Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What I learned in 2013

I had  a lot of thoughts about what I wanted today's blog to look like but as I was out walking my little friend Phoenix - God gave me a different story to tell. Sort of a year in review!


I have so much to be thankful for - a wonderful family - husband, children and grandchildren. This year we were blessed with a new addition to our family! God has truly blessed us, sometimes I have to pinch myself.


In 2013...
  • I started this blog not really knowing where to start but here I am. Then I discovered there are a lot of great blogs. You will find some of my favorites listed below.
  • I participated in my first online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 ministries and I'm signed up to participate in another - "Made to Crave". Just follow the link above to sign up & join me. I love the blog hops and the Twitter Parties!
  • I learned how to do "verse mapping" a neat little tool to help you dig deeper into the bible verses and also with your quiet time. Here's on of my verses
  • Then a few of my sister friends from church took on the 31 day blogging challenge! In the picture is my topic for the 31 days.

  • I learned a few new photography techniques
                          Creating Orbs

 
  • I took some pretty neat pictures!




 
  • And some you wish for a do over...but I have discovered these so, so pictures make great ORBS!

 
 
As we get ready to close out 2013 and welcome in 2014 - get ready to soar to new heights on eagles wings! I'm praying for God to do unbelievable and amazing things in this New Year. God is able to do abundantly more than we can ever think or imagine!  I'm believing God in 2014...How great is our God!
 
 
May you be blessed is all of God's amazing blessings and promises. His Word never fails.
 
 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

Today I would like to wish everyone reading my blog a very Merry Christmas. As you send time with family and friends, as much as we like to get the gifts and the presents, not to mention the food. God gave us the best gift of all His Son - Jesus Christ (found in the Story of Christmas).

 

As you opening those gift and presents, why not make some create some new, fun Christmas traditions - memories that will last a lifetime. Invest time with the people you love.

Here's some clipart and pictures that have been posted on Facebook and sent to me in text messages. Enjoy!








 



God, thank you for reminding us of the perfect gift - Your Son. The love You've shown us through His Birth. All the glory, honor and praise. Amen




 
 
 
Jesus is the Reason for the Season and there is Christ in Christ-mas!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Story of Christmas

 
 
The Christmas story can be found in the New Testament books of Matthew  and Luke
 in the Bible.  Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20.  
Isaiah 7:14 - Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)

Matthew 1:23 - Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. (KJV)

The Birth of Jesus:

While Mary was still engaged to Joseph, she miraculously became pregnant through the Holy Spirit, as foretold to her by the angel. When Mary told Joseph she was pregnant, he had every right to feel disgraced. He knew the child was not his own, and Mary's apparent unfaithfulness carried a grave social stigma. Joseph not only had the right to divorce Mary, under Jewish law she could be put to death by stoning.
Although Joseph's initial reaction was to break the engagement, the appropriate thing for a righteous man to do, he treated Mary with extreme kindness. He did not want to cause her further shame, so he decided to act quietly. But God sent an angel to Joseph in a dream to verify Mary's story and reassure him that his marriage to her was God's will. The angel explained that the child within Mary was conceived by the Holy Spirit, that his name would be Jesus and that he was the Messiah, God with us.
When Joseph woke from his dream, he willingly obeyed God and took Mary home to be his wife, in spite of the public humiliation he would face. Perhaps this noble quality is one of the reasons God chose him to be the Messiah's earthly father.
Joseph too must have wondered in awe as he remembered the words found in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel." (NIV)
At that time, Caesar Augustus decreed that a census be taken, and every person in the entire Roman world had to go to his own town to register. Joseph, being of the line of  David, was required to go to Bethlehem to register with Mary. While in Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. Probably due to the census, the inn was too crowded, and Mary gave birth in a crude stable. She wrapped the baby in cloths and placed him in a manger.


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.  Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. Isaiah  9:6-7
 
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:14
 



Matthew 1:18-25; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 1:26-38; Luke 2:1-20

·       Matthew & Luke affirm the virgin conception and attributes the conception to the Holy Spirit (Is. 7:14 – The Virgin Birth Prophecy)
o  The prophecy of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ fulfilled
·       Only through the virgin conception could Jesus be both God and man; thus making atonement for sin
·       A woman giving birth to a son is not a miracle; a virgin giving birth to a son is a miracle
·       Mary didn’t question the word of God, she only questioned the method God would use to bring about His word (Luke 1:34)
·       Jesus is the Greek name for Joshua meaning “Jehovah is Salvation.” Joshua was a common name among the Hebrews, for the parents hope their son would be the salvation of Israel
o  His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us
·       Matt 2:9-11 Jesus was a young child in a house not a baby in a stable by the time the wise men reach Him.
·       The gifts from the Magi (Matthew 2:11)
o  Gold symbolized His kingly role
o  Frankincense symbolized His priestly role
o  Myrrh symbolized His sacrificial death (myrrh was used for embalming)




Jesus is the Reason for the Season

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Leadership

12 Dimensions of Leadership


  1. Integrity: Leading through honesty and acceptance of personal responsibility
  2. Self-Renewal: Flexible, responsive leadership that makes good use of experience
  3. Fortitude: Acting with courage and confidence in the face of challenges
  4. Perceiving: Looking beyond current details to the big picture
  5. Judgment: Knowing what needs to be done and accurately anticipating consequences
  6. Performing: Getting results by overcoming barriers to effectiveness
  7. Boldness: An uncompromising approach that involves facing problems head-on
  8. Team Building: Accomplishing results through others by getting them to work together
  9. Collaboration: Sharing rewards and responsibility with others in the group
  10. Inspiring: Energizing, motivating, and encouraging others to pursue leader-defined goals
  11. Serving: Taking cues from followers and providing assistance that others can't get on their own
  12. Enthusiasm: pursuing objectives with passion and optimism, and attracting others to the cause


Develop leaders at all levels

Monday, December 9, 2013

Wait


Therefore the Lord will wait, that He may be gracious to you.  Isaiah 30:18



 

God often DELAYS IN ANSWERING PRAYER. We have several instances of this in sacred Scripture.
Jacob did not get the blessing from the angel until near the dawn of day—he had to wrestle all night for it.

The poor woman of Syrophenicia was answered not a word for a long while.
Paul besought the Lord thrice that “the thorn in the flesh” might be taken from him,

and he received no assurance that it should be taken away,
but instead thereof a promise that God’s grace should be sufficient for him.


If thou hast been knocking at the gate of mercy, and hast received no answer, shall I tell thee why the mighty Maker hath not opened the door and let thee in?

Our Father has reasons peculiar to himself for thus keeping us waiting. Sometimes it is to show his power and his sovereignty,

that men may know that Jehovah has a right to give or to withhold. More frequently the delay is for our profit.

Thou art perhaps kept waiting in order that thy desires may be more fervent. God knows that delay will quicken and increase desire,

and that if he keeps thee waiting thou wilt see thy necessity more clearly,
and wilt seek more earnestly; and that thou wilt prize the mercy all the more for its long tarrying.

 

There may also be something wrong in thee which has need to be removed, before the joy of the Lord is given. Perhaps thy views of the Gospel plan are confused,

or thou mayest be placing some little reliance on thyself, instead of trusting simply and entirely to the Lord Jesus.

Or, God makes thee tarry awhile that he may the more fully display the riches of his grace to thee at last. Thy prayers are all filed in heaven,

and if not immediately answered they are certainly not forgotten, but in a little while shall be fulfilled to thy delight and satisfaction.

Let not despair make thee silent, but continue instant in earnest supplication.

 

 

 

Spurgeon, C. H. (2006). Morning and evening: Daily readings (Complete and unabridged; New modern edition.). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers

Monday, December 2, 2013

Religion vs. Relationship


Religion vs Relationship with Jesus Christ

Religion can be very different than having a Relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Religions are manmade, and are based on trying to get to God through rules and regulations and works. Man made religions all are based on people's efforts at reaching God and being made right with Him through their own efforts. God's plan for man's salvation and for being right with Him is told throughout the Bible, in the Old Testament and the New Testament. God's plan is not based on people's efforts and good works, but is based on His amazing Love and amazing Grace for us; His plan involved His precious Son Jesus paying the price and cost for our sins on the cross. You need to put ALL of your trust and faith in Jesus and in what He did for us on the cross, and not in any religion or in your own efforts. Simply put all of your trust and faith in Jesus, and accept His gift of salvation and eternal life, and experience the joy of having a right RELATIONSHIP of love with God.

Religion (Self Effort, Works)

Goal: reach out to God, try to work your way into heaven

Means: diligent service & works, with hopes of a reward (heaven)

Power: good, honest effort through self-determination

Control: self-motivation and self control

Results: apathy, failure, chronic guilt, eternal separation from God



Salvation through Faith In Jesus Christ (Personal Relationship)

Goal: trust fully in Jesus, then live to please Him

Means: confess sins, repent, yield self to Jesus

Power: the Holy Spirit does God's work in and through us

Control: allow the Holy Spirit to control & direct our lives

Results: love, joy, peace, freedom, power eternal life in heaven,...

"Man's way to reach God is religion; God's way to reach man is Jesus."

"I (Jesus) am the way, the truth, and the life. No one may come to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

"For by grace are you saved, through faith; and this not of your own, it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." - Ephesians 2:8-9

 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Creating Photography Orbs

Creating Orbs

Before today, I did not know what an ORB was. An ORB is defined as a spherical body or globe. So the goal is to turn a photo into a photographic globe...and it's easy.



Today as I was going through of few of the photographer business cards I had collected at various events, I came across one I thought I had lost - Vinny Colucci. He and his wife Annette had led a photography education walk at the Orlando Wetlands earlier this year. I read Annette's blog and she outlined "How to Create a Photo Orb - defined as a spherical body or globe. The instructions were simple and easy - just the way I like it!

So here's what an Orb looks like...

This is my an awful picture I took of my grandson.

 
 Turned into this.
 


This
 
 
...became this
 
 
...and this
 
 
became this!


 
 
 
Here's how it's done -
  1. Choose and image, select the  area you want to orb and crop to a square.
  2. In Photoshop, go to Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Polar to rectangular; next
  3. Image > Rotate > Flip vertical.
  4. Again,  Filter > Distort > Polar Coordinates > Rectangular to polar.
Viola! It's an ORB!!!
 
Happy orbing - try it on those pictures you don't want to share for one reason or another. Watch them become works of art!
 
God wants to do a New Thing! 2 Corinthians 5:17 God turns endings into new beginnings. What comes to mind when you think about God is what you really think about God. God is able to make new beginnings.


Friday, November 29, 2013

Fruit of the Spirit



For the next twelve plus hours I will be exposed to the day's demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I'm free to choose. And so I choose.

I choose love.
No occasion justifies hatred; no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love. Today I will love God and what God loves.

I choose joy.
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I choose peace.
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may.

I choose patience.
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. instead of cursing the one who takes my place, I'll invite him to do so.

I choose kindness.
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone. Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind, for such is how God has treated me.

I choose goodness.
I will go without a dollar before I take a dishonest one.

I choose faithfulness
Today I will keep my promises.

I choose gentleness.
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
I choose self-control.
I refuse to let what will rot, rule the eternal.
I will be drunk only by joy.


Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) To these I commit my day. If I succeed, I will give thanks. If I fail, I will seek his grace. And then, when this day is done, I will place my head on my pillow and rest.

 


From the Devotional Bible: Experiencing the Heart of Jesus by Max Lucado

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Faith



Hebrews Chapter 11
The Old Testament heroes provided examples of faith and obedience to God. Acronym for FAITH
Forwarding
All
Issues
To
Heaven
Faith is more than a belief in God. It is also a way of life. Heroes of faith, although imperfect trusted God and gave their lives to Him.
Faith is the belief that God is real and that God is good. It is a choice to believe that the One who made it all hasn’t left it all and that He still sends light into the shadows and responds to gestures of faith.
Faith is the belief that God will do what is right. Faith rejoices without seeing or understanding what God is doing.

God’s help is near and always available, but we must seek it – nothing results from apathy…
The term “faith” is used more than 24 times in this chapter – focuses on the idea of faithfulness – active obedience rather than trust. Encouraging faithfulness in the Christian life & follow the example of the OT heroes and heroines
 
Faith is the foundation of the Christian life and the means by which all unseen thins are tested. “Faith” is the nominal form of the verb “to believe.” Faith therefore means trust or confidence in what God has promised, resulting in a life of faithfulness and perseverance.
Our lives inspire other people to trust God or to distrust Him. God sometimes allows His children to get into places of testing and trials that can be very frightening.
God often chooses men/women who lack confidence in their own abilities to do His work because He is made strong in our weakness.
 
We don’t want to limit the work of God in our lives through unbelief. When we realize how mighty God is, our problems are put in perspective.
Our journey is not a sprint but a marathon. We must pace ourselves & endure to the end.
 
Through our faith in Jesus Christ we are able to approach God through His Son Jesus Christ leading to a much better relationship than the members of the Hall of Faith.
Faith is a living thing. It is our lifestyle. It is our commitment to walk in the footsteps of Christ not knowing what lies ahead, but knowing that He is with us, therefore we can take the next step. Our walk with Christ at times takes us through dark places where it seems as if the sun will never shine again, and we may well feel abandoned. Faith calls us to live above what we feel to what we know to be true. Christ staked His life on it so we can walk as those before us and blaze a trail for those who come behind.
 
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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Don’t let other people rain on your parade

 Have Faith-Filled Big Dreams!

DSC_0478

Inactivity is the dark room where negativity is born. Act your way back into action. When faith and hard work collide miracles happen and God is glorified.

Choose to work toward your goals everyday. Do a little everyday and not a lot every 10 days or more.

Keep your plane in the air. It's easier to keep momentum going rather than restart and build up momentum again.

A daily decision - push through and work through. Work with excellence every day.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friends


Two unlikely friends!

I took this picture today of the alligator and turtle at the Viera Wetlands. I love going out there because there's almost always some great birding photo opportunities. It got me to thinking what is a friend? Dictionary.com defines friend as a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard. These two guys seem to be attached but I'm not sure it it's either of the above descriptions.

Proverbs 27:10 says do not forsake your friend and the friend of your father. Long-term friendship is precious indeed. We cannot choose our brothers and sisters, but a friend, freely chosen, can sometimes be closer than a blood relative. Many of us have relatives, even children, who live far away but often our friends or friend is nearby.

Who do you call friend? I am blessed to have several close and dear friends! Jesus called His disciples "friend." Luke 12:4, John 21:5 We are like the 5 people we hang around the most (not including) family. We need to guard our inner circle. We are the light of the world - we are to reflect God's light!

Abraham was called God's friend! Isaiah 41:8, 2 Chronicles 20:7, James 2:23

But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24b

Arise, Shine; For your light has come! Isaiah 60:1


Great Blue Herons are usually seen singly but may migrate or roost in flocks.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days - Day 31

Well - I made it all 31 Days! Yeah!!!

Halloween is not a holiday that I celebrate but I do enjoy seeing all the children dressed in their costumes. My husband gets a kick out of giving out the candy and my dog runs and hides because he doesn't like to dressed in his little costume. This year he was a dinosaur but he wouldn't sit still long enough for me to take a good picture. The effect of this picture happened totally by accident! :-)



October 31st - means it's time to pull out my fall decorations and Christmas is just around the corner!

So I thought I end this 31 day blogging challenge with a few of my favorites quotes and acronyms that I've collected - I don't know where they all originated; plus a few scriptures from my journal. I hope you'll enjoy them. So, here we go...

"Don't expect your life to change if you aren't willing to change how you live"

"We need to allow God's Word to do a powerful work in us that through us He can produce the kinds of things that we read in Scripture"

John 14:12 - Christ wants us to do even greater works than He did.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 - ...encourage one another and build up one another.

"Only God can send the rain but He wants us to dig the ditches" - Steven Furtick

A.C.T.
        Aware of thoughts
        Choose response
        Take time to practice thinking positively

"Eagles fly alone"



FEAR = false, evidence, appearing real. Fear & Faith can not coexist. Choose faith!

"Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things not present that may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Danger is very real, but fear is a choice." - Will Smith

Don't live in "if only" or "what if" - Don't live in the past - Move forward. Know that you are loved by God. Refuse to live in fear. Be Positive. Recover from setbacks quickly. Avoid Comparisons. Take Action.

Galatians 6:9 - In due season you will reap if you do not quit.

Romans5:5 - The Word of God is for life!


 
God's way is better even when it doesn't make sense. Say what you believe, Believe what you say. Declare God's promises over your life. - I am who God says I am!

2 Cor 5:17 - God want to do a new thing!

Dreams don't work unless you do.

The pathway to God's best is paved with FAITH.

Faith is a muscle that must be exercised.
Forwarding
All
Issues
To
Heaven

Don't be limited by your own imagination.

Avoid procrastination - Just do it!

Run to God not away from God - Proverbs 18:10

God knows what's best for our lives - Romans 8:28

Phil 2:15-16 - Shine like the stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of Live.

"You never know when one kind act or word of encouragement will change a life forever." Zig Ziglar

Romans 8:20 - God is control of every aspect of our lives, every circumstance. God can work all things together for His good, He knows what's best for our lives.

Ephesians 1:3-8 - I am loved, I am blessed, chosen, adopted, favored, redeemed and forgiven!
 


May the Lord bless you and keep you,
     May He make His face to shine upon you,
May you know that if God is four you, who can be against you,
     With God on your side, whom shall your fear,
May you be like a tree that is planted by rivers of living waters,
     that your leaves will not whither.

J.O.Y. = Jesus - Others & You

Be blessed and be a blessings. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!!

You can read the introduction my and all 31 days here.

Nice vs. Kind

The nice person is focused on himself – he does nice things in order to be perceived (by others and by himself...