to Christ.  She loved me as she loved herself.  She loved me because Christ first loved her.  A precious gift indeed.

When I woke up this morning I was faced with, well, a rat problem.  Not something we generally view as an opportunity.  Yet, it in a weird way it has been.  It allowed me to stop and problem solve.  How can I rid our home of the rat while still allowing the other events of the day to still occur?  When I stopped and prayed, I was able to see an opportunity for my daughter to have extra time with her friend.  A slight change in plans, but better for her.  Getting rid of the rodent is of high importance.  However, with all of the challenges and changes we’ve been faced with as a family allowing fun and frivolity to happen is very important.  So, even with a rat roaming around our home I will say, “Praise be to the Lord, who has given rest to his people Israel just as he promised.  Not one word has failed of all the good promises he gave through his servant Moses.” (1 Kings 8:56 NIV) 

The rest for me was sitting in the middle of a crowded mall listening to classical music and writing.  My daughter was spending time with a good friend, while my younger daughter is at a junior high event with our church playing games, eating pizza and learning something about Jesus.  My husband was home enjoying, I pray, much needed quite time. Hoping our dogs were quiet.

So in this unusual place, with so much chaos going on around me I am delighting in it all.  I am reminded of Psalm 103:1-5;

“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” 

Of hope and joy life is reborn,

No earthly gift can change.

Pain and suffering are no more,

His death our lives were exchanged.

Be of good courage,

Praise the Lord dear soul.

Like a flower you’ll flourish,

In His garden you will stroll.

As you seek, you will find,

For He gently awaits your call.

In return is your peace of mind,

And a calming of the squall.

Be hopeful and joy-filled,

Love life and do good.

And your heart will be fulfilled,

In Christ forever understood.

I pray that each of you knows the beauty that comes from the storms in life.  That you can, in the midst of your storm, bless the Lord for His faithfulness; that you remember God’s unfailing love and forgiveness.  I pray that you trust in the Lord with all of your hearts.  To know Jesus is to know freedom.

May God bless you and keep you.

Debra J.

for i know the plans

 

 

Parables and Flags

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Photo credit: Debra Scowden 2015

 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.”  Matthew 13: 10-11

     Recently we took a family trip to central Oregon.  Loaded our RV along with two of our daughters friends.  We spent a beautiful weekend at an RV resort, equipped with several swimming pools heated from a hot spring.  The days were warm and each of us were kissed by the warm sun.  A much needed get-a-way for all of us.

     On the 3rd day of our four day escape the weather cooled off drastically.  So we decided to head to a town about an hour away.  Browse some shops, have some lunch with friends, and take in some of the local color.  That is where the flags in the photo come from.  The wind was blowing pretty hard as I steadied myself to take some shots.  It wasn’t until after we returned to the RV that I looked through the photos.  This particular photo caught my eye because I likened it to Jesus’ use of parables.

     I am sure you are wondering how, aren’t you?  Well, let me tell you.

First, do you see the clouds in the sky?  We all know that behind them is a blue sky.  Yet, in reading scripture some of us only see the clouds.  The words, at times, don’t make sense to us.  We assume that they aren’t meant for us, but for the theologians and Bible scholars and pastors.  Oh friend, they are not.  God’s words are for you and me.  He speaks to us, in the quietness of our hearts, loving us and leading us to Him.  He wants us to have more, to have an abundance of Him.

“Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.” (Matthew 13:12)

Second, we see the flags of orange and blue.  Could it be that God’s words are meant to get our attention?  That He who made you and me in His image, wants to flag you down?  Yes, He most certainly does, my friend.  So, let us open our eyes and ears to His words, that He is gently speaking to us.

“But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.  For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”  Matt 13:16-17

I pray that each of us would see beyond the clouds, that we would open our minds and ears to His flagging us down with His words.  May God bless each of you.

Thank you for being a part of my blogging journey.

Serving Him,
Debra

PARABLES AND FLAGS

Debra Scowden Copyright 2015

Each day, each week, month and year,
Hearts grows stronger, Lord Jesus is near.
Though there’s much sorrow and great pain,
In His loving arms we are always sustained.

The journey we’re on, the end is clear,
For those who know that Jesus will appear,
And take us home-so beautiful,
To heaven with Him, faith unmovable.

His seeds are scattered over the earth,
In soil as varied as each persons birth.
The choice is yours-will your life bear fruit?
I pray in Jesus’ name it will take root.

Jesus is the way you see, the truth and the life,
With Him, through Him, no need for strife.
We are His treasure, a pearl of great worth,
And He gave His all for our sweet rebirth.

Cultivate this seed, treasure His word in your heart.
Let no one or no thing tear this gift apart,
From the truth of His unfailing love for you,
Dear friend Jesus died on a cross to make you anew.

So be like good soil, letting His word grow,
Clearing away the weeds, let water flow.
Soon you will know without any doubt
For the seeds will bear fruit, it’s what Jesus is about.