Friday, August 17, 2012

Everything is going to be ok.

Based on email devotional: The Response of Faith - TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman 08-18-2012

"But she said, “It will be all right.” {2 Kings 4:23}

In the 2 Kings 4 story we see a couple who supported and looked after Elisha when he came through town, offering him food and hospitality. Elisha appreciated that so much that he asked his servant, "what can I do for the lady of the house?" His answer was to give her something she didn't have - a son! I can imagine the joy that this barren woman would have felt when a year later, she held her son in her arms. This was a dream come true! This was an answered prayer! This was her very own miracle!  

Then one day when the baby grew to be a boy, he became very sick and he died. This woman's miracle, her answer to prayer, her promise had died. But you have to look closely at this woman's attitude and heart. She didn't stop everything, call in the rest of the household, call her husband back from the fields and say "Our son is dead, let's mourn for him." In fact she told no-one. "But she said, “It will be all right.” {2 Kings 4:23} This wasn't the end of the story as far as she was concerned. The woman went directly to Elisha to tell him what had happened.  As she was approaching in the distance, Elisha saw her coming and sent his servant to meet her and find out how she and her family was. “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” {2 Kings 4:25} 

When she explained the situation to Elisha, he sent his servant over to the boy to lay his staff over him. The servant reported back with "He's still dead" {2 Kings 4:31} It all looks pretty hopeless until Elisha goes over there and does the job properly! The boy is raised from the dead and given back to his mother. 

I don't know about you, but if my son had died, I would not be saying "Everything is fine, it's going to be ok.". My whole world would turn upside-down! When you first look at it, you wonder, is this woman in denial? Her son is dead, it's NOT fine! But it wasn't denial, it was faith! She knew that everything was going to be ok. She looked at the situation through God's eyes. This is what faith does - it looks beyond what we see and know. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. {Hebrews 11:1} Faith does not fear. It is confident! 

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MY PRAYER
Dear Lord, help me to remember not to panic when life doesn't turn out the way I think it should. Help me to remember to see life and circumstances through your eyes. I know that your promises and your will is bigger than anything life has to throw at me. Thanks for reminding me about that. 
Amen.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hang in there!

{2 Corinthians 4} Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up. We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.........We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.....That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

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This passage really spoke to me today. We are not promised an easy road to travel, but we are promised not to be destroyed by our circumstances. This will not kill me. This will not crush me. How do I know? Because it's in God's Word! If I give up, then it HAS crushed me. I have allowed my circumstances to beat me. We are likened to a fragile clay jar. Well... I don't have any clay jars, but let's liken it to a porcelain jar. It's not strong. It can't bear much weight. It can basically hold flowers and water. By itself it can't handle being dropped on a tiled floor. God makes it very clear that by ourselves we are very delicate and fragile, but our strength and our ability to withstand comes from Him. We can have heart and feel confident in the fact that yes, troubles come our way and they suck! But God will see us through!

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When I was a little girl, I was laying in bed one night, trying to go to sleep. I heard a rustling noise outside my bedroom window and I sat upright, my heart thumping and my hair standing on end. I had bushes outside my bedroom window and something was in there. I cried out for my Daddy and rushed out to the lounge where he was. "Daddy there is something in the bushes outside my bedroom window!!" Dad quickly stood, grabbed a cricket bat and ran outside to destroy what was there (it turned out to be a small cat!). That night my confidence in my Dad's strength and ability to protect me went through the roof. God is our heavenly Father who too picks up the bat and goes out on our behalf. I know that I can confidently face whatever comes my way because God has gone before me, with a bat and is my strength and protector. I don't have to fear that I will be crushed and abandoned. He is there every single step of the way.... bat in hand!

So today, whatever troubles you may have, take heart in what God has promised and never give up! Letting life's troubles beat you is not in God's plan. Persevere! Hang in there! Keep your eyes on the things that are unseen, and are in the future. Keep your eyes on Him, His promises, His glory, His future and His plans. These things are sure and true - the things that surround you now will fade away.


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Thursday, July 12, 2012

A gentle lesson

Today I read this devotional by Os Hillman and it spoke to me.

Walking in the AnointingTGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman

"So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power...." 1 Samuel 16:13

Has the Spirit of the Lord rested on your life? Can you cite the time when God's Spirit began demonstrating His power through you?
David knew the day the Spirit of the Lord began a special work in him. That Spirit was different from most leaders. Instead of seeking power and control, he led in response to a need. Instead of being a perfect person, he learned from mistakes and acknowledged them among those he led. Instead of placing confidence in his own abilities, he sought wisdom from the only real Commander in charge. David never lost a battle through his many years of leading Israel. He failed God by sinning with Bathsheba and by numbering the troops, but he learned from those failures, and he had to pay a price for them. However, God's Spirit never left David. He never left because of David's willingness to keep a soft heart toward God, even when he failed.
God wants to do the same in you and me, but He will not allow that Spirit to rest on us if we seek to control outcomes and manipulate out of our need for power. Servant leaders know that they are only a tool in the Master's hand. They do not value themselves more than they ought. David's heart was fully the Lord's. Is your heart fully the Lord's to do with what He wills?

MY PRAYER
Father, thank you for speaking to me today, thank you for taking the time to teach me even though I was not actively looking for it. Thank you that I saw this and have been encouraged.  I want to have a heart of David towards you, soft and ever-ready to learn from my many imperfections. Amen

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A prayer

MY PRAYER


Dear Lord,
Again my pride takes a battering, and again I place myself in your loving care. I don't enjoy these lessons, but I know it's for a plan and a purpose. I will not be disheartened! I will not be upset or bitter. I will rejoice in your goodness to me, and see this as an opportunity for great joy {James 1:2} 
Thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow. Thank you for what you are doing in my life, and for loving me so much that you see me worthy of this shaping and moulding. Lord I don't want to shrink back from you when I feel disappointment, I want to draw near to you. I want to hear from you. I know that when I come close to you, you will come close to me {James 4:8} 


Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign Lord is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer,able to tread upon the heights. {Habakkuk 3:17-19}

I will rejoice in you Lord, I will rejoice in the knowledge that you have so much planned for me and it goes beyond my capabilities and thoughts. Help me to remember that you have got it all sorted and I just need to relax and calm down!

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Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever. {1 Chronicles 16:34)

You are good, Lord. You are faithful and true. Thank you for all you have done and all you will do.

Amen


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Guard your heart

My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. {Proverbs 4:20-23}

Our hearts are very impressionable things, but we have a choice as to what we take on board and what we don't. In the scripture you hear a father say "Listen to my words, let them penetrate your heart, they bring life". Let them. In other words, don't block out the wisdom and the love that I have to give to you, let it in and penetrate it deeply. We have the choice to open our hearts. But we also have the choice to close it off.

The Scriptures then go on to say "Guard your heart, above all else.." It's important that we are careful with it. Why?

Well let's look at it. What are the guards at Buckingham Palace protecting? A Queen, a Duke, whoever may be visiting that day, jewels, antiques and other precious items. Their job is to guard it and keep it safe from harm. How many guards do you see standing around the wheelie bin in the local park? How many guards do you see standing around a compost heap in the backyard? None? Why is that? How is it that a priceless work of art can be guarded but not my rotting compost? That decision is made based on value.

Your heart, which is who you are and the epicentre of your being is valuable. Extremely valuable! It's how God speaks to you, it's where you feel the love for your family and friends, it's where you feel compassion and empathy. It's where your dreams begin and where your passions reside. It is a beautiful and precious thing. And it's is a top priority to protect it and keep it safe from words and deeds that could potentially destroy it.

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Why? Why can't it take a battering and all will be ok? Because it is determines the course of your life. Or "For everything you do flows from it" {NIV}. This is a lifegiving source!! It needs to remain pure and intact for it to produce unpolluted life. Our words and deeds are and outpouring of our hearts. But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. {Matthew 15:18-20}

We are under attack all the time. Satan is at us all the time, using all kinds of weapons to attack and destroy our hearts. If he succeeds in destroying our hearts, he destroys our entire lives. The thing is to discover his tactics and protect ourselves from his attacks.  "For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. {Ephesians 6:12} We have the choice to allow entry to his blows or to shield our hearts. We have a choice whether we allow bitterness to eat away at us. We can choose to obsess over past wrongs or just do our level best to forgive. We can choose to allow pornography to warp our sexuality and our relationships with our spouses or not. We always have a choice what we allow into our hearts. Sometimes we can slip and Satan's artillery can get into our hearts. But God is saying to us, like the Father in Proverbs, "Let MY words in, let ME give you life, let me heal your heart,"

Today if your heart is leading your life in a way that you know that it isn't what God intends, I pray that you are encouraged today by this blog post. I pray that you get a fresh realisation of how precious your heart is and how God wants to speak into it life and healing. If you are allowing things into your heart that are not the things of God and are causing death and destruction, then I encourage you to raise that shield! See the value in your heart and make it a priority today.

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MY PRAYER
Father, thank you for your Word. Thank you for a fresh understanding of words I have read before but never really seen your will and purpose in them. Thank you for revealing yourself to me in this new way. Thank you for showing me that you are an amazing Dad who wants the very best for your kids. Help me to recognise Satan's attacks on my heart and remind me to protect it. I want my heart and life to be pure and sweet, like water from a spring. I don't want it to be toxic or poisonous in any way. I want my life to be an encouragement and blessing to others. Amen


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Loved in advance

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.  So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. {Ephesians 1:3-8)

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I am a planner. I make lists, I know in advance what is coming up in the week. My diary is well used. I make menus, task lists, goal lists, etc. I don't like spur of the moment decisions, and lack of planning drives me up the wall. I can't stand disorder, disorganisation, mess and the panic and craziness that living this way can bring. I am like this because my son can't stand it either. ASD kids like predictability and want to be well prepared for what is coming up next. They don't like changes and moving like the wind. Maybe God is a teensy bit autistic too? Because BEFORE he made the world, God loved us and chose us. Before we even existed here on earth, we were loved and chosen. Now that's forward thinking and planning! It's another way I am made in God's image!!

But not only did God choose us and love us, we were going to be holy and blameless in his eyes. He knew that Jesus was going to pay the ultimate price so that we could be holy and blameless. He knew this BEFORE we were made. He had every opportunity to back out. He could have said "Eh, my son will have to die this awful painful death because of these sinful humans... yeah not going to happen.... I won't bother!" Even though he KNEW we would mess up and sin, he still thought we were worth it and he loved us regardless. It just puts a whole new perspective on "For God so loved the world {John 3:16}" doesn't it? 

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He also decided that we were going to be His family. This really blows my mind! Before we even existed he wanted us! Before I even was conceived, God knew I was coming and was eagerly awaiting for me to come into the world! Before YOU were born, God knew about you and loved you and wanted you to be in his family. And not only did he want us, he made it really easy for us. We didn't have to do a thing! It doesn't say "God decided to adopt us into his own family as soon as we cleaned up our act and start living a worthy life." There were no conditions or tasks to complete before we could be considered children of God. We would become his kids by God BRINGING us to himself through Jesus. All the action that was required was on God's side!

Then in case you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of what God has done and his love, wait... there is more!!! He then showers us with blessings on top of that all. What an awesome God we serve! What a fantastic example of love and grace we have in our lives. How Great is our God??!!

MY PRAYER
Lord, again I come to you absolutely gobsmacked by your love and your acts of grace and kindness you have shown me. I feel thoroughly loved and cherished. I feel like you have anticipated me in so many ways. Thank you Lord for the fresh revelation of you love and your grace. Thank you for revealing yourself to me once again. Amen

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Great is thy Faithfulness!

This song has been emerging from my spirit this morning. I must say I'm not hugely into hymns, (prefer more modern music) but this is such a beautiful declaration of God's Faithfulness.

Be blessed!

Words of Worship

For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God. Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, so that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death. {Psalm 86:10-13} 

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My Prayer
Dear Lord God, King of heaven and earth, Master of my life. Lord you are so good, so wonderful, you do good things, you do everything for our benefit. Lord I don't always understand what your plan and purpose is, but I believe in it, I believe that your ways are not my ways, and your ways are good and holy. Teach me your ways, Father. 
I give you praise and glory because you deserve it. My worship is inadequate because words cannot describe just how amazing you are. I am overwhelmed when I get a glimpse of your glory. I cannot face it because it is just so magnificent. I am humbled and moved by fresh revelations of just how good you are. As a human I cannot understand how you can love us so much, that you sent Jesus to die so that we could be in relationship with you. I am thankful you think we are worth it, but when I look at your goodness, my own righteousness and goodness is muck.
Thank you that you delight in my attempts to say thank you and I love you. I'm so happy that my words are never rejected, and my own actions do not dictate if you accept them or not. You are a true Father who delights in hearing the praises of his kids. 
I love you God!

Amen.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

God's Motives.

I have just read a devotion by Os Hillman, which spoke about God's motives. I never really thought of God having motives, but he does!

2 Samuel 22:20  "He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me."

He's like a true parent. I have motives for my children - I raise them in a certain way because I want them to be liked, respected and a positive influence and asset to our society. When I discipline them, my motivation is not to make their lives miserable, but to show them the right way to act and speak. God has a motive for you and me. In our lives he wants to bring us into that spacious place. Now when I think of spacious place I see fields before me, wide open spaces, no fences, no mountains, just field and big blue skies. God wants to bring me to that place. 

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Os said "He wants us to go beyond our borders of safety and security so that we might experience life at a level that goes beyond ourselves. Sometimes these spacious places encourage us to step out in faith into areas where we've never ventured. Sometimes we need to be rescued by the Lord. When Peter walked on the water, God was inviting him to a spacious place. He went beyond the borders of his boat and ventured into a whole new world. He didn't have complete success in his venturing out, but it was a process that would lead him to the next victory in his faith walk with Jesus. Sometimes failure is what is needed in order to move us to the next level of faith with God. However, we must be willing to fail and let God rescue us."

It reminds me of the phrase "baby-steps". We can teeter and totter and wobble and stumble as we learn to walk by faith. We aren't always going to get it 100% right and that's ok! God will be there to catch us when we fall, because he loves us. His motives for us is his love for us. He wants us to trust him and depend on him.

(based on Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, by Os Hillman)

MY PRAYER
Father, I trust you. I know that everything you do is good and for our good. Thank you for the reminder today that your love is constant and true.
Amen

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An opportunity for Joy!

James 1:2-3 - Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

It's hard to look at life's circumstances sometimes and see them as opportunity for joy. I don't know about you, but when trouble comes my way, I don't jump in the air and scream "YIPPEEEEE"! I feel sad, angry, stressed, upset, hurt etc. And that's ok!! I'm allowed to be ticked about life not going the way I had planned it. I can be angry with cancer. I can be stressed about raising a special needs child. I can be sad about death. All these emotions are fine with God, because he created us to be in HIS image, and God feels anger, sadness, etc. To feel this way is a good sign of being normal.  

The Bible doesn't say "When troubles come your way, be happy about it." - because I don't know anyone in the world who is happy about troubles. If they are happy, then they have some serious problems! We aren't supposed to rejoice in the problem, but rather the fruit that will be produced in our lives if we allow it to grow. The Bible says "consider it an opportunity for great joy".  Even though it sucks at the time, it still has the potential to be something amazing! It goes on to say why it is an opportunity - it's growth material! It means that God is bringing us through another phase of maturity. This is a reason to celebrate!! 

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Do you remember puberty? It was such a confusing time for me. As a young woman, I was plagued with irrational emotions, pain in my body as it matured, uncertainty because I wasn't a child and I wasn't a woman - where did I fit? This was a tough time no doubt, but it's an essential part of growing up! We have to go through these things to leave our childhood behind and mature into adults. The whole process takes time and we are guided through it by our parents and mentors. It's the same with life's trials. We are faced with a growing opportunity, and it's going to hurt and it will be uncertain at times, but we can have complete faith in God that he will guide us through it all.

To look at my life this way, I am joyful!! I am going through stuff, and it sucks... and that's ok. But God is using my life's trials and troubles to grow me and mature me. And my job is not to fight it, but "let it grow". Let. That's a powerful word. It means I have a choice here. I can choose to allow God to shape me and refine me, or I can go through the whole thing, resisting and unchanged. I have to decide what it's going to be. 



MY PRAYER
Dear Lord, thank you for your grace and your mercy. Thank you for showing me this stuff before I got too disillusioned and bitter. Thank you for hauling me off the wrong track and showing me the right way to go. Help me and remind me to be joyful, knowing that what life throws at me is no accident and is not pointless. Help me remember that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and my path is set. Thank you for the attitude adjustment I needed.  Amen 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's been a while...

It's been a while since my last post. Don't worry, I'm still around and haven't slipped and stumbled. My life just took a turn from the usual craziness, to overwhelmingly chaotic. My son who has ASD started his therapy early this year, and it has been full on!!! Hours everyday are spent working with him. I run him to appointments, I research, I read, I have meetings with teachers, workers, therapists. It has been NUTS!! But it has been worth while.

God has been blessing us and revealing his hand and his influence in the whole situation. EJ sees God as someone who is incredibly good and amazing. He asked me one day, "Mummy, why did God make me to have Aspergers?". I wasn't ready for this one, so I quickly tried to come up with a good answer. "Well darling, when God was creating you, he thought "Hmmm, what would make EJ unique and special? I know. He can have Aspergers. He would make a great Aspie!! He would see the world in a wonderful way. He will be so smart and have amazing gifts!" and so you have it." EJ grinned at me. It was the right answer, because he now sees it as a gift. God gave him special traits that no one else has. He does "whack" stuff and we all stare at him baffled, and he just grins at us, "Eh, I have ASD." and then laughs. He has an incredible belief in God's goodness and love for him, and he is only 6 years old.

As for me. At the risk of sounding like I have no idea what I am talking about.... which is partially true because I do not do sports. I hate it. It's boring, it's sweaty, it's hot, it has brawls and violence, and I am not enthused about it one bit. But God have me a picture in a sports analogy. Yes... ironic. Anyway... back to it. I feel like I have been benched. I'm part of a bigger picture, but God has placed me on a bench for the moment. I'm watching the game, I'm still part of the team, but sitting back and waiting for my turn to go join in. I'm happy with that. My ministry is with my family at the moment. My son is my ministry.

I hope that soon things will settle down, and I'll be back blogging more often.

May God richly bless and keep you, and may his face shine upon you.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Using our abilities despite our circumstances


Watch Christian Videos and Read the Online Bible at GodVine.com

This video really struck a chord with me. My own baby boy is on the spectrum, and my hope and prayer is that his Daddy and I will be able to foster in him a love for God and a desire to serve Him, using his difficulties in life to encourage and reach other people.

There really is no excuse not to serve God is there? This little boy, 10 years old, autistic and blind stands up to use his gifts to sing the praises of a great God. The words he sings isn't "heal me" or "change my circumstances" but rather "Open my spiritual eyes, I want to see YOU."


MY PRAYER:
Dear Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart, reveal yourself to me. Help me to be You-focussed, and not me-focussed. Help me to seek you in my prayers and worship. Thank you for reminding me that NOTHING stops our ability to serve you except ourselves. Lord I love you more than anything.


Amen

Monday, January 2, 2012

Humble creativity

My prayer yesterday was "God show me more about you." and he answered that prayer in a very familiar passage. I started to read Genesis 1, and the amazing story of Creation. My mouth dropped open at the fresh revelation of God's creativity and pure genius! But not only that he was really casual and humble about it.

"Let the land sprout forth vegetation"(Genesis 1:11). One sentence to encompass the whole creation of the plants. But it wouldn't have started there. God didn't just wave his hands, speak and it all just happened. He would have had to really think about how the plant was going to eat, drink, grow, reproduce, how it would benefit the earth, how the flower would smell, what color it would be, where the pollen would be etc etc. And not just for one plant, EVERY SINGLE ONE!! What about the stars? "Let lights appear in the sky", (Genesis 1:15) but not a single word about how he thought stars up, how he put them together, what gasses are on there, how far away from earth they are, how hot they are, how they make up the constellations etc. God didn't just wave his hand and there they were. Such depth of thought and creativity was displayed in such an amazing way, that every single day, we can look out into our world and see the beauty and cleverness of God's mind. 



Can you imagine how long Genesis would be if it was documented how God created our world? To me, the simple words of "Let there be..." and "God saw it and it was very good." shows me that God is a humble God, not insisting that his creativity be elaborated on and gone over and over to show us just how amazing he is. His creation speaks for itself. God also took pride in his work. He looked at what he did and said "Hey, I did a pretty good job! I like it!"

I'm a very creative person, so reading about being made in God's image and seeing God's creativity in a new light has really spoken to me. When I create things for my family and friends, I can see God's creative attribute in me. My creativity is nothing compared to mountains and oceans and humans - more on the scale of quilts, photography and sewing -  and I think it's pretty good. God has gifted me with these skills. I want to mirror God's own heart and be humble about my gifts. I can let my work speak for itself.

MY PRAYER
Thank you Father for showing me more about you and how I can be like you. When I look at your creation, I am in awe of you. Although you made so many things and have lots to think about and do, you care so much for me and what's important to me. Thank you that I'm like my Daddy, and creative and have such awesome skills. Help me to be like you, help me to have a humble heart.  
Amen



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