Saturday, January 18, 2020

Take my Fear

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Remember being afraid of the dark?

The monster under the bed?

Reading out loud in class?

Anxiety, fear's best friend, has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I counted how many paragraph's my classmates had to read before my turn, then practiced the words in my head. All while I wrung my hands in worry. At night, I'd pull my arms and legs in tight, so the monster under the bed couldn't grab a dangling limb. If I was caught outside in the dark, I'd run so hard that I panted like a dog.

Those were the fears of childhood.

Those childish fears morphed into adult anxieties. Fear of failure, uncertainty at work, clutching material possessions too close, worrying about the very things I could do nothing about. Or worse, worry over things that would never happen. And the list grows. The more fear takes over—the more anxiety and worry explode.

Fear can be crippling. Many of the things we dread, never happen. I've learned to examine what I'm afraid of, and most of the time I'm relieved to find there was nothing to be alarmed about in the first place. When I am truly afraid with legitimate concern, I pray. I transfer my fear to the One who loves me. He promises to give me strength and hold me in his hand.

Through faith, I trust Jesus to take my fear and calm my soul. In 1 John 4:18 I read, "There is no fear in love." Jesus is the love that drives out fear.
I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened. -Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Fear?

Fear of failure
Fear of the dark
Fear of success
Fear of bugs

No matter the fear, Jesus love overcomes all fear.


Monday, January 13, 2020

Children's Book Review: Piper and Mabel: Two Very Wild but Very Good Dogs by Melanie Shankle, illustrated by Laura Watkins


Book Description:
When the family plans a vacation to the beach, Piper and Mabel are shocked to discover they won’t be joining their people. Instead, they’re headed to doggie day care at the Happy Tails Ranch where they create all kinds of mischief when they discover the accommodations are not exactly what they were expecting.


My Review:
Piper and Mabel are two adventurous dogs. When their family sets out for vacation and leaves them at a kennel, they are less than impressed. So begins the adventure. I love the detailed illustrations by Watkins. They will entertain the littlest reader to the adult reader. The color palette she uses is a bit muted, which is a perfect contrast to the two very wild but very good dogs. Children will enjoy the mischief the two dogs get into and the very satisfying ending. My granddaughter loves animals, especially dogs. I know she'll enjoy Piper and Mabel. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Big Dreams and Powerful Prayers Illustrated Bible: 30 Inspiring Stories from the Old and New Testament by Mark Batterson, illustrated by Omar Aranda


Book Description:
Big Dreams and Powerful Prayers Illustrated Bible, written by Mark Batterson, the New York Times bestselling author of The Circle Maker, presents 30 inspiring stories from the Old and New Testament that will help children understand and embrace the power of prayer in their everyday lives. With Scripture references from the NIrV and stunning illustrations from Omar Aranda, this powerful book will touch the hearts of young readers and help connect them to God. Short Prayer Points after each story encourage children to talk to God and allow him to work in their lives.

Prayer changes things. It brings us closer to God and allows us to communicate with the One who loves us most.

My Review:
One of the most important elements of following Jesus is prayer. Teaching children about the many facets of this powerful communication may be complicated. Mark Batterson's book is filled with Bible stories, examples and explanations, simple prayers and verses that help explain the wonder of talking to God. Children will enjoy the colorful well drawn illustrations. Big Dreams and Powerful Prayers would be a great tool to use in Sunday School or for family devotions. Sometimes understanding the Bible can be overwhelming, this could even be a great tool for adults who are new to following Jesus. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Finding my Hygge in Jesus

Psalm 62:1-2
Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

I enjoy winter.

While people around me dread the cold and gray, I snuggle in for a time of coziness. I understand the person who needs to drive in bad weather not liking winter. I know the grayness of Ohio Valley winters can cause depression. Yet, I embrace January and February as if they arrived just for me.

Tucking in for winter. photo by Penny Frost McGinnis
 I've been reading about the Danish practice of hygge (pronounced hoo-guh.) Because they are short on daylight and long on winter, the country of Denmark has embraced creating a cozy atmosphere within their homes. Hygge isn't something you can buy. Family and friends snuggle in with candles, fireplaces, good books, blankets, hot tea, coffee and comfort food. 
Simple things in life. Sounds good to me.

Evidently, I've been practicing hygge for years without realizing it. As I write, my (fake TV) fireplace crackles and my gingerbread candle burns. Blankets cover the chairs and my Christmas tree still twinkles.

Even as I practice hygge in my home, and enjoy the tucked in feeling, how do I create that well being in my heart. Finding the joy, hope, and peace I need come from Jesus' love for me. He's my rock, the one who offers comfort when my heart hurts. He's the one who embraces me and cares for me when sadness fills my day. Jesus draws me in to a place of rest. He throws away fear and replaces doubt with trust.

In Jesus, I find respite from the weariness of life. As much as I love the holidays, they wear me out and throw me a bit off track. January gives me time to renew my spirit. To snuggle in and walk my path with God, once again.

Take the time to reconnect with Jesus. Put on your slippers, sit by the fire, sip your coffee, dust off the Bible, read the word's of Jesus and pray.


Saturday, January 4, 2020

Go in Peace

John 14:25-27
“All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

It's hard to let go.

Change takes courage.

Acceptance requires acknowledgement.

Some days I feel like I'm at the center of a hurricane, and I want to tuck in and wait out the storm. But I can't. Instead, I wrap my raincoat around me, pull up my hood and head into the eye. But I don't march in alone. The Holy Spirit walks with me. Jesus holds my hand. In the midst of change, difficulty, and acceptance, I travel with the One who fills my heart with peace.

Before he died, Jesus spoke to his disciples about a future on earth without him. As you might expect, they didn't understand he was about to change the course of history. They wanted him to stay. But he couldn't. God called him to fulfill a purpose, to give his life as a sacrifice for sin. As he prepared the disciples for his death and resurrection he spoke with assurance. Major change was about to occur. The revolution had begun.

Jesus left the disciples with a mandate. " Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." Perfect words to recite, as we march into a new year.

Go forward with Jesus' peace in your heart.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020



2020
A fresh day.
An uncharted month.
A pristine year.
An untouched decade.

                             Pray.
                             Read.
                             Dream.

                                  Play.
                                  Listen.
                                  Observe.

                                           Love.
                                           Enjoy.
                                           Praise.

                                                 An untouched decade.
                                                 A pristine year.
                                                 An uncharted month.
                                                 A fresh day.
                                                 2020