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Resolutions…..


Do you make resolutions along with the majority of people throughout the world?  With them, do you find yourself failing to keep them?  How easy it is to make statements like, “I’m giving up, such and such or this or that”; I’m going to….. Fill in the blanks and regardless of your age, you’ll most likely find you’ve “committed” to at least one new resolution every year since you were ten years old, maybe earlier or later.  I’m right at the head of the line here and know that I’m in great company!

Why do we make statements, generally without actually planning to be successful?  Are we still allowing peer pressure to drive how we think and act?

Here’s a link to fifteen verses in God’s word concerning New Years Resolutions.  http://www.openbible.info/topics/new_years_resolutions

As you read through these verses consider a couple of things.  Not just at the beginning of a new year, but daily we should resolve to be completely available to our Father for His work.  We must plan and prepare to complete His work; at home, on the job, at church, in our neighborhood and wherever He leads.  Planning to be ready at all times and prepared by studying His word and by prayer and through fellowship with those who strengthen and encourage us.

I started another devotion which is only four days in length through YouVersion titled, “One Word That Will Change Your Life”.  The goal is that instead of “making a resolution” for this year, we seek God for a single word for the new year!  That this one word will through continued focus, become the point of our year.  Whatever the word He gives or you might choose… be it one of the fruits of the Spirit, consecration, discipline, character trait, etc. having a singular focus will change our lives.

Instead of the grandiose, simplify.  Dial back and ask God to help you select the one word to focus on for this year and allow Him to develop that in us.  This is my goal, my resolution and over the next day or so, I believe He will show me my word for the year.  I will share this with you and ask only that you help me stay accountable.

I wish you a very Happy New Year filled with HIS all.

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Different, Yet the Same


“Just as God formed each rock to look different-some smooth, and some not so-he formed us in the same way. Some of us, like me, were made with rough edges. This toughness allowed me to navigate the streets of a not-so-nice neighborhood, to survive a teenage pregnancy, and to be strong and protect a younger brother. He also toughened me for the ministry to which he would eventually call me.”

via Different, Yet the Same.  ~January Marshall

There is tremendous value in knowing which “rock” you are and how this fits into your place in where you are; home, work, neighborhood, school, work, etc.

We have been uniquely designed by our Father in heaven above and yet He created us all the same.  Where we are the same is in our physical make up, yet we don’t all look the same.  Our personalities are unique, and yet we can experience the same events in life and no two individuals will be impacted the same!

The rough and smooth stones exist together and some might say, the rough ones help make the smooth ones… Can one exist without the other?

If I am a smooth stone, can I stay smooth without the rough stones?  Can the rough stone have a complete purpose without the smooth stones?

The truth is we are all made up of rough and smooth parts.  Some with rougher parts and some with smoother, yet we ARE still the same.  We need each other, no doubt!

Recognize which you are and then apply yourself appropriately!  Ask God to show you how to help glorify Him by being the best you are created to be.

“So then let us follow after things which make for peace, and things with which one may edify another.” ~Romans 14:19

Be the instrument in God’s hand to build up and encourage on another.  He will use you just as you are and where you are, just seek HIS direction in all you do.  He uses us where we are, rough or smooth.  We need only be available and follow HIS leading!

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

You Take My Breath Away


He literally took my breath away with His creation! He was so clearly working on me to worship Him in other ways.  There is so much more to worship than singing!”

via You Take My Breath Away.

Great observation about how God will show us the things that “creep in” to nudge HIM from the throne of our life!  I’m not saying here that Julie was taking her eyes off her Lord and Savior, not at all.  We do however, as Christians, allow our focus to drift.

God gifted Julie with a tremendous ability to worship Him through playing the piano, singing and writing, beautifully!  She enters into worship this way and there is nothing wrong with the process and certainly not the results.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” ~Philippians 1:6

In bringing us to be like Christ, I’ve started learning that HE will place times of testing in our life and for HIS very own reasons… Phil 1:6.

Whether music, service, giving our tithes, teaching, preaching, outreach, compassionate ministries, etc. All of these are right and He alone is worthy, yet they must remain ALL about HIM!!!

Such a blessing to see sensitivity to the Holy Spirit in council and correction applied.  I believe as we Journey With Christ, course corrections, both gentle and extreme, are God’s way of bringing our focus directly and firmly back to Himself.

I believe, starting with myself, we can take a special lesson to heart through what Julie has shared about this difficult time in her journey.  Julie, thank you for your continued transparency and allowing me to write as He leads my heart, mind and soul from what you share.

You Take My Breath Away”, may this be our prayer and goal today!  Yes LORD, please open my eyes to see!!!

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Blessings Flowing


So often in our journey through this life, we lose sight of our blessings.  The last couple of months have been especially difficult around our household.  Without going into all the specifics, we lost my mother-in-law on November 4th.  Our loss is heaven gain and we take comfort in the knowledge that her struggles are now at an end.

While she struggled over the past year with cancer and then recovery, we were all witness to her strength and fight.  It was truly inspiring and frustrating at the same time.  Still she endured until our Father called her home.  She was 78 years young and spent 59 years with her love Bus or Mac, depending on who you were talking to at the time.  Together they raised three children on a dairy farm in Cossayuna, NY.  Anyone who knows anything about a dairy, knows this takes a special commitment, it is a life style of long dedicated days and sometimes nights.  She is survived by my father-in-law, their three children, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.

Blessings Flowing… with mixed emotions, a heart that is at the same time filled with all HIS goodness and a heart ripping sense of loss, yep our Blessings are indeed Flowing!  We were blessed over the past year to see Florence’s strength, fight and humor.  You can’t be a farmers’ wife and be a wimp and you most certainly must have a sense of humor.

Our blessings included being able to see her several times, some under circumstance less than ideal.  The point is our Father made a way for us to meet the needs of my wife’s parents and my wife desire to be there!  We could have missed so much were it not for our Father’s loving care and abundant grace.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of HIS glory in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

We were blessed to be a part in the sharing of memories old and new.  Joy in the remembering that turned such a difficult time into a blessing that was shared by family and friends.  The blessing of seeing how she poured her life into so many lives that were touched and blessed by her actions and words.  Kindnesses, graciousness and love met lives any so many ways, Blessings Flowing!

Here we are a few weeks removed and while our emotions are still swinging up and down, the blessings are still flowing.  Bus is doing well and his cousins have stepped in to help him adjust, plus it’s deer season and a regular crowd is coming and going at the farm.  Since Tracy’s brother lives in Florida and we are in Virginia, her sister is left to help.  She and her husband are dairy farmers and the demands don’t change even though life takes a dramatic turn, Blessings Flowing!!

Back here, cards are still coming in and we have our first service at church complete.  Sometimes the blessing of love from our brothers and sister in Jesus is overwhelming.  We wouldn’t exchange the hugs and expression of compassion for a moment, Blessings Flowing!!!

By HIS grace and supply, we are going to head back for Thanksgiving…. We will give thanks!  HIS provision, grace and love will be known and shared.  We will laugh and cry, share great stories and solemn moments.  Still blessings will be flowing!

Thanks to everyone who has loved us through these difficult times.  Your prayers, words of encouragement and hugs of comfort…BLESSINGS FLOWING

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Image

Florence P. McIntyre

July 14, 1935 – November 4, 2013

I Need More Coffee!!! Thoughts and a song on Isaiah 55


I Need More Coffee!!! Thoughts and a song on Isaiah 55.

I find more and more what great fun it is to watch our Father at work!  Here Julie Harris has again been pulled into HIS Word through another daily activity.  Every one of us have found ourself in this same moment, having to wait for something to eat or drink and not just a little put out by the wait…. Seriously, good coffee aside, HE has promised us, “but whoever drinks of the water I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become a water springing up to eternal life.” ~John 4:14 (NASB) Also, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” ~Matthew 5:6

Our Father IS in all these moments, every single day.  A beautiful moment, with HIM by her side and just when you didn’t think it wouldn’t get any better; a melody to go with the passage!

Be moved by HIM.  In the smallest of things, in the greatest of things and by everything HE will show us…we have only to look and listen.  I believe HE talks to us throughout all the moments of our days.  Often while we wait in neutral for the next thing.

Thanks Julie for sharing and for the smile that crosses our face when we get to see HIM at work even through a “cup o’ joe”.

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

He Washed Me White as (Ivory) Snow


What a great observation on missing the details. Julie again helps us to see that desiring to be CLEAN is the point, appearing clean is worthless. Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” ~Matthew 23:27

Just like the fabric softener isn’t a cleaning agent, we can’t “fake it till we make it”. We must purpose to follow HIM, know HIM through HIS word and focus our life’s intent on HIM. Protecting our heart, mind and soul by paying attention to what we hear, say and see! Paul said, “Everything is permissible for me—but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me—but I will not be mastered by anything.” ~1 Corinthians 6:12 I should only seek to be around things that are drawing me to Christ always! If I’m not being drawn to HIM, I’m moving away from HIM.

It is our responsibility to yield to HIM and this is accomplished by HIS grace and through the power of the Holy Spirit, who gives counsel, guidance and peace. When we speak HIS words, when we seek HIS presence and when we hold HIM dearest of all things, HE blesses us in ways we could never have dreamed.

We have a choice and we must choose, HIS way or our own…. Let’s join Julie in her closing prayer; that HE will help us to “mind the ‘small print’ in HIS Word, to take time to pay attention to details, and to continue to see You in all things.” I’ll tell you this, HE will honor this prayer as you honor HIM through a life dedicated to honoring HIM daily.

Blessings & Peace Always,
~Robert

I Sing Because I'm Free

I am going to share something slightly embarrassing today… yes, folks, I have been a victim of “laundry bottle identity crisis”.  I cannot be the only one that has suffered from this condition, so I felt the need to come out of the closet…

One evening when my youngest was still a baby, I was carefully switching the laundry from the washer to the dryer.  As I  mindlessly took each article of clothing out, my dear, darling husband sweetly pointed out  that the bottle of laundry detergent I had been using for weeks was, in fact, not detergent at all- it was….. wait for it…. FABRIC SOFTENER!!!!  The horror!!!

I did not know what to do!  I mean, I thought wow, my clothes sure have been smelling good!!   And then I worried- what if it was just like spraying Febreeze on them?  What if I was just covering up…

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Larry Morrow – Our Loss, Heaven’s Gain


This entry is in Memory of Larry Morrow, husband, dad, brother, coach and friend.  This list could go on and I hope as you read this, you’ll get the point.

Larry passed from our presence yesterday at the age of 67.  We are left with the wonder of why so soon.  It is soon to us and a great shock, truthfully the full weight of his passing hasn’t yet sunk in as of this writing.  Even though he is lost to us, he is at the feet of our Lord and Savior.

While I can’t speak to all Larry accomplished in this life or what impact he had on all who knew him.  Please indulge me as I share my part of his life story….

My first meeting with Larry was in 1971, Garner Little League in Garland, Texas.  God brought us together through baseball.  As a coach, he saw an opportunity to teach me and develop some skills, just maybe….in a scrawny little 11-year-old.  I’m not sure exactly what drew him to choosing me for his team.  I do know that what followed is without question all about God’s plan.

During our first practice, this toddler of a Christian, informed Coach Morrow that he wouldn’t be at any practices or games on Wednesdays!  I told him, “I have church on Wednesday nights and I have to be there.”  He told me he understood and I remember he smiled at me too.  That was settled, I believed.  Years later, he told me what an impact that made on his life and how this one interaction was used by God to draw him back to church.

What follows are the highlights of our journey together for the next 8 years and what I learned along the way…

I played ball for Larry during the next two seasons.  He taught me how to play center field like a defensive coordinator, seeing the whole field.  He taught me how to look at the game as a chess match, working out the possibilities for each batter and play in advance.  How to come in to first base from center field without throwing the ball over the backstop, I seriously tried a couple of times….not pretty!  Under his instruction and extra effort, I learned to pitch a little.  Good enough to throw a no-hitter, I do remember him working really hard to convince me I could finish the game.  The only trouble was, I’d loaded the bases and managed to walk in three or four runs before he pulled me to save the win.  I had lost all confidence, however he never lost faith in me.  I can’t tell you what that meant and still means to me.

During those two years, Larry and his family started coming to my church.  over the next four years God really blessed our ministry together.  You see, Larry and I started working a church bus route together.  We’d go out on Saturday mornings, get the church bus and drive our route.  Knocking on doors, inviting all we met to visit our church and ride our bus.  When we started out, it seems like we would average 10 to 15.  By the time we stopped working that route together, we were making two trips every Sunday morning with passengers. We were averaging 120 riders.  I also, learned that swallowing gold-fish as a reward for reaching goals on the number of riders, wasn’t all that difficult.  It was after all my idea and I was as excited to swallow the tiny little fish as those watching were to witness the event.

Next, Larry gave me the opportunity to work for him in his landscaping business.  Work wasn’t the word for it, landscaping is HARD work and Larry knew how.  He also always knew how to get the best out of me.  Even years later after I’d grown up and had my own son, Larry and I had the opportunity to reconnect.  My folks had moved to Whitney, Texas and Larry and Nancy lived in the area as well.  Larry and I worked together and played golf and even had investments together in an investment club.

I’ve barely scratched the surface here on what we worked on and accomplished together, especially for God’s kingdom.  I hope you are able to sense that he had a hand in developing not just a ball player, he help in molding a young mind.  I will miss him and living in Virginia makes this all the more painful.

I am praying God will bring comfort and peace to Nancy and their children, Eric and Lisa.  They have children of their own and I know they will all be suffering this loss.  In the weeks ahead, I pray we will all share the fond memories and blessings of Larry Morrow in our life.  Please remember Larry’s family and friends during this time.  As heaven celebrates the arrival of another child within the gates, we will mourn the passing of a husband, father, brother and friend.  A coach and mentor to many, he was to me.

~Robert

The Boiling Point


The Boiling Point.  That extra degree, that extra step…. Julie Harris helps us to see that we ARE in fact called to that extra degree and step for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He’s taken the step for us and God has stated in His word, “For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which GOD prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 – ESV.  Make no mistake, we are called to take the extra step.  You can also be assured of this, HE will bless our obedience with peace and joy.

As you read Julie’s latest entry, ask HIM to guide you and lead you to submit freely to HIS work in your life.  The work we have only appears to be our own, in reality as HIS children, all the work belongs to HIM.

Blessings and Peace Always,

~Robert

Children of Light


Children of Light. The beauty of our children and how our Father fills them in ways that we seem to miss.  It really is a beautiful sight to behold, watching our children being who God created us all to be….filled with joy and wonder.  In the linked blog entry by Julie Harris, we again get to see how as adults we can and all too often go through this life in stoic fashion.  Missing the moments of mystery and wonder.  The opportunity to live in a carefree fashion even though we have responsibilities.

In Matthew 18, Jesus makes the point very clear; “Jesus called a little child to his side and set him on his feet in the middle of them all. “Believe me,” he said, “unless you change your whole outlook and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven. It is the man who can be as humble as this little child who is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven.” ~J.B. Phillips New Testament (Phillips)  We have no choice if we want to see Heaven.

We are driven by the need to perform, to accomplish, to be more…. more than what exactly?  What more could or should we desire than to be in a relationship with our Creator God through HIS plan of redemption – Jesus Christ?  HE has planned more for us than we know and His way involves our becoming just like our children.

Our children are dependent on us for everything and yet in their dependance, they are completely free to just be who they’ve been created by our Father to be, children loving life! Struggling to learn and grow, experiencing highs and lows.  All the while, they know we are there to help, nurture and guide.  They ARE the picture of what HE calls us to be in this life as we journey to the next.

At our best, we are but a shadow image of HIM in displaying love and providing for our children.  Yet we push through and do all we can for our children for HE has planted HIS glorious seed within us to take up this charge.  Knowing this and seeing how important it is that we allow and encourage our children to enjoy life to the fullest, is it any wonder that Jesus calls us to return to this humble state?

I humbly submit, if we will become as children once again, HE will show us wonders beyond compare.  HE will show us a life we have yet to know or experience.  HE will return the sparkle to our eyes that will bare witness to all of HIS glory.  I believe HE wants more in this life for us than being driven to excel in a life that is so very fleeting.

Let’s become like children again, filled with wonder and hope.  Excited by what the day will hold and eager to stop and join in the playfulness of our children’s lives!

Blessings and Peace to you always,

~Robert

Finding joy


Finding joy blog by Julie Harris

Starting with the last of Julie’s entry, are you too deceived?  We are bombarded in this life with the Devil’s lies! It is constant and the assault comes from seemingly every direction.  Television, radio, in print and even those closest to us on occasion.

As you read her latest blog entry “Finding joy“, will you see yourself in her story?  Be honest with yourself…. maybe we don’t identify with the specific references, what about that new car or bike or boat or….

We will either try and fill our life with “stuff” and see the piles of stuff grow, along with the emptiness inside or we can choose the only ONE who can and will satisfy the emptiness inside.

God created us to have a vibrant relationship with Him.  Without Him, the empty space we try and fill with stuff from this world will only grow larger with the growing piles of stuff.  All we will end up with, is a growing sense that the emptiness just aches more and more.

As Julie points out in this blog entry, true joy and peace are only available from a single source, God our Father!

Enjoy reading the latest entry by Julie Harris by clicking the link above, it is well worth the few minutes it will take you to read it.

Blessings & Peace Always,

~Robert

Brian L Powell

#chasingJesus

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