The Journey Begins

IMG_2687Thanks for joining me! My name is Tami and I am so happy you found my blog!  This blog is dedicated Jesus Christ and the hope I find in Him. I love nature and each of God’s creations teaches me a life lesson.  Just like the beautiful Monarch caterpillar you see me with here (more about this and my trip to Aruba in a future post!), we go through different parts of our “life cycle”.  As we journey together, I will share how Jesus has changed me, breathed His Spirit into my life and given me hope when all seemed hopeless. Feel free to come back as often as you like!

Squirrel Story

To set the stage…7:30 a.m. Starting today, I have the privilege of watching my grand babies, a 17 month old grandson and a 3 month old granddaughter…as our daughter-in-law Colleen went back to work.

It would be this morning, of all the days that have gone before…This morning that it happened. I was just 1 minute from my house. Two squirrels playing and chasing each other, as I was right there upon them…they run from the safety of side of the road to…directly in front of me. Oh course I hit my brakes, but not so much as to upset my precious cargo in the back seat of my car. There was not much else for me to do as they ran under my car.

One of them crossed to safety and I heard that sickening thud of something hitting under my car. I looked in my rear view mirror and sure enough, one was lying in the road. I didn’t know the extent of the damage, so I pulled into my driveway and turned around. Maybe he was okay and maybe he wasn’t still lying in the road. Maybe he got up and ran away, in the span of 2 minutes. My heart was beating so fast as tears streamed down my face, thinking what I had done.

Now if you know me, you know that I am the type of girl that catches hornets, bugs, and spiders that have gotten into houses (and even one time at church) and let’s them go to be free outside. I would never do any harm. Why did these silly squirrels have to run out in front of me?!

I came back upon the scene of the accident and there he (or she) was, lying in the road. I pulled over into a safe spot. Remember, I have my grand babies with me and their safety is my priority.

The least I could do for this squirrel was get him out of the road. You can imagine my surprise and joy when I could see he was moving. But he could still be minutes away from death if he was hurt badly.

By the Grace of God, there was no traffic, so I got out of my car, still standing on the side of the road.

I walked closer and he was moving!

Getting even closer, I look down and this little guy is looking up at me, trying to sit up, turning his head. He most likely bumped his head as he jumped under my car. I had to get him out of the way of more harm in the oncoming traffic.

I just happened to have a clean, heavy blanket on the front seat of my car. I scooped him up into the blanket and held him in my lap as I made the one minute drive back to my house.

He’s up & moving!

I knew I had a dog crate in my garage. I pulled up close to the garage, so I could keep and eye on my grand babies while I checked out the injuries on the squirrel.

Now you may think I am crazy, but just ask my husband, Michael about my nature loving, creature saving, tender heart, and how I save everything! And many of you will understand. I was on my knees, praying and crying for God to save this beautiful creation. I opened the wire cage and gently laid him on the floor of the crate. He was dazed and just looked at me. While he was quiet and recovering, I quickly & carefully checked his head, back and feet for signs of damage. He had some blood on one of his hind leg from a scrap, but otherwise looked okay. Could it be?!

I put a few sunflower seeds in the cage, closed the door and let him be. I brought my grandson & granddaughter in the house and got them settled. When they were napping, I would quickly sneak outside and see how Mr. Squirrel was doing.

Around 11:15, while the little ones were napping. I cautiously looked in on my new friend. He was sitting up , peering at me and probalbly wondering what happened.

I pulled on the cage and he started jumping around. He seemed good to let go. I pulled the cage outside and he continued to jump around. I got him near the woods and opened the door. Out he bolted, ran across our lawn and into a grove of maple trees and headed toward his home.

What an experience! It could have ended in a very different way. I give praise to God that it had a happy ending. I know to some this was “just a squirrel”, but to me, he is a beautiful creation of God’s…if I had been the cause of his death, I would have been heart broken. I am thankful for all that God has created. Life is so precious and can be changed in an instant. Thanks be to God for saving him. I shall not forget this day.

His tail was a little scruffy but otherwise ready to be released!

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Stubborn Weeds

It was a beautiful mid spring day in New Hampshire, a totally different atmosphere from the snow of just a week ago. I was itching to get to my flower beds as it looked like weeds were taking over. I got my gloves and pruning shears and started to work.

On my hands and knees, I began pulling up plants and grasses that I did not want in my garden. Some came out with very little effort, while others I struggled to remove.

Smaller vine that is everywhere in my yard!

One vine in particular gave me a lot of grief. It seemed the more I pulled on it, the harder it held on and the root system went several inches under the soil and ran in more than one direction.

As I continued to pull, I noticed the vine had several off-shoots that I was eliminating as I pulled on this main root.

I’m not sure if the vine is bittersweet or Japanese hops, but I do know that it grows over everything, creating a barrier so sunlight cannot get through to the plants trying to grow in its’ shadow. It intertwines with other plants, climbing up their branches, and choking the life out of them.

After several hours, I had removed most of the plants I did not want to grow. I was amazed at how that one main vine looked like individual plants, but the root system underneath was actually attached to many plants growing on the surface.

Sin in our life is like that, a thought or group of thoughts within us that leads us to say or do things contrary to God and His Word. Groups of thoughts or behavior that stem from one main sin. They may look like it is only one “problem” area, but others are attached to it. We think they are helping us grow, but they are strangling us.

Choking out other plants as it entangles and grows over them

I think of how God must feel when He is pulling the roots out of the sins I am carrying, thoughts about myself & feelings that I don’t want to let go of.

I am sometimes uncomfortable when God is pulling the weeds out of my heart. I think I need them, and what harm can a little weed here or there do? 

They are strangling the Kingdom fruit He wants to produce in and through my life.

Some of the roots of continued sin in our lives can be very deep, similar to the vine I was describing.

Let’s look at pride as an example. The dictionary definition of pride is “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

“The Bible defines pride as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit. Pride emphasizes self over others, and it rejects God’s greatness. It leads to destruction.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall.”

Root System

Pride is a big “weed” with deep roots that sprawl across our lives and grow other weeds on the surface. It is hard to uproot and does not like to be disturbed or pulled out. If we are to walk in the ways of Jesus, pride has to go and take along with it, the off -shoots that hide within its root system.

What other weeds grow along or stem from pride, you may ask? How about lack of empathy or indifference, wanting control or manipulating others, stubbornness (just like those weeds I was trying to pull out) and defiance, to name a few.

When God starts His “weeding” process, it can be quite painful. sometimes when He starts with one sin, He pulls out others that grow from it. But it is worth it, He is shaping us to be like Jesus, our perfect example.

When I was done with my weeding, my plants were standing tall, unencumbered, and free from the life-choking tentacles that were killing them. Just like you and I, as God continues to weed away our sin, we can be free to grow as He leads, and bear fruit.

Today is a Gift

SMILE!

Today. This 24 hour block of time, will not come again. Like sand through the hourglass, the clock is ticking. I have heard it said that today is a gift, that is why it is called the present. I agree, time is a precious commodity and we are each allotted by our Creator God, a certain amount of time on earth. So, it is a gift. No matter what is happening in our life. We can’t afford to let anything steal the joy out of today.

We need to live each day as if it were our last. It puts life in perspective and we can see more clearly where to focus our time and it teaches us to not sweat the small stuff. We are in this life together. How about if we find ways to encourage each other and in turn, it lifts us too. We need no special equipment to make someone’s day.

Smile. We can share a smile. It lifts your spirit, as well as those around you who receive that beautiful smile of yours! It makes a difference in our attitude and in turn, benefits our health. It is impossible to wear a smile and a frown at the same time. Try smiling right now, the action of smiling always makes me feel better.

Laugh. Learn to laugh with life. Laughing is good for you. Laughter triggers healthy physical and emotional changes in the body by releasing endorphins. It strengthens the immune system, and protects us from the damaging effects of stress. It seems to ease our cares and inspires hope. It can also help us release anger.

Study’s have shown that children laugh hundreds of times a day.

As adults, it is much less, as life gives us responsibilities and challenges. Find something funny and go ahead, let go a good, belly laugh! Laughter is contagious too and it is one thing that is catchy and we don’t need to be quarantined!

I am not trying to make light of your situation, I don’t know the trials you are facing, but I do know that troubles come to pass. Thank God they do not stay, which leads me to my next point.

Pray to God and give Him praise. Be thankful. Be thankful for today, for all you have right at this moment. To not want for more. To be satisfied.

Be joyful. Take joy in the everyday things…a sweet & sticky kiss, beautiful little toddler fingers covering you with chocolate hugs, reading a favorite book outside on a warm, sunny day, savoring a rainy day, curled up in a warm blanket watching the raindrops on the window pane…truly finding joy in each blessing that we have. Grabbing each moment and squeezing all the life and love out of it.

My final thought, don’t hold a grudge. Forgive, and that includes forgiving yourself. None of us are perfect. Let go of past pains and hurts. It frees you to enjoy today. We can’t control what other people do or say to us but we can control how we react.

I am reminded of the saying, “Let go and let God.” Give it over to Him. Tomorrow is not promised, so make the most of today. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Hold them close. Squeeze the most out of every minute!

Conform or Transform…

What does it mean to conform? A few definitions I found are “to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc. of society or a group.” “To adopt the form of those around you.” It is a verb, therefore it is an action that describes what we can do. We can conform to something.

What are some ways we conform? Maybe to house rules as we are growing up. Maybe to a new space as we go off to college or to an apartment. Maybe it is to another person we marry, and live with that has ways different from ours. Maybe we conform to a new schedule as we take on a new job or opportunity. There are many ways that we conform to people, places and rules on a daily basis. Most of the ways we comply may not harm us,  but God warns us about conforming to the world in Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and pleasing will of God.”

The opposite of conform is to depart, vary, disagree, dissent and rebel, to name a few. What is the “world” that this passage is referring to? We have to live here on earth, in this world, right? There are rules that everyone must obey. What should I disagree with or rebel from?

The “world” in New Testament teachings comes from the word *kosmos, “an orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively (morally)):–adorning, world.”

It also means—and we need to pay attention to this—“the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ, a source of moral corruption, a danger to the spiritual health & life of Christians.”

The leader of all the chaos and moral corruption is none other than Satan and his demons. He tries to lead us astray. He tries to fill us with rules that are against God, Satan then manipulates people to turn them into immoral laws that contraction God’s Word.

Romans 12:2 goes onto say that not only must we not conform, but we must transform. Transform is also a verb. Something that requires our action. It means to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of (especially for the better). It is to change, renew, reshape, or reorganize. I like these two definitions, to turn upside down, to stir up.

As Christians, we need to be careful not to be dragged into the false lull of doing “What everyone else is doing”. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong, no matter how many are participating in it.

We also have to stand up to laws that are against God and against life. We need to take a stand. We cannot afford to be silent. But how can we be transformed?

By the renewing of our mind, our thoughts, our ideas. We can read God’s Word and seek Him…Seek an on going relationship with Him as we learn His character. We can pray & ask for His wisdom to be discerning in who to vote for and things to research in our laws and government. We can ask Him for the strength to make our voices heard and He will give us the strength to carry out His purposes.

Father God, Help me not to let this world squeeze me into its’ mold, but may I allow You to transform me from the inside out as I meditate on and apply Your Word to my life. May I be able to discern Your will and make the correct choices that You want me to make to follow & fulfill Your purpose through me & to make a positive difference to around me. Amen.

*https://www.bibletools.org//index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon.show/ID/G2889/kosmos.htm

Saturday of Life

What does Saturday make you think of? I usually say a day off, end of the workweek, a time to go out and enjoy life. Maybe even a day to party.
But I was listening to a sermon on Good Friday by author & Pastor Max Lucado and he talked about looking at Saturday in a different way. He said not to overlook the Saturday after Jesus was crucified. Many of us jump right to the Resurrection Sunday, which is an awesome day, but what about what was happening or not looking like anything was happening on Saturday. A time of waiting when Heaven seemed to be silent. Silence as the disciples scattered, devastated by the death of Jesus and all hope seemed to be gone.

It got me to thinking about waiting. If you think about it, we spend most of our life waiting, waiting for big things, like:

  • Waiting for the right person to marry
  • Waiting to buy a house
  • Waiting to have children
  • Waiting for the perfect job or to get promoted
  • Waiting for test results can be a big & scary thing to wait for

Some smaller things we wait for could be and we wait on a daily basis for most of these:

  • Waiting in line, at the checkout, at the bank, at the movies, at the drive thru
  • Waiting in traffic or at a light
  • Waiting for others to speak and then we can respond
  • Waiting at an appointment
  • Waiting for the commercial to finish to get back to our favorite show
  • Waiting for our dog to do his business so we can go back inside
  • Waiting for the coffee to brew
  • Wait, wait, wait

We are not very patient at waiting it seems. We want things fast.
Society has changed much over the last few years, it seems we can have things in our hands or done for us faster & faster.

Quick meals via the microwave and now instapot, Meals delivered to our door with a few clicks online, online banking where we can take a picture of a check and it is quickly deposited into our account, fast internet to connect and have a group chat, Skype or other video chats, or look up information, self-diagnose or order products, We have overnight delivery of mail because we need it now! We don’t like to wait.

God tells us we need to know how to wait. But how do we act while we wait? How do we react when God isn’t answering our prayers, when we have asked & asked, even pleaded, knocked & knocked, yet Heaven is silent? When the wait is stealing our joy for today.

Are you in a time of your life where you are waiting? Waiting for this COVID-19 virus to be over, waiting for test results, waiting to go back to work, waiting for the children to go back to school, waiting for money to come in, waiting for a phone call from a loved one, waiting to see & hold your loved ones again.

Waiting can make us weary, like maybe life will never be back to normal or what is was. To be honest, this day number whatever of self-quarantine was leading me to a slump.
How can I encourage you if I am discouraged? The answer is to look to God for my strength. I sometimes want to rush God to get Him to fix areas of my life. I can get anxious when He is not working in ways that I want Him to or ways that I can see or in my time frame. Is He working?

I was recently working on a Bible study and these verses on waiting came up at the perfect time in my life. I needed this encouragement from the LORD today.
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; In the morning I lay my requests before you and WAIT in expectation.” (Ps. 5:3)                                                                            He hears our voice and we should be waiting expectantly for how He answers!

“We WAIT in hope for the LORD; he is our help and our shield.” (ps. 33:20)                        We wait in hope that He will help us and protect us.

“WAIT for the LORD and keep his way. He will exalt you to inherit the land.” (Ps. 37:34) We shall receive all that He promises if we wait and follow His ways.

“I will WAIT for you, O LORD; you will answer, O LORD my God.” (Ps. 38:15)                     We can wait without getting anxious.

“They that WAIT upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31, KJV)
We can wait without getting weary, even though time seems to drag as we wait. He will give us strength. We can run and continue with our life, continue with His plan for us while we wait for answers.
Through everything God is working. He is working all things out according to His purpose. Think back to Good Friday and that Saturday in between, after Jesus died on the cross, Mary waited, Peter waited, James & John waited, the rest of the disciples waited, perhaps even all of creation waited. They did not know that Sunday was coming!

They waited through Friday and that hopelessness dragged into Saturday, but on Sunday morning Jesus rose from the dead! He did what He said He would do! God was still very much at work between Friday & Sunday! I am thankful for the reminder. I am in a Saturday of life right now, maybe you are too…waiting, waiting…most of the world can probably say they are waiting with the Corona virus and the shutdown of life as we know it…we don’t know what is going to happen, what the future holds but God does.

So hold on—Sunday is coming!

Your Love Letter

Have you ever gotten a love letter? When someone took the time to tell you how much you mean to them. Do you remember how excited you were you to read the words from someone who loves you!

I was out walking with a friend today and along the path, I saw this heart shaped rock. I call this a God wink, when He draws my attention to things in nature that make me aware of how much He loves me! He loves you too!

Maybe you know this, or it may come as a surprise…But you and I…we have a love letter that was written to each of us. It is called the Bible, or God’s Word.

Right from the very beginning as recorded in Genesis 1, God talks about all He created, including us. In Genesis 1, after each day of creation, God looks at His work and He says it is good. Look closer on day 6, (Genesis 1:31). After God has created you and I in His own image—He says,“it is very good.” When He created us, He tells us that in His job of creating us—we are very good. Not “kind of okay” or “maybe I should have done this or that”, not “oops.”  NO, He says His creation is very good!

His love letter is full of instruction and guidance. This love letter is like no other. It is a written to a daughter or son by your Father. Your Heavenly Father. A perfect Father, with perfect love for us. No human knows the depth of us, only God knows all.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You. When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:13-18 (NKJV)

Wow, the Creator of the heavens and earth thinks about you and me. His thoughts about us are so many they cannot be counted. We are wonderfully made. We are not an accident or a mistake. We are alive at the precise moment and place that our Creator has willed. You are on earth at exactly the right time, created with the exact features, personality and skill set that He designed. We are His workmanship.

In Ephesians 2:10 of the New Living Translation (NLT), we are called “God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.”

No accidents, everything we are and even what good works we do is prepared by God beforehand.

“But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 (NKJV)

Again, I say, WOW! I am in awe of how close He is connected to us.

There are many more things that God longs to tell you if you open your love letter.

I have a favorite anchor verse that I would like to share with you, John 3:16. See how much you are valued.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)

In His love letter to you, God tells you what it cost, what He gave to show how important you are, how loved you are, how valued you are.

He gave His Son Jesus to die for us. Sounds like the end of the story…Nope!

On Easter morning…Jesus rises from the dead! Overcoming death, darkness and the grave to set us free!!

During times in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed, overlooked, under appreciated or unloved, or if someone is saying you have no value…open God’s love letter. If you want to have a relationship with the Creator of all, your Father, open your love letter. If you are unfamiliar with the Bible, may I suggest you read in the book of John.

Until next time, May God bless you as you seek Him.

Find me on YouTube at Tami Bemis Cole

Light in the Darkness

“For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.  As for my God, His way is perfect. The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:28-30

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Just like the dawning of a glorious new day, God will light our way in this troubling & challenging time. Whatever giants we are up against and whatever walls we need to climb over to get out of this valley.

We have a God who gives us the strength to overcome. His Word is sure & true. He is our shield!  We certainly need a shield around us, protecting us now more than ever…against this virus going around and in all of our situations in life. We need someone we can trust.

We all need security, a solid reason to hold on, to know we will get through this.

We do not have to fear. David says in this Psalm, “For by You, I can…By my God, I can…”  For by YOU GOD, not by what we can do ourselves…but by believing & praying to the ONE Who is ALL POWERFUL!

I can, you can get through this, in His strength & direction…We will get through this.

Hold on, Trust Him and come under His protection, His shield. way is perfect. It may seem like chaos right now, but God is well aware of what is going on and He is working out His plan…His Perfect Plan.