Joy: Buried Treasure

It was the night of bright lights and bling. New Years Eve – everywhere we looked there was glitter and sparkle and shine. Every particle of air held excitement and ice melted from sheer energy. There were smiles and hugs and the air was electric with celebration! No matter if 2016 was a good year to hang onto with tenacious enthusiasm or one that we couldn’t wait to vanish into history, the beginning of a new year sparks hope. Parties and celebrations ignite happiness and flame the atmosphere with joy.  

I wonder though, what happens now when the lights have gone out, the fireworks are over, the confetti has fallen to the ground in dusty clumps and the glitter is washed down the drain. Is that the end of happiness? Is that it for joy? It is, if joy is dependent on our circumstances.

I’ve been thinking.  Special events bring excitement into our lives; they’re blessings and we treasure those moments when our hearts feel happy. But the moments don’t last and as they fade, so does the feeling we confuse with joy. Joy is heaven-made. It’s part of our spiritual DNA. “The humble will be filled with fresh JOY from the Lord. Isaiah 29:19 [NLT] Doesn’t that sound like our joy comes from God and not from ourselves or any other source?

Happiness is homemade. It’s part of our human experience. Many years ago I read one of those sayings on the side of a coffee mug that said, “If everything is coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.” That’s a pretty good description of life, isn’t it? We’re on our journey for a while taking the scenic tour, a few curves a few hills – we’re comfortable, we’re happy. But then life gets really tough and the pleasant journey becomes a dangerous expedition. Thrown off our path we’re driven into the deep end of the ocean or feel like we’re hanging by our fingernails on the side of a cliff. Not our happiest moments, are they? There is no bling, there is no glitter, the light is gone. The last thing we feel capable of is being happy.

How often do we say it? “But Lord, I’m not happy. I’m tired of trying so hard to get through this. And Lord, in case you haven’t noticed, this ‘thing’ is getting me down. Somedays I feel so sad I don’t want to move.” Do you remember Psalm 23:1? The Lord is my shepherd … This isn’t a verse tucked into the Bible so we could envision a calm, serene flowing brook surrounded by wild flowers. Shepherds worked hard, trudged through brambles and mud to keep track of their sheep. And they protected every single sheep from any harm that threatened them. “The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.” Do you trust your shepherd? you-make-known-to-me-the-path-of-life

Jesus reminds us that nothing can take our joy away from us because he is the source of our joy. Nehemiah 8:10 says “Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” Our circumstances may make us sad, they may exhaust us, we might feel like we’ve been plunged into darkness but it’s in our darkest days that the tiniest light appears brightest. The light of the world is Jesus (John 8:12); it’s he who is the source of our joy. Psalm 16:11 says, “You make known to me the path of life; as I walk with You the pleasures are never-ending and I know true JOY and contentment.”

We have to look for joy, like excavating for buried treasure because that’s what it is. Joy is a gift we choose to open over and over.  Joy is our light even when the bling of the world is gone. Look for the joy because it won’t come find us.

To choose joy means we choose God, we choose to fill our minds and fill our hearts with his words. Matthew 12:34 describes it so clearly. “The mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Joy might not be a natural response to a broken spirit when days seem dark, but if you are God’s child, you already have unlimited, renewable joy. Nahum 1:7-8 tell us that God comforts his troubled children who put their trust in him. “The Lord is good. He protects those who trust him in times of trouble. But like a roaring flood the Lord chases his enemies into dark places and destroys them.” That’s God. He protects, and destroys the enemy that tries to steal your joy.

Lord, your word says you’ve given me an unlimited supply of renewable joy, but I’m having a hard time finding it. Please be a light on my pathway to peace and joy. Flood my heart with so much joy here is no room for darkness. God, I ask you to change my circumstances, Lord. But if you choose to grow my character through them, then please change me. Change my attitude, change my heart, change my life. Make me a faithful steward of your gift of joy. Amen

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It all happens between the bookends

Are you a peace seeker? I already know you said yes. We want peace in the world, peace in our communities, peace in our relationships and peace for our own hearts. But when we’re suffocating under anxiety, there is no peace. Where can we find peace? Here’s a clue. It doesn’t come from within when we are overwhelmed by “What-if” producing anxiety. There’s this verse in Proverbs 12:25  that spells it out pretty clearly: “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.” Not to sound like a repetitive commercial, but you might recognize this mantra:  If you get the inside right, the rest will take care of itself.  As it turns out, that’s a true statement.  Go back and let Proverbs 12:25 sink in a little bit.

Our lives are lived between the bookends. Do you have morning and evening rituals? These are the bookends of your day. Maybe your morning routine is well practiced and regimented, but ending your day is more fluid. How you invest yourself at daybreak and before the lights go out at night have an impact on your anxiety level. If you want to escape anxiety, protect the first part of your day and protect the last part of your day.

Bookend your morning to rise and shine. Psalm 112:4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.Bookends of your day - purchased element from canva

When you jump out of bed in the morning, or even if your jump is more like removing tar from the sole of your shoe, plant this thought in your mind. This is a good day and I’m going to protect it. Think about morning. Do your feet hit the floor and your next action is to turn on the news? Really? Why? The world will continue to churn whether you stand by and watch it or not. Here’s your first bookend. Protect your morning – at least the first half hour. Instead of the news, peace-seeker friend, feed your spirit with truth, light, and joy through prayer, meditation, reading scripture or a devotional. During the day, there will be time to catch up on the news – if it’s really your priority. Trust me on that.

I have a friend who was being treated for depression. Over the course of a few months it became apparent that addiction to watching the news was contributing to deep despair, anxiety and depression. If this describes you, Stop!  Stop it!  There is nothing good happening in the news today. The Center for Disease Control says this “Depression is the most common type of mental illness, affecting more than 26% of the U.S. adult population. It has been estimated that by the year 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of disability throughout the world, trailing only ischemic heart disease.” Don’t be trapped inside a statistic like that one.

Protect your morning. Psalms 63:1 “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You.”

Bookend your evening with peace enhancing practices. Psalm 65:8 “The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.”

Then let’s talk about preparing to sleep at night, the companion bookend. Winding down, isn’t a cliché, it’s a process. Start at least a half hour before lights out. Do something that calms your soul. Read, listen to music, diffuse essential oils, meditate, you get the idea. Many times I drift off to sleep praying for people I love and people I don’t know at all, but have heard of their plight and ask God to shelter them and give them special heaven-sent blessings. I shouldn’t be surprised then to wake up praying – like God put a bookmark in my prayer. Other times I read the Bible or another book that calms my mind and lifts my spirits.  Never waste the last half hour of your day pouring fire into your brain – like watching the news. But it’s a habit. Yes, yes it is. And it breeds anxiety.

Protect your evening. Psalm 16:7 I will praise the Lord who guides me; yes, during the night I reflect and learn.

Your life is lived between the bookends of your day. Protect it by surrounding your hours with a peaceful start to your morning and calming end to your evening.

 

Escape Anxiety – Shield your mind, Guard your heart, Protect your day

You (God) keep in perfect peace the people who maintain their faith, for they trust in you. Isaiah 26:3

The day and the night are both Yours, God — You fashioned the sun, moon,and all the lights that pierce the darkness Psalm 74:16

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me. When anxiety threatened to overwhelm me, your consolation brought me joy. But the Lord will protect me, and my God will shelter me. Psalm 94:18-19, 22

Do you ever feel soaked up, wrung out, and run-over tired?

Last night at approximately 7:30 I said something I rarely say. I’m tired. Well, I didn’t actually say it out loud, but I texted it to my husband who was up north at our cabin while I was at church with a passel of kids. Rarely do I admit that I’m tired, but then it’s rare that I get to that point. Last night was it!

It was a God moment. Do you ever have those? Something isn’t right and you recognize it as a symptom of something else, a cause that requires a little super sleuthing to figure it out? It’s not that I’m tired because I’m sleep deprived. So that’s not it. Do you ever feel wrung out even though you sleep enough? Matthew 11:28-29 says “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Lack of rest isn’t the culprit, so what else?

Let’s dig a little deeper. I see the wheels turning and gears shifting. If you feel like you’re just all washed out and running dry, maybe you can try this too. Let’s review.

Things are going pretty well for me right now.  I have interesting projects to work on, lots of support from friends and family, and I am happy. Is everything perfect? No, of course not, but I love the life God has given me and there are many satisfying aspects of it. Jesus said in John 8:31-32 “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” So my life isn’t perfect, but it’s my life – clay in the Potter’s hands.

This is when God started to reveal where things are starting to derail. Has your car ever started to go off the road while driving on a rutted country road and found that it takes a whole lot of physical muscle and brain power to get back on the right track? OK so now you know what I mean be being derailed. Still in the car but pulled off track too often.

I’ve been enjoying so many activities in my life I’ve gotten lazy in certain parts. I could call these life parts segments, but our lives are not lived in segments. Everything blends together with one thing impacting another. Last night, as I was reviewing – well OK, picking apart and analyzing – why I was feeling so drained, true to his word, God revealed what I needed. These will be different for you, but God reminded me that my doctor has given approval for me to exercise – and lately I have been pushing that to the bottom of the list because there are so many exciting projects to do instead. I know for a fact that exercise is key to energy and also for attitude. Jeremiah 31:25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” God can only do that refreshing part if I do my part.

I have also been very discouraged because my metabolism has tanked and extra weight is finding me even when I run from it hard by skipping meals and skimming on specific nutrients I need to fuel my body. Now before you tell me that these two factors will have an impact on my ability to enthusiastically enjoy this life I love – I’ve got that! Someone said I know that I know that I know – and I could say that too. I love this verse for that exact reason. Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

Maybe I’m the only one who at times feels soaked up, wrung out, and run-over tired  – in my case it’s self-inflicted. I had 4 separate helpful communications yesterday and as I thought about them last night, I know God used those moments to get my attention. When I said “I’m tired.” I wouldn’t just assume I needed rest. Instead I need to get back on track and take care of my life – all of it – body, soul, spirit. If you have similar things to work on, I’m hanging onto this verse and you can too. Galatian 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Ready team? Let’s get out there.

I woke up hearing this song and it went straight to heart. Oceans by Hillsong

You are now entering the mission field!

Can we start over at the gateway to summer?  In June, didn’t we all feel like we were on a mission to enjoy the days of summer?  How successfully did that mission progress? The countdown has begun. Mom’s everywhere are on the fence with this one.  On one side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. On the other side, the return to structure, a time to wake and a time to sleep. See the dilemma?  These days preceding the start of school are evaporating.  When entering a store I want to wrap a tarp around the displays of schools supplies to hold back the reality that summer is nearly over. How can it be that August is so quickly slipping away when there are so many activities still waiting to transpire? ERGH! Can we go back to June, please, when we were just embarking on our mission?  I know what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” but can’t we stretch this season out a lot longer?

What do you love most about summer? Is it vacation? Catching a few extra minutes (or maybe hours) of deck time? A chance to be outside till God turns the stars on? Running errands that have no obligated set time to be done? Downshifting a little, instead of feeling like every gear is programmed to shift on command? Opportunities to gather with friends for a few hours without wondering if you’ll be plowing snow all the way home? Sounds like a mission of a different variety, doesn’t it?

I love every season. In fact I love every day of the week. Some are more fun than others – like summer, like vacations. But then back to work and back to reality and back to ‘that’ mission field.  For some of us it’s a job, for others it’s schools, and for everyone it’s a place to be.  That place to be, no matter who we are is our mission field.  It’s that place where just by being in it we can make a difference. I read a lot, listen to podcasts and watch countless videos. The number of social media evangelists telling me what I have to do to be successful is overwhelming. Their mission field is vast compared to mine. But this one thing is true for me and it’s true for you, we all have a mission. We have a place to serve – a place to make a difference – a place to shine. Some of us take the scenic route, a crooked path, a mountainous trail, while others seem to know their mission like an internal compass stuck on true north.  For those who lack that pinpoint precision, we gain unparalleled experience from all the ups and downs, twists and turns while wandering.  The key is building a strong foundation of experience as we cross boundaries, then use what we’ve learned to help others and help ourselves too.  Our mission field might be small and familial or it might be diverse and seem foreign.  Most of us are not called to acts of prominence or fame but each of us is called to be a light right where we are.

My mission field at home and at work is my opportunity to make a difference.  It’s yours too. We don’t know the impact one small act of kindness will make.  Philippians 2:1-4 says: “If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”

What is your mission field? Does it feel like unknown territory?  The entire landscape of my day will be different from yours.  We know different people, we live in different places, what we do every day is different. We have a kaleidoscope of opportunities on our mission fields all needing just one thing to be effective.  Light!  The places where light makes the most difference is where there is no light.  Proverbs 13:9 says “The light of the righteous shines brightly.” We look toward the Light of the World to receive energy, contentment, and an unlimited supply of joy.  Colossians 3:23 reminds us that “Whatever we do, we are to work at it with all our heart, just like we are working for the Lord.” No matter where we live, work, go to school, or play, whatever gifts God has given each of us, we are responsible to Him to work at it with all our heart and be faithful.  1 Thessalonians 5:24 tells me if God calls me to do something he will be alongside me helping me do it. “The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

Leaving the gateway of the summer camp I attended, there was a sign that read “You are now entering the mission field.”  Back then I didn’t think about the significance of that simple statement. Now I recognize its truth. I could spend years looking for my mission, when all along I have been on my mission field, the place where every day I make a difference.  The question is, what kind of difference am I making?

Ready?  You are now entering the mission field. Let’s get out there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDjstImknnU

What we own

Have you ever had a blue day… maybe not dark blue, but not the sunny sky blue that lights up the sky and feels like summer. It’s more like the gray blue that’s tinged with sadness and mutes all joy.  It’s not unusual for blue days to slither through places we visit multiple times in a week:  the gas station, grocery, other stores, church, workplace, restaurants and other places where people meet and greet.  It’s common to hear complaints, see people in subtle conflict, or witness unforgiving anger.  After while, all those circulating emotions suffocated the happy out of me. You know that last straw; that last nerve; that hair-thin filament …well it broke.  I stopped letting all those situations rent temporary space in my head and I started to own those feelings projected by others until my own attitude was affected.  Stop!  Just stop it! I don’t own those issues; I sure don’t need them. Proverbs 17:9 says “Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” All those episodes had nothing to do with my close friends, but some of the conflict was between friends, most of them working together.  What if instead of griping about a situation, and gossiping about someone who isn’t there to defend themselves, that displaced energy was used to actually solve a problem? Love covers over an offense.  I’d rather own an attitude of love.  Proverbs 10:12 makes that same statement, but with a little more audacity. “Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.”

I was lamenting to Tim (my husband for those who don’t know me) that I was buried in such negativity everywhere I went. It seems that there is unrest everywhere and petty grievances turn into little earthquakes that erupt in dissension. My positive attitude was getting a little tarnished and crinkled around the edges. Sad.  I was reminded of a Psalm chapter 37, verse 4  “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Are the desires of my heart to be dragged to the pit by attitudes and actions of people?  Or could I focus on the uplifting acts of friends like Marcia Thompson who put together little packets of ideas for performing random acts of kindness; or the ministries expressing love, respect and value of each other.  I was treading dangerously close to losing perspective and forgetting about all the good things because I was surrounded by too much negativity.  I read a letter from someone who I reported to years ago, but have stayed in touch with who recently visited India. On his list of 12 lessons learned,  he observed “Evil is everywhere looking for an opening into our heart.”  No matter where we travel, the enemy of our souls is waiting for an opportunity to slither into our lives and infect us with poison. If this happens, and it will, Stop!  Just stop it! and remember the instruction of Ephesians 4:26-27 “In your anger do not sin, do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”  I am thankful for people who turn thoughts into actions and bad situations into victories.

Reading the story from Tom’s trip to India taught me something about ownership. There are many things in life that we don’t have to own: complaints of others, their criticisms, their ridicule, and their attitudes.  What we do own is our own attitude and what we harbor in our hearts.  Remember the cycle. What we put into our minds becomes a thought, a thought seeps into our hearts, our hearts produce the actions. I don’t know about you, but I want to own the thoughts that produce good actions.  Remember what we own as Proverbs 23:7 tells us, as we think in our heart, that’s how we really are.  Our Pastor Frank Snyder has repeated to us over and over you can’t do right if you don’t think right.  We need to own right thinking.  Let’s skip through a few verses in Philippians 4 “Be full of joy always because you belong to the Lord. Let all people see how gentle you are. Do not worry. Learn to pray about everything. Give thanks to God. The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. Be at peace. Keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. Be thankful for everything.  Keep on doing good deeds. The Lord gives me a reason to be full of joy. “

Let’s own this day and make it full of joy and as Philippians 4:9 says “God Who gives peace will be with you.”

If I could see …. by Amy Grant http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wGRPLeBBhyY

It’s Today!

“I hoped and prayed … and it didn’t happen.”  I read those words from a friend and instantly felt the draining emotion of that message. I prayed so hard and nothing.  Anyone who has built up hope, worked toward something, and lived in anticipation of it knows the empty feeling left behind when the result is nothing.  I’ve been there; have you ever felt the unsettled, discontent of unfilled hope.  Even if you are a “glass is more than half full’ person, it feels like the glass has been pierced and all the good stuff has drained away.  When I have days like that – or weeks – I remember Job.  His catastrophes happened thousands of years ago, but his emotion of loss was the same.  In Job 6:8 he prays “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for…” Can you imagine the hopes of Job?  Keep reading and it becomes evident that Job was weary.  Job 6:11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?”

It’s so easy to look at circumstances and lose perspective.  Looking outside at what we didn’t get is a like a wide snare waiting to trip us up so we push all the positive things to the outer edges and live in the swirl of defeat.  Just say no! Ask God to show you how to replace the feelings of loss with new inspiration for escaping despair. All God asks is that we be willing to be willing.  2Corinthians 4:16 talks about that “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” Do not lose heart. Reach out in expectation being absorbed in hope and comforted by it.  Take a step forward to get back on track with plans ahead.  2John 8 “Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.”  You might feel rewarded even today, but if not today, then don’t lose hope.  2Corinthians 4:1 explains that “through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” We each have a ministry and a purpose. We can’t live for ministry while we live in defeat. Hebrews 3:13 has some wise advice for us “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today.”

It’s Today, my friends. Let’s build each other up, encourage one another. Let’s keep discouragement from entering and gaining a foothold.   I ran across a similar topic in Ephesians 4.  Toward the end of the chapter are some instructional words.  “Do not give the devil a foothold. …Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Psychologists tell us that those of us who have brains and have the ability to think ahead and make choices are the ones who take the path of least resistance. We gravitate toward doing what’s easiest. Losing hope and becoming discouraged are easiest.  Let’s gain new insight, stronger resolve, and do not let the enemy of our souls win this battle.  Ready for a little more from Job? Highlights from Job 11.  “Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning.  You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”

Ready for today?  Ephesians 3:20 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”

Let’s get out there! Let’s go to the rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOZuhtoS4GE

F.A.I.T.H.

When you woke up this morning, what was the first thing on your mind? I mean besides hearing the squelch and sizzle of steaming hot water through coffee. Before I opened my eyes today my mind was searching for that word I chose to build my life around for the next 364 days. Yes! I found it!  My #oneword365 is DISCERNMENT.  Reality check! To strengthen muscles and tendons, requires more than obsessive thought. It takes exercise, practice, and nutrition bundled with lots of planning and thought.  To build strength and stamina in discernment requires more than obsessively cycling that one word through my mind day after day.  I’ll need to exercise other words like hope, integrity, wisdom, peace, encouragement and faith for discernment to penetrate the fabric of 2014.

This is early in the game – it’s only day 3 of January. What happens if I have discouragements, irritations, and challenges that strip my word ‘discernment’ from memory?  There will be times like that. We will all experience defeating circumstances, but in those times remember: Those thoughts are from the enemy of our souls and he is very adept at substituting productive thoughts with debilitating fears.  In those times remember this tiny verse in Ephesians 4:27 ” do not give the devil a foothold.”  This can only mean that once we realize that we are in a cycle of defeat, we have to be wise, quickly leaning in to the promises of God to reclaim hope, peace, and be encouraged through faith.

Many of us are going though a rough patch and facing difficult situations.  Let’s encourage each other through these challenges; examine our attitude toward faith; be strengthened from the root through nourishment of scripture.  When we get the inside right, the outside will take care of itself. Right? F-A-I-T-H

F         Forever – Wavering is part of our nature.  Nothing is perfect, bad things happen and we get discouraged, but life is a huge mixing bowl with an overload of good mingled in there too.  Through every situation and every decision, we have the ultimate guide.  Psalm 48:14 God is our God forever and ever; He will guide us to the end.

A         Adversity – Someone said “That which does not kill me, makes me stronger.” When we go through adversity, we will become stronger if we learn from it. Athletes know the muscle pain of overexertion. Little tears in the muscle occur but healing makes it stronger. When we struggle through adversity, what can we learn that makes us stronger? It could be a learning a new skill, discovering a solution to a problem that’s laid dormant for a long time, or maybe it’s simply finding a new coping mechanism. I like the Message interpretation of Proverbs 18:14 & 15 A healthy spirit conquers adversity, but what can you do when the spirit is crushed? Wise men and women are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.

I          Impossible – I love the word ‘impossible’. There is nothing quite so motivating as proving wrong the impression that an act or a goal is impossible. I’m sure I developed that attitude at the age of 11 when I first watched the movie Cinderella. There was a song that proclaimed very emphatically that impossible things happened every day.  And don’t they? If God is in it, the impossible becomes the Possible.  Another verse from the Message Ezekiel 36:27 I’ll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands.

T         Timing – How many times have I argued with God about his timing. “God, look at me here.  Time is nothing to you, but it’s everything to me . . . ” Does that sound at all familiar?  But God reminds me that it is he who is in control, he sees the tapestry in all its intricate detail where all I see is one tangled mess of threads.  Psalm 18:20-24 GOD made my life complete … he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to GOD’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works …  GOD rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.

H        History – Reviewing my past proves over and over again that God is faithful.  He has been my comforter, my cheerleader, my sustainer, my helper, and my guide. I make mistakes.  Every day, I can count on me to blunder at something. There might be painful consequences from some of those mistakes, but somehow I move on; by some miracle I find my way back to the right track. All I am and all I hope to be are made possible by the creator and sustainer of all things. 1 Chronicles 29:10-13  Everything in heaven, everything on earth is God’s!  Riches and glory come from him and he is ruler over all; God holds strength and power in the palm of his hand to build up and strengthen all. And here we are, giving thanks to God because of how he always was and who he always will be. God never changes. He is God.

What have we learned about F-A-I-T-H today? This simple fact. We need faith in the God who never changes because the path of life is ever changing. We need to look toward the light of the world who shines his light on our path so we can first find it, then stay on it.  John 8:12 Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTNBWv33-QI