Creation reminds children of God’s love.

28 10 2014

IMG_5054 adj

Go on a love hunt with your young child. What’s a love hunt? It’s kinda like the games I Spy and Hide and Seek. Only you’re searching for God’s love.

Invite your youngster to join you by saying, “Let’s go outside for a love hunt. We’ll search for messages from God.”

Use the script below as you stroll outside hand-in-hand. On a rainy day, watch the video I created for an indoor adventure.

http://youtu.be/WS2hoyCxX7A

Note: All Bible verses are from the Easy-to-Read Version.


 

See that sky?

God created that sky. His power is amazing! You draw pretty pictures for people you love. God paints the sky for you! Each day He gives you a new beautiful picture.

“Long ago, you made the world. You made the sky with your own hands!” Psalm 102:25

You can’t see an end of the sky. That’s just like God’s love. His love to you will never end.

“Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 108:4

See that cloud?

God made the clouds. Every day we see clouds in different shapes and colors. That’s another amazing thing about God.

“Do you know how the clouds hang in the sky? This is just one of the amazing works of the one who knows everything.”  Job 37:16

That cloud reminds us of His love.

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 57:10

It reminds us that God provides what we need to eat and drink.

God sent food to drop from the clouds when His people were wandering around the desert and hungry.

“But then God opened the clouds above, and manna rained down on them for food.” Psalm 78:23

He sends rain so we can drink water and so plants will grow.

“He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains.” Psalm 147:8

Christ went up into heaven on a cloud and will come again on a cloud. When that happens, it will be the end of all hurts and problems.

“After Jesus said this, he was lifted up into the sky. While they were watching, he went into a cloud, and they could not see him. They were staring into the sky where he had gone. Suddenly two men wearing white clothes were standing beside them. They said, “‘Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.’” Acts 1:9-11

See that bird?

God loves you more than any bird in the sky.

“So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than a whole flock of birds.”  Matthew 10:31

Birds don’t worry. God takes care of them. So don’t worry about what you will eat. You’re even more important to God than the birds. He will take care of you and make sure you have food.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are?”  Matthew 6:26

See this tree?

God made it to give us shade. He made other trees to give us fruit. We can hang swings on trees or climb small ones. Adults use trees to make things like furniture and paper.

A tree reminds us not to worry. The tree doesn’t worry. Its roots always find water. When we trust in the Lord, we’ll find blessings. God will always do what He says.

“But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what he says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

See those flowers?

Don’t worry about what you will wear. God made the flowers look even more beautiful that the richest king. He can surely make sure you have clothes to wear.

“But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.”  Matthew 6:29

See the water?

God has power to open the sea. He has power to help you with any problem.

“Moses raised his hand over the Red Sea, and the Lord caused a strong wind to blow from the east. The wind blew all night long. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry.”  Exodus 14:21

Christ walked on TOP of the water. He will do amazing things in your life.

“Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus’ followers were still in the boat. Jesus came to them. He was walking on the water.”  Matthew 14:25

Christ’s followers were afraid of the storm. Jesus used His power to stop the waves. He can keep you from being afraid, just like He calmed the waves.

“The followers went to Jesus and woke him. They said, ‘Master! Master! We will drown!’ Jesus got up. He gave a command to the wind and the waves. The wind stopped, and the lake became calm.”  Luke 8:24

See that rock?

God is like that. He’s my sturdy Protector.

The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety. He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection.”  Psalm 18:2

See the lamb?

A tiny lamb needs a shepherd to take care of it. Just like we all need Someone to take care of us. The Lord is our good Shepherd. He has power to take good care of us.

“Like a good shepherd, he takes care of his people. He gathers them like lambs in his arms. He holds them close, while their mothers walk beside him.”  Isaiah 40:11

“The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good. Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies. You welcomed me as an honored guest. My cup is full and spilling over. Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house a long, long time.”  Psalm 23

See the path?

God wants you to follow Him and do what He has planned for you. Find His path and stay on it.

“I have followed your way. My feet never left your path.”  Psalm 17:5

“God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take.”  Psalm 18:32

“He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.”  Psalm 23:3

“Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right.”  Psalm 139:24

Reading the Bible will help you follow His path.

“Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take.”  Psalm 119:105

See that sand?

It reminds you that God is always thinking about you. It would be too hard to count each grain of sand. There are so many! That’s how many thoughts God has for you. He’s ALWAYS thinking about you. He knows all about you. It’s wonderful to think that the Creator of the whole world thinks about you all the time.

“Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun.”  Psalm 139:17-18

See that shade?

God protects you all day and all night.

“The Lord is your Protector. The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you. The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night.”  Psalm 121:5-6

See that moon?

God made them.

“Look up to the skies. Who created all those stars? Who created all those ‘armies’ in the sky? Who knows every star by name? He is very strong and powerful, so not one of these stars is lost.” Isaiah 40:26

Even the moon praises God. The sun, moon, and stars praise God. Let’s join them.

“Sun and moon, praise him! Stars and lights in the sky, praise him!” Psalm 148:3

See the sunset?

God never sleeps. He watches over you when you’re sleeping.

“He will not let you fall. Your Protector will not fall asleep. Israel’s Protector does not get tired. He never sleeps.”  Psalm 121:3-4

 

 

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Enough is enough!!!

7 02 2014

StressedOUT message

What are most people saying this winter? Enough!!! Count me in that chorus. We just had another storm here in the Northeast. A whopper. Heavy, wet snow weighed down branches. Countless trees toppled, taking down wires as they fell. Leading to massive outages.

During literal storms or the storms of life we know how to pray. We ask for protection, provision, and peace. The recent storm revealed to me additional types of prayers—those we may not consider praying during a trial. In the midst of a trial we may not offer prayers:

  • Of thanks: We were grateful we didn’t lose power. No matter how bad the storm, there’s always reason to be grateful.
  • For others: The ice storm left over half a million customers in Pennsylvania without power. Thousands of linemen in our area worked to restore power. Wires, coated with ice, presented a risk. Water and electricity created a deadly combination. Those men and women risked their lives to reconnect wires. When turbulence sweeps through our lives, we’re consumed with our needs. Praying for others helps us realize we’re not alone in suffering.
  • Of praise for His sovereignty: His ways are not like ours. Storms He allows into our lives have a way of stopping us in our tracks. Only then do we notice things around us. With the rush of life halted, our eyes are opened to the beauty of God’s creation. The storms of life cause us reorganize priorities. We suddenly realize who and what’s important.
  • Of praise for spiritual growth: Our evergreens, bent under the weight of snow, revealed a picture of burdens. Drooping limbs resembled depressed individuals with despair and discouragement. When the weight was brushed away, the branches floated heavenward. Just like our praises, once we cast off our worries. Similarly, God uses the storms of life to teach us spiritual lessons. If He allows it, He’ll use it for His glory.
  • Of adoration: Everything was shut down. Roads were impassable. There was more time to read the Bible. More time to worship Him in prayer.

Enjoy this slideshow I created using photographs taken after the storm.

What a winter!!!

http://secure.smilebox.com/ecom/openTheBox?sendevent=4d7a6b324e7a67324e5442384d5467334e7a55774e44413d0d0a&sb=1





Burden Lifted

5 02 2014

Vickis.trees

Can God be found in misery? Sometimes burdens pound us so low we’re too depressed to seek Him. Thankfully, He finds us. When we’re too low to look up, He reaches down. He’ll remind us of His care. Just like what He did for me today.

Countless people are suffering due to the recent storm in the northeast. About half a million people are without electricity in my area. Thanks to the snow-ice-rain storm that struck last night.  Ice-covered roads, littered with downed live wires, have imprisoned residents in their homes.

I surveyed our trees and found only one down. Then I spotted our cluster of Leyland Cypress evergreens. They drooped under the weight of snow.

“Don’t worry; I’ll help you,” I told them. The load of snow on each branch threatened to distort their shapes.

I swatted snow off the first limb. It lifted slowly upward as if to say, “Thank you. That feels much better.”

The second branch responded similarly. Displaying its graceful relief.  The two released branches looked like a picture of praise to God.

Thank You, God, for this symbol of burdens. How I rejoice like this tree when I surrender my worries to You.

My mission continued. One branch didn’t raise its limb when struck. I peered closer to the trunk and investigated.

“What’s holding you down? Oh I see. Your neighbor is weighing you down.”

I understand, Lord. Others can pull me down. People who complain about their aliments entice me to admire my own aches. Tempting me to complain about my multiple sclerosis. I’m grateful for godly friends who, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2)”

I aimed my snow scraper brush at the adjacent branch and smacked it. Both boughs floated heavenward.

Branches close to the ground were buried in snow.

Now, Lord You’re showing me how my cares can bury me. They beat me down so low I no longer focus on You. Like days I’m tempted to encase myself in blankets and remain in bed for the day. Without trusting You to help me serve others.

The whacks each branch received restored new life.

Thank You, Jesus, for bearing my burden on the cross. And for easing my daily burdens. “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. (Psalm 68:19)”

I finished the job; grateful God provided the strength and the lesson.

Ask God to reveal His presence to you today. Then watch and listen!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)”

Dear Father, Help me throw off everything that hinders my walk with you. Remind me of Your invitation to, “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. (Matthew 11:28-29)”    In Jesus’ name, Amen

Has God surprised you with His presence? Did He speak to you during the busyness of your day?





Adjusting to Change

24 10 2012

Who loves change? Does anyone even like it? Not me. I tend to resist (never embrace it!).

What I DO love is autumn. I can’t seem to get enough of trees splashed with vibrant colors. I’ve taken over 200 pictures and plan to capture more of their beauty while they last.

Recently I wrote a devotional about how the gorgeous fall foliage spoke to me. Changes in temperature reveal the hidden beauty of the leaves, colors that were there all along. Changes brought on by MS have revealed the beauty of God’s faithfulness that was there all along.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “The Trees Sing for Joy With Promises of Fall” and was posted October 24th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).





Pressing VS Important

14 10 2012

Photo shoot in Kutztown, PA
on Oct. 13, 2012

Do pressing responsibilities crowd out important activities in your life? Things that demand our attention smother our opportunities to stop and chat with our child, drink in God’s awesome creation, and reflect on His Word.

The fireworks-painted leaves beckoned me, “Come bask in our beauty.” Unable to resist their cry, I dropped everything and did a photo shoot. Got some good pictures, but none could capture the breathtaking beauty that stopped me in my tracks. All I could do was stop and stare. Wishing the moment could last forever.

It was like a massage for my mind. So relaxing.

But it wiped me out to walk from one rainbow-splashed tree to another God-painted panorama. I knew I’d pay for it. Anyone like me, with MS, would know there’s a limit to energy. We can’t walk for hours without ending up exhausted.

I knew I’d pay for it, but it was so worth it.

I recently wrote a devotional about the need for rest. It’s kind of ironic that my devotional was posted just today…as if I’m chastising myself. Vicki, you still haven’t learned to slow down. You should know better. Now, it’s time to stop and rest.

As I argue with myself, I rationalize, “Yeah, but doesn’t everybody overdo it? Wouldn’t everyone wish they could stop and smell the roses? Just once?”

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “Help Wanted: One Who Will Need to Rest” and was posted October 13th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).