Sunday, April 29, 2012

Enjoying Every Moment, by Nina Keegan -Owens

Do you remember being young? Being a kid, you could not wait to be a full fledged teenager. In your late teens and early 20's, if you were anything like me, you were always in such a hurry to get to that next great stage in life? Always a race against time! It seems we just couldn't wait to be all grown up and play the proverbial game of life. If you were in high school then you could not wait to step foot onto the fabulous campus quad of your college destination, if you were in college, then getting out, getting a"real"job, finding prince charming and getting married in a gorgeous,white, chiffon gown, in a flower filled church, and dancing the night away to your favorite songs, played by the best local band you skillfully managed to book for your reception, buying the white picket fenced home and having the national average of 3.2 kids to carpool around suburbia was the absolute end all of a great life. The pictures in our minds of the perfect life, was the life we had seen many times before over and over again on a Lifetime movie, or the Hallmark channel.
How fast could we get there? Never fast enough! Time has flown by at a record setting pace since those days. Now if I could only take it all back, if we could only stop the clock, rewind it a bit, and push replay.. Maybe this time around we could use the pause button and relax in the moments a bit longer and savor the place God had placed us for just a bit more time.

Why does it seem we always want what we cant have? Even if what we want is looking in the rearview mirror. We can't get back the times we hastily wished away. We will have to rely on our recollections, our scattered memories, and cherish every new and glorious moment from this day forward.

The good old days are the days we seemed to have taken for granted, being young, care free, and naive. Is youth really wasted on the young? Will it always be like this? Will we ever just "get it?" will we ever be able to sink our teeth into today and bite off a huge piece and whole heartedly enjoy it?

The days we wished for, the days we could not wait for, are the days, that never really get here quite the way we had envisioned . Sure we hit those target points and specific goals of marriage, careers, and all, but while we are there in those moments we are always thinking of what's next.

We have our precious babies and can't wait until they are finally sleeping through the night and actively anticipate the day of not changing any more diapers... Then the focus is getting them out of school, and through graduation etc, etc,. We always seem unsatisfied, we need a promotion at work, a bigger house in a better neighborhood... We always just can't wait for something.
Where does it all end? What does it get you? We throw the ladder down from our lives and as if we are racing to escape from a burning building.

On this ladder of life, we should be climbing up, climbing higher. We need to stop and pause on each and every single step. This wonderful life, where each stage is meant for greatness in it's own right... We will never be able to appreciate the good things unless we have experienced some bad. We can't have successes without having had some failures.
We need to be in the "now" the "present", right here. Look at where you are at, you are exactly where you are supposed to be! Enjoy this random moment in time because it is so fleeting, this moment, gone in a flash is one you will never get back. Pay closer attenton to your life, focus on the task at hand, the tasks of today, this very day!

The Bible says in Matthew 6:34, Do not worry about tomorrow today, for each day has enough trouble of its own.
In other words, if you are so busy thinking about the future , you miss the here and now. Bloom where you are planted!!! This is your time, this is your journey unfolding. This is your tiny space in an infinitely vast universe.. This is YOUR day carved out of time by God for you to enjoy!

My oldest son Kyle is graduating from Baylor University in a few short days.
I look at this man and all of his accomplishments, how proud I am, he's so motivated and ready to get finished and get to the next stage of his life, seems only yesturday, I was wishing for him to sleep through the night. Memories of his childhood flood my mind.. In a flash He is grown, he is a man with tons of dreams and ambitions.
I see so much of myself in him, but only now as a mom, I want to tell him to wait, slow it down a bit. Life will be there, it's coming no matter what so look around and bask in this precious speck of time.. This sculpted nugget of space is the good stuff!!! The miraculously good stuff given to us by a generous loving God to be savored each and every day of our lives. I dont want him to miss a thing.... The video keeps rolling... No Hollywood producer is yelling "cut"!!!" Take two!" We get only one precious, get it right the first time, life!!! ENJOY!!!!

God please bless Kyle as he graduates, may he savor and enjoy his life each day. Protect him and guide him on his new path in life. May we all never take a single moment for granted and enjoy our days completely and effortlessly, and may we enjoy every second of this precious time you have given us!
Thank you father!
In Jesus name we pray!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Having an attitude of gratitude by Nina Keegan-Owens

It's 7:00 a.m and I am waking up on this glorious morning in quite the usual way. My sweet, little, fur ball, dog Zoe saunters over all the pillows and climbs on top of me, deciding it's time for her to get her morning hugs and of course a few good scratches behind the ears. The new day's sunlight streams through the cracks in the shutters of my bedroom windows, and I can hear the birds singing their cheery early morning serenades. It's my birthday today!" Thank you God for this fabulous day and for my wonderful life!" I'm up, I'm ready and making my way to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee...
A quick glance at my phone shows an abundance of warm birthday texts and messages already... How amazing that We can get wished a happy birthday in several types of social medias these days, we are more connected to friends and loved ones and in so many ways. I am so very blessed, I'm feeling pretty loved right about now and grateful beyond words.

Never really been a huge fan of my birthday, I do not like all the fuss, being the center of attention makes me very uncomfortable, but as the years go by, and faster than ever it seems, the more I reflect back on my life. The life that has brought me here and to this point in time, my forty.. Hhmm.. something birthday.
My life has not always been easy. Who's has? I joke sometimes that I could write a book about my life but it would have to be sold in the fiction section of the book store because nobody would believe my stories were true, however I would live my life again the exact same way changing only one thing, I would make sure God knew how extremely grateful I grateful I am for every single new and perfect day and the countless blessings each one of those days whether peaceful or hectic contains. What better birthday gift can there be than God's peace? His love each new day unfolding new promises and 2nd chances.

I appreciate every joy, every sorrow, every pain, and smile, of living a life.. watching my children growing into wonderful men, sharing their joys and sorrows, trials and triumphs, meeting new and wonderful people, moving, traveling, hearts broken, hearts healed.. having a wonderful husband to spend birthdays and everyday with. Yes I am so grateful for my life well lived. Like water steadily carving it's way through rock eventually etching out a river, God has designed my life with each valley to be a learning exercise providing invaluable experiences that would draw me closer to Him. Each peak in my life a place for Him to share my joys and to show me His unconditional love.
I want my life to mean something, I want it to count, to matter. I do not want to waste a single moment on trivial, not worth it, petty things! Each moment is a precious gift to be used wisely and with focus, clarity and abundant purpose.

Eph 5:20 says to Give thanks always and for everything to God who loves and cares for you.

We should never miss an opportunity to praise and Thank God, how can you not see His greatness in everything and everywhere? We can look at a bed of brightly colored flowers and see His brilliance, we can hear the contagious laugh of a child and know He's right there.
What if we were to wake up tomorrow with only the things we thanked God for today? What would you have? Really makes you think, I dont want to miss anything, so I'm thankful for everything!!! Every nook and cranny of my life , every birthday, another year, another milestone, a year good and bad is one I've cherished.

In (1 Thess 5:8) the scripture says to Give thanks in ALL circumstances for this is the will of God for you.

Gratitude ulocks the essence and completeness of a life. It turns what we have into all we need. Being grateful can make sense of the chaos and give us divine peace for our souls.

So today when I blow out my candles on my birthday cake surrounded by people I love, I will be thankful for another year well spent gaining tiny perils of God's wisdom, enjoying the many simple abundances in my days and I will be thanking God for EVERTHING, and I will be asking for God to give me a more grateful and loving heart and for His peace for many birthdays to come!! Yup that will be the most perfect birthday gift I could possibly ever receive!!

Thank you sweet Father for my life and everyone I love. Thanks for your love, mercy, forgiveness, protecton and safety for me and my family and friends. I am truly blessed and grateful for this and all the days of my life. In Jesus name I pray!!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Finding your purpose by Nina Keegan-Owens

Purpose? If you do not yet know what your purpose here on earth is, keep reading because you are about to find out.

We as Christians, hear so much about this simple 7 letter word, it is nothing fancy, it's more of a flying under the radar type of word, but oh how we wrestle with the definition... What does it mean? By definition, purpose means and end or a goal by which one strives for. Are we not all given a specific, highly individualized, purpose from God? What is our purpose? How do we begin to find out? What if I don't like my purpose? Can I get a raincheck, or trade mine in on a newer model, one that's a little shinier, one with more pizazz perhaps? Can we get a purpose on a trial basis to be changed out later at a more convenient day and time? Does God only give us 1 purpose each or do we get several? Does purpose stay consistant or is it constantly changing? Questions?? Tons!!! Some people will spend a lifetime in angst trying to figure out the confusion that lies within the unearthly answers to those elusive questions.

I'd like to think the answers are much less high tech than all of that, I actually think it's all quite simple but as humans we like to complicate everything, our minds are like a virtual spin class that goes 100 mph even on the steep hills, never yeilding, never stopping, always chasing something. We are always trying to "get it right". We think up all sorts of grandiose ideas about the type of lives and purposes we think we should be living.
We scheme out elaborate plans, calculated maps so to speak about how we will attain our countless goals.

Could it be possible that we, while earnestly seeking our elaborate purposes are actually missing the bigger picture? The real purpose?
I believe we all have the exact same purpose, all equal, fair and square, we all start with the same amount of chips on the game table. After all, God is no respecter of persons right? Acts 10: 34-35

So here it is, the answer you have been waiting for.
Our purpose is to love God... Period!! Yup, that's it.. Simple yet magnificent in God's eyes. We simply, are here to glorify Him, love Him unconditionally, unceasingly, and infinitely. We are to show others who He is through us. We are to set examples for others by walking in His love, and by living each day as if we are on an highly specialized assignment from God.
The very real, simple, mundane, tasks we do on a day to day basis, can exemplify His love and give us purpose. You are where you are on purpose so embrace each and every wonderful new day. Giving an encouraging smile, or a compliment, can change someone's whole day. Offering to help someone out, volunteering your time, or even cooking dinner for your family can be filled with purpose. Taking care of a scraped elbow or knee with a bandaid and a kiss, reading a beautiful bedtime story to your child as they fall asleep in your lap, these things have amazing value and purpose. Being a shoulder to cry on, a loving, accepting, spouse that does not always have to be right, being the person first to forgive, the first to say" I am sorry" these small day to day things all can change attitudes and lives and help you live deep in the midst of your God given purpose. Doing your job, your school work, your house work daily with pride and without complaining as if you are working for God, loving each other unconditionally, and being able to overlook the flaws and faults in ourselves and others is everyone's purpose. These are all ways that we show God how much we love Him. God does not expect perfection, He only expects us to try our very best. We need to be thankful every day for the opportunity to love and be loved. All of these tasks we do day in and day out without giving it much thought, is actually us living out our purpose here on earth. These are the things that matter, the things that count more than you could ever begin to imagine. These simple things, when all done in unison as one body of Christ can be the most amazing purpose fulfilled! The purpose of God smiling down on us and saying,"Job well done my good and faithful servant!"

Ecc 3:1
To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Prov 19:21
Many plans are in a man's mind but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand

Dear Lord help us to fulfil our purposes everyday and stay focused on the little things we can do daily to set an example for others. Help us to appreciate all that we have, and where we are right now. Thank you for loving us. We praise you in Jesus name. Amen!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Seek God's wisdom in everything you do. By Nina Keegan-Owens

I am sitting on a brightly colored adirondack chair outside of my son's dorm building on a beautiful college campus in Bryn Mawr, PA. It's 75 degrees, sunny and a slight breeze sends the scent of flowers through the air. It's spring and everything is in full bloom. There is a rustle of leaves in the many majestic trees lining this historic campus that is steeped in tradition. Students are walking by heading to classes. It is so peaceful here.
I am taking a break from helping my son pack up his chaotic dorm room. I find it funny the way he and his roomate have made this small, messy, clothes scattered, space a place they have called home for the past year. I have mixed emotions as I am collecting his things and placing his entire freshman year into tidy, medium size boxes purchased this morning at the local UPS store.
A whole year of stuff waiting to go home, back to Houston. Summer vacation has found it's way here once again, for many young college students, there will be changes, packing, moving, growing. Young adults everywhere will be heading back to the familiarity and love of home and family, or heading into the work force forever changed by their college experiences. Some get to return to home cooked meals and folded laundry, back to being a kid again, granted, a big kid .. but a kid none the less. Changed? Possibly.. stronger? sure.. older... wiser? yes....of course!

Wisdom, ahhh such an important thing to have, with God's wisdom in our lives, everything just seems to make more sense, the path seems more "well lit", easier to follow, with wisdom comes clarity, experience and knowledge. We can say "yes" to things we may have never thought we could, would or should have ever said yes to without wisdom.
Wisdom causes us to grow in faith, the Bible tells us to make wise choices according to the word of the Lord...
Which tells me that the Word of the Lord is the book of wisdom, knowledge for the taking, we can ask for it, pray for it, receive it.. Who wouldn't want to be a little wiser?
As I sit here thinking about how wise God is, I realize how many times He has placed me on a path that seemed so wrong for me, I would always however come to find out just how right it was, God is the king of hindsight, always reminding us that He knows best. We need to trust Him no matter what, even when we have no clue why we are where we are or for what reason... rest assured, the reason is pretty significant to God and His wise plan.

I am reflecting on the past year and how bold Kris was to go so far away, with millions of colleges and universities in this country to choose from, we are here in PA., right now watching God's infinite wisdom unfolding, feeling not quite so random but very on I sit, wondering how we got to this place and how God can throw curve balls better than any major league pitcher on his best day.

My son is considering continuing his college education at a school in Texas, next fall. He wants to be back home, closer to family. Closer to what's familiar. He was so sure this was the school for him, and he was right about that... It was part of his journey if only for a year. There were life long friends God wanted him to meet, wonderful golf coaches were placed in his life, of course there were classes he needed to attend and many fabulous golf courses he never would have had the chance to play had he not spent a year on the East Coast. Maybe it was designed to be a growing expirience for him, preparing him for other things down the road. He's well able to use airports and train stations with ease and is not afraid to venture out and try new things. He is very comfortable outside of his "comfort zone"! No amount of time or expiriences are ever wasted when it's from the wisdom of God. There is always a reason behind the season.

My son's path may be changing now, a fork in the road ahead but, what a wise choice God made for Kris for his freshman year away.
Kris was able to throw caution to the wind and trust the well executed , wise, plan of our almighty God and he is much better off for it. He is ready and willing to go where God has planned for him to go next! He is following his heart and believing the dreams he has for his life are dreams God wisely has given him. Every stop along our path is filled with purpose, enjoy the journey and the gifts of wisdom you gain along the way.

Heavenly father, we ask you today to fill us with your Wisdom that we can make wise choices according to your word! Help us to stay on the path you have wisely planned for us!! We thank you and praise you! In Jesus name!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Going Through the Tough Times, by Nina Keegan Owens

Many of us are going "through"some pretty tough times right now or have gone"through"hardships in the past. Whether it's relationship issues, a financial crisis or a health concern, it seems there is no exemption, no free pass, no getting out of trials free card.
We all have tribulations to get "through"!
The term "going through" itself can imply that our trials are temporary, it means, pushing forward, moving on, pressing in and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, it means we can see the exit sign leading us out of the tunnel entirely.

Psalm 34:19 says many are the afflictions of the righteous but the Lord himself will deliver you THROUGH them all.
He will deliver us!!!! That's not a maybe, or an I'll have to think about it!! It's a bonafide promise from God!!
Putting our problems in God's hands and our trust into His love, we cast our cares into His infinite wisdom. This ensures us that we WILL get "through" it all exactly as God desires. God does not give us trials, but allows them in our lives as faith stretchers. Each hurdle that we can overcome through our faith makes our relationship with God that much stronger. We learn to fully rely on God to see us "through"it all. He does not give us anything we are incapable of handling, our problems are not bigger than our God, our God is bigger than our problems. Realizing that simple fact puts everything into perspective. It gives us a strong footing and roots us into the promises of God. We must not put Him in a box, we put limits on God every time we try to figure things out on our own.
I am reminded of the story of Job, this man was a wealthy family man that loved the Lord, he went through a horrible trial during which he lost everything.. His family, his health, his wealth. "Through" it all , Job never once waivered in his love and trust in God even when things were so bleak that in the natural his situation was very grave. Because of his faith, God restored everything and much more back to Job, he came "through" it better than he could have ever imagined..God made a way when there was no other way.
Try seeing your problems from God's viewpoint, nothing is to hard for Him, this realization gives us a starting point, a place to sit back in our V.I.P box seats and watch the mighty hand of God do what He does best... Love us!! His desire is for us to be the complete package, happy, healthy, protected, loved, and secure.

Luke 17:6 says If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree,may you be uprooted and thrown into the sea and it would obey you.
A mustard seed?? Have you seen the size of the mustard seed? it's a mere spec, yet I believe that the fact that you are reading this right now, shows your faith is entirely larger than a tiny seed. What huge mountains we can move with the right dose of faith!
God can and will see you "through" all you are facing today, sometimes just when you are about to give up and all hope seems lost is when you will get your break through. It's always darkest before the dawn... Keep the faith!!

Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding me THROUGH every trial .. and not giving me more than I can handle, please give me the faith and the wisdom to persevere. I love you! In Jesus name I pray!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Choosing your thoughts wisely by Nina Keegan-Owens

Do you ever think about what you've been thinking about? I "think" it's very important to continually renew are minds and do a maintenance check, a tune up so to speak and clean house on some of the things we spend our time thinking about.
If things seem to always be going wrong in your life, if you are sad, or depressed, take a minute to think about what you think about! I am positive your thoughts are dictating your life, you are what you think you are, as the mind thinks, the man follows . Our thoughts are very powerful. We really need to spend some quality time with God and get our thoughts in line with His.

I'm sure we have all seen those old cartoon images where a charactor has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, both whispering in his ears telling him what to do... I really dont think that's to far off from how things really work. Our thoughts are not our own, they come from one of two places... Good, loving, secure and positive thoughts, come from the Lord, and all of our negative, insecure, and anxious, thoughts come straight from the enemy himself.
The enemy is a liar!! A thief that comes to steal and destroy! We only need to train our minds to recognize the lies when they pop in our heads and cast them down before they take root and wreak havoc on our days, our lives! It's very simple, we get to choose what we are going to spend our time thinking about, we get to change our thoughts like changing the TV channel with a remote control. That however, is the easy part, the harder part is catching ourselves in action and recognizing what we are thinking about. We must pay close attention and weed out the negativity, the more we are able to filter our thoughts the easier it will be to change them!

The key is to know the difference and to be able to imediately decipher where our thoughts are coming from so we can change them before they snow ball into real issues that then affect the quality of our daily lives.
Knowing the word of God is knowing the truth! The Bible says it's true unto you according to Gods word. (2Cor 1:18)

So if all of God's word is the truth about our lives, It will show us what we should do, what we can have, who we are, how we were made, and how much we are loved, then that's what we should believe and that's all we should be thinking about. We can replace a negative thought with a positive thought... A God thought!
When we think wrong, we believe wrong, when we believe wrong, we act wrong!
The enemy wont rest until we are so messed up that all the "I'm not good enough, nothing good ever happens to me, I will never amount to anything,I cant do anything right," thoughts dominate our every move, we become depressed and our lives are like a derailed train that from our perspective could never get back on track.
Nothing could be further from the truth!! Can you ever imagine our wonderfull Lord that created us in His image filling our minds with anything even the slightest bit close to those types of thoughts? No!! Never!! But, unless you do know the truth by knowing the Word, you have no defense, no armour to block those arrows of deception that are constantly being slung at us.

We must learn to control our thoughts, we must arm ourselves for the battle of good verses evil and always be prepared.

(2 Cor. 10:3-5)
I am delivered from the power and authority of darkness. I cast down all reasonings and imaginations that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, AND I BRING EVERY THOUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY TO THE OBEDIENCE OF GODS WORD!
Every thought should line up to what God says about you or cast it down!

What we think about gives us the ability to either program our lives for success or failure, We have free will, the power to choose, God gives us the tools but He's not pushy, He is always waiting though to pick us back up, stand us up tall, and to dust us off , saying"lets try this again!

I am filled with the KNOWLEDGE of God's will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. His will is my prosperity.(Col.1:19)

When we are filled with the correct knowledge of God its like being on Jeopardy and knowing all the answers, or filling in the blanks on a true/ false test and getting them all correct.
The more we catch ourselves in the act of thinking negatively the faster we are able to change our thoughts and change our lives.

I take the sheild of faith and quench EVERY fiery dart that the wicked one brings against me.( Eph.6:16)

I am submitted to God and the devil must flee from me because I resist him in the name of Jesus.(James 4:7)

I encourage you today to get in agreement with the Lord about your lives and guard your thoughts and your minds, for if you will change your thoughts, you will change your life!

Precious Father, help us to think about what we are thinking about, help us to keep our thoughts lined up with what your word says about us. Give us wisdom to know the difference and the knowledge to make wise choices according to your word! Thank you father!
In Jesus name!

Your thoughts are the architechts of your destiny!

Charles O Mckay