Guest post by Diana Monte.

Featured image is “Still waters at Dawn…… An original oil painting by Diana Monte. “

I would love to tell you that what I remember fondly about Diana is her long, rich, black hair or her amazing height, but that’s not it. Every time I think of her , I remember a woman being patient and loving and ready to meet me in my broken-ness. She did not know me then, but I was crying and sobbing my heart out at church one evening, and she came and sat with me ( and pretended for a short time that she did not see my tears ) and told me she was waiting eagerly for her daughters to come back from college on vacation. She made small talk and drew me out. Once we were conversing she asked me what was on my heart, and do you know it, it brought the tears back! This time in release. I’m forever grateful to Diana for just hearing me out, and then praying with me and seeking me out after this episode. I think you’d love what constitutes worship to her. I pray you will be blessed by her post as I have been by the person.

Some other posts on worship by other authors are Guest post by Kailee Diaz., Guest post by Carole Sparks.Guest post by Vanessa A Harris. and Guest post by Bruce Cooper.  These godly authors have written on what worship means to them and each of the posts are very different. My hope is to inspire you to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and to do so daily, minute by minute, hour by hour. He deserves your worship.

16" x 20" Taos Winter by Diana Monte
Painting by Diana Monte.

 

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Arabian prince by Diana Monte

Diana Monte has been teaching private painting classes for the past twenty years. She is a ‘juried’ artist whose work has been shown at the New Mexico State Fair, local Art Studio Tours, Los Ranchos Lavender Festival, Encantada Art Exhibition and several other venues. She currently is the featured poster winner for  lavenderinthevillage.com  being held on July 15th.

It is Diana’s genuine hope that her paintings bring an atmosphere of peace to a home and reflect the beauty displayed in God’s creation. You can find her art at dianamontefineart.com

Diana and her husband John live in Los Ranchos de Albuquerque with their two beautiful  daughters, Ariana and Lydia. Her husband John is on the Pastoral Staff at Legacy Church and Diana is actively involved Directing the Bliss Women’s Ministry at the East Campus at her church. Her passion is to use her art to glorify Him and to bring women into a deeper knowledge of Him.

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Diana Monte

 

 

 

I was asked by Vanessa to share a little bit about Worship and how it is a part of my daily life.  I agreed and I am delighted to share a few things with you that hopefully will help you along in life. ☺

I am an artist and I am so very thankful to God for this gift/talent of creativity. Using oil paint on a canvas is an expression and passion of mine to glorify and honor Him. Over the course of many years, I have said “If I don’t use it, I’ll lose it!”   So I regularly and continually utilize and broaden my painting skills so that the God given talent increases.  It is my heart’s desire that my paintings will minister to people in some way. I pray and ask God for wisdom and ability when I paint.   Bottom line: I want to utilize my artistic talents more and more to glorify God.

Worship – the feeling or expression of reverence and adoration.

“the worship of God”

synonyms:

reverence, veneration, adoration, glorification, glory, exaltation;

devotion, praise, thanksgiving, homage, honor;

archaic magnification

Every day is a new day to grow and transform into the person that God has destined you and I to be.  What talent/gift has God given you to utilize??

Every day isn’t a bed of roses, we all face challenges, obstacles and trials in one way or another.  In the midst of these trying times, do we press into God for help and direction?  You see, our transformation usually occurs when we are being hard pressed and challenged in an uncomfortable circumstance or situation.

No matter the circumstances around you remember that God is for you and not against you. He is your strength when you are weak and weary. And He will never leave you nor forsake you. “I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

II Corinthians 12:9 / Psalm 121:1-2

I often will journal the struggles I am facing and write down the following:

  • The date and description of what the circumstances are
  • What I am praying and believing God for
  • And the emotions I am going through at the time.
  • I pray for wisdom and direction and declare that I am trusting God to be with me through it!  I always try to pray until I have a peace knowing that it is God’s hands and not mine.
  • I also find a couple of scripture verses that I can say out loud to continually pray over every situation. It is only then that I can rejoice & praise Him by faith, for the victory.

Some prayers are answered quickly and some may take years to see.

But the Fact remains, our God is Faithful !

I cannot have a victory without having the battle! A Victory reminds me that God has heard my cries for help. Growing through the tough times makes you and me stronger in so many areas.  The most important thing is knowing that God is actively involved in my life.  To me, that makes life worth living and gives me something wonderful to Worship Him for!

A situation could might be staring me in the Face, and I KNOW that it’s going to work itself out. How do I know?? Because God has ALWAYS brought me through every single situation!  I can wholeheartedly say that I can Worship God every day regardless of what I feel like.

10 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] Philippians 3:10 (AMPC)

I pray God’s blessing over you, that your gifts/talents and abilities continue to grow and increase.  May you also express Worship wholeheartedly in your daily life!

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Olive Harvest by Diana Monte

 

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Daises by Diana Monte

 

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Some of Diana’s paintings on view at the Lavender festival. My favourites are the “Jesus the good shepherd” (3rd row, 2nd painting) and the “Still waters at Dawn” (2nd row, 1st painting, also the featured image)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed reading Diana’s post. Bring your talents to Him and watch Him do wonders with it.

In Him,

Vanessa.

 

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The Mothers in the line of Jesus. 

Happy Mother’s day to the mothers who are reading this post and I hope you had a great weekend with your family .

To those of you who are not yet mothers, I’m thinking of you. I don’t know His ways and I don’t understand Him often, but He has still been Faithful.

To those of you who have had children and they are no longer here, I’m so so sorry, I will never have the words to comfort you, but He can.

To those of you who are spiritual mothers and mentors, I thank you. You make a difference in people’s lives for generations to come. We rise and call you blessed.

To those of you who are mothers, you make a difference. You are seen. You are valued. You hold your families together and you are loved.

For Mother’s day 2017, I’m going to write a little about the women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. They have been spoken on and dissected and discussed often, but I’m always grateful when women (and men)’s names are mentioned in the Bible. They were real, flawed, human and felt things. They made mistakes. They made sacrifices. They prospered and failed and loved and hated. They were known to Him and He made sure their names/ their lives were written down for us to know them as well.

In Matthew 1:1-17, the genealogy of Joseph (who was married to Mary, the mother of Jesus) is mentioned. The women mentioned by name / circumstance are Tamar , Rahab, Ruth, (Bathsheba) she isn’t mentioned by name but the Bible says “who had been Uriah’s wife”, and Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Luke 3 :21-38, the genealogy of Jesus through Joseph is mentioned as well, but the names of the women are not.

 

Tamar

Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah.

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Tamar

She was not an Israelite, but she was given in marriage to Er. He sinned against God and was struck down. She was then given in marriage to his brother Onan, who used her, but refused to give her children to carry on the name of his brother and was struck down as well. Judah in fear that his third son would be killed as well asked her to live in her father’s house. She did. Judah dealt with her falsely, and when she saw that she wasn’t given to Selah as his wife, Tamar seduced Judah by pretending to be a shrine prostitute. She conceived and was nearly stoned for adultery, but she sent out Judah’s pledges to him for him to recognize. Judah said that she had been more righteous than him,  and lets her live, but does not have sexual relations again with her for the rest of her life. Tamar gives birth to twins, one of whom would be the fore father of kings and of Jesus Himself.

 

Why Tamar? 

Tamar wasn’t part of the chosen people, was deceived and in turn was deceitful herself. But God . God chooses to give her children and take away her shame. He chooses her name to be mentioned in His family line.

No matter how often we slip up, He can turn our lowest, weakest, ugliest moments around and use us for His Glory.

 

Rahab

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Rahab

Rahab was a harlot. The few times in scripture that she is mentioned, she is known as Rahab the harlot /prostitute. She lived in Jericho. She had heard of what God had done during Moses’ time (a good 35-40 years ago) and was terrified. She chose to hide the 2 spies that Joshua sent, but she made sure to ask for a favour. She wanted to be safe when God destroyed Jericho. The two spies promised her that her family would be safe as long as they were in the house and she had tied a scarlet ribbon in her window. She believed them and did exactly as they commanded her to. Rahab was the instrument through which her family was saved. Later she was allowed to marry an Israelite and through her son, kings and later the Messiah would come.

Why Rahab? 

Rahab was not a Hebrew, she lived an immoral lifestyle. But God. God gave her the faith to believe in Him, and she and her family were saved because they had a reverent fear of Him.

What we have done is the past does not determine what God can do with us. God can and will turn your lifestyle around when you call upon Him and choose to leave everything behind for His Name’s Sake.

 

Ruth

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Ruth

Ruth was a  Moabite. She had been a wife, then became a widow. She chose  to stay with her mother-in-law in spite of being urged to go back to he father’s family. She was hard working and went to glean grain behind the workers. Ruth was obedient to Naomi and did what she asked regarding marriage customs, even if they seemed foreign to her. She was then given a husband and a child and children , and became the great grandmother of King David.

Why Ruth?

Ruth was not of the holy and set apart people. But whatever she saw and experienced in her husband’s home made her choose to stay with her mother-in-law and follow her God. She left behind everything known to her. But God. God gave her peace and acceptance in the new land and gave her a husband and children of her own.

Do you feel unseen and unknown? And aren’t sure of how to make ends meet? Are you in a new and foreign land and lonely? I can’t say that everything will be roses and peaches ever after, but I can tell you, that God sees. God knows. He takes into account everything. And this faithfulness will be credited to you.

 

Bathsheba

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Bathsheba

Bathsheba is not mentioned by name. The genealogy only mentions “who had been Uriah’s wife”. She was the grand-daughter of Ahitophel ( King David’s trusted advisor), and was an Israelite. Either she was forced by King David, seduced by him, or she did the seducing, but sexual sins lead to events that caused David to murder her husband. The child that she conceived was taken by God when he was born ( 7 days later), but she gave birth to at least 4 other sons, who were taught by the prophet Nathan. Her son Solomon/ Jedidiah would become king after his father David even though he was not the first born.

Why Bathsheba?

Either things she did or were done to her caused events to spiral out of control. But God. God renewed her womb and restored her honour. She was wife to one king and a mother of another. She is mentioned in the line of Jesus.

When God honours you, your past can and will become a clean slate. He will lift you higher than you imagined. He will give you more than you ask. He will do strange and incredible and marvelous works than you could not even dream of.

 

Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary was most likely a teenager when she

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Mary, the mother of Jesus

conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. She was asked to do something impossible and mind boggling. She did question the angel and even though her response is similar to Zechariah ( husband to Elizabeth and father to John the Baptist), “how can it be?”, apparently her heart and her attitude were very different , as evidenced by the responses given by the angel Gaberiel to the two of them. The few times Mary is mentioned later on the gospels, the accounts portray her as a considerate mother. It is also mentioned that “she pondered all the things [that happened around and to Jesus] in her heart”

 

Why Mary?

This one is interesting. By all accounts Mary seems to be the proverbial ideal wife and mother. In some accounts though, it feels like she doesn’t believe Jesus ( when she and her other sons went to Jesus when he was preaching and getting “in trouble” with the religious leaders because they thought He had lost His mind), but in other accounts, she absolutely believes in Him ( she tells the servants to do everything Jesus tells them at the wedding in Cana).

Mary’s but God. God used a simple, young, humble, possibly poor girl to bring His Son into this world. No one and nothing is beyond His control.

 

No matter who we are, we are loved by God. We are known to Him. He cares for us. He died for us. He rose again for us. He is preparing a place for us . And He will come back for us.

With joy, until next time.

Vanessa.

My hour has not yet come, but it will.

Featured image from St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology

In John 2 , Jesus has just chosen His first disciples and had gone to His hometown in Galilee. He and His disciples and His family were invited to a wedding in Cana. The wine for the celebration has run out, so the first thing that Mary, the mother of Jesus does, is  tell Him. She tells Him, Jesus says His time has not yet come, and not to involve Him. So Mary instead goes to the servants and tells them to do whatever He tells them. Jesus, out of respect for His mother, tells the servants to fill nearby jars with water and then changes the water into wine. The wine that He makes , tastes so much better , that even the master of the banquet comments on that to the hosts.

John mentions that this was the first of the signs* that Jesus did and so revealed His glory to His disciples.

But this was nearly three years before Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. In the beginning of Jesus’ ministry He warns various people He healed not to tell others. Jesus tells Simon (when he declared that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God) not to tell others. Jesus tells the three disciples who witnessed His transfiguration not to tell the others. Jesus also told them that they should remain silent about it, until He was glorified. That happened as Jesus conquered death when He rose again  from the dead and ascended up to Heaven to sit at the Father’s right hand. When He was lifted up, He drew all people to Him.

He made a way for us to receive salvation, hope and eternal life. But it is up to us to do so. He will respect our choice. Because it is not  yet His time. When He comes back in glory, and He will, He will come as King. He will come to administer justice and judgement. He will come and accept the reverence and worship of ALL people. Whether they are willing or not. As it is written in Phillipians 2:10-11, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. At that time, it will be HIS TIME. There won’t be any time left to make a decision regarding Jesus. So do so now. Now is the time to make Him Lord and Saviour of your life since He is patient and kind and not willing for any to perish but that all should come to Him as it says in 2 Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

If you are looking for Him, if you sincerely desire Him, just ask Him. Let Jesus know , you want to make Him Lord of your life. Look for a Bible based church close to you. Google the questions you want or look up sermons on YouTube. Now it’s easier than ever to find Him. Make use of that. Hebrews 3:13  says But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

In Ecclesiastes 1:1  it says The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king of Jerusalem: ‘Meaningless! Meaningless!’ says the Teacher. ‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless. This book is believed to be written by Solomon in his later years. He has by now, become very rich ( God gave that to Him), he’s married several women (700 wives and 300 concubines), he’s indulged in every pleasure known to man, he’s become very well known and sought after for his wisdom (He asked God for that). Solomon’s tried everything and done all and he then discovers it is ‘meaningless, a chasing after the wind’. At the end of the book he discovers that remembering the Creator and fearing him and keeping all His commandments is the only thing that matters.

Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14

13 Now all has been heard;
    here is the conclusion of the matter:
fear God and keep his commandments,
    for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment,
    including every hidden thing,
    whether it is good or evil.

I’ve been reading my old posts and there seems to be a common theme underlying all of them. I talk/ weave into/ write about the temporary nature of our lives. How the joy and the sorrow, the tears and laughter, the sickness and health, the life and death will all be worth it, when Christ comes to take us home. I write about the temporary versus the eternal. Temporary being our lives, and the Eternal being the life we will have with Him. And I’m reminded that our days are very short. Our time on this Earth will come to an end soon. Right now is the time to make the choice for Him.

 

*Signs- John describes the signs that Jesus did in the gospel of John. These are signs that reveal / point to the Messiah and are fulfillments of prophesies in the OT. John shows that these signs are fulfilled by Jesus and acknowledges that Jesus alone is the promised Messiah (meaning “Anointed”) who is capable of saving man from his sins and judgement and can give man eternal life.

May I encourage you if you don’t know Him, to come to Him and make Him the Lord of your life. We don’t know how long we have, but the time has come. It is now.

With awe at God’s graciousness,

Vanessa.

 

Eating marshmallows in church.

When we first moved to a new city in 2016 for my husband’s job and started going to a new church, I wanted to jump in and start serving in the church right away. After all that’s what I did in the previous two churches in the 2 different cities that we had been a part of for the last 6 years. Monica, though, told me to wait. Monica, who has become a dear friend, and a godly mentor to me these last few months. Monica, on that Saturday, had just met me at a ladies’ brunch at the church. She barely knew me, but prompted by the Holy Spirit, told me to wait. Wait on the Lord first and foremost. Wait to serve Him, but serve Him by serving my husband and my children in the meantime. Serve Him by investing in my children’s lives (like an investment broker 🙂 ). Serve Him by being present with my husband. Honour Him with what I was doing and not worry about what I thought I should be doing.

Honouring Him by waiting Click to tweet!

I’m so glad that I did listen to her.

My younger son who had been diagnosed with Autism in 2015, started up ABA therapy and his hours went up from 15 to 20 and then 26 and 30 hours per week. I’ve had therapists in and out of my house for the past 2 years (2 different states) and I still do :-). Sometimes things happen, they are sick or their children are, a tire’s flat and they can’t drive, it’s a snow day and they can’t come, and sessions have had to be rescheduled. Because I wasn’t signed up in church, to serve in any capacity on a weekly basis and I wasn’t expected anywhere, I was able to accommodate any and all changes within reason 🙂

In the nearly 2 years of therapy, we’ve seen a lot of changes and improvements, some steps going back, but everything we’ve done so far, and everything we’ve sacrificed , all the time we’ve spent has been worth it 🙂

We’ve gone from merely surviving to a place where we can say , as a family in the midst of the fullness and busyness of life, we’re thriving. My daughter loves her school and enjoys every minute spent there. My son and I, our days are filled with his therapy and we’re learning to have fun during the long days, with visits to parks and play areas thrown in. My husband’s learning to balance his work and home life with us. Apart from our daily schedules, the only places we go “out” to are churches ( we still attend 3-4 churches often, with 1-2 churches being our stable that we attend every week), different parks and play areas in malls/ MacDonald’s/ Chick-Fill-A’s. We eat out very rarely and do other fun things almost never. It’s easier taking my son to places that he’s used to, so that he’s not overwhelmed.

There are several instances in the last few months that I’ve seen God’s Hand at work in our lives. I’ve also seen confirmation that the advice Monica gave me to wait, was indeed from the Holy Spirit. Adam has been making more eye contact, understanding more of what we say, speaking more and letting us know his wants appropriately. He’s been affectionate, demonstrating and asking for attention and affection like other boys his age. He’s been sleeping well and eating more as well. Christina is talking up a storm and dreaming up stories and able to articulate what she feels and tell us exactly what happened in school and what her friends did ( for a child who needed speech therapy to start talking, this is amazing!).

One of the times I remember was a Sunday when we were at our main church, which is a family service (the children sit with us so we take play doh, writing things, markers, pipe cleaners and snacks to keep them occupied and busy during the service). Adam had just started demonstrating affection in the weeks before that Sunday. He came and sat on my lap and was busy with his things and Christina came over and sat on my lap too. Adam kept looking at me, and touching my face, and smiling when I smiled back at home. Christina didn’t fight or push her brother off 🙂 and was busy with her own things. My husband had the snacks, he would offer the marshmallows (from the Lucky Charms cereal ) or the veggie straws or the cookies to them. They went and took it from him, and came back to my lap. This pattern went on throughout the hour and half service. That was also the first time that Adam sat throughout the service without making a ruckus.

Usually halfway through one of us takes him to the car. We love the pastor and the family and their love for God and the teaching of His Word authentically and so we continue to worship there. We go to 2 of the churches because the children’s programs are amazing and they make a real effort to include Adam in the regular classes (and the teaching is straight from God’s Word too which we appreciate). The other regular church that we attend weekly is down the street from us, and we love attending the mid week service, it gives us a safe place to take the children as well as an opportunity to worship God together as a couple.

So on that Sunday in December, Adam and Christina sat on my lap and were cuddly and loving and gentle and I was grateful. I was grateful for God working in their lives. I was grateful to Him for showing me that my time invested in them was paying dividends. I was grateful that all the months and years and minutes uncounted that I was working with Adam that nobody saw was showing tangible results. I was grateful to God for our family and marriage which He had restored. I was grateful that our children are happy, fun-loving, cuddly children and were thriving.

I still am. When I think of how far away these milestones were 2 years ago, I’m overwhelmed with His goodness. How Kind, how Compassionate, how Gentle, how Good our God is. To show me He is working, He is still working with all of us. To show me He is in control. To show me He loves Christina and Adam more than I ever will. To show me that they are made in His Image, and He will use them to Glorify Himself through them. To show me that He Is God. He Will Always Be. He knows what He’s doing. I just have to trust Him.

I want to mention at this time, that I don’t go by my “feelings and emotions”. I’m up and down, but whatever happens then, whatever I feel, First I bring it to the Lord, Second I wait, Third I search through scripture to back it up or refute it, and finally I either bring it to my husband or a trusted godly family member or my mentor. (When I “feel’ that God said something or something was from God or that God is doing something in my life )

There are times when I have peace about certain things, but I don’t naturally assume every time I have peace about something, it is from God. Which is why I’ve taken so long to write this post. Our feelings and emotions are part of who we are, and are definitely given to us from God ( Psalm 139 For I am fearfully and wonderfully made), but Jeremiah 17:9 the heart is deceitful above all things, is true as well. God is a good Father from whom we receive every good and perfect gift and who does not change like shifting shadows James 1:7. We can wait on Him, if it is definitely from Him, it will stand the test of time, it will not change. If it is not from Him, the passing of time will reveal it as well.

There are also times, when you know, it is from God. Those moment/s and situation/s look different for everybody. At those times, it is in your best interest (and mine) to completely follow through on the instructions/ direction / commandments being given by God.

Anyway this post is about seeing His faithfulness and marveling at His goodness for me and mine. It’s about remembering where we were and how far He’s brought us. He has definitely been working in all four of us and we can see the results. I write this to praise Him for what He has done, knowing He will continue to do so. I write this to glorify Him for Who He Is. My Maker, my Father, my Shepherd, my Healer, my God and my LORD.

Some of my favourite verses on waiting are

1.Psalm 46:10

10 He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;

    I will be exalted among the nations,

    I will be exalted in the earth.’

2.Isaiah 30:15

15 This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:

‘In repentance and rest is your salvation,

    in quietness and trust is your strength,

    but you would have none of it.

 

3.2 Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

4.Philippians 1:6

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Be still and know that He is GodClick to tweet!

 

If you’ve seen God’s faithfulness to you, would you share that with me?

With gratitude and praise,

Vanessa.