Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 4

I have a couple of friends that are shell artist. The beautiful things they create are quite incredible. One of the things they create is what's call a sailors valentine. The tiniest shells are arranged in such a way that an artful design comes to life. It's a tedious, time consuming craft that takes patience and a steady hand. Once a year a big show is held on Sanibel where crafters and artist from all over the world go to compete and show off their talent. Not only do they show the valentines but other amazing shell art as well. My friends are quite award winning and take home many prizes for their craftsmanship. They didn't get where they are overnight, it took effort and practice. God has given each of us talents and abilities to suit our personalities and He has a plan and a purpose to use them for His glory. So whatever your talent is, remember where it came from and glorify Him every chance you get.

and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, for work in every skilled craft. Exodus 35:31-33

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Friday, March 3, 2017

March 3

I know in past devotions, I've mentioned my love of seashells and paddleboarding. Combining the two sends me over the edge with enjoyment. We were on a new moon cycle where the tide was at an extreme low. I had finished my chores just in time to hit the bay at its lowest point. It was so low that I ended up walking most of the time dragging my board behind me. I barely get out of the mangroves when I find my first shell; it was huge, about a foot long! I always find big shells, but most of the time they're occupied but not this time! That was just the beginning! By the time I had paddled a mile, I had collected more than sixty large, very beautiful shells. What amazing fun! I guess I did inherit the hunter gene after all, just not for wild game. The Father knows us so well and though this earth is not our forever home, He still shows us His goodness by gifting us some of our superficial desires. Now, because of His wonderful generosity, I'm gifting those shells to some dear friends.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. Proverbs 11:24-25

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March 2

One thing great about living in Florida is that you're never more than an hour and half away from the coastline. Most of us who live here have our favorite beach, it's usually a place that our parents took us for vacation or even a day trip. Childhood memories take us back to a time when life has been just a little easier and less complicated. With spring break just around the corner, many are getting ready to create more memories and cause a longing for gentler days. Building sand castles, collecting shells, and riding the endless supply of waves is all just part of the anticipation. The thing that keeps most of us trudging and working day in and day out is the longing for the peace you get while spending time relaxing on vacation. God has built into us a desire for rest and has given us that through Jesus. He is our rest for eternity. When vacation seems so far away, rest in Jesus.

Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. Hebrews 4:1

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1

During our lifetime, we encounter some truly miserable and harsh individuals. These are the people that do nothing but complain, criticize, and shake their finger at you. They don't have a shred of happiness in their lives; if you see them smile, it's probably because they've come up with a witty line to use against you. Sometimes these people even claim that they know Jesus. When I have to deal with these types of people, I have to keep reminding myself that God loves them too. They have a lot of chains to break before they reach the joy that's available regardless of the circumstances dealt. My first thought is to get away from them as quickly as possible, but that's not always possible. My best advice is to pray through every step. As long as they are not a physical threat, you can look at the situation from a kingdom prospective and worry about the outcome as it presents itself. 

For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. John 3:20

A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

February 28

One of my favorite scenes in the Bible is the vision that Isaiah saw of the Lord sitting on His throne. His description gives me a visual like no other. Sometimes when I'm having trouble sleeping, I imagine myself in the throne room of the temple where the Father dwells and where He welcomes me to rest under His careful watch. The scripture describes the train of His robe filling the temple, so instead of counting sheep, I curl up in one of the folds of His robe and rest easy in the comfort of His presence. Everything that has your mind tied up in worry seems to disappear and the hope of a new day waits upon the dawn as you focus on Him. Things that were once important, gently fade into the background when we honor the One who created it all and hide in His shelter. So, whatever is causing you stress and strife, lay it down and enter into the throne room for peace and rest.

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1

Oh, how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you, in the sight of the children of mankind! In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. Psalms 31:19-20

Monday, February 27, 2017

February 27

For the past several years I have been privileged to be a part of an amazing group of women. We met on Facebook through a private group because we all have a similar interest in and a love for the beach and seashells. We gather for lunch a couple of times a year and share our shell crafts and camaraderie. It started out with just a few but has gown to quite a large group. Now we have people from all over Florida and the northeast making the trip to Sanibel just to meet and enjoy some time together. No one cares what you look like or even your ability to craft the perfect gift, no, it's about friendships forged from nothing but common interest. God has a plan for this group, though only a few understand who He is, but that's part of the fun. Your mission field is wherever God decides to send you. Just say "yes" and "here I am Lord, send me!" He sent me to the beach! He knows my hearts desire and He knows yours too. 

And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" Then I said, "Here I am! Send me." Isaiah 6:8

Sunday, February 26, 2017

February 26

We have a limited number of days on this earth. If you're like me, most of them are wasted doing foolish things. We are never promised tomorrow and are arrogant to think we have any power to control our existence. As a child our time seems to go by so slowly; like waiting for Christmas. As a young adult, you feel invincible and spend your time indulging in selfish pleasure. When you get to the point in your life that you can finally make a little sense of it all, the clock seems to be working against you. Even then, none of these days were ever promised and we are fortunate to still have breath. We seem to be close to the end of time and in my own arrogance proclaimed that I'm not going to die; the Father was quick to point out that no matter what I think, He's in control and I have no say. The best use of your time is worshipping God, everything else will fall into place if you put Him first.

yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." James 4:14-15