Lesson From A Thrift Store

IMG_1576_1Happy February to all you!  I hope you share love with those around you this month especially, rather than think about it being just a couples day.  Nope, it is a month of sharing the love with everyone special to us!

On to the post:

One of the things my hubby and I enjoy doing is going to antique stores and thrift/second-hand stores.  We really love it.  His passion is the books mostly, mine is everything else!  I just love theIMG_1573_1 hunt!  Anyone else???  So… yesterday as I was walking through the dishes and glassware, which I usually go to first, I found four more of the cape cod thumb print dishes that I collect!  I was so excited, and they were in great shape.  Well…except for the fact that they were really dirty and cloudy with what looked like scratches on them.  That can make most people have second thoughts.  But I have learned to look past all that because I know what is underneath.  At the very moment I picked up the first dish, I felt God speak to me.  He said, “You are like this dish.  This dish was once beautiful and valued by the owner.  They used it and set it on the table for the beauty of the table scape, as well as, so others see its beauty and enjoy it.  But that owner now may not be able to use it anymore, and others don’t see the value in it and have put it in a throw box.  Now, here it sits all dirty and cloudy and not very attractive.  But YOU come along, and you know and see its value.  You know what it CAN be.  It is so valuable to you that you put it in your cart to purchase.  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, my Son, you are like this dish.  I created you to be this beautiful creation.  But because of the dirty, sinful nature that you were born into, you had no luster, living a bit of a cloudy life, and generally, would grow up living a life outside of My plan for you.  I wanted more for you.  You weren’t meant to sit on a shelf somewhere unused. So, I sent My son Jesus to give you a clean heart; to completely cleanse you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.  Jesus cleansed your heart, made you shine, and gave you the luster and clarity to reflect Me!  You are a person of beauty.  He made you whole.  Just like you KNEW the value in this piece, I saw the value in you and sent my Son to die for you.  I knew what you could become.  And now, You have eternal life.  You may find yourself falling back into habits that cloud your brilliance, but all you need to do is ask Jesus to cleanse you once again, so your light will shine, just like this dish will shine and reflect when you clean it.  I want you to share this illustration.”
IMG_1574_1I can tell you, after that lesson, my value went to heaven and back!  When I came home and washed those dishes up and saw their facets and beauty, it reminded me of what Jesus did in my life.  He knew also, that I may have the tendency at times to let life cloud and distort the beauty within and around me.  I need to remember to go to Him and ask for a clean up; soap me up good, so that all that residue will come right off with the water of his Word, and the Holy Spirit’s direction.  It is a matter of asking in faith, and He will do it.  I can sometimes go along and not even realize my view is getting dusty and cloudy, until I try to see something, or be used of God.  It is then that I realize I’m off track a bit.  I need a good cleaning!  I’m not seeing clearly.  The devil lays in wait for just a shard of space to remind me of my dirt.  Does that sound familiar?  Tell the devil to take a hike!!  Get lost!  Open your door and kick his behind out!  I don’t want to listen to the wrong thing and lose my confidence in what I am capable of doing through Christ.  He is my Source.  He is the cleanser of my body, mind and soul.  I need then, to allow Him to take me through another clean cycle whenever the Holy Spirit nudges me.  He has designed me to catch and reflect the light.  His light.  I have begun to ask that of Him everyday.  Just like we need to dust and clean our homes, I need to do the same thing in my spiritual life.  Praise the Lord that He never discards us.  We are always His treasure!

What a great lesson.  I have constant reminders of this lesson in my china closet that I see on a daily basis.  It is so fun that God will use an everyday thing to teach such a valuable lesson.  The most exciting thing about drawing close to God is that He will use the things closest to our hearts to speak directly to us.  I pray this illustration that He gave me to share, resonates with you and brings encouragement to you.  “So let your light shine before all men, in order that they may see your holy lives and may give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”  Matthew 5:16  It is well with my soul!

May God cause you to shine like crystal, and reflect His glorious light.  Walking the journey with you…

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The Focus in 2015

IMG_8874Just wanted to pop in before my day gets going and wish you all a Happy New Year!  I love how our page is blank going in and we can make it what we want with God’s help.  Of course that means that we would be willing to follow Him in the first place to the places or even areas of our life that He chooses to take us!  I’m always excited to start a new year!  It brings a new morning, new blessings, and a new beginning that allows the U-Turns in life.  We all need them.  I, for one, want to do things differently than I did in 2014:

  • IMG_8873I want to seek Him more and in a deeper way
  • I want to love better
  • I want to see in a new and different way
  • I want to be with my family more
  • I want to listen to the Holy Spirit in my life with more awareness
  • I want to use my camera more
  • I want to live my life as God would have me to live not as someone else does or some fad out there
  • I want more drives and visits with friends
  • I want to enjoy and celebrate my history
  • I want to get all my technology working together instead of competing with each for attention
  • I want to enjoy every minute of my life more than I have ever enjoyed it in years

I already have about 10 hearts in my Gratitude Jar as of last night and that is just the evening!  It blesses me to read over those cards and see His faithfulness to me and to my family!  I thank Him for theIMG_8887 little tiny things and the huge things in my life!  That is how I want to live it!  Don’t let the darkness of the world creep in on your Jesus lit life!  Let that light shine and erase the darkness.  Don’t complain about things you need to be thankful for.  Celebrate all that comes your way and in doing so, you will experience God like you have never experienced before!  I have a relative that turns 100 years old today!  Happy Birthday my sweet Nona!  I have wonderful memories of visiting your house!  Wow!  She has lived well and loved well and I would love to follow in those footsteps!  She has loved unconditionally and that is something I seek more and more in this New Year of 2015.  She inspires me.

IMG_8704I ask God to keep the fire lit!

Will you join me in considering a prayer asking God what He wants to do IN you as well as what He wants to do THROUGH you this year?  Where do YOU want to go with Him this year?  It’s exciting to be on His team!

Walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

Ok, Lessons from a Turtle?

IMG_6818I’m not sure why, but this last weekend when I was down at the ocean, I saw a little decor turtle and felt I was supposed to get it and bring it home with me.  I am a very visual person and so I have many things that I keep around me on my desk and in my office that are reminders to me of how I should live and think regarding my daily life.  Here are a few thoughts that came to mind as I wondered about the reasoning behind making that purchase.  You can google many ideas about lessons from a turtle, and some of them will be a part of why God may have laid that on my heart.

  • 1.  Turtles may be slow but they will get where they are going.

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  We know that lesson!  We may know it by heart.  But, we sure forget it quickly when it is something we want.  All living things have a time of growth.  A tree doesn’t just become a tree.  It takes a long time to get tall and sturdy.  So it is with us. We are and should be constantly growing.  How fast is not as important as taking a steady pace, and we keep at it.

  • 2.  They are very determined.

When baby turtles are born, they go by instinct to the nearest water.  They face all kind of challenges to get there, but they are determined to go through the scary trials to make it.  Sand may be hard for them to get over because even the smallest hill of sand presents a challenge to them as tiny creatures.  They may be eagle food, but they instinctively have that determination and drive to get where they are going.  They don’t give up at the first sign of challenge; even at that young age.

  • 3.  They have been called a symbol of peace.

I would guess this reasoning has to do with the quiet, but sure way of living.  If you watch a turtle, they are very observant.  They watch you carefully and they are aware of what is around them  This reminds us to slow down our pace in life and look around.  Enjoy what we see as we go.  Hurry is not peaceful but slowing down is, or can be.

  • 4.  If there is something they are having difficulty with, they will focus on that issue until they can figure out what to do.

As a child, my cousin had a turtle and that turtle was older than me by several  years at that time, and they still had him long after I became an adult, married and had children.  Amazing!  One time I watched that turtle struggle with a stick that had been put in the wrong way, and now was in its way and messing with his environment.  Oh how he would struggle to right that stick so it would be in the correct place.  He didn’t give up until it was moved correctly to his liking.

  • 5.  They must stick their neck out if they want to get somewhere.

That’s right!  If we want to grow, we have to stick our neck out and try something new or different.  We have to put ourselves out there!  But many times, we may be like the turtle in fear, and pull our necks back in,  and in our case, tuck and curl in defeat.  However, if we want growth in our life, and a better relationship with those around us, we have to stick our neck out there!

  • 6.  If you were to pick a turtle up that is going on one direction, and you turned it around to the opposite direction, they will turn around in their shell so they can keep going in the same direction they were headed.

What does that tell us?  That turtle knows its direction; it has an inner sense of direction.  No matter which way it is turned, it knows the path it needs to take.  We need to have our compass to true north; that is, to the direction of God and His promises.  We want to “know” in our hearts and mind what direction that is.  And if we are truly in tune with God, just the like the turtle, we can always know which way is the right way to go.  U-turns are awesome, aren’t they?!?

So, I brought that little turtle home with me to have on my desk, so that I too, can remember the message of the turtle and the reasons why God may have put that on my heart.  I hope you will remember the lessons of a turtle and let it be a life lesson for you as it was for me!  God is good to teach us in big and small ways if we are tune, and listen to Him, and respond.

To life at a turtle pace…slow and sure…walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn