Posts Tagged ‘blessings’

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7

You have probably received tons of emails. Today is Gifting Tuesday, when many non profits get matching donations. If you give $10 they will get $20.  It seems everyone is clamoring for your wallet today.

Did you know that with God everyday is doubled giving day? Think about it. When I reach out beyond myself to give of my time, talent or treasure to another person, then it also blesses me.

  • I no longer concentrate on, and magnify, my own issues.
  • I feel a sense of purposefulness
  • I develop a servitude attitude that is closer to the way God wishes me to behave
  • I think I make Abba smile, and that makes me smile.

We all like to receive gratitude for our giving. That in itself is a gift. But therein lies the trap. Do we give to feel good about ourselves? Do we desire the admiration, the acknowledgement, the glory? (Notice each bullet point above starts with “I”.)

What happens when we don’t get the thanks we deserve for our generosity?

Jesus warned of this pitfall. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3).

The true blessing that comes from sacrificial giving, the gift we receive in return, is a humble and contrite heart. When we realize it all comes from and belongs to God anyway, perhaps we are less likely to act like two-year-olds grasping our treasures with a pout. Mine. Or less like the three-year-old who constantly calls out, “Look at me.”

The double gift is in the giving. Not because some anonymous donor will match it, but because our Father in Heaven will double bless it– if it is given with the right attitude of expecting little or nothing in return. The return blessing may not come immediately, or in this lifetime.

But if you think about it a bit deeper, you have already been given the gift. It is salvation through grace and mercy.  What more can you expect in return? So, go. Give it away.


The internet is a vast mission field. At Campus Crusades of Canada’s  Power to Change, I edit and write for two websites that draw people closer to God:   Issues I Face  and The Life.   Our free articles and devotionals glean a readership of 500,000 plus a month. Some are believers, others don’t know what to believe. All are seeking. We help them know Jesus, one mouse click at a time.
But as with any missionary organization, we are funded solely through the donations of ministry partners. And at this moment, an anonymous beneficiary will match any and all donations up to one hundred thousand dollars. 
Find out more about my work as a writer and editor at  http://www.juliebcosgrove.com/missionary_support.html 


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Today I found God’s message on my computer screen. I play Words with Friends©, an interactive computer game where you place tiles on the board and build

words off each other. Some tiles are worth more than others. Often times, I find myself waiting several rounds for the right letter so I can complete a word and score big points. If only I had another e, then I could spell “quieter”, hit the triple word square, and score 63 points. I discovered when I do, I settle for making less valuable words in the interim and may miss an opportunity to use the ones I have to the best advantage.

God whispered to my soul as I pondered my next move on the game with one friend, “Are you doing the same with my blessings?”


I had decided my word for 2016 would be “Rejoice”–in all things. To be thankful for what I have and look for the positive spin, no matter the circumstances, trusting God knows best. Part of that rejoicing is to accept what God has already given me and using it to His glory, and the best of my ability, instead of praying for what I think would be best. To eliminate the “if only- then” thoughts.

If only I had more income, then…

If only I could lose weight quicker like other people do, then…

If only just one book would sell enough copies to break through and become a best seller for more than two days on Amazon, then…

If only my back didn’t ache every day, then…

If only (family member or friend) could (whatever), then…

If I rejoice, and give thanks in all things, then I won’t be focused on the “e” I don’t have–waiting for God tot give me what I think I need, or want, or desire. Perhaps, this year I will “see” the great “words” I can make if I concentrate on the “letters” He has placed in front of me now.

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boxed inI recently moved…. again. Such is life. Moving is sort of like spring cleaning. Weeding through the stuff accumulated, dusting places you normally do not, shifting furniture and cleaning the spots where they have been. Over the packing process I discovered two things:

1. There are things I have been holding onto and I have no idea why. I haven’t used these items in years and probably do not plan to do so. They just do not fit my lifestyle or interests anymore.

2. There are things I truly cherish. Wrapping and packing each brought back loving memories of past times, but more so, warm feelings for the friends or family members who gave them to me–be it inherited from a  great grandmother or gifted as a thank you by a recently made friend.

It made me ponder. What things in my spiritual, emotional and worship life fit in wither of those categories. Are there things I need to pry my fingers from? What do I feel I wish to keep and preserve but not to the point of cluttering my life so much I have no room for future blessings? question

With more sleet and snow barreling down upon us in North Texas, I know it is not yet springtime even if we are springing forward this weekend. I’m not suggesting you move furniture and thoroughly weed through your belongings. But, perhaps during this penitential season of Lent, we are all called to do a little spring cleaning in our spiritual lives.  What do you feel God is asking you to preserve and perhaps let go?

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courtesy of Begin with Yes

This is a photo spreading around Facebook.  Perfect for the month of February, right?

As a widow, I could get down about not having a valentine.. no anticipated candy or flowers at my door. But God loves on me every single day, and throughout the year He brings me such sweet and fragrant reminders of His inestimable and immeasurable love for me.

I have never canceled a lecture. Last week, I contracted pneumonia and had to. I felt as if I broke a promise…not to mention feeling a bit down about the stack of author copies in the box in the back of my car. But God sent love my way…three times. (He and I have a private joke about threes.)

First a dear friend, who is not a morning person, rose early and dressed to the nines to sit at the lecture site with copies of my books and explain to people.She actually sold several! I owe you big time, Karen.

Secondly, a younger, more techie friend taped the Sunday worship on her phone so I could participate without being there. I lifted me out of my slump. What a privilege to hear everyone else’s voices and recognize them as people I know and love.  I found myself praying for each of them. When I am in church, I tend to focus in on me and God. Thanks, Kati.

Thirdly,  God led me to an amazing woman, N.N. Light,  who has an author’s blog. Her readership is vast, and her tweet stating I was on her blog has been re-tweeted 57 times in the last 24 hours, reaching a potential of over 100,000 followers. Even if 10% preview my book and then 10% of them buy it, my publisher will be dancing a jig!

…and here I wrung my hands, in between coughing spells, over a missing out on a crowd of 40-50.

Thanks, God. Your love shines through.

Where will you find His love-gift in your day? It just may be on the horizon.

...and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:17b-18

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????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????For the past two years I have treated myself and a few others to an online, animated Advent calendar. Daily, I’d click on the icon and a new puzzle, decoration or story would emerge. Each morning was different. Some days  I made my own ornaments, snowflakes, or wreaths. Some were puzzles to conquer. Others, I learned a lot about traditions all over Europe by  just watching the daily animated video. It was a special way to start each day….until December 26th.

Then, there were no more “windows” to open. I’d done all 25 of them. What a let down.

I realized as I stared at my computer screen with a protruding lower lip that my attitude needed adjusting. Each morning I have the privilege, as a professed child of the King, of opening a new and exciting day that has been orchestrated by my Heavenly Father for His glory. I have no idea what will unfold. I may have to do something, or sit back and simply watch. Some will be more thrilling and “hands on” than others. A few will be “let down” days. But like the animator of this Advent calendar, My Heavenly Lord has created each day meticulously for me to inspire me, instruct me or draw me closer.

No matter what happens throughout the day, I am confident that God is there. Just as the little Advent calendar icon sat on the bottom of my computer screen reminding me I had a surprise awaiting me, so are my Lord’s comfort, mercies and blessings hovering there in the corners of my day. I just need to click on them and bring them up them through prayer instead of computer mouse.

Tragedy can sideswipe us at any given time.I had one of those days this holiday season. I woke up and all was well, until…WHAM. But through it all, I knew whose day it was and that He would always be right there to walk through it with me. Each day when I arise, I can open my heart to God, and He will respond. That is no surprise, and until I am taken into Heaven to sit at the foot of His throne, it will never be over, be it December 26th or any other day of the year.

Each day I can find God in it, if I choose to look. So can you.

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Fort Worth gets winds- gusty winds that whine through my windowsills like a stubborn child in a tantrum. Incessant.  It seems to last forever.  Actually this time, it has been going on for three days.

Before the latest winds hit, I put up a little bird feeder on the tree outside my patio. It was on sale and so was the seed. Within 24 hours I heard the cheeps and saw two finches perched on it, announcing to their feathered kin and friends that they had found free chow. Then a few sparrows, and my favorite, the timid turtle doves appeared.

dreamstimefree_97858While writing at my computer, I noticed the little feeder tilting in the wind. On it clung a determined purple finch, timing its pecks to the gusts. It’s little feet curled tightly around the pole. Wings flapped to maintain balance. But, no matter what, that tiny bird was staying on that feeder so it could have the seeds. As the feeder tilted, some of the seeds fell to the ground, greeted by opportunistic doves below.

I smiled – that’s me on that feeder.

If you picture at the feeder as God’s blessings and the winds as life, can you see the analogy?

Life can get a bit gusty and wobbly at times. We cannot control the winds of change. But we can redirect our sails. That is what a magnet on my fridge that my late mother gave me states.

God gives us abundant blessings. We, though, have to choose to ingest them into our life. When our world turns gusty and we feel tossed about a bit, we can still cling to those blessings.  That takes determination and tenacity. But God continues to provide – that feeder of blessings will never empty all the way.

And here is the best part. When others see us clinging on, a bit of those blessings may spill their way as well. People gather around a person who perseveres. They watch and ask, “How do they do that?”  Our tenacity and can-do attitude attracts others. Just remember to tell them whose feeder you are on and why. You never know where those seeds of blessing will fall.

And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.   (Matthew 13:3-8 ESV)

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This story was sent to me by email

They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the already crowded auditorium. With their rich maroon gowns flowing and the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.  Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed away tears.  This class would NOT pray during the commencements, not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.

The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling. They gave inspirational and challenging speeches, but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.  The speeches were nice, but they were routine until the final speech received a standing ovation. A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then, it happened.  All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED !!!!   The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said, ‘GOD BLESS YOU’  And he walked off the stage…

The audience exploded into applause. This graduating class had found a unique way to invoke God’s blessing on their future with or without the court’s approval.  Isn’t this a wonderful story? Pass it on to all your friends………and GOD BLESS YOU!!!!  This is a true story; it happened at the University of Maryland . 

May you not be afraid to say “God Bless You”, or Merry Christmas” or anything else that expresses your faith. 

Pray it – then Say it. Let God decide how it will be received.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. (Acts 4:31 NIV)

NOTE: Snopes says it happened in 2001 and a bit differently (in Illinois) – the student sneezed and pre-planned group of students all yelled out “God Bless You” in defiance to a  court order to not have an invocation- read it here –http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/sneeze.asp

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A friend and I drove from Texas to Arkansas to visit a new church. It is one of our ministries as head of our denominational women to keep in touch with the ladies in each church and plug them into our programs and mission efforts. Besidies, we were told the fall colors were beginning to pop, so it was an opportune time.

© Yan Zommer | Dreamstime.com

© Yan Zommer | Dreamstime.com

Now, being a Texas Hill Country girl, I always have found  God in the mesquite and cedar laden humps on the horizon. But, these were mountains looming ahead. They reminded by of a child’s art project- as if God had taken green styrofoam and plastered Trix cereal all over it. The colors of yellows, oranges, red and a bit of purple bumps blanketing the mounts was breathtaking, even in a drought year. Each turn of the road led us to new oohs and ahhs, unable to decide which scene splayed before our windshield was the best.

I had seen the Ozarks in college, but it was on a bus driving through the middle of them on the way to a church revival. The saying, “you can’t see the forest for the trees” is true.

It makes me wonder, if I let God lift me up, could I see more than the roots and trunk of the blessings he has placed before me? What awesome marvels  would our souls see if we had a panoramic view the way I did driving  today?

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