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Archive for the ‘Gold Strands’ Category

Christmas Jeopardy for Family Fun

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Great FaithfulnessDear friends, Last Christmas, Dusty and I had a fun time with our friends organizing a fun night at church – Christmas Jeopardy. Dusty was the game-show host, Mark, Karen and Shana kept the score and monitored answers, Glenn was in charge of the jeopardy sounds (he found online), and I came up with the questions. Feel free to use the questions for your own game by downloading them for free here.

Paar’s Story

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Paar
In about 60 AD as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (Chapter 8:26-40), Philip was told by an angel to go to the desert road from Jerusalem to Gaza. There he met an Ethiopian eunuch who was a court official of the queen of his country. For the purpose of this story, I will call this Ethiopian man “Paar.” Paar had been to Jerusalem to worship and was returning home.

The Greek word for “eunuch” (eunouchos) means “guardian of the harem.” We don’t know if Paar was called a eunuch because he had been castrated or because he was set apart for his responsible position of Treasurer to the Queen. Either way, Paar’s manhood was bound to the service of those who were more powerful than he was.

Imagine Philip encountering this dark-skinned Paar, arrayed in splendor as he sat on his high, ornate carriage intently reading a scroll. As Philip approached the carriage on this long, dusty road, he heard Paar reading these words from the book of Isaiah (53:7-8): “He was led as a sheep to slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He does not open His mouth. In humiliation His justice was taken away; Who shall speak of His descendants, for His life is removed from the earth.”

These words were written by Isaiah the Prophet over 700 years before; the words are a prophecy of our Lord Jesus’ walk to the cross. Could the words have had a strange familiarity to Paar in his own helplessness and restriction? Was he comforted to know that he was not alone in his humiliation? Just like our Lord was silent before the religious leaders, Paar’s mouth was silent before those stronger than he… but now…

Now, Paar’s mouth was open and hopeful, ready to receive the good news of the One Who endured far greater suffering at the cross on his behalf. The prophet’s words breathed life into Paar’s hunger for validation and truth.

Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Paar said, “How can I unless someone guides me?”

Then, “Philip opened his mouth and, beginning from this Scripture, he preached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35) Paar’s receptive response was immediate; he went into the waters of baptism that God provided along the road. Paar confessed His new Living Savior Who sympathized with his confinement and Who set him free into a wide spacious place in his soul!

“Paar” is Hebrew for “to open the mouth wide.” Philip opened his mouth wide to speak truth to Paar. Paar opened his mouth wide to receive the truth that would be his joy and delight! His name was most likely not Paar, but God had given him a new name and a new heart!

Lord, keep us open to your words of life!

“Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart for I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts!” (Jeremiah 15:16)

God bless you,
Beth Ann

On Grief and Joy – Part 2 of 2

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“Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” (James 1:2)
“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11)

On Grief and JoyWhat is our response when someone grieves? Dear friends,

The question from my last blog on grief was, “How can we have joy and grief at the same time?” How do we “consider it all joy” when we are in great pain? How is our joy to be full when we experience personal tragedy?

Joy is not laughter, bubbly smiles, or surges of happiness. These things can accompany joy, but they don’t define it.

Biblical joy is deeper and higher than any circumstance. Joy is a deep “knowing” that nothing can touch our union with God in Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only source of true joy. We live in joy when we abide in Jesus. (John 15:5)

The purest and most powerful joy is often experienced in the deepest of tragedies. Joy’s power is displayed in the darkness, just like diamonds on black velvet.

Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18) and “Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)

Entering into another’s grief can spur on the process toward healing joy that comes in God’s timing.

God bless you,
Beth Ann

On Grief and Joy – Part 1 of 2

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Dear friends,

Recently I’ve talked with many people who are grieving – grieving about wayward children, a spouse with Alzheimer’s, betrayal, young people with cancer, and current world events to name a few. I’ve also been grieving as evil is increasing and hearts are growing cold.

On Grief and JoyWhat is our response when someone grieves? From what I’ve seen, usually we try to fix it with apt verses or suggestions. Sometimes we try to avoid the grief, perhaps because we have enough of our own or because we just don’t have time to listen. So, we say, “It’ll get better” or “Trust the Lord” or “But there’s nothing you can do about it.”

It is always a great temptation for me to try to fix a situation. But, I have found that when I listen and acknowledge the grief, giving voice to the pain, I see a measure of release. In other words, grief is assuaged when it is shared, recognized and validated.

Sharing grief doesn’t mean you agree with the person grieving; it means that you try to understand with the eyes of your heart. It is the picture of walking alongside them and listening. Also, grieving does not mean a person is not trusting the Lord for our Lord was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” (Isaiah 53:3b) and the Apostle Paul said, “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.” (Romans 8:22-23)

Embracing grief allows us to eventually get through it in wholeness. Avoiding or denying grief leaves us disconnected and broken.

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 12:26 says, “If one member (of Christ’s body) suffers, all the members suffer with it…”

So what does James mean when he says, “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials…” (James 1:2)? How can we have joy and grief at the same time? That’s for next time.

God bless you,
Beth Ann

Hello from Flower Girl Greetings!

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Dear friends,

(If you are receiving this email for a second time, please forgive. We are updating our template, and this should not happen again!)

I trust you are well. I would love to hear from you to know how you are doing!

Four New CollectionsYou are receiving this email, because you have either ordered cards from Flower Girl Greetings, subscribed to my blog, worked on our projects, attended our events, or expressed interest in Flower Girl Greetings.

If you did not receive our beautiful mailing this past June with our newsletter and new full-color brochure, please send your address to me through the Contact Tab on our website or to my email address at bethann@flowergirlgreetings.com and I will send our bright green packet to you.

In addition to the printing of our new I Am Collection of 12 cards, we’ve added 4 new Gift Collections to our Shop Page.

The quality, beauty, message and price of these Collections makes them perfect gifts for Christmas, birthdays, Pastor Appreciation, or for anyone in need of the encouragement of God’s Word.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13)

God bless you,
Beth Ann

 

Grand compassion

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Grand compassion 96 dpi back 1grand compassion grand canyon isaiah mountains shake

 

 

 

I love this morning. It’s been so dry, and out my west window, I see a dark steel-blue sky behind the yellow autumn trees. So beautiful. Color contrasts that feed the soul.

I also love how God speaks in always unexpected ways. This love relationship with the Creator truly is adventurous.

So… I was sending birthday cards to a few very special people today, and the Lord impressed upon me His words on the Grand Compassion card from Isaiah 54:10, “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken.” says the Lord who has compassion on you.

Mountains are removed; mudslides carry with them trees, beautiful homes, and lives; volcanoes erupt and avalanches bury everything in their path; hurricanes wash away established communities; tornadoes and fires obliterate everything precious; hills shake; and we shake. Our shaking takes the form of fear, anxiety and despondency. The more we try to overcome our fear and quaking circumstances, the worse we shake. If you find yourself shaking, remember…

God is Solid
God invites us to rest in His unshakable, irremovable, covenant-keeping arms. Imagine that you are sitting on a vast flat rock, so big it is like a large plateau. You are either shaking from fear or your soul simply cannot be quieted. Maybe you just lost your job; maybe your teenager is making wrong, life-changing decisions; maybe your friend does not seem to be recovering from cancer; maybe you’re anxious and don’t know why; maybe you are mostly doing fine, but there is that persistent little fear that comes around like an annoying fire ant.

At those times, don’t try to get out of the fear. Rest in His solidity under you. Thank Him that, even though you are shaking, He is not… and He holds you.

Sometime in the middle of the night back in the mid-80s not long after I met Jesus, I was awakened by a terrible, tangible fear. The Lord gave me this prayer then, “Lord, I am afraid, but You are not. It does not matter that I am afraid, because you are not and you hold me.” The fear immediately left. I am not saying the fear will always immediately leave, but as you trust and rest in His unshaking hold on you, you will avoid the deeper fear that comes from fearing fear.

God is Warm
Another description of rocks is that they are warm. They conduct heat. Sometimes when I place an annual plant under or near a large rock, it is kept warm in the winter and will come back in the spring.

So while you are sitting on the rock, not only do you experience its solidity and strength to hold you, but you feel its warmth. God’s presence is a place of total protection and provision.

Are you shaken today? Rest on the warm rock of His faithful love for He has compassion on you.

olive paint grand canyon

 

Brief Beauty

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gold strands hibiscus brief beauty rare bloom