Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Weeds

I was pulling the weeds out from around our birdbath the other day.  It was a long overdue job that needed to be done, and usually not one of the chores I 'jump' to do!
As I was pulling the unwanted growth out from around the roses, I noticed how easily they came out.  The roots on them were small and spindly.  It didn't take much of a pull to break them away from among the sturdy plants.  
This process made me think of the scripture verse in Matthew 13:18-23, about the sower and the seeds.  
"Hear then the parable of the sower. "When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. "The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; read more.yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. "And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. "And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty."

The roses were like the seeds sown in good soil.  They had a firm hold and their roots were long.  It would take a lot of effort to pull them from the soil.  The weeds, however, were another story.  They were like the seeds sown on the rocky places.  They broke free easily, as they had weak roots.

What kind of Christian are you?  Are you like a strong rose...or a weak weed?  When hard times come around are you easily plucked from your faith...or do you remain firmly planted in the Word? Treat the roots of your faith, by meditating on Holy Scripture. Water the soil with prayer, and soon your fruit will be blooming as beautiful as a rose.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wasting Time

It's Wednesday...Hump day.  We get over this hump and only two more days until Friday!!  How often do you hear, "Monday...ugh!" "Is it Friday, yet?"

We wish our weeks (years) away, looking forward to the weekend, as if today is of no importance.  After all, only Saturday and Sunday count, right?  That may not be exactly correct.

James 4:14 tells us, "The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow.  You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another."  We can't dismiss today, and look forward to the weekend, when we never know what the next day...or the next moment will bring.

David tells us in Psalm 118:24: "This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." THIS is the day.  Rejoice in TODAY.  Don't wait for a day that may never arrive!  Search for opportunities to find joy in every day of the week.  You may discover a treasure that is much more special than any weekend could offer!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

John 3:16



For God    ~    the Almighty Creator of the Universe
so loved    ~    Adored, Cherished, Treasured
the world    ~    us, sinners, His unfaithful creation
that he gave    ~    turned over, relinquished, dispensed
His only Son,    ~    His Child, His Beloved, Jesus
so that everyone   ~  all, no exceptions, any person
who believes in Him    ~    knows, trusts, has faith in 
shall not perish    ~    die, be destroyed, end
but have    ~    accept, acquire, gain
everlasting   ~    eternal, forever, undying
               ~    LIFE.    ~    

Friday, August 9, 2013

Burning Arrows



Burning arrows.  They are shot at us from all sides.  We face them every day. 
They come in the form of whispers of doubt in our heads:

"You're not good enough!" "You are stupid!"  "WHY did you do that?!"  "Everything is YOUR fault!"

Flaming darts that invade our hearts.  "No one loves you."  "You're worthless." "You are all alone."

Scorching coals that smolder in our very souls.   "Because of that one bad choice, your life is now over...You might as well end it all."

How can we protect ourselves from those weapons of deceit?  God knew we would be bombarded with those searing missiles.  He gave us protection against them...a whole suit of armor.

A belt of truth to wear, that lets us know that those whispers are nothing but lies.  They are deceitful daggers that attempt to make us doubt our worth and God's Love.

We have a breastplate of righteousness to wear, to protect our hearts.  We protect our hearts with the 'right' things to do and say...the things that God wants us to do.

We possess a shield of faith that we use to extinguish all of this searing ammunition.  Faith that we have a God that is in control, and that He loves us beyond measure.

We are given shoes of peace to wear.  They come in handy when situations arise in which we are tempted to walk down a violent and quarrelsome path.

We can accept a helmet of salvation to protect our minds against those feelings of hopelessness.  For when we accept the salvation of Christ, we know that we are loved so much, He chose to die for us.  We know that we have a forever home with Christ in heaven, one day.  If you have any questions about this, please click here.

Most importantly, we have a sword.  A sword of the spirit...which is the Word of God.  But there is a responsibility with this piece of equipment.  It must be continually used and nurtured.  We must know as much of the Word as we can, to protect our heads from the constant whispering arrows shot at it.

Finally, we must not forget to pray.  Continually keep in contact with your Spiritual Commander!  He will give you the constant power you will need to defeat the enemy.

So get ready to face the day.  Put on that armor...and know that you will be victorious!!



Ephesians 6: 11-18 (GNV)   "11 Put on all the armor that God gives you, so that you will be able to stand up against the Devil's evil tricks. 12 For we are not fighting against human beings but against the wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world, the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age. 13 So put on God's armor now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy's attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.
14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight around your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15 and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16 At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17 And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you. 18 Do all this in prayer, asking for God's help. Pray on every occasion, as the Spirit leads. For this reason keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God's people."
  

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Master Plumber

The other day we had to work on a plumbing problem at my mother in law's home.  The kitchen sink has had an extremely slow drain for years.  Over the years, we have tried all sorts of solutions, but nothing worked, including calling a plumber.  He mumbled something about small pipes, and gave us a bill.  The drain seemed to get slower and slower.

So, Steve went up on the roof with a plumber's snake and a water hose to try and clean out the plumbing pipe..  It only resulted in both kitchen sinks being filled with black, horrible smelling water.  He tried to think of what to do.  Then he remembered that there might be a clean out valve buried by the front of the house somewhere. After digging up part of the flower bed, he found it.  It looked as if it had never been touched.  The cap was rusted tight.  He steadily worked on it, until after about a half an hour, he finally got it to move.  When the cap was removed, he saw a muddy looking plug.  After prying it out, there was a rush of greasy black water.  To make a long story short, It took him hours to get all of the accumulated gunk out from the pipes.  Fifty years of sludge.  He had to use 3 different plumber's snakes to do it.  Finally the last one went up about 45 feet under the house, and whoosh!  The sink drained perfectly!!

We guessed that in all of the time that his mom lived there, even though she was an extremely meticulous housekeeper, residue had built up in the pipes.  It didn't happen right away.  It built up slowly over time.

Isn't that like us?  We let little things come into our lives, through our eyes, and ears, and our actions.  We may think we're living a clean life..  It slowly begins to build up, without us noticing it.  Then we may be aware that things aren't the same. We start to feel as if something is missing..What do we do?  We could try all sorts of solutions...drinking, drugs, relationships, or a quest for money....but that doesn't work.  We just seem to get more filled with...gunk.  It can seem hopeless.  But there is a solution!

It is a Master Plumber.  Jesus came to get rid of our filthiness. With one call, He can be our Clean Out Valve, instantly releasing us from all of the black gunk that has built up in our lives.  By His death on the cross, He is able to make our pipes--our lives-- 'whiter than snow'.  And the best thing...it is free!  You don't have to pay a thing!

If your life is filled with a grimy mess, the answer is in a simple, heartfelt prayer, like this:   "Jesus, I am sorry for all of my sins.  I want You to come into my life and clean me from all of my bad choices.  I want You to be Lord of my life."

Maybe you are already a Christian, and your spiritual life seems to have slowed down a little...or a lot.  The Master Plumber is there to remove any blockages you may have...He's only a call away!!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Covered

It's hard to turn on the news today without getting nervous...or downright scared.  Between all the wars, and threats of wars...financial uncertainties, and violence everywhere you turn, it makes you want to close your eyes and hide in a corner.

During these uncertain moments, I love to think of Psalm 91..It has been one of my favorite Bible references for many, many years.  Here it is:  Which verse speaks to YOU?

Psalm 91
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
    will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
    he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
    and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.

    He will shelter you with his wings.
    His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
    nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
    nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
    though ten thousand are dying around you,
    these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
    and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge,
    if you make the Most High your shelter,
10 no evil will conquer you;
    no plague will come near your home.
11 For he will order his angels
    to protect you wherever you go.
12 They will hold you up with their hands
    so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
13 You will trample upon lions and cobras;
    you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
14 The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
    I will protect those who trust in my name.
15 When they call on me, I will answer;
    I will be with them in trouble.
    I will rescue and honor them.
16 I will reward them with a long life
    and give them my salvation.”

So even though there are trials all around us, we are protected. Our Heavenly Father tells us to open our tightly closed eyes and see...He's got us covered.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Kisses from God

Have you ever experienced an unexpected answer to a problem, without you even voicing the problem out loud?  I've experienced this many times, but one particular "kiss from God" comes to mind. 

When our kids were younger, we went through a couple of tough spells, financially. It was getting close to Christmas, and my husband and I were wondering what we were going to do.  We didn't say anything to anyone, but secretly tried to figure out how we were going to pull this off.

One Sunday, a week or so before Christmas, our pastor came up to my husband and slipped an envelope in his pocket.  He said that someone had wanted to give it to us, and he was just making a delivery.  It was enough to let our four children have a nice Christmas.  We never found out who our benefactor was. A few days later, a knock came to our door, and a very special couple said that they wondered if our two little boys would like to have a train set that their boys had outgrown. The kids were thrilled!  I'll never forget that feeling of awe and wonder.  How did they know??  We hadn't said a word  But God knew.

 How amazing is that?  On second thought, why should we be surprised?  Psalm 44:21 tells us: 
"would not God have discovered it, since he knows the secrets of the heart?"
God knows each of our hearts.  He knows the innermost secrets that we hold.  The most awesome thing is, the Creator of the Universe, the great I AM, actually cares about every aspect of our lives.  He cares and provides answers to the problems we face.  He will place people that we need at exactly the right time. He does this because He loves us and wants good things for those who love Him.  Psalm 139 is full of the proof of how much God cares for us:
New Life Version (NLV)
 O Lord, You have looked through me and have known me. You know when I sit down and when I get up. You understand my thoughts from far away. You look over my path and my lying down. You know all my ways very well. Even before I speak a word, O Lord, You know it all.You have closed me in from behind and in front. And You have laid Your hand upon me. All You know is too great for me. It is too much for me to understand.Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I run away from where You are? If I go up to heaven, You are there! If I make my bed in the place of the dead, You are there! If I take the wings of the morning or live in the farthest part of the sea, 10 even there Your hand will lead me and Your right hand will hold me. 11 If I say, “For sure the darkness will cover me and the light around me will be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to You. And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are the same to You.13 For You made the parts inside me. You put me together inside my mother. 14 I will give thanks to You, for the greatness of the way I was made brings fear. Your works are great and my soul knows it very well. 15 My bones were not hidden from You when I was made in secret and put together with care in the deep part of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw me before I was put together. And all the days of my life were written in Your book before any of them came to be.
This doesn't mean that we won't go through more 'tough times', but when we do, our "kisses from God" help us to remember that God is never far away.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Shadows


When I was little, I was very afraid of the dark.  I was sure something was lurking there, ready to devour me.  I knew it was there, and at times I was sure it moved!  I called out to my mom, and she would come in there and reassure me that all was well.  She turned on the light, and I could see that nothing was truly there.  I didn't have to be afraid of what was in the night.

 But there are those who live in the dark.  They dwell in their own personal shadows during the daytime, as well as the night.  They can't seem to get out of it, no matter how hard they try.  They wonder if life is worth it.  They live on the brink of the shadows of death.  But in this case...it is not imaginary.  It is very real.

To begin with, I would encourage anyone who is feeling this way to please talk with someone, a doctor perhaps.  Many times it is a chemical issue...something you cannot control on your own.  Please do this.  It can make a world of difference.

How do you get to the shadows?  In many cases, it can be the experiences of life that overwhelm us and make us feel unloved or worthless.  It seems we get hit from the left and right, and we get pushed further and further down a hole.  A very dark and deep hole that is filled with shadows. Soon, the thought of a light is the blackness is almost impossible to imagine.

But the Light is there.  His name is Jesus.  Luke 1:79 tells us that He came "to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."  God knew that His children would at times sit in darkness, and dwell in the shadow of death.  They would tend to go there, and they needed Someone to guide their feet into the way of peace for their souls.

”Psalm 34: 17-20 tells us, "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.  When we cry out, God hears us.  

He is near to those who have broken hearts and who's spirits are crushed.  Not just broken spirits...but crushed spirits.  For those who have had the world stomp on their spirits over and over...broken beyond recognition.  God is there for them, to save them.  He is a Lifeline in the Sea of Afflictions.

So if you are a resident of the shadows, know that God DOES see you.  You are not alone.  He loves you enough to send Jesus to shine His Light in the room, and show you that it is all right.  You don't have to be afraid of the night.  He is there for you.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Breeze

Do you ever feel like a crumb in the middle of a picnic full of ants?  Oh...make that a crumb covered in sugar?

Today's verse is Psalm 55:18  "He has delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me."

The Bible scholars differ on how this verse can be interpreted, so I'l stick with the side of the fence that touched my spirit.

Even though we constantly fight those doggone ants...they still keep coming.  Relentless, aren't they?  They come from all sides to get a piece of you.  You are brave and confident and fight as best you can (for a crumb), but it seems impossible to survive.  Then all of a sudden a strong wind comes along and begins to blow the ants away.  The invaders are gone...no longer a threat.

Yes, I know it's a strange analogy, but it's how I roll!

We fight ants every day.  Sometimes they come in the form of sugar ants: little things like battling pride and self.  Other times they are in the appearance of fire ants: financial difficulties or family issues.  Then others are the big carpenter or wood ants: cancer or a devastating loss of a loved one.

 But take heart.  The psalm shows us the PROMISE that God gives us.  He HAS DELIVERED my soul IN PEACE.  God has not forgotten us.  He WILL deliver us.  And peace is possible...even though we may not feel it at the moment.

And don't forget the last part: for there were many with me.  Now this is the part where the scholars differ.  It could mean there are many against me...which we know to be true...or I like to look at it from the other side of the fence...there are many who are with me.  Fellow Christians who are praying for me and standing with me before the Throne of the Father.  Their prayers are the wind blowing those ants away from their food source.  Their prayers are the Breath of God blowing the enemy away.

So keep fighting.  There is a breeze starting to form.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Reason

I was making hubby's breakfast this morning, and packing his lunch. As I was putting the peanut butter on the bread, I began thinking about the beginning of a new work week.  The routine sandwich making was rote.  I smiled to myself as I imagined what other women would think of my breakfast and lunch making tasks.  I could just hear it.

     "Are you serious?  He's a grown man!  He can make his own breakfast and lunch!!"
     "You are spoiling him!"
     "This is not the 1950's!! Get with the times, girl!"
     "He MAKES you do that??!


Just for the record:  I am serious...Yes, he can make his own lunch...Maybe I am spoiling him, but he spoils me right back...I am aware that the year is 2013...and no, he doesn't make me...I WANT to!!  

Disclaimer:  Now in NO way am I saying that women who don't make their husband's lunch are bad wives!!!  LOL!  This is just what I choose to do!  This is one way that I show him how much I love him. Other women have to find their way of showing affection.  What's important is the motive behind the actions.

My motive is not manipulation.  If I make his lunch, he'd better do THIS for me.  It is not out of obligation, for that would be nothing more than a warped form of slavery.  My motive is not to be put in the running for the "Wife of the Year" award!  My motive is love.  It is a way to show him thanks for getting up every day at 5:30 am and working hard in the hot sun all day, to provide for us. Motive is the key behind everything.

What drives you to do the things you do?  What is the force driving you and your actions towards others?  If it is manipulation, or obligation, or attention seeking, or boredom...you may want to rethink things.  

! Corinthians 13: 1=8
I may speak in different languages, whether human or even of angels. But if I don’t have love, I am only a noisy bell or a ringing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy, I may understand all secrets and know everything there is to know, and I may have faith so great that I can move mountains. But even with all this, if I don’t have love, I am nothing. I may give away everything I have to help others, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing by doing all this if I don’t have love.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. Love is not rude, it is not selfish, and it cannot be made angry easily. Love does not remember wrongs done against it. Love is never happy when others do wrong, but it is always happy with the truth.Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits.
Love will never end.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A New Attitude

"You'd better change your attitude!!"  How often did we say that to our kids? (Or had it said to US!)
What kind of attitude should we have?  How should we 'be'?
We find our answer in the Word.  Matthew 5 tells us...by way of something we call the Beatitudes.

"Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to Him, 2and He began to teach them, saying:

3Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness,

for they will be filled.

7Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.

8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God.

10Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

I'm not going to go through each one...but note the very first one "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."  That was not just a random choice for first place.  I'm sure Jesus didn't have all of the beatitudes in a hat and pick one to see which one got to be first in line!

You have to be poor in spirit, in order to be able to have the other 'attitudes'.  You have to be able to give up your 'will' or surrender your life to Christ, in order to be truly merciful or pure in heart.
"Give up my will?  Why would I want to do that??", you may ask.
Ah...there is a second part to that first beatitude. "Theirs is the kingdom of God"! The kingdom of God begins in your heart, the moment you surrender your life to Him.  You slowly begin to see things differently than you used to...the way God sees them. The  relationship with the Father begins.  Through prayer and the Word, He begins to change you until one day you notice that the other "attitudes" are YOUR attitudes.

And it all began with a poor and humble spirit.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What to Wear?



What to wear? What to wear?  What clothes should I put on today?  I think I'll look in the Bible.  WAIT!!  Before you click off of this crazy woman's page, hear me out!! :)

Colossians 3 tells us:
"12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity."

Clothe yourselves.  We are to 'put on' compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, like we would a shirt, or a pair of pants.  They are to cover us.  Cover our 'self'.  Even though our 'self'ish nature is still underneath, we must choose to cover that with godly virtues.  And as verse 14 states, we must bind or cover all of these things with the cloak of love.  Love holds all of these characteristics together, perfectly.  Because if we didn't have love, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness or patience wouldn't mean a thing.

So if you're trying to decide what to wear today...pick up your Bible!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Mighty Oak

We have a huge oak tree in our front yard.  About 50 years ago, the woman that lived there, planted the tree as a young sapling when her son went off to Vietnam.  The tree grew and grew, and every year produces thousands of little acorns.  We find little sprouts growing everywhere.  Of course we have to pull them before they get too big. We've even found them on the roof!  Who wants an oak tree growing above their bedroom ceiling?

There is an old phrase, " Mighty oaks from little acorns grow."  It is meant to express how great things can come from small beginnings.  I think there could be a flip side to that adage.  While oak trees aren't bad in and of themselves...growing on a rooftop might be a huge problem!

The little tiny acorns of sin in our lives can become huge oaks before you know it.  In the beginning, it doesn't seem like a big deal.  A young person sees a cell phone that they think they will never be able to own...they can't stop thinking about it...then, they begin to think they deserve to have it.  It's not fair that that kid can have one and they can't.  It becomes an obsession they believe they can't live without...soon they are sitting in a jail cell for theft.  A mighty oak of a police record is now on their rooftop.  It didn't start out that way...but it never does.  They all start out as tiny acorns.  The acorn of pride turns into the oak of bitterness, the acorn of jealousy turns into the oaks of theft or greed, and the acorn of irritation can grow into an oak of hatred or worse.

It's easier to grab a sprouting acorn while it is still small.  Once the roots start to take hold, it makes it more difficult to get rid of it.  Because, then it begins to invade other areas of our life and before you know it, it has taken over.

Ask God to give you the power of His Holy Spirit to yank the unwanted sprouts out.  He will help you nurture the good growth of kindness and self control, and help the fruits of the Spirit flourish in the garden of your life.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Protector of My Head

Marley, our three year old Maltipoo, has a very strange habit.  He loves to lay by my head.  No matter where I am sitting in the living room, he is right by my shoulder, at times resting his head on it.  It is very sweet.  A few months ago, he began to extend this position to nighttime.  He found that he enjoyed laying above my pillow.  It's as if he is guarding my head  He is making sure nothing comes along that will harm me. Day or night, he is as close as he can be, keeping watch.

The other day, I glanced over my shoulder and saw him just looking at me, with love in his little black eyes.  I began to think of how the LORD keeps watch over us.  Psalm 140:7 says, "Sovereign LORD, my strong deliverer, you shield my head in the day of battle."

God is our Faithful Protector.  He is right by our head at all times, guarding it during the battles of life.  His Holy Spirit helps us guard our thoughts and reminds us if those thoughts or actions are not pleasing to the Father.  He doesn't let us face those battles unprotected.  How wonderful that our Father loves us so much to ever leave us alone...and I thank Him that He gives me a little ten pound bundle of fur that reminds me of that Love.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Crossroad



As I was sorting the weekly laundry this morning, I grimaced as I saw that there was not one, but TWO loads of hubby's work clothes.  He has been doing some extra work, for a neighbor this past week, and the extra load was evidence of it.  Yuck.
Almost right away, I felt a catch in my spirit.  "At least you have a husband who works hard."  I felt ashamed of my disgruntled thoughts, and immediately thanked God for the blessing of my husband.  He works hard, in the hot sun all day; then was willing to help a neighbor in need.  Are there things I would like to change about him?  LOL! Yes!!  But I'm positive there are things about ME that he would be glad to 'modify', also!!  When I come to the crossroad, I have to redirect my thoughts when they start to go down Grumble Street.  I need to pull them over to Gratitude Ave., to let them bask in the gifts that I have been given.  Do I like to do smelly laundry?  Not exactly...but I DO have clothes that are clean afterward!  It's all in my perspective.

Do you ever come up to the crossroad?  Make a wise choice as to which road you will go down!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

What It Means To Be Free


Independence Day! A day to celebrate our freedom.  We have the ability to do whatever we want.  In many countries, citizens do not have that right.  For those of us who are Christians, we also enjoy the freedom from sin's penalty.  But are we truly free to do what we want?
Our freedom comes with a responsibility to use it wisely.

Galatians 5:13-14 
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

To show our thankfulness for this freedom God has given us, we need to turn to those around us and simply love them.  Are we going to want to love EVERY one of them?  No...to be honest, probably not!  But we must do so, regardless of their beliefs, regardless of their political persuasion, or their choices in life.  We are called to just simply "love" them.  Why?  Because Christ told us to.  Period.  

It's not about the fireworks.  It's not about the hamburgers and hot dogs.   While those things are great, and fun...what can we really do to celebrate our many freedoms?  Love those that God places in your path today!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Everlasting

"In a far-off land the LORD will manifest himself to them. He will say to them, 'I have loved you with an everlasting love. That is why I have continued to be faithful to you. Jeremiah 31:3


Everlasting.  Forever.  Boundless.  Undying. Endless.  Some words that describe God's love for us.  Jeremiah says that "in a far off land" the LORD will show Himself to them (us).  While we are far off...away from Him, He still chooses to love us.  Not just with an ordinary caring...but an unceasing allegiance to us.  This isn't puppy love, or an infatuation that will diminish as soon as someone else comes along.  Rather, a deep, abiding devotion.  And it isn't in word alone.  He goes on to say, that because of that love, this is why He has continued to be faithful to us.  Faithful to us...not us to Him!  It doesn't say only if you are faithful to Me, will I be faithful to you.  No conditions are present.  He is faithful to us because He loves us.  Period.

In the times that it feels as if God is far away, and His Love is distant.  Remember those words.  Though we may be going through an extremely difficult situation, God is there.  He is there in the distant, calling.  Letting you know that He does love you with a Love that will never end...and you can be sure He will never leave.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dormant Beauty

My friend Lesli has a cactus vine in her yard.
It wraps itself around the mossy oaks.  It can be hard to see, as it tends to blend in the background.  But when the time is right...an amazing transformation takes place.  The sparse gray cactus becomes a beautiful sight to behold, as it sprouts big, lovely blossoms!  You would never know the plant had such beauty lying dormant inside.

Isn't that like us?  We tend to be bland, ordinary individuals, winding our lives around the surroundings...blending into the background.  Not particularly noticeable.  Then, with the Touch of the Master Gardener, we begin to change and blossom into a beautiful creation.  No one would have guessed that we had such beauty lying dormant within us...something that only the Spirit of God could bring out.
Feeling like an old gray cactus?  Pray for the Spirit of God to invade your being, making you into a new creation.  Ask forgiveness for your sins and turn your life over to God.  Accept the forgiveness that His Son, Jesus offers.  He promises that He will fill you with His Spirit.  Once that happens, you can bloom beautifully into the creation God has intended for you to be!

2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

**Thanks, Lesli S. for permission to share your photos!**

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Keeping Our Face Toward the Son


IMAG0832.jpg


Plants have a mind of their own.  Well, sort of.  I have a plant on my kitchen windowsill, in a silly, little Yorkie plant stand.  No matter how I rotate the plant, it always manages to turn it's leaves to face the window.  It's looking for the sun.  It stretches it's leaves upward, as if it would love to burst through the window.  Smart plant.

How often should we take a lesson from this little, green sprout?  It teaches us to constantly keep our focus toward the Son...setting our gaze upon Him.  No matter how life rotates us, to
 always keep our eyes on Christ, stretching our arms toward Heaven...in praise of our wonderful Creator.



Hebrews 12:2

 We must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because he knew that later on he would be glad he did. Now he is seated at the right side of God’s throne!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

God is Stronger





Copley Square.  Boylston Street.  Commonwealth Ave.  Watertown.  Places I hadn't thought of in a long time.  It had been almost 30 years, since I'd lived there.  They were now locations that were constantly on the news, and the internet.  Two radicals had decided that the famous Boston Marathon would be a place to carry out their horrendous plan to murder and destroy.  They succeeded in the course of five days, to kill 4 individuals, and injure countless others.

But they didn't count on the spirit of the people of Boston. Some hailed from Beantown, others were "Bostonians" only for the day.  During the aftermath of the bomb blasts, countless brave souls immediately helped each other.  People who didn't know the person next to them, comforted and assisted them.  They did what they could to nurse those who were bleeding and afraid.  Through the next few hours, others who watched the horror on local television, opened up their homes to the families of the hundreds who were injured.  They became the Hands and Feet of God to those in need.

It didn't stop at the Boston City Limits.  People from all over the world, via the internet and television banded together and through their tips, assisted the authorities in finding the location of both suspects.  Heroic officers from Watertown Police, Boston Police, and Massachusetts State Police banded together, along with the FBI and over the course of the next five days eventually overtook both men.

I could not imagine how many people all over the world have been praying, in the last week.  Praying for those injured, for the families of those who lost their lives, and for the safety of the people of Boston through the apprehension of the men involved.

God heard.  He heard and through the valor of these amazing people, they are now no longer a threat to society.

There are no answers for the 'whys' in peoples' minds.  Evil exists in the world.  It will eventually be Vanquished...but for now...it is here.  We, who are Christians, have to hold onto the Hand of our LORD, Jesus Christ...just as small children held on to the hands of their parents, last Monday afternoon.  Amid the turmoil and fear, we hold on tight and don't let go...not for anything. The catch phrase, "Boston Strong" will now have more meaning to those who live there.  But as strong as the people of Boston are...God is Stronger.  His Hand will never get tired.  He will never let us go.  We follow where He leads us, knowing He knows the Way.  He will be there for us...even if we are injured and in despair...He is there. He promised it...and He cannot lie.

Deut. 31:6  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

Matthew 28:20  "And remember that I am always with you until the end of time."


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Time For A Trim


Oh my!  It's that time again.  Marley is in desperate need of a trim.  
I know he can't see that well. Big fluffs of hair are in the way.  He keeps scratching his ears, because hair is growing in there, and it tickles and irritates him.  His feet are hairy, and attract dirt and junk from the outside, and he brings it inside with him.  Time to get the scissors.

If I've failed to mention this...he is not a willing participant, in the makeover!  He doesn't realize I'm doing this for his benefit...because I love him!  Marley wiggles and yanks his legs and head, to try and make me stop.  But I just pause for a moment, then continue on with the process, until it's done.  If he would only realize, his fighting makes the whole transformation take longer!!  

Hmm...kind of like my own 'trims'.  God looks at me, and says, "Oh my!  Looking a little 'hairy' down there!  Got to get My Scissors out, and do some trimming on the one I love!  Fluffs of pride and stubbornness are clouding her vision.  I need to get that out of there.  Her ears are full of the sounds of negativity and lies that disturb her and make her unable to hear My Voice clearly.  Snip, snip, snip...  Her feet have been walking around, and she is dragging the dirt and junk of the world, into the clean Life I try to help her maintain.  Trim, trim, trim....  

I cannot fail to mention that I am not always a willing participant in my own 'makeover'!  All the while, I'm yanking around, trying to make the trimming stop...and God is probably thinking, "Doesn't she know, it's because I love her too much to leave her this way?" "The more she fights, the longer it's going to take."   Do I get it?  Nope.  Just like Marley, I keep struggling against the blades of the Master Trimmer.  I'm glad God has patience with me.  He may give me a little breathing room, then He begins again, snipping away the unnecessary growth, until I look presentable.  Until my character looks the way He intended it to be...like His Son, Jesus.   

As for Marley, he survived his ordeal, and like me, is much better for it!

2 Corinthians 3:18  So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord--who is the Spirit--makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.

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