Friday, December 28, 2012

A letter from the King

My dearest warrior,

I know many days you feel like a weary warrior, too tired to keep going.  I see you when you have exhausted your faith and feel like you've lost your passion for My people. Beloved, today I want to paint an eternal picture for you. Every act of kindness you share will water someone’s thirsty soul. Every time you pray for someone, you are changing their destiny from darkness to light. You are more than just light in darkness. Your faith will continue to be a raging fire that will burn in the hearts of many generations who follow your wonderful works on earth.

Love,

Your eternal King

I found this letter on the internet last tonight, actually on Pinterest. Isn't it beautiful? I thought this was beautifully written and it blessed me for sure.  I hope it encourages you too. It reminds me of what God's Word says in Galatians 6:9. It says, "Let us not grow weary in doing good for at just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessings if we don't give up." And Thessalonians 3:13 says, " Never grow tired in doing good." 

The part that spoke to me the most is when the author wrote that every time we pray for someone, we are changing their destiny from darkness to light. Wow ... isn't that amazing? It's actually quite powerful. I super loved reading that tonight because just this morning, I was praying for someone that is so far from God. I've only known this person for a couple of years. This person probably has no clue that I pray for them and that I've been praying for them for over 24 months. I wondered why this individual randomly popped into my head this morning as I was preparing to leave my home. When those moments occur, I use that as an opportunity to lift the person up in prayer. Prayer is powerful and it's always one of the best gifts you can offer a friend, anyone for that matter. 

My prayer life is never just about fixed times set aside to be with God, rather it's an ongoing conversation, a dialogue that I have with God all through out my day. And yes, of course I pause in the morning to pray and also in the evening but mostly I pray quietly, internally all day long as I go about my day. In those moments, I thank Him, I say I love You, I say help me, and I lift others up in prayer as they come to my mind or cross my path.  

Fellow warriors, don't grow weary in doing good. What you do and what you say matters and it makes a difference. 

Until next time ... keep on keeping on. Keep praying. God sees it all and it pleases Him. 

xx, Ruthie


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Five things to ponder today

1. Be Thankful. Give thanks for today and for all you have. God’s Will for our life includes a constant spirit of gratitude regardless of our circumstances. When we choose to give thanks, even if our circumstances don’t improve, our perspective certainly will. 

This is the day the LORD has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it. ~Psalm 118:24 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-28 


2. Don’t Worry. Refuse to let fear rob you of your peace. God is bigger than whatever you’re stressed about! Give your worries over to Him. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. ~Philippians 4:6 

3. Seek God. He wants a relationship with you. He wants you to pursue His Kingdom because you will eternally be part of it. 

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~Jeremiah 29:13 

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~Matthew 6:33 


4. Help Others. We live in a selfish world, but selfishness isn’t part of God’s plan for any of our lives. He wants us to care for others every chance we get. 

Doing the right thing in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. ~James 1:27 

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. ~1 Peter 4:10 


5. Trust God. Every difficult circumstance in your life is something God will use for your good and His glory. He has great blessings in store for you. Trust Him and don’t give up! “

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. ~Romans 8:28 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  ~Jeremiah 29:11


I am not the original author of these five points. I'm really not sure who is. It's something that came my way and I loved it so much, I just new I wanted to share it with you. I hope each point and each verse blesses you in immeasurable ways. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Today's Prayer

Dear God,

If I never receive another gift in my life, I'm pretty sure that would be okay because the gift You offered me, that You offer us, to humanity is more than enough. And it's more than we deserve, for sure. Oh that You know us and love us so deeply and unconditionally is more than my mind can comprehend. It's amazing, extraordinary and lavish. Thank You for sending us Jesus. Thank You for the gift of salvation and eternity and peace and love and joy. My gosh ... it's so sweet! ... so wonderful!

I'm so thankful today. Thankful because of your goodness and blessings on our lives.

My cup runneth over when I think about Your love, Your grace, Your goodness and Your mercy.

Thank you for the gift of a beautiful eternal life with You. I receive it.

And Lord, I want to mention a few more things today before I close this prayer. I realize that this is an especially difficult season for many people in our world. I've seen it in many faces this season. You know who they are Father God. You know their hearts and you know their circumstances intimately. I want to lift up these precious people in prayer today.

There are so many people today who are desperate for peace, desperate for love, desperate for You. They are desperate for You and they don't even know that it's You that they need.

Oh  ... if only they knew that peace that surpasses human understanding is only found in You through a relationship with Jesus.

Oh if only they knew that unconditional love is from You, that you love us unconditionally, no matter what.

Oh if only they knew that You are the only One who can heal all the broken places in their lives.

Oh if only they knew that You are a great restorer and will restore and mend the broken relationships in their lives.

Oh if only they knew you will heal their loneliness.

Oh if only they knew that confidence, boldness and courage is birthed through a relationship with You. You are that and so much more.

Lord, please reveal Yourself to every person who is hurting, who is desperate for peace, desperate for love, desperate to feel whole, desperate for connection, desperate for community, desperate for joy and desperate for healing.

Restore and increase their hope. Heal them, restore them, show them, guide them, equip them, empower them, comfort them, and help them feel Your love. Help them feel Your power and Your presence.

Deliver them from fear and reveal to them what Your words says in 2 Timothy 1:7. It says that You have not given us a spirit of fear and timidity but of power and love and self discipline.

Father God, help them understand that You will patiently wait for them to accept the gift of love, the gift of salvation, the desire to enter into a relationship with Your Son, Jesus.

Father God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reveal Yourself to each of these people in a fresh new way and share with them that the best is yet to come because it really is!

Put the right people in their lives in their path.

Place the right desires in their hearts.

Open the right doors of opportunities and bless them in their coming and their going as they seek You to understand more and to learn more about your goodness.

Pour out Your grace, Your mercy and Your favor on them, Father God.

Father God, help them understand that when they follow Your ways of doing things, they will find real rest and real peace.

Help them understand that when they plant the seed of Your Word into their hearts and into their lives they will find rest and assurance that Your Word can not and will not fail.

I love what Psalm 16:11 has to say because this is what I desire for each of these people.

Show them the way of life, grant them joy in Your presence and pleasures of living with You forever. ~Psalm 16:11

Thank You in advance for what You're about to do in their lives. I'm believing with faith, that Your power and Your love will be manifested in each of their lives and that great things will begin to unfold now and in the coming new year and the years ahead. I pray these things in the beautiful and powerful name of my Messiah, Jesus, the name above all names. For He is the Prince of peace, our wonderful Counselor and His name is Immanuel which means God with us.

I'm so thankful that You are always with us God, whether we feel You or not.

~Amen

For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. ~Jeremiah 29:11






Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Christmas Story

Luke 2: 1-20

The Birth of Jesus


At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels


That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.



Monday, December 24, 2012

No Room


Some of the saddest words on earth are:  “We don’t have room for you.”

Jesus knew the sound of those words.  He was still in Mary’s womb when the innkeeper said, “We don’t have room for you.” (Luke 2:7)

And when he was hung on the cross, wasn’t the message one of utter rejection?  “We don’t have room for you in our world.”

Even today Jesus is given the same treatment.  He goes from heart to heart, asking if he might enter. Every so often, he’s welcomed.  Someone throws open the door of his or her heart and invites him to stay.  And to that person Jesus gives this great promise: “In my Father’s house are many rooms.” (John 14:2)

What a delightful promise he makes us! We make room for him in our hearts … and he makes room for us in his house!

Written by Max Lucado 

The above devotional is found in one Max Lucado's devotional books called Grace for the Moment. It's one of my favorites. 

To hear an audio clip of Max Lucado's devotional for the day, click here.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Christmas!


From my house to yours ... Happy Christmas!

Peace and joy to you and to the ones that mean the world to you. I pray that each of you are experiencing the beauty, blessing and significance of what this beautiful season has been all about. 

Blessings to all!

Until next time, 

xx, Ruthie

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~Isaiah 9:6




Saturday, December 22, 2012

Positive and Wise People

Below you will find a list of attributes that make up a positive and wise person. I put this list together today after pondering all the wise and positive people who have blessed me through the years. Their influence in my life and God's love, grace and influence have awakened me to live my best life and to live wisely and to bless others. Enjoy ... 

Positive people who are wise love God and recognize that their positive ways of thinking and living are a gift from God. 

Positive people who are wise love God and love people.

Positive people who are wise inspire and bless others and desire the very best for others. 

Positive people who are wise are encouragers who make people feel comfortable in their presence.

Positive people who are wise make great leaders.

Positive people who are wise breathe life into people with their words and wisdom.

Positive people who are wise have infectious personalities. It's difficult not to experience joy around these beings. 

Positive people who are wise are life long learners who are committed to learning and growing and being a blessing to others because they have an innate desire in making a difference.

Positive people who are wise are thinkers and love to contemplate what they are learning and how to apply it to bless others.

Positive people who are wise are committed to excellence not perfection.

Positive people who are wise are affable.

Positive people who are wise practice gratitude and grace daily. 

Positive people who are wise believe the best, expect the best from God and desire the best for others.

Positive people who are wise encourage themselves through what they read, what they believe and through an active prayer life. 

Positive people who are wise encourage you to live your best life, to practice gratitude and to practice grace.

Positive people who are wise will share with you that there is great redemptive power in forgiveness.

Positive people who are wise are in tune with God's Spirit, perceive the invisible, sense the intangible and achieve the impossible.

Positive people who are wise recognize and believe that nothing is impossible for God. 

Positive people who are wise rely on God's provision and grace to accomplish great things.

Positive people who are wise are sensitive to the needs of others.

Positive people who are wise believe that faith and prayer activate God's power in our lives.

Positive people who are wise who believe God recognize that confidence and courage come from God alone.

Positive people who are wise recognize that wisdom comes from God. 

Positive people who are wise believe in God and trust God.

Positive people who are wise give people space and grace to learn and grow.


Friday, December 21, 2012

I love Christmas!

Below you'll find some pics I took around our home. It was so fun taking these photos.  I've always loved Christmas. It's one of my favorite holidays. I love Christmas for so many reasons. First and most importantly because we celebrate the birth of our risen Savior, no small thing. 

I also love Christmas because as a giver, I super love giving to those I love during the holiday season. I loved purchasing every single gift this year and thought and still think about the happiness it will bring to the recipient. Oh joy! This season, I tried to buy as many gifts as possible in late October and early November so I would have more time during late November and the entire month of December loving and serving those I love. 

I love decorating the house and playing Christmas music and watching my all time favorite Christmas movie: "It's a Wonderful Life." I watched it once already shortly after Thanksgiving but I'm going to carve out some time this weekend to watch it again. It's a feel good movie with a beautiful message about gratitude, a movie for the entire family, a real cinematic gem. As a woman who practices gratitude daily, its no wonder I love this movie so much. 

I love reading the Christmas story in the Bible and love going to Willow Creek's Christmas service because it's always so beautiful. There is still so much to do before Christmas. I still have a few gifts to purchase and tons of wrapping to do yet. And tonight, I'm hunkering down with a glass of wine and some Christmas music to write a few notes in my Christmas cards. My cards might arrive late, but that's okay because the goal is love and not perfection. I want the recipients to know that I was thinking of them at Christmas. 

As busy as December has been, I honored my goal to carve out quiet time daily to spend time with God, praying, listening, learning, and reading His word. It's blessed me richly and has prepared my heart to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. 

From Ruthie's Corner of the world, to yours, I'm wishing each and every one of you God's peace and His joy always and especially during this beautiful season. Happy birthday Jesus!

Happy Christmas to all!

Until next time, 

Ruthie








Thursday, December 20, 2012

Prayer

Sometimes prayer is talking to God, sometimes it's listening and sometimes it's a combination of both. Whatever it is, however often you do it, just do it because prayer changes things specifically when we pray according to God's will. You may not see things change right away, but don't let that discourage you because in the spiritual realm, things are changing. Give God time.

Until next time, keep praying.

xx, Ruthie


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ten things I want to share with you today

  1. No matter what you’re up against, always choose goodness.
  2. No matter your circumstance, always choose peace.
  3. Promote unity and eradicate division.
  4. Play to your strengths and be true to who you really are.
  5. Refuse to live being governed by fear.
  6. Don’t let your fear cause you to make poor decisions. 
  7. Choose wisely. Live wisely. Love radically.
  8. God is still on the throne. He is still in control. Trust Him!
  9. Try gentle, try softer, try grace.
  10. Mark this on your heart today: God loves you! Always!


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Grace

Yesterday morning while my son and I were on our way to Streets of Woodfield, I was rear-ended by a young man while we sat at a stop light exiting interstate 290, approaching Higgins Rd. As I made my way to the back of my SUV to access the damage, I locked eyes with the young man who hit my car and watched him lip the words “I’m so sorry” as he sat there in unbelief over what just happened. He then bowed his head and placed his hands on his head. I could tell he felt awful. Surprisingly, there was no damage on either vehicle. Only God! 

Two minutes later, we spot a homeless man who appeared to be in his sixty’s at that intersection. He looked wet, tired and cold. My son opens his wallet, nudges me with his elbow, and passes me a $5 dollar bill. He then tells me to give it to the homeless man standing in the rain. The man initially had part of his back toward us. When he turned around, I waved him over and gave him the five dollar bill. When I placed the five dollar bill in his hand, I locked eyes with his and told him: “God bless you.” When I said those words, I said it with my eyes and my spirit too. I really wanted him to feel that I wanted God to bless him. I really did and today I still do. 

In less than five minutes, two men, one young, the other older, experienced grace. We did too.

As I recall what took place yesterday, I’m so thankful for grace–filled moments.

And as I continue to ponder what took place yesterday morning, I wonder if we would have missed the opportunity to give that man some money if we weren’t rear-ended. It’s amazing that our cars were not dented. Sometimes I think God allows what might be perceived as an initial inconvenience to open doors for us to do good. Yesterday, we experienced one of those moments. Thank you God!

My son shared with me yesterday and again today that it felt really good to give. It always does son. It always does …

What I think is also really cool about this story is that the young man who hit my car yesterday, got to witness me placing money in the hands of the homeless man just minutes after bumping my SUV. He might have thought I was initially angry or irritated but I wasn't. Instead, he got to witness another human being helping someone in need. I believe things happen for so many reasons. Sometimes we will never know all the reasons why. I trust that each of us yesterday felt God's goodness in our lives. God is so good and He inspires each of us to do good because of His love, because He is love, because He is merciful and kind and full of grace.  

Grace as I know it is unmerited favor. Grace is never earned. It's a gift from God. Max Lucado describes God’s grace as more than we deserve, greater than we could ever imagine. It's a powerful five-letter word. One that I am super grateful for. 

Until next time, 

Ruthie


Friday, December 7, 2012

Trusting God

I don’t have everything and I don’t know everything and every day I'm convinced that I still have more questions than answers. I have a very curious personality and I love discovery and I love research. I think I like this because it's how I'm wired. I'm an answer kind of girl. I love answers. I love knowing. I love learning. I love being informed. Not having answers to all of life's questions I’ve learned through the years is okay. But I wasn't always okay with that. In the past it use to bother me a lot. In fact it made me feel quite barmy because HELLO ... as a woman, I just wanted to know. Can anyone relate??? But through the years, I’ve learned that it's okay to have more questions than answers and I've learned to trust God more and more. Today, I trust Him with everything. 

Trusting God isn't always easy because sometimes there are many voices that you must silence so you can first enter into and develop an ongoing relationship with the One and only living God. You must learn to listen for His voice, to trust Him alone.

To say you trust God when life is going well is easy but to say and to practice that you trust God when life is difficult is a completely different story. Trusting God can feel intimidating when your mountain or your giant is facing you right smack in the face. And it's especially daunting when you don't know God's Word or His promises for you. And beloved reader, there are so many beautiful promises in the Bible to read and remember. Oh how I wish all people knew them. Trusting God is a process of hearing God's Word, reading God's Word, and believing God's word. It also includes opening yourself up to God in conversation, through prayer. And like every healthy relationship you invest in, it grows more intimate with time. 

Half of my life has already been lived and already I can tell that I have a pretty long history of God's faithfulness in my life. One of the benefits of journaling is that I can go back and re-read old journal entries to remember God's faithfulness and how He brought me through a difficult season in my past. That has been an incredibly helpful exercise that increases my faith in Him when I'm going through difficulty. 

What I've learned about trust is this: You can only trust someone when you really get to know them and only when you feel comfortable enough with them. But here's the caveat and a pearl: Even when you feel like you can trust someone, man is capable of letting you down but God will NEVER let you down. God never disappoints and He only desires and provides you with His very best. 

Through the years I have invested time and energy learning about God and getting to know Him and His character through Jesus Christ. I've come to learn that He can in fact be trusted. Trusting God is a life long activity. For me, it's includes surrender and asking God to take my worry and replace it with rest. It's about surrendering fear and asking Him to replace it with peace. And through the years, I've actually uttered the words: "Okay God, I'm tired of doing it my way. My way isn't working. Let's do it Your way. If You lead me and guide me, I will follow." I've learned that God desires the very best for us but He will never force Himself or His way on us. We must choose Him and His ways. The choice is ours. And because God is our Abba Father, He knows best. 

For forty five years, God has provided for my every need. Notice that I didn't say my every "want." Everything I have needed, God has provided. When I think about how my life started and where I am today, I feel rich, rich in every sense of that word. Rich is all encompassing and it's not just about money or things. I'm so thankful for His goodness. God has always been there for me and He has always been more than enough. Through an active prayer life, I'm learning that God's answers are always right on time. Sometimes God answers yes, sometimes He answers no and sometimes He says be still and trust Me. Waiting hasn't and isn’t always easy but I’ve learned that His answers are always timely, just and best. I've learned that I can't always see what He sees but what He sees and what He desires for us is good and it is He who I trust. I want what He wants for my life. I want to live at the very center of His will and I want to become every bit of the woman He created me to be. 

Sometimes when I think about how much God loves us, it overwhelms me. Have you ever experienced that? When I sit quietly and ponder this, I am filled with so many wonderful emotions and so much gratitude. Today was one of those days where I sat and pondered His love for me and it overwhelmed me. Today my spirit feels a deep sense of gratitude for who He is and for what He is doing in my life. I can’t always see it, but my spirit senses it. Have you ever felt that?

Through the years I have also learned that nobody could ever really love us unconditionally. Sure, people try but only God can love unconditionally. And nothing you could ever do or say or have ever said or done or didn't say or do could EVER make God stop loving you. Ever. Please re-read that last sentence as often as you need to. I've learned that man does in fact desire to love unconditionally but he is not capable because he is not God. Man is human. God is not. Human beings often stop loving because of deep hurts or disappointment or fear but God never stops loving you. Never. Only God can love unconditionally. Oh that He knows us and still loves us amazes me. That God hears the cries of our hearts and responds so tenderly moves me to tears.

Today, I’m thankful, so thankful for God and to God. I’m thankful in the midst of where I am and who I am. I'm thankful that He is faithful and that I can trust Him. Last week Wednesday, my Pastor's wife, Grace was teaching and within the first five minutes of teaching she said the words: "Trust God alone." I can't remember what else she said that evening only that she said to trust God alone. That was my take away. That was my word from God. It is He who I trust and I'm trusting Him alone. 

God you know me and you love me anyway. Thank you for your unconditional love. My cup runneth over …   

Until next time,

Ruthie

Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever. ~ Psalm 136:1

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.        ~ Proverbs 3:5

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, "You are my God." ~ Psalm 31:14

O LORD Almighty, blessed is the man who trusts in you. ~ Psalm 84:12

Blessed is the man who makes the LORD his trust, who does not look to the proud,  to those who turn aside to false gods. ~ Psalm 40:4