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All Around Blessings Abound

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LOOK FOR BLESSINGS ALL AROUND!

For It’s There They Can Be Found!

EVERY DESIRABLE AND BENEFICIAL GIFT COMES OUT OF HEAVEN.  THE GIFTS ARE RIVERS OF LIGHT CASCADING DOWN FROM THE FATHER OF LIGHT.  -James 1:17

“FOR JEHOVAH GOD IS OUR LIGHT AND OUR PROTECTOR.  HE GIVES US GRACE AND GLORY.  NO GOOD THING WILL HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO WALK ALONG HIS PATHS.”  -Psalm 84:11

      This week while trying to decide what to share with you, my Bible Art Challenge was for James 1:2-19.  There are so many great things in those verses but what leapt out at me was verse 17 from the Message Bible.  It was such a visually stunning image of the Lord literally ENGULFING US with a cascade of Blessings!  As I was painting, the colors began to BLAZE across the page, and I could just feel God’s immense Love and Blessings all around me! wheelbarrow What a powerful reminder that God’s gifts are everywhere, if only we have eyes to see.   I like how my sister, Candy, once put it.  It’s like every day, God has a wheelbarrow FULL of gifts for us.  Not only do we need to see and REALIZE that they are there, we need to be open to receiving them.

      For example, how many of us race through our days, never even registering the exquisitely beautiful work of art that God creates for us each and every day, twice daily with sunrise and sunset?  As you know, I Love color, and it just takes my breath away to see such AMAZING sunsets!  (I’m not a morning person so I don’t do sunrises very often.  But I do Love sunlight shining through my windows when I wake up in the mornings.  It’s like God’s own personal hug to me!)  I was going to find you an gorgeous sunset picture, then realized that even magnificent artwork and photos of sunsets are NOTHING compared to the REAL thing!  So, PLEASE, go outside and share God’s creation with Him!  It will Bless you both!

PRAISE THE LORD ALWAYS

     DSC08344 Blessings come in all shapes and sizes.  (A Blessing is also the term used for a group of narwhals, as I found out when me daughter adopted some stuffed ones of all colors!  They certainly made her happy!)  Some packages come in GINORMOUS ways- the birth of a child, the dream house that you have been saving to buy, the visit of a dear Friend.  Yet there are SO MANY Blessings that seem almost minuscule to us.  When you think about it, though, isn’t it sweet of God to give them to us?  Whether it’s the parking space close to the store while it’s pouring down rain, or a hot cup of tea to start off our morning, our days are FILLED with TONS of little “I Love You!” notes from God.  And He likes when we send Him “Thank You Notes.”  Ever notice how the Bible is full of verses telling us to Praise the Lord, to thank Him for all He has done for us?

IT IS GOOD TO GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD, TO SING PRAISES TO THY NAME, O MOST HIGH; TO DECLARE THY STEADFAST LOVE IN THE MORNING, AND THY FAITHFULNESS BY NIGHT.”  -Psalm 92:1-2

     One thing I like to do is make Praise Lists, or write in a Blessing Book.  It’s exactly like it sounds- I record things that I am thankful for.  My husband, my kids, my health, those are always there, of course.  It’s usually pretty easy to come up with10 things you are thankful for, maybe even 25.  But what about 50?  Or a 100 things to praise God for!?!     dp roses 2 Sounds impossible?  Think you can’t do that?  THINK AGAIN!  Sure- list the BIG things, but also thank God for the things you think are small and unimportant.  BECAUSE NOTHING IS SMALL IN GOD’S EYES!!!!!  Remember, He knows the number of hairs on your head!  He cares for the sparrows, and robes the flowers in splendor!  And He DELIGHTS in YOU!!!!!  Every aspect of you!***  That’s why I know it makes God happy when I praise Him for Dr. Pepper, roses, PINK and fairy gardens! 

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM

      Maybe you’re in a rough place right now, though.  (Been there; done that.)  Sometimes it’s hard to get up and even make it through the days, let alone be grateful along the way.  Yet it is in the Book of Psalms that you find many, many praises to the Lord.  These “Thank You Letters” were written by David.  Remember him?  The one who slew a giant and won the war for King Saul?  The same one who became friends with the king after calming Saul’s troubled spirit with music?  Then Saul started trying to KILL David because he knew that David was to take his place as king.

      Being turned on by your friend and king, being hunted to DEATH- those are not the best of circumstances.  Yet David kept singing praises about God, and to God.  Sure, there were times when he gave in to despair, or when he got angry and raged at God.  (We all do; that’s part of being human.)  But he could still praise God because he KNEW that God had ALWAYS taken care of him, and always would, even when there were many, many times that he could not see God at work.bj psalm 34

I WILL PRAISE THE LORD NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS.  I WILL CONSTANTLY SPEAK OF HIS GLORIES AND GRACE.  I WILL BOAST OF ALL HIS KINDNESS TO ME.  LET ALL WHO ARE DISCOURAGED TAKE HEART.  LET US PRAISE THE LORD TOGETHER, AND EXALT HIS NAME.  FOR I CRIED TO HIM AND HE ANSWERED ME!  HE FREED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS.”  -Psalm 34:1-4

      God was there for David, and He is here for us.  When my kids were little, we’d end each day saying 3 good things about our day.  There were times when besides my family, the only thing I felt like thanking God for was for making it through the day.  That’s okay.  It also made me ponder what WAS good about my day.

    guess what Here’s my challenge for you: consider writing a Praise List or in a Blessing Book.  If that seems too daunting for you, try at the end of the day to think of 5 things you can thank God for.  (I know- the quota’s gone up!)  Another option is to look back at your day and think about the good things that happened and what went well with the day.  Those are God’s Love Letters to you!

      I’ll end this post with a picture of one of my Special Blessings from God ~ a sunrise from my porch.  YES, sunrise does happen even to me upon occasion!

Enjoy God’s Blessings!  –BILLIE

BUT TRUE PRAISE IS A WORTHY SACRIFICE; THIS REALLY HONORS ME.  THOSE WHO WALK MY PATHS WILL RECEIVE SALVATION FROM THE LORD.”  -Psalm 50:23100_5233

RESOURCES:

     Paraphrased James 1:17 Picture inspired by journal from PaperandDust on deviantart, and a painting by Jimmy Lawlor on pinterest.

     Psalm 34:1 picture from glorycardskjv.com

     *** Luke 12:7, Matthew 6:26-30, Luke 12:27-28, Zephaniah 3:17, and Psalm 149:4

     The Living Bible Paraphrased:  Psalm 84:11, Psalm 34:1-4 and Psalm 50:23

     The Message Bible:  James 1:17

     The Revised Standard Version Bible:  Psalm 92:1-2

There is Hope!

Dept of SandR

THERE IS HOPE!

For you, for me & for the world!

So MAY GOD, THE SOURCE OF HOPE, FILL YOU WITH ALL JOY AND PEACE IN BELIEVING SO THAT THROUGH THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT YOU MAY HAVE HOPE IN ABUNDANCE.”  – Romans 15:13

GREETINGS, SALUTATIONS & WELCOME!

      I am so very glad that you have found your way here to my Blog!  The sign above is based on a poster I saw 30+ years ago in an Abbey Press catalog, and it pretty much sums me up!  It is my hope and prayer that you will find wonderful stuff here, and that you will be Blessed and encouraged by it.

      First and foremost, let me reiterate: THERE IS HOPE!  And that is a glorious, wonderful thing to know!  This Blog is to ENCOURAGE you, and to remind you of how very much GOD LOVES YOU! I am here to share with you some really cool things.  We are all on a magnificent Adventure with God, and I want to share my enthusiasm and passions with you on the Journey!

      God loves us so very much!  He doesn’t want us scared or worn down or frazzled or angry or apathetic.  What He wants is for us to LIVE with a Spirit of Joy, Love and Hope.  That is His Spirit within us- His gift to us.

Princess BillieABOUT ME:

      So let me tell you a bit about myself.  That way you will know where I am coming from as I write this to you.  My name is Billie, and I LOVE GOD with my whole heart!  I am His Beloved daughter, and He created me to Love Him and to Love people!  AND I DO LOVE PEOPLE!  This has always been my ministry- loving on people, and sharing God’s Love with them.  (Oh, and I do cutsie, little drawings that help me visualize God’s Love and His message to me.  Plus, I LOVE PINK in case you couldn’t tell!  Don’t spaz about it- I like other colors too.)  I have been married to my Bestest Friend for over thirty years, and we have two great adult kids.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, and when I turned 50, I received my Master’s Degree in Ministry.

      I tell you these things so you can understand a bit more about why I am writing this Blog for you.  People would ask what I was going to “DO” with my Degree- perhaps be a church youth director, or keep working in women’s ministry, or maybe even start my own church.  The answer, though, was that I ALREADY was doing what God wanted me doing.  I was using the information I learned about God, and the training I received in Ministry to continue loving on people just as I have always done in every aspect of my life.  I encourage them when they are down, I comfort them when they are hurting, and I celebrate with them when they are happy.  Now I can do the same for you with this Blog.

      I also Love writing, and stories of all kinds- the ones we live, the ones we watch or read, and the ones we create.  And I freely admit it: I’M A GEEK!  What does that mean to me?  I enjoy all kinds of wonderful, eclectic, varied things in this life such as fantasy books, Star Wars movies, games, pop culture, Disney, COLOR, dancing, crafting, creating, and so much more.  I see God in all these things, and Celebrate Him in them.  I think it’s cool that God made each of us unique because it gives us a hint of how creative and diverse He is.  We’re each made in His image, and we are all made to glorify and Love Him.

THERE IS HOPE!

      One thing we all have in common is that we all get scared.  Our world can be a terrifying place.  Terrorist attacks, political upheaval, intolerance for what is different, hatred and crime and natural disasters are just a drop in the bucket of things that we fear.

But take heart!  God promises that through it all, He is with us and will see us through.

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  YOU ARE TRUSTING GOD, NOW TRUST IN ME.”  -John 14:1

AND BE SURE OF THIS – THAT I AM WITH YOU ALWAYS, EVEN TO THE END OF THE WORLD.”  -Matthew 28:20

      We can see God at work in our world in many ways.  His Presence and majesty are all around us.  I am especially fond of the Bible Devotional called “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  She writes, “I [God] created beauty to declare the existence of My holy Being.   A magnificent rose, a hauntingly glorious sunset, oceanic splendor – all these things were meant to proclaim My Presence in the world.   Most people rush past these proclamations without giving them a second thought.”

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     Another way we see God at work is through people!  Think about it.  Whenever there is disaster or tragedy, PEOPLE are there – helping, encouraging, loving on those in need.  What an encouraging thought.  In the Bible, we often see people working some of God’s great miracles by being His hands and feet on this earth.

     Take the story of Ruth, for example.  It is through the actions of the three major characters that God’s happy ending comes to be.  Ruth chooses to stay with her mother-in-law, to Love on her and console her and give her aid during her time of grief and despair.  As Naomi began to recover, she in turn begins to watch out for her beloved daughter, looking ahead to the future for her.  And Boaz cares for his kin with Love, honor and respect.  As a result, all three were Blessed by God.  And Blessed God!

      When you get discouraged, remember that God is at work in the world, and FOR YOU!

FOR I KNOW THE PLANS I HAVE FOR YOU, SAYS THE LORD.  THEY ARE PLANS FOR GOOD AND NOT FOR EVIL, TO GIVE YOU A FUTURE AND A HOPE.”  -Jeremiah 29:11

  heart 3   Look around and remember His majesty, but also look at those around you who RADIATE with God’s Love. 

     In what ways do you find Hope in fearful and discouraging times?   How do people inspire you to be hopeful?

Until next time, Be Blessed!  -BILLIE

P.S.  Special thanks go out for making this blog possible.   To God- for making my dreams of Sonshine Celebrations a reality and for His Love!   To my Loving Husband- who has ALWAYS believed in, and encouraged my writing!   To my daughter- who inspired me by getting her blog and books published, and showing me that I could too!   And to my son- whose hard work and generous gifts of time and Love have brought this website into being!   I Love you all very much!

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RESOURCES:

“Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young

Bible translations:  The New American Bible, and the Living Bible Paraphrased

*Photo courtesy of Ben Pinner

Banner inspired from artwork by Shadi Desjardins  www.sharidesjardins.com