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.

My heart’s Desire

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1 ESV

I want it to be my heart’s desire to want to know God more. I sincerely want to want that.

Do you remember the song, As the Deer? Such beautiful words and condition of total surrender of heart.

“You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

You’re my friend
And You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye”

I ask myself these questions. Why is it so difficult? Why do I not put Him first. Why is my walk so lukewarm most of the time? Why can I not stay focused on Him?

He is so worthy.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (ESV)

I have a poor excuse. Life gets in the way and I don’t take time with Him. I don’t take time to sit at His feet and listen. I forget how awesome He is. I forget His Majesty.

My heart needs to put Him first. Time in His Presence is what I need. I want to hang on His every Word. I want Him to be my heart’s desire.

Sitting by the ocean watching the waves calms my soul and helps me to focus on the Majesty of God. I’m working on making Him the desire of my heart. How about you?

A beautiful day by the Ocean in Aruba

As the Deer written by Martin J. Nystrom. As the Deer lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

Do Not Fear

“Fear not for I am with you; Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

A great verse in times that challenge us…most recently with the corona virus concerns but also all the other troubles you & I have going on in our lives. This verse is so much more than just a great verse to speak. It is a truth we can anchor ourselves to and hold on. As a child of God, He has promised us, His children, to help us, to hold us up and has given a command for us to not live in fear. He wants us to trust Him, no matter what is going on.

We have an enemy in this world, his name is Satan and he has an army of demons (fallen angels) that are forever causing trickery, confusion & chaos. He is of the darkness. He deals in crooked paths, lies and death. He wants you & I to live in fear & anxiety. He wants us to turn our focus from God onto himself. He wants to be god of our lives.

If you do not call Jesus Christ Lord & Savior of your life, then Satan has full authority over you and you are in bondage.

But do not fear. The second you ask Jesus Christ into your life, the enemy no longer has control. You have been set free! You belong to God and He will help you. The problems in life may not all go away but you can receive strength & peace amid the problems. You also receive a forever home in heaven!

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5 (NKJV)

JESUS says in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me.” (NKJV)

So very different from what Satan has to offer…he deals in crooked paths, lies and death. They may seem good at first, but like an apple left out in the sun, it soon becomes rotten. Jesus gave His very life to set us free.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)

You may not agree with or understand this information. I do not speak on my authority but on the truth of God’s Word. Search the Scriptures for yourself. Don’t live your life in fear for one more minute. If you want to know more about how to become a child of God, here are some verses that will help you understand the why & how:

First, admit that you are a sinner, that you have done wrong things, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (NIV)

Ask for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

Next, you must believe in Jesus as your Savior. He was innocent, yet He died on the cross in your place to pay your sin debt and give you eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Next, believe in Him, become adopted into His family. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John1:12 (NIV)
Confess that He is Lord of your life. “Because you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (ESV)

Lastly, choose to follow Him daily.” Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)
If your heart is ready to invite Him into your life, all it takes is a sincere prayer like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, I have done wrong things and I ask You to forgive me. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen

If you prayed this prayer for the first time, let me be the first to welcome you into God’s family! I would love to hear from you, email me at AnchoredInHim7@gmail.com. I encourage you to find a Bible preaching church and share your decision. Walk together with other believers and find encouragement on your journey!

Calm in the Chaos

In these times of uncertainty, we can remain calm.

I know that we need to take this virus seriously and be cautious. I am not in any way belittling the effects this can have on the health of any of us, especially those with a compromised immune system…but we do NOT need to panic or be fearful.

We can react in two ways:

  • A) We can listen to the media hype and join the chaos & confusion OR
  • B) We can look to God, adjust our sight off of the confusion, leave the feelings of fear, panic and uncertainty and TRUST God—with God there is PEACE, CALMNESS and REFUGE.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV), “For God is not a God of confusion but one of peace…”

We can make a difference to those around us, a much greater difference than we realize…by our attitude, by our action or lack of action.

In Experiencing God, a Bible study by Henry Blackaby…on page 159 of the workbook, it says, ““No one can sum up all God is able to accomplish through one solitary life that is wholly yielded, adjusted and obedient to Him!”

Our faith is most clearly demonstrated by our actions.

Let me ask you a question…with all this Corona virus concerns going on…what are you DOING? How are you reacting? A or B?

We have the opportunity now more than ever to be aligned with God, to be obedient, to be alert to the needs around us, especially to the elders of our population, to be the hands & feet of Jesus…to be the voice of calm in the chaos, to be the helping hand in all the grasping & pushing.

I choose option B. Let us work together… look to God, adjust our sight, leave the feelings of fear, panic and uncertainty and trust God—Let us offer His LOVE, His KINDNESS, His COMPASSION…the HOPE of Him to those around us.

Trust the Wind

It took a very windy day, some crows and an eagle to help me to better understand a Truth.

One beautiful chilly morning this past November, I was driving along the highway on my way to pick up my grandson. Something ahead in the sky caught my attention. As I got closer, I saw several crows frantically flapping their wings as gusts of wind sent them in different directions. They seemed disorientated as they struggled to fly.

It was an extremely windy day and my car veered back and forth as the wind howled and pushed against it. I looked further up in the sky and I noticed a much bigger bird higher up from the crows. It was a huge bald eagle. He just seemed to glide along in the direction of the current. No crazy flapping or extra exertion for him at all. I pulled over and was amazed not only at the grace…but also the intelligence of this remarkable creation.

While the crows fought against the wind, struggling to be in control, the eagle flew with the wind, allowing the wind to direct his path. This reminded me of The Holy Spirit, the third person in the Trinity. He is the wind in the life of a believer. He gives God’s direction in our lives.

We can fight Him and become exhausted & discouraged as we do things our way. Or, we can work with Him, following in His leading. We don’t have to struggle. He will show us the Way…we can soar to be all God calls us to be!

Jesus said we would be given a helper, a guide. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” John 14:26 ESV

I like to think of the Holy Spirit as a wind that I can trust to follow. He will lead me in the direction toward what God has planned for my life. He will guide you too.

Anchored In Him Bible study

I apologize for not posting lately. Exciting things have been happening! I was busy writing a Bible study called, Anchored In Him. It was recently published and is scheduled for release on January 9 wherever you purchase your favorite books!

Here is a little bit about the study:

You can rarely avoid them; the storms of life show up to blow you off course, suck you into a vortex of wavering faith and make you doubt the direction you are going. Storms can drown you, devastate you, and cause you to fall into despair on ever finding your destination safely.

However, there is hope for peace and direction in the storms of life, and that is through GOD.

This Bible study consists of twelve chapters reflecting on aspects
of God’s provision and love that create “anchors” for us to hold
onto when the storms of life batter us relentlessly. I wrote this during
a difficult storm in my own life. I will pass on to you what God revealed to me during quiet times spent in His Word. I pray that you will find this study helpful to you as an individual or to use in a small group…to everyone trying to find refuge in life’s storms.

Let me know what you think at anchoredinhim7@gmail.com