Simplicity

Sometimes it’s the little things. So simple, so subtle—and we miss them.

Jesus holds me safe and close as I speak through Him, directly to my God, my Creator, asking and believing.

The Son of God, Jesus, said these things about what would begin to happen on the day he was resurrected and left to go to his Father—

“In that day you will ask Me nothing.

Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.

Until now you have asked nothing in My name.

Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.

In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you;

for the Father Himself loves you,

because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God.

I came forth from the Father and have come into the world. Again, I leave the world and go to the Father” (John 16:23-24, 26-28 NKJV).

So my heart remembers when I pray . . .
. . . that my prayer is to my Heavenly Father, God.
I speak to Him, believing, asking for whatever my needs are,
and asking in the name of Jesus,
knowing God will give me what I need.

And my joy is full.

A note written by the photographer about this wonderful photo that I found under the category of Joy.

Tim Shields calls his photo: Praise God

He writes: “This is the world famous sand dunes of Death Valley. And this is my 12-year-old daughter jumping with all the joy of life that she has within her. It was 6:45 AM and we had just watched the sun rise over the sand dunes. It was a magical moment to appreciate God’s creation together.”

Praying for your joy to be as effervescent as Tim’s daughter’s was that beautiful morning.

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Stuck

Unless the Lord builds the house . . .

Such trouble I’m having this week, finding a subject to write about.
A little stressed because of a very busy last week and the time crunch, but trusting, praying, asking for something to write.

I reach for the Bible to search for what God might show me.

The pages fall open to 1Chronicles 22:18-19, and my eyes and imagination are caught up with the words:

“Is not the LORD your God with you?
And has He not given you rest on every side?
Now set your heart and soul to seek the Lord your God.
Therefore arise and build the sanctuary of the Lord God . . .”

So what are we building, Lord?
A sanctuary, a sacred or holy place. A place of refuge.

We’re building a small sacred place, a place of refuge. A place to spend a few moments together in wonder over the Lord and His universe, His creation, His people, and much more. Setting the scenes every week through photos and word-stories to share God’s love with you. And hope you feel free to share your heart too.

I think of those who have generously written articles for me to post here on the blog.

Thoughts of the artisan/craftsman, Bezalel, light up my mind, and some of his story in Scripture.

“Then Moses called Bezalel and Aholiab, and every gifted artisan in whose heart the Lord had put wisdom, everyone whose heart was stirred, to come and do the work.” Exodus 36:2

And my mindset changes with a grin of realization that the Lord has just provided all I needed to share with you—

Whether you are a writer, a mom, a business owner, a caretaker, no matter what God has called you to do, if He has stirred your heart to do that work, He has put wisdom into you to accomplish it.

As Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Through Him, just as when Moses called Bezalel to make the tabernacle beautiful, we can do what we were called to do.

We’ve climbed a little mountain and looked up and found a crevice of sanctuary. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” Dr. Suess

So if you find yourself stuck for a solution, consult the Master problem-solver and his Manual! ☺

The Lord has joy and laughter—and mountain climbing—ready for you!

Have you been stuck lately?

 

 

Journey Into Joy

. . . so what is joy?

A feeling? an emotion? A sense that all is right with the world that we sometimes experience?

I think all of these.

But joy dives deep into our God-created being.

Joy reshapes expressions on faces. Joy flows from an artist’s brush, a vocalist’s solo. a musician’s instrument, or a little boy’s toy piano.

Joy makes your heart beat faster, sweeps you up into dancing, and hand-clappping and jumping for joy.

Joy fashions happy tears and frames itself in hugs that say “I love you too.” It’s in the tears that come while you’re reading or watching a scene so tender it literally squeezes those tears out of your heart of hearts.

Joy walks with you into a room to pray for another’s recovery, and though hundreds of others have prayed too, when he’s made whole again, just maybe you had a little part in God’s awesome answer.

Joy is laughter within a loving family with whom you simply revel in being near.

Joy is a good stretch after a sound night’s sleep.

Joy is bursting upward through the deepest of depths and finding God’s been with you through the entire scary trip.Joy is your best friend calling to sing Happy Birthday all the way through and wishing you the best year ever.

Joy is feeling better after you’ve felt so terrible.

Joy is walking a quiet trail with moss underfoot and wildflowers brushing your arms as you pass.

Joy is serving communion and seeing Jesus in the eyes of those who love Him.

Joy is stroking a service dog in training knowing one day she will lead instead of being led.

Joy is a long, unhurried hug from a three-year-old, her little arms around your neck and her sweet head nestled against your shoulder, that’s like no other hug, ever.Joy is knowing that you know you are beloved by your heavenly Father and are kept for everlasting life by Jesus and have a Helper, the Holy Spirit, forever.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace . . .” Galatians 3: 22

The dimensions and definitions of JOY are beyond number, but can you add a few more of your own?
I’d love for you to share them in a comment.


“Now may the God of hope fill you with all JOY and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Love,

Sally

All scripture verses are from The New King James Version of the Bible

Sometimes . . .

in the winds

of change

we find our

new direction.

I’m unsure who penned those words, but they seem to fit this first day of the New Year.

Do you have a new word, a new focus for this year?

My new word is JOY . . .

to walk through this year in JOY, discovering all its facets, trusting in the Lord for His will, His timing, His way.

♥ 

Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea and a path through the mighty waters, “Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19 NKJV).

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV).

Looking forward . . .

Are you?

Love,

Sally

 

 

The Innkeeper’s Son

“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:4-7 NKJV).

~Caesar Augustus requires the world to register, and Bethlehem, the City of David, is teeming with people who must comply by the deadline Augustus has set. Places for the registrants to stay are few and full.

One inn at the edge of town is no exception. Inside the overflowing structure, a precocious little boy lives with his parents, owners of the rustic inn. He senses much more within the crowd . . .

The Innkeeper’s Son

I am five and it is late
Noisy, crowded, at the gate.
Pushing at my father’s knee
He ignores my whispered plea.
“A Baby’s coming soon,” I said
Anxious urgent words I pled.
“Go to bed my little son
I have much that must be done.”

Mother’s sitting at the table,
I reach as high as I am able.
My hands encircle her sweet face
Her eyes are filled with love and grace
I draw her face down close to mine.
“A Baby’s coming—there is a sign.”
“It’s time for sleep my dear, good son
You’re tired and dreaming, little one.”

Joseph’s knocking at the door,
Mary cannot travel more.
“I’m sorry, sir, there is no room—”
But I am here with my small broom.
“Father I have cleaned the stable,
They can stay if they are able.
Never mind the ox and sheep,
They will sing the Babe to sleep.”

A star turns night back into day.
My father slowly leads the way.
Mary smiles and takes my hand,
Joseph bends to help her stand.
My mother stays there thru the night,
And lingers till the morning light
Then at dawn she looks toward me,
“Come here my son come here and see.”

Silently I near His bed.
“You may touch Him,” Mary said.
Doves are watching from the loft,
I smooth and hold His hand so soft.
He looks at me, and in His eyes
Shines light as bright as morning skies.
“Thank you, God, this Baby came,
And that Jesus is His name.”

Manger-Baby, Blessed One,
Gentle Shepherd, Precious Son,
May we on Your day of birth
Speak Good News throughout the earth.

Sally Chambers

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

God bless each of you, and have a joyous, Merry Christmas!

See you in January~

Love,

Sally

A First Christmas

I’m honored to have author, writer, speaker, and consultant, Sharon Brani as my guest. She relates the story of a day remembered, a day just prior to her trip to Russia which began an Unforgettable Christmas Journey.

Here’s Sharon in her own words . . .

It seems like yesterday since I first hung this decoration on my Christmas tree, but it’s been twenty-one years.

I remember the day so vividly.

My mom and I were busy shopping that day, buying cute little outfits for a six month old baby girl who waited in Russia to be adopted.

I had been notified three days earlier to buy my plane ticket to fly to Russia on December 19th.

My feet seemed to walk on air as we pushed the shopping cart around the store.

There was so much still to be done.

Buying gifts to take with me to Russia.

Diapers, bottles, blankets, and clothing for my soon-to-be adopted little baby girl.

Packing, paperwork.

Mom and I chuckled together as we loaded the cart with boxes and boxes of cigarettes (my brother insisted they’d come in handy as peace offerings), perfumes, and various other items.

As I walked around the baby department, my thoughts wandered back to the small photo I had been given of precious baby girl with big, brown, serious eyes.

Lord, she needs to smile.
She needs to know she is loved.
She needs to know about You.

Suddenly my eyes were drawn to a pink baby blanket on display.

I reached out and felt how incredibly soft it was and held it up for my mom to see.

We knew immediately that this was the blanket I would take with me to bring my little girl home.

And along with the blanket, I purchased a small Christmas ornament, Baby’s First Christmas.

I’ll never forget my excitement as we shopped that day.

The pink blanket was packed in my suitcase awaiting the special day,

and the ornament was hung on my tree in hope—

that one day soon, my baby girl would celebrate her first Christmas—at home.

Meet my friend and guest, the author of this beautiful story, Sharon Brani, and daughter, Noelle.

Sharon is a licensed professional counselor in the state of Virginia, a Board Certified Coach, an educator, published freelance writer, and speaker whose life is committed to helping people discover the way life is meant to be. She’s written over 300 articles, stories, and devotionals for a variety of inspirational publications, and has contributed stories to the Chicken Soup series.

Sharon is the mother of two amazing daughters whom she adopted from Russia. As a nurturer she is well equipped to coach parents at every stage of the adoption process.

Here is a link to Sharon’s website, Discover Life, her blog, Shining Moments, and a link to her brand new book,

The Unforgettable Christmas Journey. Sharon Brani's Book The Unforgettable Christmas Journey

Congratulations, Sharon, and thank you, it is a joy to have you share part of your wondrous Christmas Journey with us.

And here’s one more photo of Sharon and (check out that beautiful smile!) Noelle.

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 36:7).

We’re all on this path of life together. Our prayer is that the Lord will blanket you with the beauty of His peace and fill you with His joy this Christmas season.

Where do you hope your journey will take you this in this new year to come? Please share your comments with us.

Love and Merry Christmas!

Sally and Sharon

Silent Encounter

The glass door of Rhonda’s Travel Agency closes behind me. I squeeze the handle of my briefcase, feeling satisfied that I’d done a good job of explaining her new business owner’s insurance policy. I’m focused on getting back to the office, and my steps are staccato as I cross the sun-heated tarmac of the parking lot toward my car.

A tiny ripple of apprehension comes and goes as a young man approaches me. He’s probably in his late teens, has a beautiful smile, bushy hair, sparkling dark skin, and clear, sincere eyes. He looks harmless, but something hangs around his neck.

I look closer. A little sign reads: “I am deaf,” and something nearly illegible about contributing a dollar.

I smile at him and he stops, still looking at me with his beautiful smile as I move to pass him by—an encounter that could have been—ignored.

He’d held up his sign. Had that been a flicker of hope I’d seen in his eyes?

I didn’t turn back. The moment of choice was gone. I’d chosen to pass by.

My office chair creaks. I stare down at my interview notes seeing a blur, and my heart is pinched with guilt and regret. Why had I walked by? He looked perfectly healthy . . . but I can’t know that.

My actions and justifying them play tennis in my head.

Why does this bug me so much? I could have given him some money, and I had the time. Do two seconds matter?

Other people must sometimes ignore someone asking for money like that young man did—don’t they?

You can’t give everyone everything!

I sit and think and replay and pray, but there is no do-over. I’d given him nothing but a smile and a prayer. Maybe that was enough. Maybe I did as I was supposed to do. Maybe not.

My thoughts aren’t quieted. The scene with Jesus’ disciples, Peter and John, walking toward the Temple to pray drops into my mind. They could have passed the lame man by. They didn’t, and because they didn’t just pass by, many people became believers in Jesus.

A busy day over, the house is finally silent. In my cozy chair beside the open window, a soft night-breeze delivers the scent of gardenias and ruffles the pages of the magazine I’m reading:

“When we are caught off guard with the least preparation, some of the greatest things can happen. It’s important at all times that we be ready to act in the name of Jesus. That is why we have been given the name of Jesus to use.

“. . . Interruptions don’t have to be annoyances that hinder, but can be opportunities that bring glory to Christ and miracles to man.”

I lay Daily Blessing with its profound message, on my lap. I shouldn’t be amazed by happening to read this devotion after the “event” this morning—but I am.

There will be more of God’s children with needs. I’ll have more choices to make.

Learning sign language

I pray there’s a difference in my awareness of people and their needs—and through the power of the Holy Spirit—in the precious name of Jesus, I won’t pass by again without reaching out and loving them in the way you show me, Lord. Everything I have is yours, to use to your glory. Help me always to be aware and ready, to be prepared to share with your children. Pour your love through me.

Sally working late

Have you ever passed by someone in need and regretted your choice not to stop?

Love,

Sally

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.” So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.” (Exodus 4:10-12)

Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD,
and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:3-6)

Read about Peter and John in Acts 3:1-10, 4:4

All scripture is from The New King James Version of the Holy Bible