Wisdom for 2016 and Beyond!

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God has announced my word for 2016. Wisdom. Last year (2015), God put some people with problems in my life. As the elder of all of these matches, at times, I was expected to come up with, and share some hard earned wisdom. Ugh. How to answer why everything in your life is horrible? What to say to someone who does not seem to make one good decision? And how to explain to a new believer that some Christians are absolutely horrible to other people? All of this is so far out of my comfort zone. I just want to sit at my table and paint or string beads.

Anyway, at this point in my life, I probably should pack on some wisdom. And recently, I found that (hallelujah!) I maybe, possibly have gained some along the way. I guess it is time.

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I am looking forward to where God takes me and what He teaches me.

Last year, I journaled all kinds of trees for my word “thrive.” This year? Owls!

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Print and color if it speaks to you. Print on watercolor paper if you want to use watercolor pencils like I did. Enjoy!

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding (very wise!), Proverbs 3:5-6

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Thrive?

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The first week of 2015, I started using this journal drawing to sign off my blog posts. “Thrive” was my word of the year.

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I also added this to my bible, at the same verses: Jeremiah 17: 7-8.

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The first week of 2015, God gave me Jeremiah 17: 7-8. That scripture told me “blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water that will not be anxious in a year of drought.” For me, not having a job almost all year, was a seriously potential drought situation. I drew trees all year in my journal to keep that promise locked in my mind. Turns out, He was faithful to those words in many many ways.

I thought God gave me the word because in January 2015, I was barely surviving the job I had. Turns out, I lost that job in the spring and have been without one the rest of the year. God gave me that word to teach me to thrive in a situation that normally would have been hard to merely survive.

In 2015, I did more than survive, I was able to thrive.

Now, to keep what I have learned throughout 2015 as I head into 2016 and a new word on which to focus. Stay tuned….

Are you reflecting on a 2015 word? I would love to hear about it!

Trust in Him when you are afraid, Psalm 56:3.

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The Light of the World

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In this season, we are celebrating the birth of the Light of the World. This morning, Pastor Dave spoke to us about what it means to be in the Light and remain in the Light. If you look it up, there are many verses about Light, the Light of the World, the Light of Life, the Children of Light…. It would be a great topic on which to do a study, or to make it your word of the year.

But for today, Light in this verse means “the illuminator of men”. Jesus. The Light of the World.

In this section of James 8, Jesus is speaking to the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, during the Festival of Shelters. During this festival, huge lamps were placed in the courtyard in the Temple. They were lit to remind the people of the pillars of fire that led them out of the wilderness. In James 8:12, Jesus is declaring Himself to be God.

As the Light (God), Jesus shows us the truth, gives us understanding of Him and His word, helps us to see His will and shows us how to follow it. But, there is one big thing about being able to see light. You must have eyes to see it. There is no light if a person cannot or will not see it.

So, together this Christmas season, let’s practice seeing the Light….looking toward Him, reading His word, following His teaching, asking for His will to be revealed. Let’s try not to get caught up in  the craziness of parking space rage, overspending and overeating, making there perfect cookies and all of the stuff that creeps into Christmas, but let’s see Him. If we can do it this week, we can do it any week!

Follow Him (John 8:12),

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Delight Yourself in the Lord

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For many years, I have been telling the Lord the desires of my heart. Yeah, I know He knows, but James 4:3 says I have to ask if I am going to get what I want.

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. James 4:3

Then this week, God directed me to this verse in Psalm 37:

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It is a comforting, hopeful, even exciting verse, isn’t it? And I realized, I have been waiting for God to grant me my desires, but I forgot about the first part of the verse. Have I been delighting myself in the Lord? And what in the world does that even mean?

So, yesterday, I spent 3 1/2 miles walking and talking to God about just that. How can I delight myself in the Lord?

  • Find the good parts of everything. Even in a day or a project that is frustrating or failing, I can find good parts, and be thankful for what I am learning, and the time I spent with God asking for His help.
  • Be in the word. I know it sounds like the Sunday School answer for all questions for believers. But, haven’t you been in study and read scripture that makes your heart flutter? Even if you have read it a hundred times before, TODAY, it brings you unexplainable joy? And it is so good that you have to call your friend to talk about it, and put it on your Facebook page? DELIGHT!
  • And sometimes when you are singing a song of praise to God, doesn’t it choke you up and bring tears to your eyes that God Almighty chose you to be His very own child?
  • The easiest way for me to find delight in the Lord is to go outside. I am a visual person (as you know from this blog), and I can walk for miles marveling about how many colors of green God has given us… how each season has it’s own beauty…. how the leaves on the wind make patterns in the sky? If I pay attention, I can do that all day. It is pretty awesome when I pay attention.

And then I did a word study on the word “Delight”, from the original Hebrew. I had to look it up twice because it did not make sense. But as I thought more about it, the better it got. In this verse, it means to be soft and pliable. Is it possible for me to delight in anything when I let the frustration crank me up? Or when I am not ready and open to hear the hope in God’s word or heartfelt praise in a song? This verse is saying be soft and pliable in the Lord, and He will give me the delights of my heart.

Think about that.

Meanwhile, to help keep it fresh in your mind, I am giving you a coloring page. Click on it. Print it out, any size you want.

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Here is what I did with mine. I printed on regular white copy paper and colored it with colored pencils. Add any patterns to the flowers and leaves that you want. Color it any way you wish. Click on my pic to make it large enough to see the details….just for ideas.

Then I tore the edges on a piece of watercolor paper, and did this watercolor background technique with watercolor pencils. I attached  the white paper (using double sided tape) to the background, and….

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…hung it on my bathroom wall. I will see it many times a day and it will remind me to be pliable in the Lord.

I would love to know how you delight yourself in the Lord, or how you are planning to delight yourself in the Lord. Please share your great ideas in the comments. And thank you!

…”burst out in songs of thanksgiving.” Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

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Being Pruned

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This geranium is on my daily walking path. In the early summer, it was blooming like crazy, lush and in gorgeous color. It is sitting by the fence and it has not been taken care of. At all. It never gets watered unless it rains, and it has never been pruned. Gardeners know that pruning off the dead blossoms allows the plant to make new blossoms. When I walk by each day, it makes me sad. And I wonder if the owner would care if I deadheaded the blossoms when I walk by.

Even though it is sad that it can’t bloom well, it reminds me every day that My Father, the Vinedresser, prunes things from my life in order for new and beautiful things to blossom. I cannot be sad about that. Why would I want to hang on to things that are done?

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As a reminder of why it is good to have things in our lives pruned, I offer you a drawing of a geranium in bloom. I have been reading lately about how adult coloring books are the thing. Publishers cannot keep them in stock. Doesn’t it sound relaxing to sit and color while watching TV, or while waiting for your Dr. appointment? They say that coloring can take care of your stress and anxiety. Check them out on Amazon. They have a pretty decent collection.

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Print out the geraniums. Grab your crayons or colored pencils, or print it on watercolor paper, and use your watercolor pencils to color it in. No stress, just chillin’. I painted mine with watercolor cakes. It was fun.

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Burst out in songs of thanksgiving, Psalm 28:7 (NLT)

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Joy and Strength

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I like Nehemiah. I like his book, it’s maybe my favorite. Every time I read through it, I find something encouraging. Reading through Chapter 8 today, I was encouraged about a topic that has been a tough one for me the last couple of years: corporate worship.

In Chapter 8, the people of Jerusalem are coming off a tough year. They rebuilt the destroyed walls of their city in 52 days…every one of them worked nearly non stop…the politicians, the priests, the skilled artisans, even girls pitched in. They did not have backhoes or cranes, they did it by hand. Their lives were threatened during it. They had to work and stand guard with swords at the same time. It was physically hard and mentally exhausting.

But they are done in chapter 8, and this is a day set aside for God. Ezra came to preach. Everyone able to understand, showed up. When Ezra opened the book to read, they all stood up. They stood up out of respect for God and His word, and out of respect for Ezra. They stood up because in that day, servants stood before their masters to receive instruction. By standing, they were ready to move out immediately to begin what they were charged to do.

Ezra read from daybreak to noon. Remember, they were all standing. He brought priests to explain to the crowd what he was reading, while he was reading it.

The people began to weep…not because Ezra was going over the scheduled hour and 15 minutes, and dinner was in the oven at home. They wept because their hearts were tender and they understood how they had broken God’s laws and grieved Him. I understand this feeling of not being able to be the Kim that God has made me to be, not being able to follow all of God’s commands, and grieving the Holy Spirit in the process. It is easy to mourn my guilt.

But Nehemiah stepped in. He reminded them it was a day set aside for God, a sabbath, holy day set aside for celebrating with joy and praise for all God had done for them. Nehemiah and Ezra told them to get rid of their heavy heartedness and to testify to the joy they have in God.

They ate and drank and shared what they had with people who had none, so those people could have joy too. They remembered the joy of being favored by God and living in His grace. They remembered first hand what it means to be God’s chosen, to be provisioned and protected by God Almighty. Nehemiah and Ezra helped them to shake off the funk, forget about their shortcomings for the day, and praise God with joy.

Nehemiah teaches us an important thing in chapter 8. We have joy in being God’s chosen. Expressing that joy corporately, magnifies it. It is good for us, and on the day we set aside for God each week, we should praise God with joy and celebration. Praising God with joy gives us hope, makes us remember what it means to belong to our God, brings to mind how He blesses us. It pushes away they guilt and remorse, and makes our connection to Him stronger.

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The joy of the Lord is our strength!

I invite you to print out the piece from verse 10 up at the top. Size it and print it on white card stock. If you want it heavier, print it on 90 lb. watercolor paper, or print it on card stock and glue it to watercolor paper or poster board. Get creative if you want to add a background or a ribbon. Use it as a bookmark, pin it to your bulletin board. Shrink it and make it into a pin to wear. Go for it. And when you feel guilt for not praying enough (or whatever triggers your “I’m not worthy!” complex), get it out and remember that you have amazing joy in just being chosen and belonging to the One True God. I’ll bet it will trigger the remembrance of tons of blessings.

Let Him fill your heart with joy (Psalm 28:7),

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