Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Sharing Lemondade

Sharing Lemonade
-Marina Bromley

"Pain nourishes courage. You can't be brave if you've only had wonderful things happen to you." —Mary Tyler Moore 

When I read this quote, in honor of Mary Tyler Moore's recent passing, I firsthand agreed. Then, after I re-read it, realized that although I see the wisdom in this, if it were truly true I'd be so much more braver than I am! 

I'm a wimp when it comes to courage, I lack discipline in pushing through to achieve personal goals, and my "fight or flight" response is all "flight". I despise conflict, choosing rather to "agree to disagree" instead. 

So what happened?? 

I recognize the painful life events that have occurred in my past, and although they imprint a part of who I am, I have forgiven to the best I know how. I don't wish bad upon any of the people whose poor choices affected me. In fact, I try to advocate forgiveness in every life situation.

Have I forgiven so much that it has replaced the bravery it should have formed?

I've never thought of this before. 

I've lived in an attitude of forgiveness and would not see any purpose in NOT forgiving; the Gospel of Jesus demands it. But if I had not forgiven, would it have made me braver? Would bravery happened if I had sought revenge, or justice? Would bravery and determination (as a form of discipline) taken root if I had planned and schemed and outfitted my life to prove others wrong, that I could overcome despite the odds of this "bad stuff" that "happened to me"?

I don't know. I don't know if anyone could argue it better to prove me wrong. 

Would it be fruitful to un-forgive? To take wrath in hand like a scorned lover and damn them to hell for the heart-break and pain they caused in my life? 

No. I think not. 

To hold on to, or conjure up unforgiveness after all this time would be fruitless. It would not make me any more braver than I am. 

Perhaps my bravery doesn't allow me to conquer heights, or achieve great things, or remain disciplined in a diet and exercise plan, but the brevity I DO have allows me to show compassion towards those who have hurt me, to love beyond my circumstances, to sleep at night in peace knowing that the measure I forgave is the measure I will be forgiven. 

Perhaps that's the courage I live out. I'm brave enough to forgive because of the Gospel truth I choose to cling to—tucking it in around me at night, like a well-loved blanket. I wear forgiveness on my sleeve next to my heart to show proof of a life lived emotionally full and depleted, of mothers' love lost, of friendship betrayed, of selfishness taught and advocated and forgotten. It is witness to the things in life I couldn't control—but needed forgiving anyways, to things I could control—and I had to forgive myself, to things that no one but God could control—and I had to accept His wisdom. 

So perhaps to not be brave does not undervalue the hard things that have happened in life. Lack of bravery is not proof of a wonderful life, but rather having made peace with the past—seeing the benefit of whatever hardship made it not-wonderful and making the proverbial lemonade from it, even sharing it with others. 

But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 NLT

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9 NLT

Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. Psalm 27:14 NLT

©2017 Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 3

God Is For You, Part 3
-Roy Lessin

God is for you.
God is for you.
God is for you.
God is for you.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Romans 8:31-32

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 2

God Is For You, Part 2
-Roy Lessin

He did not spare His Son, but delivered Him up for you—God is for you.
Through His Son He will freely give you all things—God is for you.
He will not bring a charge against you—God is for you.
You are His elect—God is for you.
Jesus makes intercession for you—God is for you.
You are more than a conqueror though Him who loves you—God is for you.
Nothing can separate you from His love—God is for you.

-Based on Romans 8

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with Permission

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: God Is For You, Part 1

God Is For You, Part 1
-Roy Lessin

This I know, that God is for me. Psalm 56:9

When David wrote Psalm 56 it was at a time of great difficulty. He was pressed between two enemies. As though in a vise, he was being squeezed by Saul from one side and by the Philistines from the other. At this time, David had no great army to rescue him and he sat on no royal throne. In the midst of this great pressure, David kept his trust in the One who could save him and deliver him from all his fears. We discover the foundation of David’s faith when he declares in verse four, “In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?”

How could David make such a bold and confident statement in the midst of such adversity? The ninth verse of this Psalm gives us the answer. David could trust in God to save him because he knew that God was for him. As we face adversities from the enemy and difficulties in life, it is vital for each of us to know some key things about God’s character and our relationship with Him. One of these vital keys is found in the word “knowing.”

“Knowing” does not mean “I hope so”, “I think so” or “I pray so.” It means far more than knowing something in your head as you would know various facts or trivia. It means to be absolutely, positively, convinced about something with all your mind, all your heart, and all your soul. It means to be so certain of something that you are willing to cast all your care, all your worry, all your fears, and your very life upon it.

Thankfully, as God’s children, we don’t have to guess or make up something about God’s true thoughts toward us. One way the enemy can defeat us is to deceive us. He tells us lies with the hope that we will believe them. He will tell you that God is against you. He will try to persuade you that God is not your friend, but your enemy. If you believe this lie you will doubt God’s love and care for you. If you doubt God’s love and care, you will not be able to put your complete trust in Him.

David’s Psalm was familiar to Paul when he wrote, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:28-31

God wants you to know with all certainty that He is for you. When you get up in the morning, He is for you; when you get stuck in traffic, He is for you; when you are under a deadline at work, He is for you; when people misunderstand you or say unkind things about you, He is for you; when the enemy says you’re finished and you’ll never make it, He is for you. When there are problems and when there is pain, God is for you. When things are changing and times are uncertain, God is for you. When needs are pressing and answers are perplexing, God is for you.

God is for you. Count on it! Believe it! Act like it! Live like it! Trust like it! Rejoice like it! Know it…because He really, truly, absolutely, positively, is for you! 

©2017,2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: The King and His Kingdom in You

The King and His Kingdom in You
-Roy Lessin

For the Kingdom of God is not just fancy talk; it is living by God's power.
1 Corinthians 4:20 (NLT)

The Kingdom of God makes all the difference in you and in your day because you are a part of it. There is no kingdom, rule, or authority that is greater than God’s Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is all about the reign of Jesus Christ in your life. Jesus is the King of the Kingdom, and every benefit of the Kingdom is yours because you have the King ruling your life.

Jesus reigns and rules over everything that He has overcome, over everything He has defeated, and over everything He has conquered. Jesus is the triumphant King, the mighty Warrior, and the risen Lord. He faced the onslaughts of Satan’s attacks and crushed them; He faced the temptations of sin and overcame them; He faced the grip of death and triumphed over it. Today, Jesus is your authority over the kingdom of darkness, He is your deliverer over the power of sin, and He is your victory over the fear of death.

Jesus’ Kingdom within you is unshakeable, indestructible, and impenetrable. Nothing can come against it and prevail; nothing can challenge it and win; nothing can defy it and overcome. The Kingdom of God means that you do not have to live this day in your own strength, but by Jesus’ power; not in your own efforts, but in Jesus’ finished work; not in your own abilities, but in Jesus’ endless resources.

If you are facing temptation today, resist it and let Jesus’ victory be yours.

If the enemy is trying to pull you down and discourage you, let Jesus’ strength lift you up and cause you to stand firm.

If you are facing fear or worry, let Jesus’ be your confidence, your hope, and your security.

If your life is broken, let Jesus make you whole. 

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow, used with permission.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Never Own Anything

Never Own Anything
- Roy Lessin

As a young believer in Jesus Christ I was greatly impacted by a sermon given by A.W. Tozer. It was called the Five Spiritual Vows. It is one of the best messages I have ever heard. One of the vows was “Never Own Anything.”

To illustrate his point, Dr. Tozer told the story of a farmer who planted his seed and prayed, “God, please bless my crops.” However, at the time of harvest the farmer’s crops failed. The following year the farmer planted his seed and once again prayed, “God, please bless my crops.” Once again the crops failed.

The next year the farmer did as he had done the previous two years and prayed the same prayer, “God, please bless my crops.” This time, however, the farmer did something different. After praying, he quieted his heart enough to hear God speak these words to him, “Whose crops?” 
“God, please bless my crops.” the farmer repeated. 
“Whose crops?” God asked the farmer once again. 
The farmer paused for a moment and then cried out, “I get it, Lord, I get it! God, bless your crops.”

That fall the farmer brought in an abundant harvest.

A few years ago I learned the principle of this vow in a different way. I had gotten involved in a hobby that I enjoyed. My interest in my hobby grew and took up more of my time. It soon became apparent that my hobby was beginning to consume me. One day, while driving in my car, I sensed the Lord say to me that I needed to keep the things I possessed from possessing me. In that moment, I knew I needed to release into God’s hands, my hobby and the ownership of it.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 4:7, “What do you have that you did not receive?” Everything we have comes from God. We own nothing and should not try to take possession of anything or anyone. It is important for us to hold with an open hand, everything that God has placed into our lives, without seeking to possess it with a closed fist. God will freely give us all things to enjoy, but we cannot enjoy what He gives us if we do not release the ownership of it to Him.

Here are some wise words from Watchman Nee about ownership, “Can we trust God to keep for us what He has given, never laying hold on it ourselves in our natural desire for possession? What God gives, he gives! We need not struggle to retain it. Indeed if we grasp it fearfully and hold on, we may risk losing it. Only what we have let go in committal to Him becomes in fact really ours.” 

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Dependency

-Roy Lessin

I recently had an experience that reminded me once again of my dependency upon the Lord. I was sitting near the front of our church, waiting for the time in the service when I was scheduled to speak. During a worship song, I happened to turn my head and look out over the congregation. In that moment I saw the faces of people who had a spiritual hunger and needed to be fed. I began to feel anxious and a sense of pressure came over me as I felt responsible to meet their spiritual hunger. Immediately, I heard the voice of the Lord speak to my heart. His words brought complete peace and lifted all the pressure off of me. Here is what I heard Him say…

“Roy, you are not the meal. I am. You have not prepared the meal. I have. All I am asking you to do is to serve the meal in a caring way. As the server, it is not even important if people like you, it is only important that you place before them what I have prepared. And remember, once you have served them, you cannot force them to eat what has been served.”

To walk in humility before God we must understand our dependency upon God. There are many places in Scripture that illustrate our relationship of dependency upon Him. We are told that He is the True Vine and we are the branches; He is the Potter and we are the clay; He is the Shepherd and we are the sheep; He is the Head and we are the body; He is Giver and we are the receivers; He is the Master and we are His servants.

Without the Vine the branch would shrivel; without the Potter the clay would be without form; without a Shepherd the sheep would be without care; without the Head the body would die; without the Giver we would be empty; without a Master we would be left to our own way.

Clothe (apron) yourselves, all of you, with humility [as the garb of a servant, so that its covering cannot possibly be stripped from you, with freedom from pride and arrogance] toward one another. 1 Peter 5:5 AMPC

©2009, 2017 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: There is One Who Cares for You

There is One Who Cares for You
-Roy Lessin

I trust this quote from C.H. Spurgeon will encourage you today...

Oh, child of suffering, be patient. God has not passed you over in His providence. He who is the feeder of sparrows will also furnish you with what you need. Take up the arms of faith against a sea of trouble. There is One who cares for you. His eye is fixed on you, His heart beats with pity for your woe, and His omnipotent hand will bring you the needed help.

The darkest cloud will scatter itself in showers of mercy. The blackest gloom will give place to the morning. He, if you are one of His family, will bind up your wounds and heal your broken heart. Do not doubt His grace because of your tribulation, but believe that He loves you as much in seasons of trouble as in times of happiness.

With a little oil in the cruse and a handful of meal in the barrel, Elijah outlived the famine, and you will do the same.

–C. H. Spurgeon

©2017, 2009 Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Used with permission. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Fret Busters #19 and #20

Fret Busters #19 and #20
-Roy Lessin

Fret buster #19:
“I will hear what God the Lord will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints;” Psalm 85:8 NKJV

Fret buster #20:

Worrying about a circumstance won’t change the circumstance, but worry will change you.

©2009, 2017 Roy Lessin, used with permission. Photo by Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Craving Connection: My Own Account

Craving Connection: My Own Account
-Marina Bromley

The statement in the photo is so true. I'm loving this book Craving Connection. I've craved connection my whole life! I know that I'm a little odd... peculiar?? geeky?? can't put a finger on it?? ;) That's ok. I've spent a lot of time wishing for friendships to happen, waiting for someone to PICK ME! Sometimes I cried so loud I couldn't hear God's voice beckoning me to let Him in.

I've envied others friendships and even family relationships because I THOUGHT I never had super close girlfriends or close family ties, only to find out I DID, but they just looked different than anything I'd seen. Just because it was different, didn't mean it was done wrong or didn't exist, or didn't count as a friendship. It took me a while to get my eyes off of "poor little me" to see how rich the connections were that God placed around me!

Now as an adult, and having moved SO much in the past 6 years, I try not to sweat it. The connections that I crave for happen as He brings them. Here are a few things that help me keep things in perspective:

1. Jesus first. Everything else will be ok if I get this one right. It takes me spending time with Him to see and feel Him at work IN me, AROUND me, and THROUGH me. Jesus and me is always enough.

2. My neighborhood is my mission field. I can pray WITH them or FOR them, but it takes me to get out of the door to get to know which it will be.

3. Be the friend you want to have. If I want a girlfriend who will go to lunch with me, then I'd better pick up the phone and call a few acquaintances! Likewise, if someone calls and asks me to meet them - I'd better say YES! Same thing for my long-distance friends (who have been through the wringer with me with all the moves). I've got to make those calls, send those cards of encouragement, and pray with them and for them. It's a 2-way street!

4. Friendship is like gardening. There are seasons of preparing, planting, and harvesting. It takes work. It can take years to see the fruit, but keep working on it and believe it will come! I recently planted lemon seeds from a lemon I had at my house. I had to learn how to prepare the seeds, before even putting them in dirt. It took time for me to let them rest in a warm environment for them to start sprouting, and it may be years before it's big enough to set a bloom, or grow a lemon. Still, it's worth it! I don't know what will happen in a few years, but today I'm nurturing those seedlings that have so much potential! Sometimes, all we can do is nurture the potential of a friendship.

5. Sometimes, God wants to nurture ME, and if I ignore Him, He will stop me in my tracks and MAKE ME be still. I spent all last fall, winter and spring sick. Seriously. From August through May I had a horrible cough, asthma, and was weak from being so sick all the time. We had just moved, and I couldn't go out and DO all the things I wanted to, or visit "old friends" who didn't live very far from me. But you know what? God had a plan, and His plan was for me to rest, get to know my neighbors, spend a LOT of time with Him. And it was good. VERY good. Don't ever discount time alone with the Lord. So sweet!!
6. Friendships have a natural season to them too. I've had friends that have spanned a few decades (wow, I'm old!) but it doesn't mean that we speak every day (or week, or even year!). It doesn't mean we love each other any less, but ... you know... life happens. When I see a familiar number show up, or her name on an envelope, I'm just as thrilled to hear from them as ever! It's as if time has stood still, and we pick up right where we left off! That's ok!! It's actually a great benefit of good friendships!

7. No matter what has happened in the past, my husband is a best friend. His priorities have changed as our kids have grown, and perhaps he's a little... tired... of working so hard?? So we have fun together, laugh, play backgammon, serve others, nurture "couple friendships" and make memories. I may still get a little jealous of his work schedule, or he may choose to take time with the grandkids, or someday he may want to golf or fish with the guys (things he rarely does now), and when that happens I'm not afraid to pray "Change me God, change my husband, or change the circumstances." Usually, God changes me first. Then everything else falls into place and we're good to go.

I'm trying hard to learn how to be a good friend as an antidote to my own craving of connection. You too? What do you like in a friend? What do you wish you could do with a friend? If you could take a girl's weekend away, and money were no object, where would you go, and what would you do? (I've never had a girls weekend like that, so I don't know what would happen! Would we need bail money??) ;)

God WANTS us to have healthy connections, with Him, friendships, and in community. This book has great ideas and questions to get that conversation going, whether you're reading it alone or with a group. I'm praying that you'll discover the blessing of friendships, and growing new ones as well as nourishing the older friendships we have, and connecting deeper with Him through it all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: John 16:33

John 16:33
-Roy Lessin

As I was preparing to speak at a prayer leadership meeting the other day, I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to share some thoughts from John 16:33. This verse of Scripture has gotten my full attention at the beginning of 2009.

In the Amplified Bible it reads, ““I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

John 16:33 first came to my attention this year through an email I received the night before I was scheduled to speak at my home church.  The email included the following quote from E. Stanley Jones…

“"In the world you will have trouble. But courage! The victory is mine; I have conquered the world" (John 16:33 NEB). I have conquered the world - not will conquer, but I have conquered. So every foe of the Kingdom is a defeated foe before we get to it. When sin and temptation come to bully me I ask them to bend their necks and when they do, I say, "Yes, I thought so. The footprint of the Son of God is on your necks." So I by identification with him become victorious in his victory, strong in his strength, pure in his purity, loving in his love. I work from the victory to the victory.”

There are several things that God has spoken to me through John 16:33 that I believe are pertinent to the year ahead. The first thing is we can be certain that we will face tribulation. This is nothing new. The church of Jesus Christ has been living through tribulation since its birth two-thousand years ago.
The second thing is that Jesus does not want us to place our focus on tribulation, but on Him. Jesus has overcome the world, but if we put our focus on tribulation, the world can easily overcome us with worry, fear and anxiety.

The third and fourth things are huge anchor points for us. Jesus tells us that even though we will have tribulation we can have His perfect peace; He also tells us that we are to be of good cheer. These two things, perfect peace and good cheer, should dominate our thinking, our speech, and our attitudes in the coming year.

Nothing in this world has the power to take from you what Jesus wants to give you. It is Jesus who has conquered darkness and overcome the world. It is Jesus who is on the throne. It is Jesus who is working out His plan for your life and mine. Take Jesus’ peace, He is not worried; take His joy, He is not discouraged; take His rest, He is not uptight; take His victory, He is not defeated; take His life, He is not dead. He alone has all the power, all the peace, and all the good cheer you will ever need. 

©2009, 2017, Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow, and Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. This post first appeared in 2009. Used with permission. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: Craving Connection, 30 Challenges For Real Life Engagement

Book Review: Craving Connection, 30 Challenges For Real Life Engagement
- Marina Bromley

I wasn't really sure what to expect when I signed up to pre-read Craving Connection, and I was pleasantly surprised! I LOVE the format of the book, covering sections on our connections with God, friends, and community. The women's testimonies of what they learned and how God worked are personal and thoughtful. The activities (questions and challenges) make it perfect to do alone with a journal, or with a small group of friends (or soon to be friends!). Bonus is the Author Questions and Answers in the back of the book! These girls are real.

This book is for most ages and stages. I LOVE Deidra Riggs chapter on "When You Feel As If There Must Be Something More," written from her early stages as a young mom and pastor's wife and reflected on with the wisdom from today. The other women all have important lessons too, from single, married, moms, no kids kind of women. They're all there.

Mostly, I love the focus on our relationship with God found in these pages. It's all His, and they keep pointing to Him for the solutions. So needed in today's world.

View the video from B & H Publishing here.

I received an advance copy of Craving Connection from B & H Publishing, in exchange for my honest review of the book. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Book Review: The Missing Matisse, A Memoir

Book Review: The Missing Matisse, A Memoir by Pierre H. Matisse
-Marina Bromley

I'm not much of a fiction reader, nor am I a fan of war books, but I AM a fan of art and history, so when this memoir became available to read through the Tyndale Blog Network, I thought I'd give it a go.

WOW. This book was pretty amazing. Taking place in France, just prior to WW2's start, the life story of Pierre H. Matisse was spellbinding. He writes words as others paint pictures. It was so good to hear so much inside information from what life was like there, knowing that my father was just a few years younger growing up in Holland at this same time. I knew that although their lives were very different, the surroundings and happenings may have been similar in some ways. The colorful descriptions he used kept me glued to its pages.

The family history, the unfurling of the mystery surrounding his father, and the emotional honesty throughout the book were wonderful. It was so good to read that not everything always turned out ok, as it does in some people's families. It was also good to see where things DID turn out ok, as I know that it took brevity on his part to work on relationships and restore family ties.

I was a little disappointed towards the end, as his life transitioned to living in Canada and in the U.S., but let's be honest, middle-aged life here is not as exciting as a child's life during war in Europe. It was to be expected, I guess.

I'm grateful that he came to faith, and that he mentions it in the book, but the mention of the people involved I found to be a little humorous, almost like name dropping of current culture. In retrospect, I didn't ever feel like he was doing that with his family, and they were much more historically relevant.

I can't think of anyone who wouldn't enjoy this book. There's nothing extremely offensive in it, though there are a few war scenes that were a little graphic; nothing that kids don't see in PG movies or on tv, for sure. Both men and women would enjoy the topic and substance of it, and if anyone was more familiar with the war and it's movements, they would really appreciate the intensity of his encounters in Europe and North Africa.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Meeting in the Meadow: God is Faithful

God Is Faithful
-Roy Lessin

Often, as the New Year approaches, I quiet myself before the Lord and listen to hear if He may have something to say to me about the coming year. This year, as we approached 2017, I sensed God speaking something specific to me through various sources. The words were simple and clear and straight from Scripture, “God is faithful.”

God did not give me a list of Bible prophecies that would be fulfilled in 2017. He did not tell what was going to happen in the stock market, in Israel, or in world events. I have no idea what things will unfold over the next twelve months, however, I am certain of one thing, “God is faithful.”

God does not want me to place my focus on my needs, but on His faithfulness; not on world problems, but on His faithfulness; not on circumstances, but on His faithfulness; not on my feelings or opinions, but on His faithfulness; not on political change, but on His faithfulness.

The truth of God’s faithfulness is something each of us will need to be reminded of many times throughout this year. Our faith needs to rest in His faithfulness; our feet need to stand upon His faithfulness; our heart needs to trust in His faithfulness; our emotions need to celebrate His faithfulness; our mouths need to proclaim His faithfulness.

Here is a little poem that may be a helpful reminder for you in 2017…
I’ve a word that is clear
It is for the New Year
God is faithful, God is faithful.

Its meaning is dear
It will bring you a tear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

God is faithful it’s true
He will make all things new,
Just trust Him to do
All He’s promised to you.
God is faithful.

It’s a word that brings cheer
It will break every fear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

It will help you draw near
It will bless you to hear
God is faithful, God is faithful.

God is faithful it’s true
He will make all things new,
Just trust Him to do
All He’s promised to you.
God is faithful.
Deuteronomy 7:9 AMPC  Know, recognize, and understand therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, Who keeps covenant and steadfast love and mercy with those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations,

1 Corinthians 1:9 AMPC  God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Corinthians 1:18 AMPC ...God is trustworthy and faithful and means what He says,

Psalm 89:8 NLT O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O LORD? You are entirely faithful.

(Emphasis added to scriptures.)

©2009, 2017 Roy Lessin. This post originally appeared online in 2009. Used with permission. Photo by Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table. 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Mercy, Peace, Love

Mercy, Peace, Love
-Roy Lessin

May you receive more and more of God's mercy, peace, and love. Jude 1:2 (NLT)

It’s 2017! You have never gone this way before. What you have planned for this year is not what makes it meaningful. What makes it meaningful is that God is in it.

He was in it when you first opened your eyes on January 1. He has sustained you through 2016, greeted you with new mercies at morning’s light, given you the breath of life, and promised to direct your steps until your journey is complete.

Because of God’s mercies you can follow Him with all of your heart this year, assured that there is nothing being held over your head to condemn you; you can take each step with a quiet heart knowing that His peace keeps you steady and sure; you can move ahead with great confidence of faith knowing His love keeps you close to His heart, mindful of His promises, and confident of His care.

Are you tired or weary? Allow God to renew you with His strength.
Are you discouraged or downhearted? Allow God to lift you with His love.
Are you carrying a burden of sin? Allow God’s mercies to restore you.
Are you in need of reassurance? Allow God to hold you in His embrace.
Are you in need of healing? Allow God to mend you with His touch.

Today, you are His child and He is your Father—you belong to Him and He belongs to you; He matters to you and you matter to Him; you are committed to Him and He is committed to you. In 2017, there is mercy, there is peace, and there is love.

©2009, 2017, Roy Lessin, Meeting in the Meadow. Photo by Marina Bromley, Marina's Kitchen Table

Thursday, January 5, 2017

15 Little Photos: Snow Day

15 Little Photos: Snow Day
Marina Bromley

I haven't done a "10 Little Photos" post in a LONG time. Today had to be the day! I couldn't cut it back to just 10, so here's a few extras too!

I first noticed the snow as I sat inside the local warm bakery with a friend. She and I had already been there long enough to outlast the lunch rush, so I didn't feel bad about remaining in our booth, dishes cleared, praying for our kids and marriages and talking about warmer places, like the beach.

I noticed someone at another table craning their head to see out the window... the window I sat right in front of, oblivious to the snow coming down in heavy droves. I was a little worried about driving home in it, but it wasn't too bad once I got outside and saw that it was SO cold, it was fluffy and light, not slushy and slick.

There wasn't any layer of ice below, though it was all sticking to the grassy areas and the roads that were not heavily driven.

Once I got home, I was mesmerized by the actual snowflakes you could see. Usually it's just a clump of snow, but this was beautiful.

I love how snow can transform our whole neighborhood into a winter wonderland!

I parked my car in the garage, got the mail and the trashcan, and felt certain that the bird feeders were getting heavily hit out back.

I was right.

A few more photos from inside, and I was ready to see what I'd captured today. It's not often that it snows here, and it's not often that it snows like THIS.

I've been sitting in front of the computer for a little bit now, playing with them. As usual, I'm horrible about keeping secrets, so I wanted to share them with you right away!

I pray you're safe and warm, and able to enjoy the weather no matter what it looks like where you are...

And I pray that you'll take the time to enjoy little nuggets of nature that God has given you to enjoy! It would have been so easy for me to have rushed in and not taken notice, but I know that it brings ME joy to "stop and smell the roses" (even when they are snowflakes and not flowers), and it brings HIM joy for me to take notice! It's for MY benefit that He created these things. He has created this day! I'm delighting in it!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Believing Prayer

Believing Prayer
-Roy Lessin

Believing prayer is a language that is spoken by the heart. Our strength in prayer is not developed by growing our eloquence, but by growing our faith.

Jesus told us, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." (Matthew 6:7 NIV). The power of prayer is found in its simplicity, not its complexity or frequency.

We should never think that God will not hear or answer our prayer unless we use just the right words, phrase them correctly, and repeat them frequently. Even if the words that we speak don't come out just right, God knows exactly what our heart is wanting to say.

God doesn't need us to pray the "right words" so He can understand what our need is, and He doesn't need us to continue to repeat them so He won't forget our prayer. Jesus assures that God knows all about our need and knows how to meet it even before our prayer begins (Matthew 6:8).

God hears and answers prayer based upon our relationship to Him. God is our heavenly Father and He invites us to draw near to Him as His children.

From Drawing Near, Prayers Blessing, Promises ©2017 Roy Lessin Available at DaySpring.com and other Christian retailers. Used with permission.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Meeting in the Meadow: Today is Your Best Day, Because of What Jesus Says

Today is Your Best Day, Because of What Jesus Says
- Roy Lessin

Your words were found, and I ate them,
And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart;
For I am called by Your name,
Lord God of hosts.

Jeremiah 15:16 NKJV

The first time I saw my wife I was attracted to her. We were students in Bible school, and I was introduced to her in the school cafeteria during the lunch hour. 

After our brief visit I knew that I wanted to talk with her again. I arranged for a triple date with some other friends. The date was a picnic in the country. It turned out to be a big hit, and I knew that I wanted to keep seeing her. 

The more I knew her, the more I wanted to know her. In order to find out if she felt the same way about me, I would sometimes ask one of her close friends if she ever said anything about me. Whenever I heard something positive or encouraging it would make my day. My hopes soared, my confidence increased, and my heart grew closer to hers. 

Jesus is saying things to you today that will make your hopes soar, increase your faith, and cause your heart to grow closer to His. Here are some things that Jesus is saying to you today (and some of the things He isn't saying). 

  • He doesn't say: Get away from Me. He says: "Come to Me."
  • He doesn't say: What I have to give is not available to you. He says: "Abide in Me."
  • He doesn't say: You'll have to make it on your own. He says: "I am your Shepherd." 
  • He doesn't say: You'll have to figure things out for yourself. He says: "I am with you always."
  • He doesn't say: You'll have to turn around and go back. He says: "Follow Me."
  • He doesn't say: I will cut you off from My blessings. He says: "Come to Me and drink."
  • He doesn't say: I cannot use you. He says: "I will make you fishers of men."
  • He doesn't say: Give Me a good reason to love you. He says: "I love you."
  • He doesn't say: You don't fit in My circle. He says: "I have called you friend."
  • He doesn't say: You are of no interest to Me. He says: "I have prayed for you." 
  • He doesn't say: You will not be welcome in heaven. He says: "I go to prepare a place for you." 

©2017 Roy Lessin, Today is Your Best Day. Used with permission.

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