Friday, February 24, 2023

Forgotten Photos

I’m always forgetting to check the cameras after vacation. I get overwhelmed with unpacking and resetting and Mark had to rush out for an unplanned work trip this time…it just threw me off. But I remembered today, on a windy and rainy day, and the sugar white sands, sea glass blue waters, amazing birds, and beautiful flowers were just what my heart needed. Today these things are what I needed to see. Thank You God for creating them, helping me capture them, and then uncovering them today for me to consume. Perfect peace.

#marinaskitchentable #flowers #azalea #azaleas #camellia #camellias #saintandrewsstatepark #edengardens #edengardensstatepark #30a #perfecttiming #blueheron #nestingblueherons #osprey

Thursday, January 26, 2023

What I Am (and am not): It's All Good

I’m not an illustrator, I’m not a calligrapher. Some would say that I’m not a watercolor artist! But what I am is a note taker, a multi-medium artist who enjoys the process, and making art as a part of my spiritual act of worship.

I have given these DaySpring Illustrating Bibles as gifts, but I’d wanted one for myself, especially as I go through the NT this year. I’m reading The Message, but this only came in NIV, so I’m re-writing the aha moments in MSG in the columns, along with dabbling with my watercolor markers and a plain brush. I don’t have expectations of this being “Pinterest worthy” but it’s perfect for me. I’m trying new things, new techniques, processes, not stressing about the art and steeping in the Word. It’s all good.

The paper isn’t as thick as I’d expected, and this would probably be better suited for washi-tape and colored pencils, but the ripples don’t bother me. Sort of like my skin with scars, wrinkles and stretch marks, these pages will tell a story this year. I imagine at some point I’ll cry, or more likely MANY times I’ll cry, and those tears will become wrinkles in the pages too. It’s all good.

Word and watercolor will propel me between quilt sessions, writing, TWO online discussion groups for church, and my VA work for Meeting in the Meadow. This is good to wind down to, and much better than any screen. And I’m captivated by Matthew 16 still, which is good because God keeps putting it in front of me. I’m learning. Still.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Word and Prayer: Matthew 16

After traveling last week (and being sick) I’m back to writing and sharing.

Matthew 16 (MSG) was my reading today and in this translation it paraphrased one of my life Mantras. I always say “Choose the hardest thing, it will make you depend on God more and know Him in new ways.” The scripture here says nearly the same thing! I have never read the Bible in this translation so it really jumped out at me. Amen! Here it is in context:

“Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16‬:‭24‬-‭26‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Yes! Follow Him! Let Him lead! And if you’re faced with a decision choose the hardest thing so you’ll see how dependable He is.

Several years ago my husband was faced with a job change. The hardest thing for me would be to move away from 8 of my grandkids. The hardest thing for Mark was staying in a job with a relentless boss who was out to break him. We had different hard things, so we prayed. We ended up staying, but within a few months that boss released him to find a different position within the company. Although he applied for local jobs, even within other companies, he ended up taking a position that moved us about 8 hours away…but closer to our other newborn grandchild who I got to babysit weekly. I made wonderful friendships with our neighbors, women I love. I was closer to other friends I hadn’t seen in years. It was really hard to leave my family and grands here, but I trusted God and He provided things I couldn’t have imagined! I grew spiritually, our marriage grew, and it opened up doors down the road with other moves that blessed us. It was so hard to leave my grandkids, but the truth is that shortly after that the bulk of them moved too! If I’d insisted we stayed life would have been so different anyways!

Trust God! He is dependable!

#marinaskitchentable #godisdependable #theworkaholicswife #companymove #choosehardthings #trustgod

Thursday, January 12, 2023

Word and Prayer, Matthew 10

Matthew 10:5-10 MSG

Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.

“Don’t think you have to put on a fund-raising campaign before you start. You don’t need a lot of equipment. You are the equipment, and all you need to keep that going is three meals a day. Travel light.

OH, how I wish I’d been taught this when I first became a believer. To have had practical experience sharing the gospel right where I was would have been beneficial. Oh, I did this a little bit…I was so “on fire” for the Lord, and He changed me so much! I shared Jesus with my sister, and a few others in my immediate environment…but I didn’t know fully the power that was at my fingertips…and before I knew it I was applying to work on a ranch in Mexico with deaf children.

If you’ve known me for a while (or read my book) you know that as much as I heard God call me, what He called me TO was so different. He was calling me to have a willing heart to leave the comfort of my Southern California home with all its bells and whistles. He was calling me to think of someone besides myself. He was calling me to choose the hard things so I would learn to depend on Him. But He wasn’t calling me to go.

After I couldn’t pass the medical exam, and during the time the doctor was trying to discern what was wrong with me (early signs of an autoimmune disease) I missed the window to join the team. People questioned if God really asked me to “go,” they questioned if I was really sick, they questioned everything about me! It was such a discouraging season, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, but God pulled me through. It was for sure a “hardest thing” and He grew me in ways I could not have imagined. (He did send me other places around the world, and they were a different kind of hard, but each time He continues to grow me.)

My Prayer

Lord, help us to remember that You have placed us where we are for a purpose and Your plan. We don’t have to wait until we get things together to begin building relationships and reaching others in the name of Jesus. Give us the courage and wisdom to know how to pray for our neighbors, and break down barriers so we can find out what we have in common and build friendships from there. If You have put other Christians around us we don’t have to ignore them, teach us to be a team and to pray for our lost neighbors, no matter how different or difficult they are.

I also ask that You will remind us that sometimes we have to choose the hardest thing, and that might mean staying right where we are. As interesting and exciting as it may be to live a life abroad, or even in another neighborhood, sometimes we have to choose to stay put. Sometimes the hardest thing is leaving family and close friends too, so help us know Your will in each decision before us. Help us to choose whatever will help us to grow closer to You, to be in the best place to grow Your Kingdom. In Your name I pray, amen.

#WordAndPrayer #pray #growth #marinaskitchentable #devotionaljournal #inspirational #encouragement #spiritualencouragement

©2023 Words, Picture and prayer by Marina Bromley. All rights reserved.

Word and Prayer, Matthew 9:18-38

“Then Jesus made a circuit of all the towns and villages. He taught in their meeting places, reported kingdom news, and healed their diseased bodies, healed their bruised and hurt lives. When he looked out over the crowds, his heart broke. So confused and aimless they were, like sheep with no shepherd. “What a huge harvest!” he said to his disciples. “How few workers! On your knees and pray for harvest hands!”" Matthew‬ ‭9‬:‭35‬-‭38‬ ‭MSG‬‬
It’s not hard to tell who is hurting. When looking around in any crowded place it’s easy to see who is in physical pain, who is emotionally distraught, who needs a hug or a tissue.
Jesus was in the habit of reading the crowds, and he could tell who needed a healing touch even easier than we can today. He also knew the needs were many and the workers were few. There continues to be a need for workers yet even today, both in vocational missions and as professionals in the medical and dental fields bring healing and relief in Jesus’s name, and non-professional people who can just serve those who need help.
Of course we can “serve those who need help” right where we are…sharing a meal with neighbors, mowing a lawn or shoveling a walkway, sitting and sharing a cup of tea with someone who might need a friend. With the pandemic these past few years, people are lonelier than ever, and many folks could just use a friend. By being the hands and feet of Jesus, and weaving Jesus into our conversation, can be a great fellowship or witness.
Of course, some people want to be left alone…so let’s respect personal boundaries and pray for discernment.

My Prayer
Lord, thank You for calling “every tongue, tribe, and nation” to follow you. Thank You for placing believers around the world, that we can reach our neighbors here, near, and far away by being Your hands and feet and serving You by serving others. Keep our hearts aligned with Yours, that we would desire to see Your Kingdom grow, so that we can be joined with you as You have planned. In Jesus name. Amen.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Word and Prayer, Matthew 9:1-17 MSG

There’s so many good reminders in this passage, the telling of several stories and displaying a variety of situations, from healing a lame man, to eating with sinners, and even the topic of fasting.

How does my life reflect the life that Jesus led in this passage? Am I giving time to those that need prayer? Who am I spending time with and do I show even the least of these honor? How am I honoring God, petitioning Him, and is there room for more fasting and the other spiritual disciplines?

I’ll take some time today to look at the disciplines deeper and see if anything is drawing me in. Am I neglecting anything? What spiritual disciplines do you practice regularly (it’s not bragging…I need practical tips here!).

If I’m not growing, I’m dying. In that I want to keep growing in knowledge and discipline, my spiritual growth. What do I let water and nourish my soul? What things do I let in that choke out the growth God is doing in me?


My Prayer
Lord, I love You and I love that You never have given up on me. There are times that I spend too much time or attention on things that don’t matter, or may even be hurtful to my spiritual growth. Continue to point them out, and give me courage and strength to step away from things that are culturally relevant but spiritually hurtful.

Father, will You put mature believers in my path to show my how to walk in Your love, life, and light in this part of my life? There were always people around that led in maturity and wisdom, and right now I’m not sensing that in my life. Please show me who these people are, and help me to see their discipleship as a gift from You. I want to grow to love You even more. You are my everything! Amen.

#WordAndPrayer #pray #growth #marinaskitchentable #devotionaljournal #inspirational #encouragement #spiritualencouragement

You can read the Message version on YouVersion Bible app here. Compare it with the version that you usually read.

©2023 Word, prayer and picture, Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Word and Prayer, Matthew 8

Then he got in the boat, his disciples with him. The next thing they knew, they were in a severe storm. Waves were crashing into the boat—and he was sound asleep! They roused him, pleading, “Master, save us! We’re going down!”

Jesus reprimanded them. “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Then he stood up and told the wind to be silent, the sea to quiet down: “Silence!” The sea became smooth as glass (Matthew 8:23-26 MSG).

One day last week I hit a wall. I was emotional, weeping and sobbing (not just crying). I was sad, frightened, scared for others. I had received some surprising bad news from a friend, some potential bad news from a family member, and was frustrated over a few personal things going on. I hadn’t slept well for a few nights (or a week) and was exhausted. I felt like I was to carry all of this on my own, being tossed in the storm. I sat on the deck and felt the rise and fall of each wave, just KNOWING that one of them would toss me over. Surely I was going to drown in the depths of bad news swirling around me. I was in no condition to be on a boat like this! Let me off.

I had forgotten Who was with me. Who was for me. Who loved each of those involved in every circumstance I was fretting over, and knowing that they each love Him, serve Him.

Yes, it was a lot going on, but my job was to carry it in prayer, turning these things over to Him, again and again. Releasing them. Letting Him deal with the details and just laying it all at His feet. Letting Him calm the storm instead of removing me from the ship.

It wasn’t wrong of me to be crying, I was mourning, which was worthy of some of these circumstances I carried (and it motivated me to take a really good power walk around my neighborhood—wind whipping at my tear stained cheeks), but I had no faith. In those moments I felt that I would never stop sobbing. My heart hurt deeply, and I feared the future. How could I carry on? My prayers were gasps of air asking God to fix things by removing them from my vision instead of focusing my line of sight on the One who could calm the stormy seas. We could stay upon this boat, keep our journey moving forward, and still arrive at our destination (heaven, right?). I had lost sight of the goal and the tools to get us there.

All it took was a lot of prayer, a good dinner, and a good night’s sleep to have a better perspective on the situation. Nothing has changed. There’s been no new news to change any of the circumstances that troubled me, but my focus has changed to keep my eyes locked on the eyes of the One who can fix everything. Jesus.

My Prayer

Lord, I can be afraid of the things happening around me, be afraid for the things happening to those I love, be afraid for all the unknowns in my life. Help me to remember that they are already known to You.

You not only know the vessels we are sailing in, you know the bathymetric features of the sea. You know the depths of the valleys we hike, and when we will hit the mountain tops. You know the pain we will feel in our journeys, and when we will feel it. You have felt this pain, and so much more.

Father, help me to lock eyes with You. Help me to see the kindness and compassion You have for me and those I love, not because I love them but because You love them even more. Let Your love propel me to trust You in every situation You are walking with me, and with them.

I trust You with the storms of my life. Thank You for not leaving me alone, and for teaching me to trust You through Your Word. You are worthy of my praise.

In Your name I pray, Jesus. Amen.

#WordAndPrayer #pray #growth #marinaskitchentable #devotionaljournal #inspirational #encouragement #spiritualencouragement

You can read the Message version on YouVersion Bible app here. Compare it with the version that you usually read.

©2023 Word, prayer and picture, Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table.

Forgotten Photos

I’m always forgetting to check the cameras after vacation. I get overwhelmed with unpacking and resetting and Mark had to rush out for an un...