Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Life Strategy

 

On a walk with Tim and Rosie, I spied Virginia bluebells all over the woods. 
Their bright blue flower brightened the spring day and reminded
me of all the beauty God has created and 
how His hand in my life changed me.

The day I chose to walk with God, I made the best decision of my life. 
With God by my side, I navigate rough waters with faith
because God never fails to be my refuge and guide. 
With Him, I'm braver than I ever could be without him. 

His love and grace is game changing.


Wednesday, February 1, 2023

New Life Awaits

The hyacinth and tulip leaves have pushed through 
the cold January ground and reminded me of the coming of spring. 
I love that God thought to give us plants, some to eat and some to 
simply enjoy. As I wait through the quiet of winter, I look forward to 
new life in my garden, just as I look forward to heaven.

Enjoy the beauty of the earth until we see the magnificence of heaven.


 Genesis 1:11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

A Season of Singing

 Song of Solomon 2:11-12

See! The winter is past;
    the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
    the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
    is heard in our land.

Raindrops glistened on tulips.

There is something about a flower garden just after the rain that brings joy to my soul. Whether the fresh smell of earth, or the magnification of the colors against the muted sky, the beauty of God's creation fills me with gratitude. I love the way the tulip blossoms cup above the stem. Each petal appears satiny soft. Beyond the simplicity of the outside, God created an incredible system inside the plant that assists in growth so the flowers return year after year.

Some of my friends are still experiencing snow where they live, and I'm sure they look forward to the rains and flowers. Even in southwest Ohio in mid-April, cold air lingers and weather folks speak of the threat of snowflakes. Yet, as the weather changes the flowers remain. They huddle to fight off the cold and stand against the storm until the time of singing returns. Much like believers. We need to stand together and show the world the love of our Lord and King.

I rejoice and glorify Him as color returns and fragrance bursts from flowers. In my tiny garden the daffodils nod their heads and the tulips stand tall. When I see the beauty of the spring flowers, I'm reminded of what is to come. Solomon calls the time after winter a season of singing. Birds chirp and tweet; just today I heard a robin's song.

As lovely as the spring blooms are, imagine the glorious beauty that awaits us in heaven. There will surely be a season of singing when the heavens open and time on this old earth is finished.

Take time to enjoy spring and sing praises to the King!

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Celebrate Hope!

What a wonderful time to celebrate life!

Spring, milder weather, flowers blooming all give us hope, 
but Jesus offers the greatest hope of all.

As we contemplate Easter and the incredible gift of mercy God gave us,
let's celebrate Jesus and his grace.


 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

He Has my Heart

As a believer in God, Jesus is asking me to also believe in Him.
And why wouldn't I? 

As sure as the flowers bloom in the spring, Jesus loves me.
He has my heart and protects my soul.
Life may not be easy, but I have the one who eases the pain and gives me joy.


 

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Take Heart!

John 16:32-33
A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

I'm never alone. 

Tim and I took Rosie for a walk at the local park. We hiked into an area where we could hear the river water rushing alongside us. As I walked, I spied the three-leafed trillium that sprouts in the spring in Ohio and enjoyed the greening foliage on the trees. For a moment I closed my eyes and listened. No cars revved their engines, no washer or dryer rumbled, no furnace kicked off and on. All I heard was the water, the burble of the river flowing over rocks, the tranquility of the woods. The peace reminded me of the One who is always with me.

The last three months have been hard. At times the burden too much to bear, but the beautiful, most wonderful thing I experienced in my time of grief and stress was the presence of the Holy Spirit. I'm never alone. Yes, my family and I were surrounded by the amazing blessing of friends. For that I'm so thankful, but in those times when I sat by myself in my home while Tim worked, I felt the presence of God. Through scripture and the Spirit, He reminded it would be alright.

Jesus spoke to his disciples before his final days on earth and reminded them that even as they needed to scatter and leave Him on His own, God was with Him. I absolutely love what He tells them. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

As a believer, the Holy Spirit lives inside me, beside me, and gives me peace in this troubled world.

Take heart! Jesus has overcome the world.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Expected or Unexpected: Am I Ready

1 Peter 3:15-16
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 

April 21, 2021 surprised us with about two inches of snow. When Tim told me to look out the window and see the surprise, I had mixed feelings. I love snow, but I adore the beauty of spring. Now the plants that thrived with green wore white coats, and crystal crowns. I hadn’t covered my plants, yet my lovely lavender tulip survived the unexpected chill, as did the columbine. Many of the flowers who peaked from the ground could endure the weather, because their roots dug deep and their stems had soaked in sun. God created spring flowers with durability, for all kinds of weather.

The unexpected snow made me wonder how prepared I am. 1 Peter says to be ready to give an answer for my faith, and Matthew 24:42-44 says to prepare my heart for Jesus second coming.  

When I’m traveling, I fill up my fuel tank and pack a bag of snacks. Both prepare me for the trip. But how do I ready myself for the time someone asks me about Jesus and my faith? I fill my heart and mind with the wisdom of Jesus and the scripture. I eat the words of the Bible in order to fill my spiritual tank and increase my understanding of God and grace.

Even as I prepare for the unexpected, what about the expected. I know Jesus will return to this earth to take his children home, even though I don’t know the day or hour. Even in not knowing the time, I know he’s coming. I want to have my heart ready. The hope I have in God and the promise of eternal life bolster me as his words feed me.

I may not know when Jesus will return. I may not be on this earth any longer, regardless, my heart and soul need to be ready for that glorious day.

Be ready for the unexpected and the expected. Jesus is coming again.


Saturday, April 17, 2021

Anxiety is a Beast

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

“Life is better when you cry a little, laugh a lot, and are thankful for everything you’ve got.”

As one who lives with anxiety, I cling to Philippians 4:6.

When I look back over my life, anxiety raised its hand way too often. In school, I was the kid who wanted to hide when we read aloud in class. I’d just as soon fade into the brick wall as wait to be called on for the kickball team. I wasn’t just shy (although I was shy) I was terrified of attention.

That was my anxiety. The beast has a unique way of manifesting itself in all of us. Most of us feel anxious in certain situations due to stress. Some anxiety is normal.

As an adult, my anxiety reared its head as panic attacks. In my forties, I returned to college to finish my Bachelor’s degree, but I absorbed more information, at one time, than my brain could handle. To get technical—the serotonin didn’t hang out long enough for the process. The doctor figured out the problem and recommended medication. To me the meds are no different than if I was diabetic and had to take insulin. I need them.

But along with the medication, I have another healer in my pocket. Prayer. When I seek God’s attention and pour out all that I’m thankful for—the anxiety dissipates. Yes, I cry and laugh. Laughter is wonderful, tears sometimes help, but the best antidote for anxiety is gratitude. I can sit and talk to my heavenly Father about all the wonders of spring. As I observe my flowers, I say thank you. When I think of my loved ones, I pray thanks. When I consider Jesus’ sacrifice for me, I bow in appreciation.

God created the science behind the meds which help my anxiety, and he’s given me joy and peace in place of fear.

Replace anxiety with gratitude.

Click to tweet: Anxiety is a Beast

Saturday, April 10, 2021

Praise and Pray

Psalm 145:3-5

Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
    they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
    and I will meditate on your wonderful works.

Perhaps winter is a time of meditation, spring a time of praise.

I find the change of seasons remarkable. Snow, rain, sunshine, chill all contribute to the nature God has created. For the past few weeks I’ve enjoyed the daffodils, tulips and hyacinth in my tiny garden. One morning, I observed the yellow and white daffodils bowing their heads. In the same plot of soil, the tulips raised their leaves to the sky. It struck meboth stood in a posture of praise and prayer.

In the winter, I tend to bow down and meditate on God’s word. The quiet, sometimes snow-kissed earth allows me to snuggle into my favorite chair and focus on Jesus. But in the spring, I want to shout with the sunshine that Jesus is Lord. Maybe because we celebrate Easter, I raise my hands to God and praise out loud. For whatever reason, spring is a time to celebrate our Lord and Savior.

In observing the flowers, no matter whether I raise my hands like the tulip or bow my head like the daffodil, I am in a posture of praise and prayer. It doesn’t matter how I praise and pray as much as when. And when is every day. I thank God for the beauty of the earth and the people in my life. I don’t need much, yet God has provided abundantly.

As the psalmist says, God is so great and worthy of praise, I can’t even fathom his greatness.

Praise and pray thanksgiving to God the Father, when you bow down and when you rise up.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

John 3:16

As I watch my little garden sprout, I'm reminded of new life.
Trees bud, flowers bloom, and herbs green up.

Imagine for a moment what eternal life with Jesus must be like.

A continual spring filled with beauty and joy!



 

Saturday, March 13, 2021

If You Feel Hopeless

Luke 8:12-15
Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

My garden breathed the breath of new life. 

Ohio’s temperatures teased us with hints of spring. At our condo, the lawn care folks hauled wheel barrows loaded with mulch. They mulched around the trees and the perimeters of the buildings. 

In my little area around our porch, I’ve planted flowers and decorated with garden ornaments. Before the guys mulched our corner, I removed decorative rocks and pulled out dead leaves. I cleaned out the mess the finches made, dropping their leftovers on my flower bed, and dug out a few weeds.

After the landscapers added the mulch, I rearranged the shredded wood chips around the blooming crocus, hyacinth sprouts, and unfurling tulip leaves. As spring approaches, I’ll witness new life as it pushes through the soil and blooms as beautiful flowers.

My garden appeared refreshed, clean, and ready for growth.

I’ve been a Christian for many, many years. At times, I’ve carried rocks in my heart. Stones of guilt and anger weighed me down. Sin disguised as colorful ornaments tempted me. Self-deprecation filled my mind with debris. Yet even in all the darkness of sin and shame, the beauty of being a Christ follower shined through. Jesus reached out and accepted all the rocks, stones, and dirt. He took all of the burdens from me and renewed my life. He’s encouraged me to grow and bloom; to be the best person I can be.

Granted, I still struggle, and I still sin. I’m not perfect. But I know Jesus continues to hear my cries for mercy, and for that I am thankful.

If you feel hopeless, turn to Jesus. In him there is hope, joy, peace, and rest. He wants to take your burdens and replace them with grace. Jesus died to give life to whomever chooses to follow him.

Seek the one who renews life. Jesus loves you.

Click to Tweet If You Feel Helpless

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

He Made Them

Spring brings much needed color and beauty to the world.
God has created the most incredible creatures and blooms.
I love watching the birds at my feeder and seeing the flowers shine in their glory.

Sometimes we just need to stop, look around, and witness God's artistry.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

A Season for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.



And a time to take a walk and see the beauty of spring.

As we wait out the COVID-19 virus, Tim and I and many people I know have made walking outside part of their daily activity.

We've trekked around the high school track. Hiked on a trail in the woods and ambled around the neighborhood. I'm happy to report we've witnessed spring's arrival. Regardless of our circumstances, the frustration that eats at us, missing our families, friends, and church, or not workingthe tulips peek out with a flourish of color, the bright yellow daffodils wave in the breeze, trees show off their blossoms, robins twitter and tweet, and the sun bursts through the clouds.

This morning in my quiet time, I read a verse in Psalm 43, "Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell." As I read, sunlight spread across my Bible and highlighted the words. Goose bumps raised on my arms. I bowed my head and prayed God would lead me to that mountain where he rests.

His light gives hope in this time of despair. Ecclesiastes tells us there is a season for everything. Good and bad. Regardless of which moment we're in, God remains the same. His light and truth guide us. He offers hope for a hurting world. In him we find peace.

In this season of difficulty, have you prepared your heart? Jesus loves you. He offers peace and hope through forgiveness and grace. Let his light and truth guide your heart.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Spring Surprise

I walked around the corner of our condo and looked at all the green sprouts. 
Tulips and daffodils dared to shoot their leaves out of the winter dirt.
As I checked the progress of the hyacinth, I spied the bloom of a crocus.
I'd forgotten I planted the bulbs last year or maybe the year before. 
The lovely lavender buds were a sweet surprise. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Jesus Overcomes

When I spied the new growth in my flower bed, my heart leaped with joy. 
A sign of hope that spring is around the corner. 
As much as I love winter, I get excited about the promise of spring.

In this life, we will have trouble. That's no secret. 
But the promise that Jesus has overcome this world, brings hope of 
an eternal life in heaven that's filled with joy and peace.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

I Spy the Colors of Spring


I love the color that brightens the earth this time of year, especially the blooming trees and bushes. After the white and grey of winter, the array of purple, pink, yellow and green spray beauty everywhere.

First the forsythia bring sunshine with their bright yellow blossoms. Redbuds pop with color against the pale green of the budding trees. Then the dogwood brighten the woods with brilliant white and passion pink. And I love the lavender of the lilac bushes.

When I was a girl, a lavender bush stood in our yard. Taller than me and wider than a tree, I played hide and seek around the bush with my cousin. We breathed in the fragrant smell of the gorgeous blooms. Mom cut the branches and graced our table with the gorgeous color and fragrant smell. For the last few years, we had a bush growing by our garage. I didn't know what the bush was, although I should have, until the lavender clusters popped out. What a delightful surprise.

Driving down the road with my grandson and granddaughter, we played a game spying all the different colors of trees. Ella Cates favorite color is pink and sure enough she found the pink dogwood and the redbud. Eli discovered the white dogwood and the shades of green on the new spring leaves. What fun to share my love of nature with my grands.

Take the time to notice the beauty of God's creation.

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;    let your glory be over all the earth.Psalm 57:11

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Sprinter?


2 Thessalonians 2: 16-17
May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

What happened to spring? Most of the Midwest states have experienced a new phenomenon called "sprinter" (spring & winter.) We're wondering where the pleasant sixty-five degree temperatures have hidden. Where the sunshine went to rest. We've had a sun-kissed day here or there, but only a tantalizing taste. No full blown, run outside and dance in the breeze kind of day has arrived. The result—downhearted folks who need a boost of tulips blooming without snow laced over them.

When winter hangs on well into April, we become restless and discouraged. This is much like seasons of life, where darkness seems to hang over our heads. Maybe the tragedy of loss, discouragement from what seems like every side, or the results of sin drags me down. Or the melancholy feeling of defeat or failure. The good news is spring does finally come. Yesterday, I heard the birds twittering their welcome.

Through the darkness, God will encourage and refresh our hearts. His robins will sing a song of joy. Regardless of the situation I'm in, I have wonderful hope in Jesus. I may feel discouraged and alone, but I'm not. Jesus is with me, and he strengthens me. Pray for his encouragement and open the Bible to his verses of grace. He's the light in the darkness. The spring after winter.
Like the essence of spring, Jesus refreshes my soul.