Cause and Effect

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The summer days went by so quickly. They are hailed to be the “hazy and lazy days” supposedly going by slowly and yet they are gone in a flash. We spent much time outside in the yard with my granddaughters.

Sophia, six years old, soon discovered small, moth like creatures flying in our yard which she referred to as butterflies. Being quick and light on her feet, she would stalk them and then cup them in her hands. Opening her hands, ever so slightly, she would proudly let us all peek in, then release them to chase again and again. Each time she visited, she would hunt for her butterfly friends.

Watching her chase after these moths has made me think …

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A moth or a butterfly come from a caterpillar. The caterpillar goes through an amazing process of change known as “metamorphosis”. A simple explanation of that process would be “the transformation from the immature to the mature” (thank you Wikipedia).

Perhaps it can also be known as “cause and effect.”

A “cause” is something which produces something new. It is the explanation of the change. Cause is also the producer of the change.

“Effect” is a change in something already existing. Effect is the result.

Our lives are nothing short of the process of metamorphosis …

Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed [the Greek word, metamorphoo, which we get our English word metamorphosis from] by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:2, NIV)

The New Testament Lexical Aids states that this verse could be translated like this:

“And quit being so concerned about keeping up with the fads and fashions of the present age; rather, concentrate on letting your character undergo a metamorphosis by the renewing of your mind.”

Cause and effect at work in our lives.

The cause, the Producer of the effect is God and Paul tells us exactly how the change takes place:

“But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect.” (1 Corinthians 15:10, NIV)

It is all because of God’s grace at work in our lives. His grace is not without results.

And the effect, the result, are lives which are changed, transformed to reflect more of Jesus.

Our lives are the result of cause and effect.

And it is all God’s grace.

 Today I am joining … Three Word Wed. and Tell His Story and Wedded Wed. and Wed. Prayer Girls and Works For Me and Wholehearted Wed. .

50 Women Every Christian Should Know

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Women. We come in all shapes and sizes, every age from young to old. All of us are so very different, none ever the same.

For that very reason, we have much to learn from one another.

I am currently reading and loving, 50 Women Every Christian Should Know by Michelle DeRusha. As a woman, I am finding this book to be inspirational, increasing my desire to be more, and do more, in the days I have left on this earth.

We know “we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith” (as told in Hebrews 12:1). The crowd is so large it is impossible to have heard of each one. This book, 50 Women introduces us to those we have never heard of and perhaps will shed light on new facts on those we have known.

As I read, I found my faith challenged and growing as I learned of women who faced insurmountable situations, mistreatment, temptations, doubts and sometimes, death. Yet they held on, in hope, their faith in God unwavering. Each woman became a part of the Church today, laying a foundation for us to follow and build upon.

Here is a glimpse into a few lives:

  • Catherine Booth, Mother of the Salvation Army. She suffered from serious illnesses almost her entire life. Her health presented her with difficulties with being able to keep her full and busy schedule. “Don’t be concerned about your dying; only go on living well, and the dying will be all right.” (page 192)
  • Amanda Berry Smith, Preaching in the Face of Racism. She was a woman, uneducated and Black. But none of this kept her from pursuing her God-given calling of preaching. “No matter the offenses and hardships she personally suffered, Amanda Smith would never stoop to sully Christ by lowering his standard. Her prayer for all people – “Lord, help the people to see.” (page 212)
  • Corrie ten Boom, Under His Wings You Shall Trust. Corrie and her sister suffered for years in a concentration camp. They saw and experienced atrocities, and the suffering was relentless. Her sister, Betsie died in hospital ward, whispering the words, “We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us, Corrie, because we have been here.” (page 278) And she was right. Once released, Corrie lived out her days bringing God’s Word and hope wherever she went.

This book brought me down through the church ages, reminding me of the vital role we, as women, have in the world we live. I have come to develop such an admiration for Anne Hutchinson, Margaret Fell, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Hannah Whitall Smith, Amanda Berry Smith, Gladys Aylward, and Flannery O’Connor to name just a few.

In this well written book, Michelle DeRusha invites us into the lives of fifty women I will never forget. This book made me realize the lengths to which God esteems women, giving them a very distinct role in the telling of His story down through the ages. It will inspire each and every reader to find their role in His story as it is not yet completed. We truly have much to learn from these heroines of the faith. I guarantee you will find yourself challenged as you read about each of these fifty women.

You can find out more about this book here . Michelle is also doing a few giveaways which you absolutely do not want to miss. They are beautiful! Trust me!

50WomenIdaScudder1-545x817**While I was given a copy of this book to review, it was my delight to read and share. All opinions are fully my own.

Michelle has also graciously provided me with a copy to give to one of my readers. So let’s make this fun and interesting … What is a quality you most often admire in other women? Leave your answer in a comment. I will announce a winner, using random.org,on Monday, September 22nd. Trust me, you will want to read this book!

Today I am joining … Michelle DeRusha and Unite and Testimony Tues. and Titus 2 Tuesday and Teaching What Is Good and Tell Me A Story .

Boats & Treasure

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I have been noticing lately that Jesus spent much time around boats, in boats, on boats, and with fisherman.

“One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God. He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets. Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.” (Luke 5: 1-3, NLT)

Jesus notices two empty boats but only steps into one of them. He had to pick which one He was going to get into. And He selected Simon, also known as Peter.

And this got me to thinking about something …

Peter had experienced Jesus getting into his boat. Jesus joined Peter thus allowing Peter to experience the presence of Jesus in his boat, for himself. No one described what it was like. He knew firsthand. He knew what it was to have the companionship of Jesus in his boat, out at sea. On still waters. And probably at times, on stormy seas.

Peter was a fisherman by trade. Being out on his boat was a part of his ordinary, run of the mill day. And Jesus joined him there.

And Jesus joins each of us as well – right in the midst of our ordinary, mundane days.  He is there with us in the middle of our stresses and our smoothly running routines. He is present in the challenges in which we find ourselves. He is with us as we change diapers, do the carpools, help with homework, go food shopping and cook dinner. Or perhaps pick up the take-out. He is with us in the Dunkin’ drivethroughs, or Starbucks or McD’s. He is in our minivans, our sedans, and our SUV’s. He joins us in Bible Studies as well as in the doctor’s waiting room.

And here’s the thing … He chooses to join us each day, right in the smack middle of our days. No matter how they are going, good or bad. He’s there.

That day on the shore, Jesus picked Peter’s boat to get into, probably something Peter never forgot. Soon after, when he was out at sea in the middle of a storm, Peter noticed Jesus walking towards them on the water. Peter calls to Jesus, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.” (Matthew 14: 28, NLT) And Jesus replies, “Yes, come”.

“So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus.” (Matthew 14: 29, NLT)

See Peter had learned, whether in the boat or out of the boat, he would rather be with Jesus when the storms of life hit.

And so may it be for us. Jesus will be our stability when everything around us is stormy and shaky. He comes right where we are.

“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.”
(Isaiah 33:6, NIV)

 

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Each Morning

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O merciful, gracious God, Father of eternal light and comfort, whose goodness and faithfulness are fresh again each morning, we give you praise, honor, and thanks for the lovely daylight, and also for graciously protecting us during the night and granting us gentle sleep and rest. May we now arise in your grace and love, and under your care and protection, make gainful, joyful use of the daylight. Amen.

“Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:17, NLT)

(from Amish Prayers, compiled by Beverly Lewis, page 23)

 

Today I am joining …  Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Spiritual Sundays and Scripture & A Snapshot and Sunday Stillness .

Sometimes We Need A …

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Happy Saturday! It sure is a cool one this morning. Today I sit pecking the key with a blanket around me to keep me warm, waiting for the coffee to finish so I can drink something hot. My have the temps changed quickly! And here is what crossed my path this week for me to share:

1) Sometimes we need to remember … “It’s  not about me.” In this post, we read how a trip to the library can teach us about more than just books.

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2) Sometimes we need a photo and a prayer. In this post, both spoke to my heart as I was challenged, “Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.”

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3) Sometimes we need a photo and a song. In this post, I found the reminder … “We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives. It’s time for us to do more than just survive.”

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4) Sometimes we need a good reminder about mercy. There are times anger just feels good. Through this post, may we learn to pray, “Extend the mercy you long for.”

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5) And sometimes it’s good to look back. In this post, a mom does a Q & A with her younger self about the early years of motherhood … “What questions would she ask? How would I answer?” May this encourage every mom, no matter which stage you may find yourself.

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And there you have, five posts which blessed me this week. So grab some hot coffee and perhaps a warm blanket as well. Sit a bit and see what your heart needs to hear this morning.

Love,

Joanne

 

Today I am joining … The Weekend Brew and Saturday Recommendation and Faith Along the Way and The SITS Sharefest and Saturday Linky Love .

Ready

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I’m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. We all write on the same word.

Today’s word is ….

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I’m ready.

Funny how one word can finally string so many of my thoughts together. Up earlier than typical this morning, unable to sleep, I began thinking about my need for a rest. I’m tired beyond my usual.

It’s not just a physical tired. I’m tired mentally and emotionally.

I’ve been reading about Sabbath. Sabbath – the day God set aside or designed – for rest. To rest.

And I’m ready.

The word ‘ready’ immediately brought this verse to mind …

“They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always ready to share with others.” (1 Timothy 6:18, NLT)

Ready means “completely prepared or in fit condition for immediate action or use” (according to dictionary.com).

I am slowly coming to realize my deep need for Sabbath, for rest, even in my capability to cope with the responsibilities and demands of my week. For me to be ready, completely prepared, for my week then I must Sabbath. It is then, and only then, that I will be able to be generous with my time and serve others.

In “24/6″, Matthew Sleeth, MD beautifully puts it this way ….

Sabbath is meant to be a refuge, not a prison. It protects the needy, the displaced, and the powerless. People don’t save the Sabbath; it saves us. (page 58)

I’m ready for some saving.

I’m ready for Sabbath.

 

Today I am joining … Five Minute Friday and Everyday Jesus and Faith Filled Fri. and Friendship Fri. and Fellowship Fridays and Essential Friday and Equipping Godly Women .

Unquenchable Love

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So I open up my devotional and read …

“My love for you is unquenchable.” 

(from Jesus Lives, page 92)

 Hold onto that truth. Don’t let the enemy cause you to believe any of his lies. No matter what took place or is currently going on in life, God loves us deeply, without end. He never has stopped loving each one of us nor will He ever.

[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!  (Ephesians 3:19, AMP)

Life experiences will bring us to KNOW, really know, Him and His love for us. We will become persons, bodies whom are wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!

Now in case any of you were wondering how I know this is truth, here is how I remembered this morning ….

 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hands..,” (Isaiah 49:15-16).

See a mom never forgets to love her kid. Seriously. When a mom regards that life as much as her own, she can’t help but love that child totally and fiercely and unconditionally. And I realized that so deeply, and in such a practical way, when in total exhaustion (and so desiring a nap myself) Jocelyn was spewing all over the crib, the blankets and herself. As I was bending over, trying to get everything out of the crib before it was spewed on, the thought crossed my head that she was going to spew on my head. And in that split moment, as I pushed that disgusting fear out of my thoughts, my only concern was taking care of her. Because we don’t forget to tend to those we love. Their needs are always before ours.

God’s love is even more so than a mother’s love. His love towards us is absolute in its commitment to us. His love remains unquenchable.

He wants us to come to know Him through experience. Through the living out of all our days. Hold onto this truth as you move forward from this day. He will unfold His purposes and fulfill them in each of our lives.

 

Today I am joining … Thought Provoking Thurs. and Coffee for Your Heart and Thurs. Favorite Things and Hearts for Home .