Encouraging, uplifting , positive thoughts rooted in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Category Archives: Blessings

[Personal note:  Thank you for your patience over the last few months.  I resolved not to blog out of ‘duty’ and lately I had to give myself permission to miss posting without feeling guilty.   God bless you as you read. May you experience showers of blessings today! ]

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish,  so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,  so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  Isaiah 55:9-11

While driving one day, I noticed what appeared to be dust coming rapidly towards me.  I contemplated pulling over, but before I could make a decision, my thoughts were shattered by the sound of heavy raindrops on the roof of the car.  At that point, I realized I had to pull over as visibility was now  very low,  but in a matter of seconds I had driven through the sheet of rain, and was now on the other side with not so much as a drop of water on the road surface!

In relating my puzzling experience to a friend, it occurred to me how much this situation represents what often happens in our lives. We often come across intense situations that take us by surprise, but soon they are over and we walk on to new experiences.  Sometimes the deluge is painful and hard to bear, but at other times, we partake in intense showers of blessings that we wish would last forever.  As we endure the showers for gain or pain, we are often so caught up in the moment that we are not always aware of how quickly these showers pass, yet the showers will not end until their purpose is achieved.

Thunderstorms are said to occur when the air gets very hot, or very cold. The showers appear at times to be inconvenient, but they serve the purpose of stabilizing the atmosphere.  God’s thoughts are higher than ours. We may not always understand the reason behind the sudden changes around us, but we can rest in the knowledge that no experience is wasted, and that our times and seasons are still in His hands.

Inventory/Introspection:  Do I find it easy to depend on God to walk me through the sudden downpours?

Personal Application:  I may not always know whether joy or pain await me, but I have the assurance that times and seasons are in my Father’s hands, and that He will be with me each step of the way.

Father, we are grateful that Your plans are perfect! Rain is necessary for growth and life, but too much or too little rain can have devastating effects.  Help us to be mindful of the times and seasons, and to trust that You have our best interest at heart whether You send showers of rain or allow intervals of pain. We trust Your hand.

Your Word says we should give thanks for everything  (Ephesians 5:15-20). We are thankful for the times when the storms pass quickly, and we barely catch a glimpse of them in our rear-view mirrors. We are also thankful for the times when You cause the storms to linger a while, because we know You are with us, and You will never leave us to walk alone. We trust Your guidance.

Help us to see You in our circumstances and to live knowing that You are more than able to see us through whatever we come across.  As You make the changes necessary to stabilize our situations, may we be quick to surrender our will to You and to give You the glory and praise, regardless. We trust Your love.

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R  (c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 

 

 

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1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. ..

18 – 22 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said:  “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.

In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.   Job 1 -22

Job is often cited when we face difficult situations. The Bible says “Job was blameless and upright”, yet Job lived through one of  the most painful experiences as recorded in the Bible.  Losing his children was the last in a series of disasters, yet the Bible records that Job’s response was to worship!  Despite  all he endured, Job maintained that his “Redeemer lives”, and he lived in expectation that God would deliver him.

When we are in the midst of joy and prosperity, it is easy to sing “Blessed be Your name.”  In the midst of our awful trials and life-altering testings, we don’t always want to hear that “God is in control”, or ‘God knows best”, and that we should give thanks in and for everything.  Our natural inclination is often to go with our feelings, instead of willing ourselves to look at our situation from God’s perspective …

It is often easier for us to believe for others than it is to believe for ourselves. Perhaps today you are in a low place and you need someone to believe for you. Perhaps you are on the mountaintop and celebrating what God has done in your life. Wherever we are today, our awesome, amazing God is standing right beside us.  May we never forget this when life changes come, and may we always remember “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

Inventory/Introspection: How can my daily living demonstrate my belief that  “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” ?

Personal Application:  I will trust God with my circumstances, believing that “blessed be the name of the Lord” can become my automatic response in any situation.

Father, You are all we need – even though we don’t always know it! We are thankful that nothing in our lives is an accident or a mistake, and that we never come across anything that You are not aware of! Blessed be Your name!

Life sometimes goes in a direction we did not anticipate, and often we don’t understand where we need to go, but we are thankful that we can place our lives in Your hands, knowing that You have it all under control. Blessed be Your name!

Job  rested in the knowledge  that nothing gets by You. May we know and understand that You are the same God that visited Job , and the comfort that You gave to Him is available to us. We will rest in Your peace.  Blessed be Your name!!

It is so much easier to praise You when life is great and plans are unfolding as we desire.  At other times, not so much… Today we stand alongside those who have lost and are in pain, and we celebrate the good that You have done in their lives. We are thankful that whatever You do is done in love, and we do declare “ Blessed be Your name!!

 

Amen

Blessings,

ann

 

Toni R

(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 

 

 


You turned my wailing into dancing;
    you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
    Lord my God, I will praise you forever. (Psalm 30:11-12. NIV)

Three years ago, today, my sisters pushed me to start a blog…  

Today also marks the completion of my most recent academic journey.

There is much that could be said, but for now, I just want to thank you for having walked thus far with me; and to give all glory, honour and praise to the Most High! To God alone be all the glory.

Blessings

ann

 


1 Kings 17:7-14 – Oil and flour miracle (Elijah)

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family.

2 Kings 4:1-7 – Oil miracle (Elisha)

3-4 “Here’s what you do,” said Elisha. “Go up and down the street and borrow jugs and bowls from all your neighbors. And not just a few—all you can get. Then come home and lock the door behind you, you and your sons. Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”

 5-6 She did what he said. She locked the door behind her and her sons; as they brought the containers to her, she filled them. When all the jugs and bowls were full, she said to one of her sons, “Another jug, please.”     He said, “That’s it. There are no more jugs.”     Then the oil stopped.

In 1 Kings 17, God worked through Elijah to bring blessing to the home in which he had been fed. The widow had been making preparations for her last meal when she met Elijah. At his request, she used the last of her oil and flour to make bread for the prophet, and God rewarded her by providing her with enough oil and flour to last her throughout the drought. God fulfilled His promised as “…the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.” (v. 16) – We can conclude that the oil and flour did not stop flowing until after God sent rain.

A similar but slightly different miracle took place in 2 Kings 4:1-7. This widow had nothing but ‘a little oil’, and no way to pay her debt to one who wanted to take her children as slaves in lieu of the debt. When she sought Elisha’s help, he told her to borrow all the containers she could find.  She was about to see how God would miraculously stretch the little oil that she had. Her instructions were to “Pour oil into each container; when each is full, set it aside.”  The woman kept pouring, because as long as she had containers, the oil flowed. She was able to fill up every vessel.  The oil only stopped flowing after she ran out of jars!

In the first story, the oil and flour stopped running when the rain came. That was a God-act. In the second, story, the oil stopped flowing only after the woman ran out of jars. While God is not at all limited in what He can do, He chose to allow the oil to flow as long as the widow had somewhere to store it. His blessings and goodness are infinite. It is impossible for us to contain all He is able to provide for us, but we can place ourselves in positions where He can fill us over and over again.

In both cases, the women were asked to do what defies logic, but they obeyed anyway. God could have carried out both miracles without input from either widow, but He chose to involve them in the process. There may be times when we seek His help, and He may ask us to step out in faith and do something to ‘help our miracle along.’ Trusting His words mean we will do what He says, even when it doesn’t make sense to our natural minds.

Inventory/Introspection: What resources do I need to pour out so that God can miraculously replenish?

Personal Application: Some of His instructions seem easier to follow than others, but I can choose to walk in obedience and trust, knowing that He is giving me an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than I am.

Father, we are thankful that You can use the little that we have to do what seems impossible.

The widows found themselves in need, but you used the ‘hardly anything’ that they had to bring them their miracles. Sometimes you ask us what’s in our hands, like you did with Moses in Exodus 4:2. At other times, You work with what we bring to You, as you did with Gideon (Judges 6). You are “the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.” (Romans 4:17), and we know You don’t need us to perform miracles, but we are thankful that You choose to involve us. Help us to trust You even if we don’t see the blueprint.

In Genesis 22, we see that Abraham was willing to give back to You the miracle You gave to Him, and Noah built an ark because You told him to – even though he had probably never seen rain (Genesis 2) … May our obedience be no less as You call us to experience greatness in You.

Amen.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Except where indicated, Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. Psalm 46:1-3

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.     “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.  St Matthew 7:7-12

A recent visit to a once familiar place didn’t go as well as I thought it would have. So many changes had taken place in recent times, I wasn’t sure where to go. I felt overwhelmed and nervous. People were passing by and I knew I needed direction, but for some reason I didn’t open my mouth and seek help. In that moment, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart. Getting help would be easy but it seemed I had chosen to drown with my lifelines instead of reaching out for help! I whispered a prayer for boldness, took a step forward and “made my petition known”. The response was clear and specific and in no time, I was standing in front of the door I needed.  The lifelines had been sitting there waiting for me to access them but I didn’t use them until I was at the end of my rope.

This whole experience made me think of my walk with Him.  There are days I just don’t feel like going one step further.  Everything seems pitted against me and try as I might, I can’t seem to climb over the mountain.  Instead of asking Him for strength to climb over or seeking Him for direction in getting past it or knocking on His door for help, I push and shove and puff and blow and scream and yell but the mountain remains as steadfast and sure as the lifelines I choose not to use.

For the next couple of years I will be in this environment.  Room assignments will change.  I will have to work with various personalities.  I will have to make decisions with consequences that take me outside my comfort zone.  While drowning, I can choose to keep my lifelines in tact ‘in case I need them’ or I can choose to seek help when I need it.

Today your walk of life may take you to a familiar place,  or it may take you to some unknown, unfamiliar experience.  Whatever the case, rest assured that His lifelines are available to all, they have no expiry date and there is no limit to the number of times they can be used.  The fact is, He already knows we will need help.  Nothing surprises Him.  He has given us the tools we need but sometimes we choose not to use them.  May I encourage you to utilize what He has given you?  There’s really no point in drowning and leaving your lifelines behind.

Inventory / Introspection: What have I been trying to resolve on my own instead of trusting Him to fix it even though I have failed at it (over and over again)? Why do I find it hard to seek His guidance for the things I think I have all figured out? What God-given blessing have I been hoarding when I ought to be sharing? … Lifelines are no good to one who has already drowned.

Father, I am thankful that You forgive over and over again but I do not take Your compassion for granted. You give simple directions yet I fail to even follow Your coaching to ask, seek and knock even though my methods clearly aren’t working! I have blundered many times but I am thankful for second chances. I am thankful that when I go wandering off on my own, you don’t leave me to my own devices but You firmly and lovingly guide me back to the right place.

I am thankful for the ability and the privilege to ‘ask, seek and knock’. Help me to be mindful of my need for help and to trust that You are able to send the right help at the right time.  I don’t know what I want, let alone what I need. Help me to fall back on You and those You’ve placed in my life to help me in my daily walk.  

I choose to ask direction, I choose to seek guidance and I choose to knock on the doors of opportunity that You place before me. Help me too, that as I seek to be led, that I would be willing to facilitate guidance, direction and opportunities to others in need.

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,  and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 1 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

Bagels and cream cheese were at the top of my shopping list. I was intent on catering to the request of a young house guest and happily  went off to purchase his breakfast items.  I wasn’t in the least prepared for what I saw in the bakery section.  There were bagels all right. Plain ones. Ones made of wheat flour. Ones with white flour. Others with potato flour. There were preservative-free ones. Ones that contained eggs – ones made with egg substitutes. ‘Raisined’. ‘Cinnamoned’. ‘Multi-grained’. Sliced. Whole. … The list goes on. I couldn’t decide what to buy so I went with my gut and bought plain ones even though the nutritional value seemed lowest.  As it turned out, my visitor was quite happy with my selection.

My bagel  buying experience made me think of Bibles  available to us in 2011. Way back then, I remember two versions  The King James and  the Good News. I liked reading the Good News because of the cartoon drawings.  I liked reading the KJV because I enjoyed Shakespearean writings.  I wasn’t reading for understanding and I certainly wasn’t reading for growth. The ‘nutritional’ value didn’t matter to me.

These days the choices are wider.  Hard copies. Online versions. Language Options. Illustrated.  Modern Language types.  Read-assist features.  Gender-directed.  Age- Specific. Journal formatted. Cross- reference features. With or without commentaries and concordances. Besides this, we have comparative Bibles, reference texts and expository writings…  We have more tools than ever to help us understand His blueprint for our lives, yet we don’t read as much as we ought to.  We barely seem to be able to find time to do the ‘needful’ each day, let alone to find time spend time in quiet communion with Him… For us, it’s a choice. We just don’t always admit it.

There are others who don’t read because they have nothing to read … they simply don’t have a Bible. They don’t have the luxury of choosing versions or editions or formats. They don’t care if the Bibles they receive are leather bound, large print or modern English.  They hunger for His truth. They believe the Word of God to be the Word of God and long for His word in print.  How do we respond?  A missionary who visited our church shared some statistics with us about new believers in faraway places and their need for Bibles. I can’t remember all he said,  but I remember the story of the village with only one Bible …

All believers need the Scriptures in order to “be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” How can we help get the Word out?

Inventory / Introspection: How many Bibles do I own? How often do I read each one?  Am I willing to use my resources in getting His Word to believers who don’t have the gift of choice?

Father, I am blessed beyond measure. I don’t always recognize Your blessings until it’s no longer with me but today I choose to thank You. I thank You that I live in a land where I can freely access online Bible reading and Bible study tools. I thank You that I can read Your words with my own eyes and that I can listen to electronic versions if I choose to.

I thank You that there are no censors or restrictions and that I can share Your words with those You’ve placed in my life. Your Holy Words are not for display purposes. Help me to be honest in my assessment of my resources and to respond to those who need to read Your words.

You do not contradict Yourself. I choose to listen to Your direction.  Amen

Blessings,
ann

Toni R
(c)

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

© Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s Blog, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Anthonette Anderson and Tonirand’s blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


I will bless the Lord at all times... Psalm 34:1b

Blessing the Lord does not always come easy.  It’s easier to map our praise and thanksgiving with our moods. If all is well, we gladly offer praise and thanksgiving. When we face obstacles, the sacrifice  tends to be harder to come  by. God knew the days we would have therefore  He has made provisions in His word.

Ecclesiastes 7:14
says “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, a man cannot discover anything about his future.” ( New International Version – NIV). My understanding of this verse is that God allows good things to happen but he also allows bad things to happen to us as well. We must depend on Him because we do not know what’s going to come next … if we did, we would not need Him!

Still, this does not make it easy for us to be thankful during dismal times. It’s hard to watch the family home go up in smoke or listen to a bad report from a doctor or watch a loved one suffer from the pain of bad choices. We often want to fix things and it’s easy to get angry when things don’t go the way we wanted them to. The word says we should “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thess 5:18 NIV. It also says we should  “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. – Eph 5:19-20 – NIV

Things may not go the way I want them to go but I have a choice. I can choose to bless the Lord, regardless or I can choose to look through human eyes and try to fix them myself. But I am human … it’s logical to want things the way I want them. It’s logical to call it quits when life goes against the course I planned. It’s easier to throw in the towel and call it a day but I choose to bless Him. I choose to trust Him. I choose to obey.

The place you now find yourself in may be the worst you could ever imagine. Hopelessness and despair may seem to be the only choices you have.   Please be reminded that  our God has already worked out the answer. No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it 1Cor 10:13 – NIV. As hard as it may seem, as long as you have life, you can choose.   Will you trust Him to deliver you today?

Father, thank You for your promises concerning my life. I realize things may not always go the way I want them to but I know that You are in control … regardless. I am not happy with all that is around me but I choose to believe that You are still in charge and that You do not make mistakes. Please teach me how to be thankful in all things, how to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” despite what goes on around me.
I thank You for Your unconditional love and for Your blessings towards me. I will bless You. I will praise You. I choose to trust You to walk with me through this!

Blessings,
Toni R

(c)