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Dear Reader,

     It is our delight to breathe today, a small miracle rushing in and out of us at every moment. For each small breath allows the bigger miracle of being filled with God's Spirit, the Breath of God in us. 

        I am grateful. I had a productive writing month, amidst wide-scale change at work and in the world. And what helped achieve that was gratefulness. To be open to what God brings into your life and to breathe thanks and praise back to Him is as healthy as breathing in and out. 

       My quiet times in my reading chair with Smoakie sleeping on a rug nearby brought a refreshing that only the closeness of Jesus can. 

        I encourage you to get alone with God, even if it's been a long time, and just start the conversation again. Bring a cup of coffee (or tea), a box of tissues, and a Bible, and simply say, "I'm here" and see what happens. Remember, He loves you and wants to meet you there. He can take any question or doubt, any fear or failure. Ask Him for what you need, thank Him for what He's done and will do, and see what peace will come over you.

       A simple app that has helped me to make gratefulness a habit is called "Three Good Things." Everyday, I simply record three positive things in my day. I love looking back and reading the past month's entries. A simple change over time can let in light where there was little before. 

    Three Good Things is available for iOS

    (There are similar apps for Android, yet the one I'm familiar with is only for Apple products. Click below to get more information on the app I use.)

    "The Strong Button"

           Our six year-old Keurig coffee machine was making a groaning noise whenever we used it. I imagined it muttering as the coffee spewed out, “Not another cup of coffee! When was the last time you cleaned me?” The groaning noise grated our nerves enough to sideline the machine and buy a newer model.

           To my delight, the new Keurig ran effortlessly, and had a magical button on it: The Strong Button. Press down, and your coffee would pour out slower but stronger, with more caffeine for those early mornings when you’re the Groaner.

           I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if I could press a button, and I could instantly become ‘Strong?’” No more insecurities about my abilities? No more worries about an uncertain future? No more fears about very present dangers? No more “weak weeks?”

           The more this idea percolated, the more places I heard the word “Strong” and “Weak” pop up in conversations, songs, slogans, and Scripture.

           I became convinced that life does indeed have a “Strong Button” and it’s not where you’d expect.

           “But he [God] said to me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So I am very happy to brag about how weak I am. Then Christ’s power can rest on me.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12:9‬ ‭NIRV‬‬

           What? Being weak makes you strong?

           The Strong Button can only be pushed with an empty cup to receive it. Christ’s power needs a weak person willing to be filled with His Spirit. One honest prayer can push that button.

           But how does the Strong Button work? How does Christ fill me and make me strong? I pondered these questions over a coffee.

           I realized the Strong Button works because it starts a Strong Process. The button doesn’t instantly produce coffee. It starts the process in the Keurig, to move water more slowly through the coffee grinds, steeping them longer and making the coffee stronger.

           Opening up to Christ’s strength through prayer starts the process. It pushes the button. Then slowing down, steeping in God’s presence for longer, percolating in His Love, strengthens us. Moving slower makes us grow stronger.

           “When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully."  ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭3:14-19a ‭NLT‬‬

           There’s something invigorating, life-giving, and energy-pumping about the love of Christ. Something so strengthening that we can be ready for whatever comes. Something so full of possibilities that God seems to outdo Himself at every turn. Maybe it’s because it’s source is the eternal God with “glorious, unlimited resources,” who never gets tired.

           I invite you to join me in trading in the groans of our “old Keurig” for the effortless outpouring of the Spirit. Taste and see the strength of steeping in the love of Christ.

           “Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3: 19b-20 NLT

           Til next time, keep on enjoying the simple things. I'll leave you with a look at Smoakie's Book Club picks.

    This month's delicious books are:

    1. "Sleuth: Gail Bowen on Writing Mysteries" (I bet my tuna the dog did it.)

    2. Poetry by Sarah Robinson from the Vinegar Hill Writing and Reading Companions (Your poetry makes me feel warm, Sarah)

    3. "The Art of Fiction" by John Gardener (I have mastered the Art of Fiction...with my teeth)

    In word and in life,
    In word and in life,
    Laura Aliese Miedema

    20 Willow Street, Truro
    Nova Scotia B2N 4Z4 Canada

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