Treasures that Make Us Shout and Sing for Joy!

I could not contain my delight when my beautiful friend Amanda Wood said “yes!” to sharing this spectacular, once-in-a-lifetime rainbow photo she took in Jasper. Wanted so badly to show the whole world the most breath-taking vision of God’s creation I have have ever laid eyes on.

Genesis 9:12-13

The beautiful rainbow.  Glorious mountains. Tranquil water. Trees and plants dancing with the breeze. Skies outstretched from end to end. All too marvelous for words. Every inch speaks of God’s love and handiwork and echoes His presence in every corner of my heart and soul.  I was totally awestruck with an overwhelming desire to fall on my knees and praise the maker of the universe for this, His extravagant gift! I couldn’t stop gazing at the picture and thanking Him. For what my eyes are beholding and for the wonderful woman who captured the moment and shared it.  Treasures God created. Treasures I cherish. Treasures that make us shout and sing for joy… like this:

Psalm 65:5-13 – By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance, O God of our salvation; you are the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas. By your strength you established the mountains; you are girded with might. You silence the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs; you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy. You visit the earth and water it, you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water; you provide the people with grain, for so you have prepared it. You water its furrows abundantly, settling its ridges, softening it with showers, and blessing its growth. You crown the year with your bounty; your wagon tracks overflow with richness. The pastures of the wilderness overflow, the hills gird themselves with joy, the meadows clothe themselves with flocks, the valleys deck themselves with grain, they shout and sing together for joy.

Another one of God’s awesome creations is precious, beautiful, wonderful YOU! “Because,” as Holley Gerth reminds us in her You’re Celebrated Today – Just Because message “you were created by a God who is a master of design!”  For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

 

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Yes, You Can Do Hard Things

I originally published this post about doing hard things in November 2012.  It continues to be viewed on a regular basis and every once in a while I wondered if this might be just the encouragement for the weekly Coffee for Your Heart link-up. I hesitated thinking it may not be spiritual enough. But when I felt the nudge today to go ahead, I decided to share this with you again. Because I believe you sure can do those hard things, with God’s help. He is known to specialize in the impossible and He can do mighty things through you.

With God all things are possible ~ Mathew 19:26

I always love seeing this plaque at MaRS Commons. The scantily layered brick wall looks like it could barely hold itself together, never mind the weight that’s hanging on it. The wood the quote is written on leaves the impression it’s been been through a battle or two with its ragged edges, scars, and scrapes. But the message is powerful and daily inspires the crazy entrepreneurs who are engaged in risk-y business, married to the scary place where they go out on a limb with a dream dangling in their pocket, hoping their idea to make life better will take flight. Perched on the edge, pouring out everything they’ve got into a lofty trek through uncharted territory is hard and terrifying. But worth it! At the end of the day, those hard things are what they climb upon to the next level whether it’s a lesson learned, a pivot in the right direction or success beyond the wildest imagination.

What rocks about doing hard things is that it automatically triggers a win-win situation. No matter how things turn out, we score at least two victories. First, we conquer the pesky dragon of the unknown breathing fire down our neck. Second, we wrestle fear to the ground and come out on top as the ultimate heavyweight champion in the “you can do hard things” rumble.

Most of the time, there’s joy and success tied to the hard things we do. Sometimes the dream evaporates, our hearts get broken, we take a beating. Either way, the person who looks back at us in the mirror can smile at the reflection of someone with courage and strength. Someone who does what’s right in the face of incredible cost, who will give someone who has hurt or disappointed you another chance, who steps out in faith and not give up when the dust of failure has settled all over your efforts in the past. Looking right back at you is someone who dares to learn something new and stretch beyond what’s comfortable and easy, someone willing to risk looking foolish when the voice in your heart wins over the roar of the crowd, someone who will make the sacrifice and give whatever it takes. And what’s more, what you may not realize, is that people were watching when you made that gutsy move and because you did something hard they were inspired to do hard things too.

The writing is on the wall.  You can do hard things. And that makes you a hero!

As you do those hard things you can also let go and give it to God who cares for you and will help you carry every inch of the hard stuff as Holley Gerth shares in her You Don’t Have to Carry So Much message. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holly Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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I Will Give You Rest

Doesn’t this picture of a group of pelicans so at home and comfortable in a boat that is clearly not theirs make you want to smile out loud? I can just imagine them hanging out together and resting a spell after a long day of fishing, eating and flying. Or maybe they’re just milling around waiting for the captain of the ship to arrive so the party can really begin. Them humans they do the most outrageous things… like tearing through water at blazing speeds and feeding wild birds who come to visit.

I will give you rest. - Matthew 11:28

Photo of Key West, Florida by the talented Mary Morganelli

This scene also brought to mind Jesus’s invitation to us. I pictured hearing Him from the middle of the boat. “Come to me” he says “and I will give you rest.”  Are you weary, tired, heart-broken, discouraged, frightened? Carrying burdens that are weighing you down? Me too sometimes. And you know what? I always feel refreshed when I talk to God and leave whatever is on my mind or troubling me at the foot of the cross. And in His hands.

We give Him our burdens. He gives us His rest.

Rest from worrying about being good enough, doing enough, having enough. Rest from trying to hold it all together while everything keeps unraveling. Rest from the guilt of mistakes made. Rest from picking at the wounds inflicted by others. Rest from doubts and fears. Rest from anger and tears. Rest that brings back joy and strength to carry on, fly above raging waters, and make others laugh and smile at our outrageous humanness.

Know what else is cool about pelicans? They fly in V-formation, where the updraft created by the upstroke of the bird in front buoys the flight of the one who follows. We do the same don’t we when we encourage and lift each other up.  Just like you’ll find in Holley Gerth’s Let Your Heart Rest: You are Enough post today. For more on that message hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

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We have an everlasting rock

Every time I look at this image it takes my breath away.  I’m left speechless, in awe of God’s majestic splendor. I had planned on writing about how we can trust God as our solid rock, lean on Him to hold us up when we’re shaken, protect us against stormy assault… and more. Much more. Lots of encouraging words I assure you. None compare to the power and beauty you see in God’s word and His creation below. So I’m letting this picture speak for itself and echo inside your heart.

Everlasting Rock Isaiah 26:4

Isn’t is something that the God who is behind forming that giant rock is the one who helps those trees grow… in the same space. That same creator of the universe is our firm foundation and cultivator of our growth.  As Holley Gerth shares in her post when we belong to Jesus we never stop growing. Inch by inch, day by day we become more like Him…and that’s beautiful. Very beautiful. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s  where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 

Photo Credit - The beautiful picture of Colorado is a gift from a friend who doesn’t seek public credit. But I sure can express my gratitude. Thank you with all my heart! 

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The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength

Are you laughing at this demonstration of sheer strength? :) Sometimes we get the FUNniest inspirations when we think about encouraging others don’t we? Yes, this is really me pulling that prison bar. And that smile…pure joy!

Joy of the Lord is your strength - Nehemiah 8:10

As you may suspect, I’m not actually behind bars and the smile was for my sister taking the picture while having some serious fun at Universal Studios. But the joy of the Lord does break us out of our prisons. It is what gives us strength to pry open hearts locked into guilt, pride, anger, unforgiveness, regret, brokenness, pain, disappointments, struggles.

You can use your gifts to the full and do what is right and what’s hard when you know it pleases God. For the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Strength to rise up and help someone even when life’s knocked you down

Strength to forgive one more time, and then again and again

Strength to carry on and love like crazy when grief and loss are your shadowing companions

Strength to stick with the work when a thousand other things are pulling you away from the dream God has planted in your heart

Strength to be the one who says “I’m sorry”

Strength to say “yes” when it’s scary

Strength to say “no” when it’s wise

Strength to hold back words of criticism, gossip, snap judgement

Strength to speak up for what’s right
and for those whose voices are drowned out by injustice or unfortunate circumstances

Strength to get up and try again after tripping up, falling short, losing ground

Strength to receive and strength to let those who love you carry you as Holley Gerth shares in her post. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at  Holley Gerth’s  where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

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What was God Thinking?

It’s that time of year. Tears of joy stream as graduations and weddings start to fill our calendars. Love and friendship is in the air and it’s time to celebrate! A new dawn is on the horizon welcoming fresh beginnings and embracing the relationships that brought us here so far. With thanks to God for friends and family along the way and the special someone He created to be that one true love, here is a greeting card I designed for such a time as this. Hope it makes you smile as it calls to mind the people you’re grateful for.

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It’s a brave new world that awaits the newlywed and graduate… and each and every one of us. Every day we take brave, loving steps that make the world a better, more beautiful place. You are braver than you may even think as Holley Gerth shares in her Coffee for Your Heart post today. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s  where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

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God will lift you up and carry you

Deuteronomy 33:26-27

There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. ~ Deuteronomy 33:26-27

Have you ever started out with one thing in mind and ended up with something totally different? That’s what happened to me as I searched for the ‘just right’ rock photo for this week’s post. Wouldn’t you know it? An unexpected inspiration swept over me when I came across this picture in my hunt. The idea of God picking us up and giving us a lift as in an airplane ride captured my imagination.  Thought it was also cool how the plane is docked to such a narrow landing strip in the middle of water on both sides.

Reminded me how God carries us under His everlasting arms/wings even in the most challenging circumstances. We can trust him to lift us up out of troubled waters and land us safely to where we’re supposed to be. I like that about Him! How about you? What are some the pictures of God that speak to you?

Yes, we can find safety in God’s everlasting arms. Our words can create a safe place for each other too as Holley Gerth shares in her post today. For more on that note hop on over to this week’s link-up at Holley Gerth’s place where you’ll find a generous outpouring of love, encouragement, and inspiration by the cupful as you join her and the Coffee for Your Heart Community.

Thank you  Holley Gerth
for the Coffee for Your Heart image

 Photo Credit – The beautiful picture is a gift from a friend who doesn’t seek public credit.  But I sure can express my gratitude. Thank you with all my heart! 

 

 

 

 

 

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