Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Refresh

While having coffee and a bagel at Panera Bread, I noticed a slogan on a banner: REFRESH RESTART RENEW! That was just what I was doing! Later I went to their web site and found this statement "About Us":


"We are Panera. We are bakers of bread. We are fresh from the oven. We are a symbol of warmth and welcome. We are a simple pleasure, honest and genuine. We are a life story told over dinner. We are a long lunch with an old friend. We are your weekday morning ritual. We are the kindest gesture of neighbors. We are home. We are family. We are friends."

I like the way Panera describes itself. This sounds a lot like the way Christians describe their fellowship with other Christians. This reminds me of Believers partaking of The Bread of Life. This reflects the warmth and genuine compassion that Christ offers His disciples. This should be the way followers of Christ spend time with the Savior and with each other.

Jesus is home and family to us! Jesus calls us friend! Jesus will always REFRESH - RESTART - RENEW us when we meet Him at the altar ~ or ~ when we meet Jesus for coffee and a bagel and some soul-time!

But I am in the very presence of God -
oh, how refreshing it is!
I've made Lord GOD my home.
God, I'm telling the world what you do!
Psalm 73:28 The Message

Our sacrifice of praise ~
REFRESH - RESTART- RENEW with Jesus - then tell someone! ~dho


All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Always




Building 429's song Always is a reminder of how faithful God is to us - ALWAYS. Even when circumstances question our faith and our hope, Jesus is ALWAYS our Savior, ALWAYS knows our pain. God's everlasting promises are the anchor that holds us in the storms of life - ALWAYS! He is with us ALWAYS! I encourage you to listen to their song and be reminded of the everlasting faithfulness of God's love. [Building 429 - Always] [Jason Roy's story behind the song]

The LORD appeared to him from afar saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love."
Jeremiah 31:3 NASB

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you believe that God loves you with an everlasting love? If yes, then offer thanksgiving praises to Him - ALWAYS - even when circumstances prove difficult! ~dho



All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Presence



I look behind me and You're there, then up ahead and You're there, too - Your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful - I can't take it all in!
Psalm 139:5-6 The Message

There is great comfort and security in knowing that God's Presence is with us ~ at all times! We call Jesus Emmanuel, God with us. The Holy Spirit is sent by Jesus to dwell among us, revealing God to each one. It is, as the psalmist wrote - too wonderful.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you know the Presence of God? Tell someone how you know!

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Dependence

1st Sunday of Lent ~

So those now who live by faith are blessed along with Abraham, who lived by faith - this is no new doctrine! And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Galatians 3:9-10 The Message

"The nearer Abraham came to God in his intercession the more he recognized his entire unworthiness; 'Indeed now, I who am but dust and ashes have taken upon myself to speak to the Lord.' Genuine unworthiness is never shy before God any more than a child is shy before his mother. A child of God is conscious only of his entire dependence upon God." from Not Knowing Where by Oswald Chambers

The Thesaurus gives these synonyms for dependence: trust, reliance, confidence, faith. As a child of God, we must acknowledge our entire dependence upon God. This requires that we trust God with all the circumstances of life. Finding confidence in His Power and relying on His Promises demonstrate our faith, our dependence on God.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Contemplate a time when you did not demonstrate complete dependence on God. What more does God have to do to gain your trust? ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Sacrifice



Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God. Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT

What is SACRIFICE?

- Offering to dedicate and thank God for His provision
- Offering to honor a covenant with God
- Offering that which is commanded by God

Consider The Message translation of Hebrews 13:15-16:

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of sacrifice – that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
What will we offer as an act of worship ~ a different kind of sacrifice to God? ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author 
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Fasting


The Message is as true among you today as when you first heard it. It doesn't diminish or weaken over time. It's the same all over the world. The Message bears fruit and gets larger and stronger, just as it has in you. From the very first day you heard and recognized the truth of what God is doing, you've been hungry for more.
Colossians 1:6 The Message

Fasting takes many forms and is a common practice during Lent. Some will sacrifice chocolate or sweets, others will give up sodas or TV. During Lent, many Catholics fast every Friday, giving up meat. The purpose of fasting goes beyond ritual; it is to draw us closer to God.
Richard Foster, in his Celebration of Discipline, devotes a chapter to fasting and gives Christians insight into this discipline of faith: "Throughout Scripture fasting refers to abstaining from food for spiritual purposes. . . Biblical fasting always centers on spiritual purposes." Foster points out that Jesus never commands believers to fast but acknowledges that we will. In Matthew 6:16, Jesus says, "When you fast . . ." Foster continues, "So, although Jesus does not say, 'If you fast,' neither does he say 'You must fast.' His word is, very simply, 'When you fast.'"
So why fast? Foster explains, "Fasting must forever center on God. . . More than any other Discipline, fasting reveals the things that control us. David writes, 'I humbled my soul with fasting' (Ps. 69:10). . . Therefore, in experiences of fasting we are not so much abstaining from food as we are feasting on the Word of God." Celebration of Discipline - Chapter 4, pgs.47-61
When seeking ways to offer a sacrifice of praise to God, fasting is one way. However, fasting does not have to mean "giving up" something; it can be "giving more." Consider "giving more" as your sacrifice of praise, such as: spending more time in God's Word, fasting FROM the world by spending MORE time serving people in need, making time to attend special worship programs or visiting homebound and elderly folks. The possibilities of "giving more" for God are endless.
Listen for His Voice to direct your energies. Richard Foster notes, "Outwardly, you will be performing regular duties of your day, but inwardly you will be in prayer and adoration, song and worship. In a new way, cause every task of the day to be a sacred ministry to the Lord. Cultivate a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings."

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Do you hunger for more? How will your fasting be more like feasting on the Word of God? ~dho
All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Preparing for Easter 2012 ~ Goodness




"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." 
Romans 14:17 NLT

The slogan on the Land O Lakes Half and Half reads, "where simple goodness begins." According to the dictionary, goodness is "the state or quality of being good, moral excellence, virtue, kindness, generosity, the best part of anything, strength, a euphemism for God." Bible.org says, "The goodness of God is a foundational truth that shapes our perspective toward God and His dealings with us in this life. The goodness of God is a fact to which the Bible often testifies. It is a fact which every Christian should believe and embrace." If there is any goodness in us, it must come from God; goodness is one of the fruits of the Spirit. God is where goodness begins!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let God's goodness be manifested through us as we strive to live a life of goodness to honor God. ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Preparing for Easter 2012 ~ Ash Wednesday




Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don’t forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.
Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT

"So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children."
~from If You Will Ask by Oswald Chambers

Lord, Today we find ourselves kneeling at the altar, humbled by Your Divine Love, marked as a sinner in need of Your Grace! Take us on a spiritual journey these next weeks, teach our hearts how to give more as our offer a sacrifice of praise to You!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Will we sacrifice our anxieties and be reckless in our confidence in God? ~ dho



All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt


For more information about this ministry visit ~
MangroveMinistries.org

"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Shrove Tuesday!


 






You have shown me the way of life, and You will fill me with the joy of Your presence. Acts 2:28 NLT


"Shrove Tuesday" or Fat Tuesday is the last day before the Lenten season begins. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the day Christian believers begin a spiritual pilgrimage of remembrance to the cross and take another opportunity to contemplate the holy sacrifice of Jesus.

How will we honor this immeasurable gift of salvation?~dho
  
All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~

"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Kindled Soul, Holy Fire!




See the introduction to Kindled Soul, Holy Fire. For those in the Augusta area, the book can be purchased at The Parsonage on Walton Way, next to The Church of the Good Shepherd. Of course, it is easy to order from our web site STORE. I am happy to sign them for you or for someone else. Pass along this post to whomever you think might be interested.











©Donna Oswalt ~ breathing room for my soul
[dhosoulchat.blogspot.com]
For more information about this ministry visit ~
May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!











Wednesday, February 15, 2012




Are you "Preparing for Easter"? Been thinking about how to make this time more meaningful? Consider starting something new ~ a different kind of sacrifice! Decide to serve in a Soup Kitchen, do a new Bible study, choose to do a personal study of a particular book, set asided a specific time to pray for God's revelation to you, volunteer in a mission project. Instead of just "giving up" something  consider "giving more" as an offering, as your sacrifice of praise for Jesus. My Easter Devotional book, Kindled Soul, Holy Fire, is available for purchase online at www.MangroveMinistries.org.

Hebrews 13:15-16 NLT
Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God proclaiming our allegiance to His name. And don't forget to do good and share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.

The Message says it this way:
Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship ~ a different kind of sacrifice - that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Never Be Shaken!

Psalm 62 - NLT

I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from Him.

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.

So many enemies against one man—all of them trying to kill me. To them I’m just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. . .They delight in telling lies about me. They praise me to my face but curse me in their hearts.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.

My victory and honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.

O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge.

Common people are as worthless as a puff of wind, and the powerful are not what they appear to be. If you weigh them on the scales, together they are lighter than a breath of air. . .

God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O God, belongs to You; unfailing love, O Lord, is Yours.

Surely You repay all people according to what they have done

God's love and compassion, His strength and grace are enough for us - especially in times of struggle and crisis. Often difficult times brings out the worst in people. Whether we are offering physical or spiritual support, our efforts can be ignored, criticized, and rejected. This is hurtful to the compassionate servant, but God sees the intention of the heart, the motivation of the offerings.

Find your comfort in God, knowing He is faithful in all times. My blog's title expresses for me what God offers me ~ breathing room for my soul! Let God give you more "breathing room" in the struggles of life. There is great comfort in knowing that it is NOT my responsibility to punish or reward behavior. That is God's role as the "righteous judge". I pray the Lord will open my eyes and heart and mind to His Way that my energies will come from the Holy Spirit and my intentions will be pure. When crisis comes, may I not be shaken! ~ dho

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Preparing for Easter - Powerless



I want to share a familiar Scripture with you, Jeremiah 29:11, one that many claim as comfort and strength, but let's also read the next few verses as well.
(11) I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.
(12) When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen.
(13) When you come looking for Me, you'll find Me.
(14) Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed. GOD'S Decree
Jeremiah 29:11-14 The Message

Oswald Chambers wrote: "As long as we are self-sufficient and complacent, we don't need to ask God for anything, we don't want Him; it is only when we know we are powerless that we are prepared to listen to Jesus Christ and to what He says." from If You Will Ask

So often we go along sort of trusting that God will take care of us; after all, He has a plan! While this is true, the Scripture reminds us that we, too, have a part in God's plan. We are to seek Him, pray to Him, serioulsy desire Him to be an active part of our every day life.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
We must lay down the arrogance that lies to us, telling us we have control. We are powerless. Seriously seek God and find the mighty power of His Promises. ~ dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”