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

Category Archives: Direction

[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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Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

A flock of about fifty geese hunkered down on a football field was a very unusual sight for me, so to satisfy my curiosity, I asked my colleague why the birds just sat there, as if they were immobilized and motionless. He responded that due to the high winds in the atmosphere above our level, the geese knew to remain on the field until the storm had passed; otherwise they could be blown way off course; become separated from their travelling partners; or even lose their lives. With the long flight to southern parts, and the way in which geese depend on each other in the flight routine, one mistake could result in a lost goose, and one lost goose could bring an end to the team.

The support of the flock is as important to the one goose, as the support of one goose is important to the flock. Serving God in isolation may seem the answer sometimes, but is serving by one’s self God’s design for His children?

Sometimes we feel strong enough to make it on our own, but it is much easier to snap one twig than a whole bundle of twigs. As the Bible aptly puts it, a cord of three strands is not easily broken…. When we are all grounded it is easier to stay together and support each other, but the one who has no one to support and encourage may lose his way.

Our Father is able to keep us in and through every storm. He takes care of swallows, and geese and us, His children. If geese do not fly into a storm, why should we?

Inventory / Introspection  Have I taken care to hunker down and hide under His wings when He shows me warning signs of storms ahead?  

Personal Application: My loving Father is able to keep me through the storms of life, but He also calls me to safety in Him.

Dear Father, we are grateful for your protection. You equip geese with what they need to ride out a storm, and wait until it is safe to fly. In the same way, we have the Comforter to lead and guide us if we choose to listen and obey. Help us to be on the watch for the warning signs You give us, and to be careful to walk where You lead.  When it’s time to hide under Your wings, may we run to You without hesitation. When it is time to soar, may we rise with the wind of the Holy Spirit.

I am told that when geese fly, they rotate the leadership position when the leader gets tired.  Geese know that the roles they play are not constant throughout the journey. Help us to remember that. Sometimes we will lead, other times we will follow, but we support and encourage each other to the glory of your name.

Storms and changes will come, but you remain steadfast and certain. Geese know not to fly into a storm… may we never knowingly run into danger either.

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.  


…“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,  and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,  and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.

… 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.  Hebrews 12: 5 (excerpt)-11

 Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding. Proverbs 15:32

The difference between discipline, correction and punishment may not always be apparent, so many times when the opportunities for discipline and correction presented themselves, we may, out of fear, run in the other direction, intent at not suffering one more blow. Our Father’s discipline is different. When God disciplines His children, it is so that we can become better and develop into what He wants us to become. His hand toward us is a hand of love, even if we endure pain while going through the process.

Paul wrote that he had learned be content in whichever state he finds himself. I don’t know many like Paul, but when we rely on God to take us what we need to go through, we will find our discipline journey to be much more bearable than when we face correction because of our own unwise choices.

As believers, there will be times when we don’t want to take the path He lays out, but it is important for us to bear the following in mind:

·         Discipline is a part of our growth process

·         If we are not disciplined, we are not legitimate children

·         Discipline is unpleasant, but yields righteousness and peace

·         Correction brings understanding

Discipline in the life of the believer is inevitable. We have to face it if we choose to walk with Him.

Inventory/Introspection: Inventory/Introspection: What is my genuine response to God’s discipline?

Personal Application:   If I disregard discipline, I despise myself, but if I heed correction, I gain understanding. (Proverbs 15:32)

Father, I do not always look forward to, nor do I enjoy discipline. If I could survive without discipline, I would likely take that option, but I know this is not your design for my life.   

I am thankful that Your discipline is bound up in love, and that Your actions towards me are to help me to live the life that will glorify You. As painful as my life experiences may be, You are aware of all that concerns me, and You have my best interest at heart.

I have not yet learned how to be content in any situation, but I know that I can get there with Your love. Help me to view my life from the lens of a loving Father Who only wants what is best for His children. Help me to understand that by allowing You to mold and break and shape me, I am moving closer to experiencing what it feels like to be totally sold out to You.

I will trust You to lead me in the path that will bring “a harvest of righteousness and peace.

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.  .

 


You have searched me, Lord, and you know me… Psalm 139:1

I was somewhat disappointed when a large glass bottle fell to the floor and broke into pieces in the middle of a project. I was already strapped for time and this would only slow me down, but I picked up the larger pieces, swept the floor, and went back to my project. Unfortunately, I missed a tiny sliver and later spent more valuable time extracting it from my foot. Had I taken the time to carefully sweep and re-sweep the floor, I may  have found the splinter, but in my haste to get back to what was urgent, I cut corners and ended up paying the price.

The tiny little piece of broken glass was barely visible to the naked eye, but it brought the entire body to a screeching halt once it pierced my skin.  Sin is sin is sin… ‘big’ or ‘little’ all sin is sin, and any un-confessed trespasses can interfere with the believer’s walk.  The bigger pieces of glass were easier to see, so I had no trouble disposing of those, but the tinier pieces needed additional lighting and greater patience to remove them all.

For some of us, it’s easier to confess the ‘bigger’ things, especially when others are aware of them, but we should take care to constantly seek God’s cleansing, as ‘all the things that are done in secret will be brought to light.”  As human beings, we don’t have the capacity to forgive sins, but the Holy Spirit will alert us when we have crossed the line. It is a good thing to ask the Lord to search our hearts and cleanse us fully of any wrongdoings, so that we can be free to do what He wants us to do, instead of carrying on in our own strength and suddenly be brought to our knees by the ‘little sin’ that we forgot to ask Him to take care of.

The little piece of glass was hidden from my sight, but nothing is hidden from our Father. He will see what is inside our hearts whether or not we ask Him to look. After, all, He has searched us, and He knows us!

Inventory/Introspection: What are the ‘little things’ that I need to ask God to work out of me?

Personal Application:   “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9

Father, we are thankful for forgiveness and the ministry of reconciliation. We make mistakes more often than we admit, but it is wonderful that we can trust You to heal the big cracks and the little splinters!

Today we ask that the Light of the world would search through all the dark places, and help us to be upfront and honest with the things You reveal to us. Some ‘splinters’ have been there a while, and every now and then the pain reminds us to take care of them, but we ignore them and move on. May we be honest to You today and allow You to do a full sweep, removing anything that does not glorify Your name.

We release all those who have caused us pain, and we are asking You to help us not to cause pain to anyone.

May we run straight to You the next time we fall, trusting You to perfectly clean everywhere, even when we feel we have done a good job of taking care of the source of our pain.

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.  .


But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I will come forth as gold. Job 23:8-10

A little boy was quite unhappy at getting his hair cut, and he cried uncontrollably as the barber tried to complete the task. The crying eventually subsided when the father of the child decided to sit in the barber’s chair and hold the little one in his arms, soothing him as the barber worked.

In looking at the child resting comfortably on his father as he went through the uncomfortable process, I thought of how our Father carries us as we go through our difficult or uncomfortable situations. Just as the little boy’s haircut was necessary for good grooming, some of the fires we go through are necessary for us to grow and develop in Christ.

In the passage above, Job was responding to his friend Eliphaz the Temanite, after Eliphaz attempted to determine why Job was suffering. Job knew he had done nothing wrong, but unlike the little boy in his father’s arms, Job did not see God and felt like he was on his own. Still, he was determined to go through whatever God needed to take him through. At the end of the story, Job gets an understanding of who God is, and the fact that He can do whatever He pleases, and nothing can thwart His plans. After Job had endured his trials, God restored him and poured out multiple blessings on him (Job 42).

The circle of our Father’s embrace is a very safe place for us to be. Like Job, we may have to walk through valleys we don’t understand, but it is important to know that even though the trying of our faith develops perseverance (James 1:3), our Father will never leave us on our own! 

Inventory/Introspection: Do I allow my Father to hold and comfort me in the difficult times?  

Personal Application:   I will trust God, even when I cannot see what lies ahead.

Father, we are thankful that Your hand extends to the farthest depths and the highest heights, and that it doesn’t matter where we go, we are never so far that Your love and grace cannot reach us.

The little boy in the barber’s chair was able to go through the experience because his father’s arms were holding him. Those who witnessed what happened marveled at how the love and comforting words of a father brought peace to the troubled child. As Your children, we shout ‘Hallelujah!’, knowing that You care for us much more than anyone else ever could. Job felt abandoned, but he refused to give up on You. We know that some journeys in our lives are not what we desired, but like Job, we are certain that although we may not see You when we look around us, we know that we will come through “as pure gold” after You have finished testing us.

Teach us how to relax and allow You to embrace and comfort us as we encounter the unfamiliar.

We are thankful for the way You love and care for us. May we learn to love and care for others like You do..

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.


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.


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:1-2

Children are taught that square pegs do not fit into round holes, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. Some have managed to fit the pegs into the holes, but not without significant damage to said pegs and holes.

As children of God, we do know that we are called to live a life of holiness, but sometimes we find ourselves making adjustments as we try to fit into situations that were not meant to accommodate us. Sometimes the adjustments may be blatant and obvious, at other times they are subtly deceptive and we may find we keep moving the boundary lines inch by inch, until we are miles away from where we need to be. The people we hang out with, the books we read, the music we listen to, the television programs and movies we watch, and the policies and platforms we vote for should reflect the Christ within us.

Christians are not called to a life of popularity. We are called to follow Christ. Our primary goal should be to live the life that pleases Christ, even if it does not sit well with the crowd. In James 4, we see that friendship with the world makes us God’s enemies. If we choose not to stand for “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable … excellent or praiseworthy”  (Philipians 4:8),  we might find ourselves nursing wounds that come from trying to fit into what He has called us to separate ourselves from.

Inventory/Introspection: What are the little things that could cause me to subconsciously or unconsciously move His boundary markers?

Personal Application: Standing up for Christ means that sometimes I will stand out. It can feel like a lonely place, but I have His assurance that He is with me and that He will never leave me. When I stand up for Christ, I am never standing alone.

Father, we are thankful for Your Word and the guidelines You lay out for us to follow for our own good. You love us so much that You have prepared a way for us to live eternally in You. (John 3:16) 

The consumer nature of our present world makes it easy for us to access ‘things’. Some are beneficial and good for us, others can lead to sin in our lives. Help us to be aware of the little things that can become issues later on. Your Word shows that a little yeast affects the whole dough. (Galatians 5:9) A little compromise can affect our own Christian walk, and when we are weak, we can also put our brothers and sisters in Christ at risk by introducing them to practices and possessions that can cause them to grow weaker in their faith.

Help us to walk as Christians, even if we become like square pegs that cannot fit into the world’s expectations of us. We have no desire to be battered and beaten up, so help us to remain true to the ‘shape’ that we are supposed to be. We have no reason to find friendship with the World. We are Yours, and we are thankful for Your unfailing love.

May we never forget who we are as we go about our daily lives. May Christ be our focus whether we are simply choosing a book to read, or electing a leader. We do not need to cut corners or seek favours from man in order to be successful in Your eyes. We have no reason to compromise if we trust You to take care of whatever concerns us, be they large, small or in-between.

We choose to be non-conformists as far as following this world is concerned. We will follow only 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.