Sunday, February 28, 2010

Ripples -part 1

"Another earthquake! 8.8 this time" I shouted to my husband as I logged on to my blog."This time Chile" It seemed every Monday morning there was a new disaster looming on the horizon. You couldn't go to bed without wondering what the morning would bring. I read further and saw that tsunami warnings were given for certain areas in the Pacific. The list read: South America, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, Russia... I wondered at the distance between Russia and Chile. You just have to love technology. Information at the click of your fingers. I logged on to good old google and was told it's 8790 miles. Really?

If Chile could be so far away and still cause such a result when they experienced their disaster, think about what I can do when I do or say. The ripple effect. It's something we seldom think about; and when we do it's to make sure that whoever's on the receiving end gets theirs.It went out the window along with loving our neighbour and doing unto others.

For those who may be wondering what I'm talking about it's this. What I do, or you do, effects someone else;  today or tomorrow. Our actions have consequences and it behooves us to think about the what and the how before we get to the do or say. "But why should I think about him or her? They din't think about me when they did or said"  We think about them because it's the right thing to do. We think about them because in thinking about someone else we teach others to grow and be good and we help our physical and emotional health and well-being.

Isn't that what Jesus taught when He left the glory of Heaven and came down here to die for us? He could have remained where He was. God could have made new people; after-all He made them the first time. Jesus looked down through time and saw that you and I would be born and would need  help to be happy; truly happy. He gladly gave up His life so that you and I could have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10) That's the ripple effect.

Be Blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they [you]  may have life, and have it abundantly.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

John 10

Reflect:

On the ripples in your life; the experience you may have had when someone actions, good or bad caused you even now, to think and behave differently. How can you now translate that into another change? A change where you now judge the potential your actions will have on others?

Remember the ripples your words and input will have and share a thought.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I've Got This! - part 3

Happy Sabbath. It's amazing how many times we make excuses for our actions just because we refuse to trust that God really has our best interests at heart and is prepared and more than able to handle our situations and fight our battles. Maybe it's because we don't know Him well enough, maybe it's because we have gone through our lives having the people we trust betray that trust so much that we are afraid to believe that God is faithful to His promises.

As a teacher I am constantly called upon to deal with students who, for whatever reason, felt it was necessary to fly off the handle or speak in haste. The excuse for such actions? "I couldn't help it..."
As adults we also love to use that as our excuse de jour. "I know I'm on a budget but the shoes just called to me. I just couldn't help it" "I know I should wait for marriage but I love him/her so much I just couldn't help it" "I know I'm on a diet but the day was so stressful I couldn't help it so I went to the patisserie" (This one's mine)

'I couldn't help it' has become such a mantra for us  that we use it without thinking. The truth is, however, we can help it. One of the first things God gave us was free-will; the power to choose. It wasn't to be used to have our way nor was it to be used irresponsibly. It was to be used to weigh our options and make responsible and informed choices. So when I eat, whether out of frustration or anxiety and not out of hunger, I can help it. I didn't make the right choice the first time and find an alternative method of dealing with stress, so I pushed myself into a habit that has become so ingrained that it's hard to break, but it can be helped. It can be broken. It can be controlled.

Remember, the scripture promise said that God will not give us more than we can bear but will make a way of escape. (1Corinthians 10:13)

I have found that we are equipped with the power to do anything we put our minds to. That includes giving up things we don't need; things that are toxic for us and therefore keeping us from our purpose; whether it is a habit or a relationship. We were made to be strong and resilient. We were also made to be smart; smart enough to weigh a situation and know when it is over our heads and we need help, smart enough to know when to proceed and when to wait. What we were not made with is the need to make excuses for our actions and find things and people to blame. That came later, after Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

God does not give us more than  we can bear. I say this because I know it to be true. I have seen it to be true. I have been in the firing line and have stood as the bullets flew all around me, yet they did not come near me because I allowed God to do as He promised and was able to stand and see His salvation. The real love will come. the anger will be taken away. The stress and the weight can be managed. Just be the tree on the rock and stand still and see God's salvation.
Be blessed.

GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Exodus14: 13
And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day...

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Exodus 14

Reflect:

The story of the Isrealites' sojourn in the wilderness can be seen as a story of people learning to trust. Everytime they doubted, and were hasty they ended up in difficulty. Yet, God continued to come through for them. Wouldn't it have been better for them to just believe God? They had already been given enough evidence of His faithfulness. What do you think?



Remember your input will help others to grow so please share your thoughts.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I've Got This - Part 2

Yesterday, one of the things we were reminded of was that God will not give us more than we can bear but will, with the temptation, make a way for us to escape so that we will be able to bear it.(1 Corinthians 10:13) In other words, God is telling us: "why do you think you have to be in control of everything? Why do you think I'll leave you to flounder?"
During my Christian walk (I really can't say early on. This was one of the hardest things for me to learn) I made a little discovery; come to think of it it wasn't so little at all. It was a big discovery because it changed how I operated. The discovery was this. The times when a situation became out of control and really oppressive were the times when I decided that I was going to 'fix things' You know those times.
We may have prayed or analysed or sought advice, whatever it is we do, seen and heard that in order for it to work out we had to leave it alone or give the other person some time to cool down before approaching him or her or save a little while longer. We would have decided that that approach wasn't good enough; it wasn't what we wanted to hear because it wasn't what we wanted to do, so we needed to step in;to do something to 'help' or the one that I was guilty of  most frequently: God is taking too long so I need to do something now. He's probably busy with someone else's affairs because mine isn't that important.

I always imagine that God looks at us like we do our kids when we know that all they need to do is be patient and we watch them try to force things and we sigh and cringe inwardly because we have already suggested that they wait but to no avail. So we now have to stand by and look on and wait for the cry: "Mom!" (No offense guys but you know most often that's the cry and hey I'm female) Why is it we always know how they should behave but we don't seem to think the advice is good enough for us anymore because we're older and wiser. Are we though?

Anyway, I learnt that lesson the hard way; trying to 'fix' what I thought I could and ended up making the situation worse; even more uncomfortable than it had already been. All I had needed to do was wait a little while longer and let God do. All I had needed to remember is that I am important to God. Everything about me; even the little things in my life, is important to Him.
I can go on and on on this topic but I'll leave off here in anticipation of part three.

Just remember one thing today: You don't have to handle everything on your own. God is handling everything for you. You just have to let Him. When you do you will be like trees on the rock: The waves are beating all around you but you stand firm.
Be Blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
1 Corinthians 10: 13 (HCSB)
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity.
God is faithful and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what
you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of
escape, so that you are able to bear it.

Why not take a few minutes to read:
Isaiah 43: 1-19
Reflect:

The time you may have been in a situation that you couldn't handle and you trusted God to take care of it. How did He come through? If He came through then, don't you think He'll come through all the other times? What do you think? I would love to hear. Why not leave a comment under this reading.

If you've never trusted God before to handle anything in your life, what's stopping you from giving Him a chance now?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I've Got This -part one

I have had days when it seemed like everything I touched prospered. My Christian experience was aglow with promise and all was well between God and me. I gloried in being a Christian then. I was victorious; I was invincible.

Then there are the other days. When it seems as though I had the black touch and nothing went the way it was supposed to. I have overslept so I literally have to jump off the bed. Of course I'm going to be late so God will understand and forgive me for not taking the time to tell Him thank you for life yet again; for another opportunity to get 'it' right, to be with my family. By now I've stumped my toe several times. Time has speeded up and I have slowed down. I am now officially late and empty. I am going to leave the house and dare to go into a school with young people -empty; to teach young people; be an example for young people, empty. As the hours progress I am being all the more frustrated by an insolent child, an unreasonable colleague or parent and anything else that is thrown at me and they are coming fast and furious. There is no end. What do I do?

Then there are times when I'm not empty. I have allowed God to fill me for the day. I have experienced a high time in worship and leave for work excited and rearing to go. Then Wham! Trouble has tracked me down.

Elijah had one of those types of experiences. Fresh from his victory over the prophets of Baal, where people saw the power of God, Jezebel sends him a message that has him fleeing into the wilderness. He believes God has given him more than he can handle, the people have forsaken him and he curls up feeling dejected and sorry for himself and asks to die.What did he do? He allowed God to calm him down, nourish him and revive him.He listened to God's voice; not the voice in the wind,or the earthquake or the fire, but the voice that was still and small; the voice that reminds him "Why are you fretting over this woman's words? Don't you know I've got this?"

On one such occasion God gave me a still small voice that reminded me that He will not give me more than I can bear. He will, with the temptation make a way of escape so that I and you can bear it. (1Corinthians 10: 13). That's what He told Elijah. That's what He's saying to you today. Just hold on a little longer and watch Him work it out. 
                             
                                                                                                                                     Tree on the Rock

Be Blessed
GretaMichelle


Meditate:
1Kings 19: 11,12

And He said, go forth, and stand upon
the mount before the lord. And behold, the lord
passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the
mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before
the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and
after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was
not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was
 not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

Why not take a few minutes and read:

1Kings 18

Reflect:

On one occasion that God came through for you when you felt like throwing in the towel and giving up. You may not have thought it was God, but now, looking back you can reflect on the fact that it was a situation that did not present any possible solutions or resolutions.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Palmer

Palmer




The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? ... Psalm 27



My grandmother was always an inspiration to me. She was the one who first taught me to appreciate art and creativity using my hands. She used to take me to her craft classes at the Community Centre and she was the one who taught me to crochet, and to bake and to love cooking.

One thing I really admired her for. Palmer, as I sometimes called her, loved her Jesus.

She definitely taught me how to trust God. You see she was eighty-nine years old when she suffered her second stroke. The first one robbed her of her speech and some of her motor skills. The second one took a little more of her speech and some of her old memories, so now she doesn’t remember what a passion- fruit is and has to figure out the date.

What I love though is that even though she had to struggle to sound words or be understood, her sense of humour was still intact and you had no doubt what she was saying when she lifted her hands in the air and looked toward the heavens.

Her favourite psalm was Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? ....” and I have no doubt that when I see her again, she will be saying her psalm and lifting her hands to the Lord.

Gives us pause in our complaints doesn’t it?

Be Blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Psalm 27:1

Why not take a few minutes to read:
Psalm 27

Reflect:
Can I still praise God even though things aren't going the way I want it to?
Choose five things/situations and praise God for them now.



Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Sampling

O taste and see that the Lord is good Psalm 34: 8

When I was much younger my aunt would bring samples of Avon products home when she came to visit from Canada. For years during my make up phase,that was my lipstick of choice in the cute little white capsules. I liked them because since I wasn't into bags yet, I could stick them in the pocket of my jeans and be assured of instant touch ups whenever I wanted. The years went by and my interests changed but I stll liked Avon products because of my experience with those samples.
I went from liking makeup to shoes. Now I enjoy trying on or buying- depending on what I can afford to do-a well-made pair of shoes. My friends and I would exchange shoe information on where we got this pair or that and sometimes complete strangers would stop me and ask where I got my shoes.




David had discovered a good thing. He had discovered that God was good. Not just alright or okay, God was good. How did he do that? He tried Him for himself. He didn't just depend on what someone else was saying, he tried God for himself. He took God at His word, took the breath and stepped out into the unknown and discovered the unknown wasn't so scary or strange. It was actually better than where he had been. Because he discovered that a relationship with God had the potential to be life changing and wholesome, he proclaimed "O taste and see..."

Come see for yourself. I've got a good thing going here and I want to share it with you. I've found the secret to success and I want to share it with you. Come and taste and see. God is good!

Be Blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Psalm 37: 25,26
I have been young and now am old; yet
have I not seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging for bread.
He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and His seed is blessed.


Why not take a few minutes to read:

Psalm 37

Reflect:

On the experiences that may have led you to discover that God is good.
Why not share one with us?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Are You the One?

Sunrise Over Stella Maris
Oils on canvas 16x20

...Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for someone else?
Matthew 11:3

I remember the first time I saw Stella Maris (the house, not the person) I wasn't looking for it. I had passed along that North East Coast road many times and had seen and overlooked that sign many times, my mind on another goal, another quest. I almost crashed the car the first time I really paid attention. So captivated with what I had been passing all along I forgot that I was on a winding road, unforgiving of mistakes. I regained control of the car and vowed that the first chance I got I was coming back to paint that scene. It turned out to be two runs at 4.00 am but it was worth every second I spent there, capturing the mood of  the sun rising over that house, overlooking the sea.

When John found himself thrown in prison he anticipated that Jesus was going do some great miracle and spring him from his jail cell. His study of the scriptures had told him that the Kingdom of God would be established on earth that the wicked would be punished and the high and mighty brought low. When Jesus didn't immediately come to his rescue  and days turned to weeks and time started to count down for him he probably thought "well all those years of preaching repent was a waste of time." If he had been Trinidadian he would have proclaimed "This man bogus!" Whatever his thoughts, he sent his disciples with the question: "Are you the one...?"

All of us, like John, are waiting for a messiah; a saviour to take us out of our present situation whether it is debt or a bad marriage or a horrible, unsatisfying job or uncontrollable children or to just deliver us from ourselves. We look for it in things; books on self-help, relationships that on your best day, you know was just wrong, drugs and alcohol, random sex, whatever trend is spot on at the time. The reality is, however, that the cure; the solution, just as it was with Stella is right before our eyes. We are tripping over it in our attempts to find what we seek.

Jesus told the disciples of John to go and tell him what they had seen. The blind saw, the lame walked, the sick were cured. John had heard and seen the miracles but had forgotten, because of his situation. He had been temporarily blinded by doubt and fear. What's blinding us today to the reality that the savior that we seek; the one we look for in all the wrong things is right in front of us waiting for us to open our eyes and see the beauty and the endless the possibilies?

Be blessed.
GretaMichelle


Meditate

Deuteronomy 4:29
But from there, you will search for the Lord your God,
and you will find Him when you seek Him
with all your heart and all your soul.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Psalm 34

Sunday, February 21, 2010

the Open Door- Part 2

"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 11:29 *(NIV)

The open door works two ways. It's an invitation for us who need shelter and warmth but it must also be an acceptance. God issues the invitation to come. Come find rest, come find the peace and happiness you've been craving, the answers to all the questions that you have. But, unless you open the door to Him and let him in, the invitation remains just that- an invitation.

Imagine someone baking you a pie or a really nice cheesecake (insert your favorite treat here). You set it out but you don't take a slice from it. You never taste it. You will never be able to savour the melt in your mouth goodness, the satisfaction  that comes, not just with a well-made treat but also with the knowledge that someone thought of you and made this.

The hand that stretches out in offer of help remains an outstretched hand if it isn't grabbed. The door that remains closed to the person knocking on the other side is just a closed door; keeping everything else out.
Now you might say that a closed door is a good thing especially in today's world. It keeps the unwanted out and it protects. Unfortunately, we have come to a place where the door not only keeps the unwanted  but also keeps the needed out. We barricade ourselves inside and shut out the ugly and the beautiful. We need to feel the warmth that comes with friendship and being cared for; loved. We also need to be the ones doing the caring.

So what are our doors? Our hearts and minds. God wants us to open our hearts so He can fill it with love; love for Him and love for others. When we have love for others and practise it we have rest and peace. Sounds simplistic I know but I have found that sometimes the answer is simple and I am the one making it complicated with all my what ifs. Some of my happiest and most fulfilling moments have been when I opened up and put myself out for someone else, not expecting any reward or praise; just doing it because someone needed help.

God also wants us to open our minds to the possibility that He can give rest. He can and will provide true happiness. We have become educated and full of knowledge and that's great. We cheat ourselves if we don't try to be all that we can be (I do love the army's catch phrase) The downside to that is that all the knowledge robs us of our child like faith that God is and can. Remember when you used to believe in miracles?

Our doors don't have to be perfect. They can be scarred from time and the battles we have fought and lost. They can have holes and be falling off the hinge because of ill use and no care, or just old age, or they can be seemingly perfect in every respect. What they look like now is not the issue. What they'll look like when God is finished with them; that's something to look forward to.

Why not open up that door? Share one smile. Do one good turn. See what happens when you hear that knock on your door and you answer. "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." (1Samuel 3:10)

Be Blessed
GretaMichelle

Meditate:

Matthew 7: 7,8

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened for you.
For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds,
 and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Why not take a few minutes to read:

Matthew 7

* New International Version

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Open Door--Part 1



A closed door ranks very high in the  foreboding and uncertain scale. You never know what you're going to encounter on the other side. What if I knock? Will there be someone there to answer or will I be faced with silence? Will the greeting on the other side be friendly or will they simply come to the door with a grumpy, bothered expression that shouts "You distrubed me!" "I don't want to talk to you, I don't want you here!" Or worse, they are polite about it.
We knock on doors hoping that there is someone on the other end: A friend, a helping hand, a refuge and shelter.

And we've all met with a closed door situation at some point in our lives. We've all knocked on doors only to find  that there was no one at home or if there was, no matter how polite the greeting., there is the sense that we've intruded.

Let's look at the open door. An open door is a welcome sight. When you've gone through the day and you are tired and wrung out it's a good thing to come home and meet someone there who just knows what you need and has it prepared before you even need it; whether it's a warm shower, a hot meal or just a quiet place to be for a while. You know God is like that open door. He knows you inside out and He knows when you need to come in from the rain snuggle into a warm pair of arms, when you  need to scream and shake your hands, when you need to just cry it out. His door is open to hear your call and to answer.
God says "Come to me" "If you're burdened, if you're tired, sad, hungry for you know not what, just come. You don't have to worry about getting the welcome mat muddy with the baggage you carry, you don't have to worry that you are interrupting. I always have time for you."
God is your open door.

Meditate:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest. Matthew 11: 28 *(HCSB)

Why not take a few minutes and read:

Matthew 11


*Holman Christian Standard Bible






the Time Has Come!

Writing is as much a passion as art is. I believe God has inspired both. Because of that belief I appreciate them even more. While I was looking at publishing houses and wondering at their submission guidlines and prevaricating and procrastinating (If you know anything about me it's that when it comes to my passions I am a big coward and make a lot of excuses as to why i'm not ready)

It occurred to me that the same way I blog about my art I can also blog about God. I don't have to wait, get better and then write. I can write and get better and share my Father and my Friend and  hopefully inspire and edify you to be the best you that you can be, in Christ. I can introduce you to the best love affair you can ever have. ( Yes every now and then I get a dose of common sense)

So here I am. My goal: to share God with you every day from here on; to carry you on a Christian journey as we seek to "Dwell in the House of the Lord"

At the end of each post I will leave you with a verse to meditate on; a promise that you can read and carry with you through the day and a reading suggestion which I hope you will use. Trust me. It's going to be fun.

Be inspired, Be blessed.

GretaMichelle

Meditate:
Psalm 19: 7
The instruction of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is trustworthy, making the inexperienced wise.

Why not take some time to read this:
Psalm 19