Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's a cold, cold morning and I am so thankful to be inside a warm home. I woke early this morning and thought of going back to bed for just a little more sleep, then decided to stay up and spend quiet time with the Lord before the day's activities begin. A bit later I'll meet with a friend at church, drop some things at the thrift store, stop at the meat market and then be back in time to pick Stef & Erica up from school as they only have a half day today. They'll spend the afternoon with us. Their Dad will be working and their Mom will be sleeping as she works midnights tonight.

Just an ordinary day ... what a blessing it is to have that in life. I think back to when I was very ill and seldom did I have a day like I'll have today. Back then I was struggling daily just to breathe and everything took more effort than I had to give. Walking down the hall had me gasping for air. Taking a shower was a major task. Getting dressed took energy I didn't have. It was an effort and a chore just to exist back then. I felt awful and looked even worse.

While I didn't attend church back then, I did think about God and wondered if He cared enough to heal me of asthma and give me a relatively normal life. He gave me so much more than I hoped for. He gave me Himself.

I still have asthma and I've even developed some other health problems ... and that's okay. I still have days when I am simply tired and don't get much done and that's okay too. What matters most is I have Jesus. He saw fit to give me eternal life and one day, every health issue I have will be gone forever.

The asthma is no where near as severe as it once was and I'm on less medication, and that is God's doing. The other issues are manageable also. Some days they're not pleasant to have, but they are reminders of where I came from and Whose I am. He ordains my life. He orders my steps and directs my path. He can mold me anyway He chooses and, if I have any sense about me at all, I will patiently comply because He is the Potter ... I am but one of the pieces of the clay He chooses to work with. And He will work until He's finished with me here and then I get to go Home and meet Him face to face.

In the meantime, I will seek Him and I will find Him because He doesn't hide from His children. I will pray as He directs and I will worship and enjoy Him. I will make much of Him because He alone is worthy of that kind of attention. I will be satisfied in Him and in so doing, He will be glorified in me.

Way back when I thought all I needed was physical healing and was pleading for an end to the health problems I had, I never, ever dreamed I would one day be living the life I am today. It is good for me to go back and remember and share with others where He's brought me to and what He delivered me from.

Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me ... I once was lost but now am found, I was blind but now I see. I love this song because it talks about me ... where I've been and where I'm going ... my name is all over this song.

May your day be filled with God Himself and may you see Him as He wants to be seen ... our All in All, forever and ever and ever.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Dear Ones, the following article fits quite well with what I've written about prayer:

Let Us Run the Race

"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Hebrews 12:1, 2

Dr. Bill Coker gives us some thoughts that are so applicable and heart-searching. Paul speaks of our spiritual journey as an athlete who is running a race. The Greek word for race is "agoon," from which we derive the word "agony." The idea is one of struggle, a contest, and a conflict. The Bible does not say, "If you will only believe, everything will be sunshine; no more sorrow, pain, or heartache; all will be easy." Rather, Paul says there is a race before us; a road paved with difficulty, conflict, struggle, adversity, and trial; and we are continually surrounded with battles. You will find the roadside strewn with fallen disciples who had good intentions but became casualties in the fight. The challenge is to "run with patience, with perseverance, with a steadfast faith in Christ." The hymn by Isaac Watts is one we should read again and again, asking the challenging questions: "Am I a soldier of the Cross, a follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, or blush to speak His name? Must I be carried to the skies, on flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas? Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood? Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God? Sure I must fight, if I would reign; increase my courage, Lord. I'll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by His Word!"

There are no prerequisites to be a disciple, but there are requisites to "run the race." There is Complete Commitment. "Lay aside every weight, every sin." Someone asked the late Bear Bryant, the ultra-successful head football coach at the University of Alabama, "What makes your players so determined to win?" His answer was simple, but one he had instilled into their hearts. He said, "Because there's nothing else." A winning attitude demands commitment to excellence.

On a flight from New York City to San Francisco, I was seated next to a 75-year-0ld Taiwanese man who ran in the 1936 Olympics. He was returning home, having just finished running in the Southeastern Masters Track Meet for seniors in Raleigh, North Carolina. Then he showed me the three medals he had won: a Gold Medal for 3,000meters, another Gold Medal for 1,500 meters, and a Silver Medal for 800 meters. I asked him, "How does a man your age train to endure such a challenge?" He said, "I get up at six every morning and run five miles. I've been doing that for 50 years! I have a commitment TO BE THE BEST! This is the focus of my athletic life. I must maintain a balanced diet, a structure of physical exercise, and a determination to run the race with one objective in mind, TO WIN. If I compromise in my discipline, I will simply be another runner, not a winner." I thought, how determined are we to be God's Best? How willing are we "to lay aside every weight, every sin, that doth so easily beset us, and run with patience [perseverance] the race that is set before us?" How can we? BY LOOKING UNTO JESUS, our consummate goal!

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Feb. 1994- Jan. 22, 2008

Monday, January 21, 2008

Lamentations 2:22 - 23
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.

I am so very thankful for these verses in Scripture. His steadfast love never ceases; His mercies never come to an end ... they are new every morning; great is His faithfulness!

To me these verses mean I begin anew this morning, I don't wait for later or tomorrow, for a new week or new year ... they are new today.
Do we realize, as a people who have been called unto God by God Himself, how awesomely good He is to us? His mercies mean I can begin anew in my prayer and devotional time .. and I did that this morning. Rather than use the words I've thought I was supposed to use, I simply talked to Him as I would to a cherished friend. I quieted myself to listen for anything He might imprint on my heart. What came to me was "be consistent". I take that to mean that I'm to continue doing what I did earlier today ... make time to be alone with the One who redeemed me by His blood. Make time to worship Him with my words and my life. Be attentive to the promptings of His precious Holy Spirit. Be aware that this world isn't my home, I'm here as a pilgrim and an ambassador of the King of Kings. My time is in His hands and He can take it at any time He chooses. Therefore, I must be consistent in my walk ... my thoughts ... my prayers ... my all.

If the Lord wills, I shall begin doing the weeding I talked about last night. I'm not involved in anything overtly sinful, I'm just involved in so much good stuff that I've allowed it to overshadow the Best. More than once in the book of Revelation, the Lord tells different churches that "He knows their works ..." and then, in all but one instance, He adds, "but this I have against you..."

Supposing our Father came to our home today and talked face to face with us ... what would He have to say about our works and would there be a "but" that finished His sentence?

I am not advocating a works salvation. We are saved by Grace (a free undeserved gift from God), through faith in Jesus Christ alone and His completed work on the cross at Calvary and resurrection from the dead. We are saved unto good works that God has prepared for us to do for His purposes. (Ephesians 2)

After reading that, I realize that there are times in my life that I must lay down what "I" want to do and pick up and do what the Lord has for me. I must be alert to His promptings and be quickly willing to obey Him. It must be His will, not mine, that rules my life.

We are on a journey that will lead children of God to their eternal, heavenly Home. I need to walk as close as I can to the One who leads and be always ready to heed His voice and do as He says. I must spend time with Him so that when I do reach heaven, it won't seem a strange place to me, but one I've been walking toward for a long, long time.

Will you walk with me? Will you be willing to lay aside any weight that hinders, regardless of how cherished it is to you? Will you help me to stay on course and keep my focus where it should be? Will you allow me to help you as we head towards Home?

Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. I Thess. 5:24

Sunday, January 20, 2008

I have a confession to make ... I don't like being called a "Prayer Warrior". I'm so far from being what that intimates, that it's uncomfortable when someone associates me with those words.

I looked on the Internet and according to what I found there, the words "prayer warrior" are not found in Scripture. That phrase was coined by someone, supposedly in the South, and pertains to people who are given to times of intense praying. To people who give lengthy amounts of time in praying for the needs of others. People who come against Satan and earnestly strive to contend with him through prayer. Sadly, that is not me at this time in my life.

What I do find myself doing is trying to maintain an attitude of prayer through-out the day. Reminding myself that our Father already knows what's going on and I'm to do my best by praying for His will to be done in the lives of those He puts on my heart. For His will to be done in the situations of this world. I ask myself: Is this enough?

Have you ever had a time when you just didn't pray? You weren't sure what to pray for? I've been through that and it's an awful feeling. The more I didn't pray, the longer I didn't pray. Then, as I dealt with guilt and wondered how to get 'back' to where I had once been in my prayer life, the thought came to me, "Begin right here and right now. Don't wait for a big bang or for the lights to start flashing - pray!"

I've struggled to be what other people labeled me to be for long enough. I am a sinner saved by the grace of God. He loved me ... while I was in darkness and still in sin, He loved me enough to make me His child. I didn't pray for that. He did the work first and then put the ability to pray within me. I've sadly mis-used that gift. I've neglected that gift. I've taken that gift for granted. My reasoning: Well, He already knows all about the situation anyway....

God forgive me. God, please change me. What He allowed me to see just recently is that I need to repent of my neglect in prayer and agree with what He already knows about me ... then, talk to Him about what's on my heart and what's going on in the lives of those I love. Talk and talk and talk and then .... close my mouth and be still and listen ... listen ... listen.

I intend to write more about this topic and I intend, with the Lord's much needed help, to make time in my day just for Him. I schedule for other things as God leads, why not schedule for prayer time?

James 5:16 says: Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

I confess to you who read this, I am not where I should be in my prayer / devotional life. I am too busy. I need to weed out some good things and make room for the Best things. Nothing is more important than time with the Father.

A heart-felt thank you to Amrita and Trish for sharing their hearts with me and enabling me to be honest with you and with myself.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Let Us Come Boldly

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16

We often wonder why God permits the trials and adversities of life. We become frustrated, impatient, and weary sometimes when we encounter these experiences. But in yielding to His control when they befall us, they become determining factors to develop in us a depth and measure of His grace, love, and mercy we have not known before. For it is in the trial, in the adversity, in our difficulty, and in the darkness of these hours, that the light of His Presence and Power shines brightest.

Prayer becomes a most blessed encounter with God. It is a blessing that God has provided whereby we can come into His Presence. If we would take time to think through this, it will absolutely confound us. To think, the Creator of all things, God Himself, has told us to "come boldly to the throne of grace," into His very presence, and to bare our hearts, our praise, our burdens, our hurts, and our needs before Him. That is inconceivable, beyond our understanding; yet in His condescending love, this blessed privilege is ours! If we could in some measure comprehend the magnitude of this privilege of grace, it would transform our lives and empower us to be the effective "channel of blessing" God wants us to be.

What happens when we come before His Throne of Grace? We enter into the Sanctuary of God...the Secret Place of His Tabernacle...the Holy of Holies...WHERE GOD IS! It is where we relinquish all the strongholds of "self," cast ourselves upon His mercy, and experience the "infusion of His grace." It is there we recognize our "nothingness" and lay hold of His Mighty Power. It is the place of "quiet repose" where we sense His Holiness and find solace in His Rest.

At the Throne of Grace we learn to lean unreservedly upon Him, to be strength for our weakness, wisdom for our folly, love for our hatred, grace for our anger, freedom for our bondage, joy for our sorrow, and the anchor for our faith. It is where we pour out our hearts in praise and thanksgiving for our redemption. It is the hiding place where He meets us "as we are" in our need and desperation. It is where we hear Him say, "I will never leave you or forsake you; I am with you always."

At the Throne of Grace He reveals Himself anew and afresh unto us as the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the God of all Comfort, the Source of our Strength, the Good Shepherd, and the One who is "able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or even imagine."

John Bunyan said, "In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart." His Throne of Grace is where we come with a "broken and contrite heart" that we may hear Him speak to us. Oh Lord, give us ears to hear, a receptive heart, and a spirit to respond to all that you want to say unto us, that we may be channels through which you can manifest your love and grace to all we encounter each day. We will not progress in our spiritual life any farther than we progress in prayer. We will never stand taller than when we are on our knees before God in fervent prayer.

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Apple Crisp Recipe ... this is SO good!
(First of all, I cheat ... I buy frozen apples at Gordon Foods, for those who want to slave in the kitchen, I'll include recipe for fresh apples too)

6 0r 7 medium apples, cored, peeled & sliced
OR ... 1/2 bag frozen apples from Gordon Foods, allow to thaw
3-4 T. Sugar
2 T. Flour
Cinnamon to taste

1/4 - 1/2 cup cold butter
3/4 - 1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 - 3/4 cup oats

Place apples in greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture
Mix all topping ingredient together until crumbly. If mixture is too dry, add more butter.
Sprinkle over apples until all are covered. Make additional topping if necessary.

Bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Vote Today! Well, we did, Fred & I voted this morning. I don't know about the rest of you, but the nominees for President leave me slightly confused and wondering if we voted for the right person. One thing's for certain, we can't walk back into those polls and tell 'em we want our ballots back. Nope, can't do that.
So what do you do when you're doubting every candidate out there? When you wonder if they're really, honest to goodness telling us the truth? Do the best we can with what we know is all I know to do. I've heard more than one person saying "I'm stumped this year. I don't know who to vote for." I even over-heard that at the polls today.
We can learn much from Scripture about kings and rulers and those in authority. For instance:
II. Samuel 23:3.
He that Ruleth over men, must be just, Ruling in the Fear of God.
The following was written by Samuel Willard in 1694:
"Whatsoever other influence we may have into the appointment of those that are to govern us, there is none that can hinder us of this but ourselves. God overrules the lot; He determines the hearts of men, and He can make men after his own Heart. He presides over every election, and if we can prevail with Him by importunate prayer, our business is done. It is one of the blessings that He will be sought unto for, by the House of Israel.
It calls us to be thankful to Him for such when He bestows them upon us. God not a little displays His kindness to a people when it is thus, and expects their gratitude to Him for so comprehensive a mercy. There is nothing will sooner lose us this benefit than ingratitude.
Let us encourage them that are such, and that by a cheerful acknowledgment of them, contention under them, and candid interpretation of them.
We are governed by men of like infirmities with ourselves; wonder not if sometimes they discover something of them, but when we know that their cordial endeavors are to do that which is right, and promote our peaceable and Godly living, let this please us.
And beware of murmurings; GOD will not take it well of us, and can easily let us know a difference, and it is an observation that seldom misses, That they who are most addicted to, are soonest weary of, changes.
In a word, let us beware lest we provoke a holy and jealous God to anger so as to give us men of another spirit to rule over us, or to withdraw His Spirit from them that do, and leave them to do things inconvenient.
Evil doers, and the mal-administrations of good ones, are punishments which GOD does inflict on a people that have provoked Him to anger against them. God gave Saul to Israel in His wrath, and he left David to number the people because His anger was kindled against Israel.
[* * * * *]
But if we be a people fearing GOD and keeping of His Commandments, He will delight in us to bless us, and to do us good--and to give us rulers after His own prescription, Just Men, and Ruling in the Fear of God."

Monday, January 14, 2008

Good Monday Morning!

Good morning! We have some snow on the ground, not a lot, but enough to let you realize that we are still in Winter here in this part of MI. Last week's warm, even balmy weather, could easily have you forget where you're living. Something I've heard most of my life is "If you don't like the weather in MI just wait a few minutes, it'll change."
As we begin a new week, I'd like to offer this prayer for all who read this blog:
Father, You are our Father, and I thank You for unending mercy and grace. I thank You that at any time and any place, because of the blood of Your Son, we have the opportunity to come to You and tell You what's on our hearts.
Today begins a new week for us and for most of us, we don't know what this week will hold.
Give us patience as we seek for Your will to be done in our lives and the lives of those we love. Give us compassion for the people we meet through-out this day and this week.
Give us Your wisdom in all we do and let us ask for that wisdom in faith, believing that You will answer.
Give us opportunities to see You in everything. You are always ever-present ... remind of us that fact and grant us the grace to live accordingly.
Let us think before speaking and teach us not to be rash with our words.
Let us seek You and covet time alone with You through-out each day.
Let us seek to honor and glorify You in all we do.
Remind us to guard our thoughts and put a watch over our hearts and our tongues.
Let us set no unwholesome thing before our eyes.
Let us think on good things.
Let us remember that You are in control of this world and all that goes on in it.
Teach us that worry does nothing but give the enemy a foot-hold in our thoughts.
Let us take every care and concern to You and trust You with them.
Let us praise and worship You and give thanks in all things.
Teach us to be still and know that You are God.
Give us a hunger and thirst for Your Word.
Create clean hearts within us.
Help us to hide Your Word in our hearts so that we might not sin against You.
Remind us that as Your children, we won't be subject to the wrath of the unsaved.
Help us reach the lost for Your Name's sake.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

In my children's class at church, I'm learning:

1. I am not as young as I was when I first taught children
2. I am not as agile as they are
3. I am not as fast as they are either
4. I can plan lessons 'til the cows come home, but some days they just don't work
5. I can love them anyway and enjoy this time that God has given me with them
6. They are precious, to the Lord and to me!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

For the Dieters....

Daily Exercise for the Non-Athletic: A calorie guide citing a recent medical association report:

"Proper weight control and physical fitness cannot be attained by dieting alone. Many people who are engaged in sedentary occupations do not realize that calories can be burned by the hundreds by engaging in strenuous activities that do not require physical exercise."

Here's the guide to calorie-burning activities and the number of calories per hour they consume.

Beating around the bush..................... 75

Jumping to conclusions......................100

Climbing the walls..........................150

Swallowing your pride....................... 50

Passing the buck............................ 25

Throwing your weight around (depending on your weight)..........50-300

Dragging your heels.........................100

Pushing your luck...........................250

Making mountains out of molehills...........500

Hitting the nail on the head................ 50

Wading through paperwork....................300

Bending over backwards...................... 75

Jumping on the bandwagon....................200

Running around in circles...................350

Eating crow.................................225

Tooting your own horn....................... 25

Adding fuel to the fire.....................150

Opening a can of worms...................... 50

Source Unknown.

"Never eat more than you can lift." .... Miss Piggy's Guide to Life.

"Diet tips: If no one sees you eat it, it has no calories If you drink a diet soda with a candy bar, they will cancel each other out. Calories don't count if you eat with someone and you both eat the same amount. Food taken for medicinal purposes does not count. This includes toast, hot chocolate, brandy and Sara Lee chocolate cake. If you fatten up everyone around you, you'll look thinner. Snacks consumed at a movie do not count as they are part of the entertainment. For example: Mild Duds, popcorn with butter, red licorice and M&Ms. Pieces of cookies contain no calories. The process of breaking causes a calorie leakage. Late-night snacks have no calories. The refrigerator light is not strong enough for the calories to see their way into the calorie counter. "
Source Unknown.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ever think about the ordinary, everyday things? You know, getting out of bed after a good night's sleep, then being able to make the bed yourself. Taking a warm shower. Eating meals in quiet and contentment with those you love. Brushing your teeth and combing your hair. Putting on your shoes and being able to walk to the front porch or around the block. Holding a brand new baby and wishing you could press "pause" and keep that moment for longer than a moment. Listening to a young grandchild, or niece or nephew, read from a new book. Being able to see clearly, with or without glasses. The ability to hear another person speak your name.

All these things are ordinary, everyday things for many of us. We need to sometimes just stop and realize the preciousness of them. We need to see God in them as much as we do in the so-called 'big' things. I'm saddened to admit I'm not always in that frame of mind. But I want to be.

Because it's the ordinary, everyday things that make up the whole of who we are. It's how I handle the things that are unseen to everyone else that really makes me who I am. God sees it all, from beginning to end, He knows the steps I'll take and the attitudes I'll carry as I take them.

Help me Lord to be more appreciative and thankful, even on days when this body hurts and I don't feel like doing much of anything. Let me give thanks, for this is Your will for me in Christ Jesus. Let me be faithful to You in each small, ordinary thing I do. Let me take nothing for granted, and let me enjoy the small things as much as the big ones.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Fred was officially received into membership at our church this morning. No big deal, right? Wrong. My Fred had been so wounded at our former church that he stopped going to church and for over 12 years I waited to see if he would ever want to come to church with me again. Two years ago this month he decided to come visit my church and the Lord gave him the desire to want to stay and once again be a part of a congregation of believers. Today might not be a big deal for many others, but for any woman who's prayed and waited for their husband, this was a mighty big deal. One only God could make happen.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

10 Resolutions for Mental Health

This article was written on Dec. 31, 2007, by Rev. John Piper of Desiring God Ministries:

"On October 22, 1976, Clyde Kilby, who is now with Christ in Heaven, gave an unforgettable lecture. I went to hear him that night because I loved him. He had been one of my professors in English Literature at Wheaton College. He opened my eyes to more of life than I knew could be seen. O, what eyes he had! He was like his hero, C. S. Lewis, in this regard. When he spoke of the tree he saw on the way to class this morning, you wondered why you had been so blind all your life. Since those days in classes with Clyde Kilby, Psalm 19:1 has been central to my life: “The sky is telling the glory of God.”

That night Dr. Kilby had a pastoral heart and a poet’s eye. He pled with us to stop seeking mental health in the mirror of self-analysis, but instead to drink in the remedies of God in nature. He was not naïve. He knew of sin. He knew of the necessity of redemption in Christ. But he would have said that Christ purchased new eyes for us as well as new hearts. His plea was that we stop being unamazed by the strange glory of ordinary things. He ended that lecture in 1976 with a list of resolutions. As a tribute to my teacher and a blessing to your soul, I offer them for your joy.

1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russell before his death when he said: "There is darkness without, and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing."

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event, filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin, straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what Lewis calls their "divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic" existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the "child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder."

8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, "fulfill the moment as the moment." I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is now.

10. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls himself Alpha and Omega."

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Something to consider...

1 Peter 4 - Serving God in the Last Days

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.
3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.
4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you;
5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:
11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler.
16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

"The commitment God calls us to have is nothing greater than the commitment Jesus had in enduring suffering for our salvation. In the last days, we need to have a commitment to God that will endure through great struggles.

Jesus communicated the same idea when He told us that anyone who would come after Him must take up his cross and follow (Matthew 16:24). Taking up the cross meant that you were committed and not looking back!" - David Guzik commentary

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Just for Arlene...

Hi Arlene, just wanted you to know I'm thinking of you and praying for you all. I miss your posts and emails, I could almost hear your voice as I read them you know. You have such an upbeat sound to your voice, have I ever told you that? Well, I am now. And your laugh! Your laughter is contagious.

I want to come visit but haven't been feeling up to par the past few days and don't want to bring any bugs your way. I know the importance of keeping your immune system strong when you're dealing with health issues. Soon as I'm completely over this though, I think I'll be knocking at your door to check on you myself. I'll call first of course. We ladies have a thing about visitors coming without notice. Most of us do anyway. I know for sure I wouldn't want anyone seeing me today.

Oh, and if you'll notice, I've posted quite a bit since I started this blog and it's all your doing. Well, yours & Trish & Pat & Thara's. I thought "if these ladies can do this, I can too". And my first post was done before I knew it. I thank you all for the inspiration you gave me to begin this journey of Internet journaling.

You've given inspiration to an awful lot of people since I've known you. Church family and prisoners and the homeless. You've always been the do-er. If there's a need, Arlene's been there to do what she could to meet it. Remember helping me at the church office all those years ago? You gladly gave of your time to come in and help me and I appreciated that. Remember when I had surgery ... way back in 1986? You and Peggy came to see me in the hospital and made me feel so special that you'd take the time to visit a relative new-comer to Mamre. Your sister Peggy is a special lady and you're blessed to have her as a sister.

And you & Barry have such a wonderful relationship. I don't know if I've ever told you that either. You can see the love for one another in your eyes. That is so rare Arlene, so many married people don't have that. He loves you and we all know it!

Well friend, I'll go for now and get ready for bed. In my new year's eve post I said I'd be going to bed to sleep soon. Not. Last night was one of those nights when sleep didn't come easy and didn't last long. Hopefully I'll do better tonight.

You are in my thoughts and my prayers dear one. Your face seems to be engraved on my soul right now and that's to let me know to pray without ceasing.

May God bless you and Barry & Amber & the kids.
Love to you,

New Year's Day, 2008

Let this coming year be better than all the others. Vow to do some of the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't find the time.

Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. Share a funny story with someone whose spirits are dragging. A good laugh can be very good medicine.

Vow not to make a promise you don't think you can keep. Pay a debt. Give a soft answer. Free yourself of envy and malice. Encourage some youth to do his or her best. Share your experience, and offer support. Young people need role models.

Make a genuine effort to stay in closer touch with family and good friends. Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the hip. Words that you have to eat can be hard to digest.

Find the time to be kind and thoughtful. All of us have the same allotment:24 hours a day. Give a compliment. It might give someone a badly needed lift.
Think things though. Forgive an injustice. Listen more. Be kind.

Apologize when you realize you are wrong. An apology never diminishes a person. It elevates him. Don't blow your own horn. If you've done something praiseworthy, someone will notice eventually.

Try to understand a point of view that is different from your own. Few things are 100 percent one way or another. Examine the demands you make on others.

Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, "Will it matter in a week from today?". Laugh the loudest when the joke is on you.

The sure way to have a friend is to be one. We are all connected by our humanity, and we need each other. Avoid malcontents and pessimists. They drag you down and contribute nothing.

Don't discourage a beginner from trying something risky. Nothing ventured means nothing gained. Be optimistic. The can-do spirit is the fuel that makes things go.

Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. You won't eat garbage – why put it in your head?
Don't abandon your old-fashioned principles. They never go out of style. When courage is needed, ask yourself, "If not me, who? If not now, when?"

Look at the person you have blamed for your unhappiness, and ask yourself was the criticism legitimate? Did I do anything to help them or did I just decide I am better than he or she and walk away?

Walk tall, and smile more. You'll look 10 years younger. Don't be afraid to say, "I love you". Say it again. They are the sweetest words in the world.
-- Ann Landers