Give it to God!

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Philippians 4:6-8 NLT

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There is a Place

There is a place of safety, refuge, peace, wholeness, wellness, healing, grace, mercy, understanding, forgiveness, guidance, renewal, faithfulness, kindness, hope and love. That place is in the overwhelming precious love of Jesus Christ. I dare you to come and not just visit, but stay and rest.

What’s Your Story?

Everything and everyone has a story. Look at this tree for instance. I am sure that it stood tall and stately once upon a time. How did it get to this point? Perhaps it was planted by a grandfather and his grandson on a beautiful piece of land upstream of the mighty Mississippi River. Through many seasons it grew and flourished. Once upon a time squirrels played in its branches, birds built their homes and cared for their little ones in the shade of the leaves and worms crawled beneath the maze of roots. The tree stood tall and strong. It even held a tire swing or two and adored the playful climb of little boys among its limbs. However, days eventually turned into weeks, weeks turned into months and months turned into years.

A little neglect along the way weakened the tree’s ability to remain tall and strong. Finally a strong wind and much rain unearthed the roots of the mighty tree and it came tumbling down with a thunderous crack. Many of the branches shattered but the whole of the tree looked unscathed. But the truth is that the roots were no longer grounded. The foundation that once firmly held the tree had given way and the tree lost its balance and fell into the mighty Mississippi River. The river carried the tree many miles from home and this is where it came to rest. Broken, lonely, and in need a attention. End of story.

Well, maybe not. This tree’s story does not have to end here. If the right person comes along, they can see the beauty of the tree even in this state. A lovely piece of furniture, firewood for a family, or even a momentary place of rest for the weary soul. The point is everything and everyone has a story, but what really matters is how the story ends. What’s your story?

tree3     teresa2

 

Proactive, Reactive, Inactive

Last night in my city another gun shot rang out and the all too familiar sound of sirens penetrated the air, undoubtedly another shooting death. The homicides thus far almost outnumber the days of 2016. I don’t understand the lack of humanity that seems to be an increasing plague this season. Though I lack the comprehension, I frankly would rather not wrap my mind around the sense of it because I realize that it is senseless.

What can I do? Well, I can have one of three reactions. I can choose to be proactive, reactive or inactive.

Of course inactive means that I do absolutely nothing. It could very well mean staying in my house, ignoring the chaos around me and wishing it would go away.  This option accomplishes zilch and imprisons me within the confines of my small space physically and mentally. I refuse to be inactive.

Perhaps being reactive is the better reaction or is it? If I am reactive, I am responding to a problem or situation. I would basically react to occurrences after the fact rather than doing something in advance to perhaps aid in the prevention. The only thing with this option is that I might have the reaction of Peter in the Bible when calamity struck close to home. Peter, Jesus’ disciple, was sure that he would stand up for his Lord and Savior and he did try to the best of his ability. When Jesus was arrested Peter’s reaction was to use his sword and he cut off a man’s ear. Why, because he was being reactive. He reacted to the impending situation out of anger. But, this accomplished nothing as well. Violence was not the proper response even though the situation was hostile. When hostility and violence is prevalent around me and even very close to home my reactive response could very well escalate the problem. I choose not to be reactive.

One option remains. Maybe being proactive is the best reaction. Being proactive will allow me to exercise control over a situation by being prepared. It seems I am living in a city that has taken on attributes of the Wild Wild West. I am not fearful, I am aware. I am not overly anxious, I am cautious. I am not naïve; I am discerning the time and using wisdom. I will love despite the hate, I will help others despite the lack of compassion, I will teach despite the lack of desire to learn, I will be a good neighbor. The Bible puts it best; we should treat others the way we want to be treated. I want to see a change in my city. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” The change will start with me. I choose to be proactive.

Praying for my city,

Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.      Proverbs 127:1

God’s Goodness

Have you ever taken the time to reminisce about the absolute goodness and love of God? His goodness is so complete and His love encompasses every area of our lives. Even though I realize how good God is and how much He loves me, I embrace little reminders every now and again of the whole of His goodness and love and just how far it extends. A few years ago I watched and listened to two little girls confidently sing along with one of their favorite songs on the radio while in the car on their way to the grocery store with me.

It did not matter that at times one or both of them were a little off key, mispronounced many of the words, and were sometimes way too loud, they just kept on singing. My heart almost melted as I thought, wow, this is the third generation of my family giving God praise. As they continued to sing almost every song that played, I quietly thanked God in my heart for his goodness and love.

I recalled when my dad did not know Jesus Christ as his personal savior.  He never hindered my mom from making sure that his children were taught and reared in the knowledge of Christ. Her diligence and faithfulness to God has yielded a harvest of ripe fruit. Today, I know and love Jesus Christ as my personal savior along with my dad, my siblings and our spouses. Now, our children are following in our footsteps as we follow Christ. God is good and his love is everlasting.  His goodness and love embraces my whole family, I am truly blessed.  The two little girls were my nieces. When we have the opportunity to spend time together we turn up the radio in the car and we sing, sing, and sing. When they were younger, in their own mispronounced words, “God has skoken, let the church say Amen.”

Drenching Rain

“Rain, rain, go away come back again another day”, these are the lyrics to a nursery rhyme that I remember singing as a child. The tune came to mind as another day filled with rain marked my calendar. Today is Friday and it has been raining constantly since Tuesday. Gray cloudy days filled with rain beckons the body to snuggle up with a cozy blanket, a good book or movie, and of course a snack or two. If not careful, it can almost lull a person into a somber mood. Needless to say, I am somewhat tired of the rain. However, something happened as I watched a favored spot in my yard being drenched by the rain, I noticed the bright green grass sprouting from underneath mounds of many dead fallen leaves of autumn.

Spring is on the horizon and the rain was making it burst forth from dormancy. Job 5:10 says He gives rain on the earth, And sends waters on the fields. But why so much rain? Well, according to James 5:7b the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. So, there is a harvest after the rain. The drenching rain is awakening life buried beneath the surface. This is much like what God desires to do for us. Perhaps we have been dormant and our spirit needs to be awakened and revived to spring forth a harvest. I could stand a good drenching in God’s presence. After all, He is the one who sends the rain. Elijah prayed and heaven gave rain and the earth produced its fruit. It’s time to produce some fruit.

Pray and ask God for a drenching rain that will allow you to soak in His presence. That’s what I am going to do. “Rain, rain, don’t go away, my soul needs drenching along this way.”

Gracefully His,

Teresa Ann

To Mirror Christ

As a creation of the creator and a child of the King,

You should see His reflection in your very being.

When you look in the mirror, tell me what do you see?

Is the reflection a mere shadow that changes constantly?

Has the view been distorted?

Is the image unclear?

What is blocking the reflection every time you come near?

Is your fingerprint causing the smear?

A mirror reflects exactly what is seen.

Yet the view can be obscured if the mirror is not clean.

Blemishes must be removed and your fingerprints wiped away.

So God’s fingerprint can form on whom He did create.

The reflection will then reveal the true likeness in its sight.

Your mirror should reflect the image of Christ.

Fall Creek Falls

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I must admit that it can be a little intimidating going deep into the hills of Tennessee alone without the company of familiar faces, even as a couple. However, I realize that my Father is with me wherever I go and he has given His angels charge over me. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed this state park. So much so that we will take our grown folks back for some solitude before God at the base of the falls and family time. This is definitely the place to pack a lunch and spend some time meditating on God and his wondrous works.
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The Hanging Bridge
My husband didn’t appreciate it as much as I did. I figured I was trusting in God, not the bridge.
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Fall Creek Falls is 256′. It is one of the highest falls in the Eastern United States. It actually takes .4 miles to get to the base of the falls, but don’t forget that it takes .4 miles to get back to the top. The cool temperature, the mist from the falls, and the beautiful view of the cascading waters makes it well worth the trip. 

Contemplation

Well here goes. I have finally reached the point of NO MORE contemplation. I have this plan or great idea and that is about the size of it. In most cases it is written out, somewhat researched and ready to launch and then I give myself a reality check. Or rather a, well, what if check. I am done with the what ifs. I know what I have to do, so here goes. Whew, I feel much better or do I.

Okay, enough already. What’s with contemplation? I will tell you that is has its place. Contemplation is of course to give thoughtful inspection or study and also an expectation. However, at some point we have to go beyond the inspection, the study, and the expectation and move forward into the revelation or manifestation of our contemplation. Otherwise our contemplation can lead to procrastination and ultimately no destination. Wow, that can be a quote if I do say so myself. Really, the fact is we all find ourselves stuck in the same cycle sometimes.  I have places to go, things to do beyond contemplation. It is my time for manifestation. Let’s journey forward.