Thursday, November 28, 2013

A New Thanksgiving!

"Those who call Thanksgiving "Turkey Day," I suppose, take some such view as this: Unless we have Someone to thank something to thank Him for, what's the point of using a name that calls up pictures of religious people in funny hats and Indians bringing corn and squash? Christians, I hope, focus on something other than a roasted bird. We do have Someone to thank and a long list of things to thank Him for, but sometimes we limit our thanksgiving merely to things that look good to us. As our faith in the character of God grows deeper we see that heavenly light is shed on everything - even on suffering - so that we are enabled to thank Him for things we would never have thought of before. The apostle Paul, for example, saw even suffering itself as a happiness (Colossians 1:24, NEB).

I have been thinking of something that stifles Thanksgiving. It is the spirit of greed - the greed of doing, being, and having.

When Satan came to tempt Jesus in the wilderness, his bait was intended to inspire the lust to do more than the Father meant for Him to do - to go farther, demonstrate more power, act more dramatically. So the enemy comes to us in these days of frantic doing. We are ceaselessly summoned to activities: social, political, educational, athletic, and - yes - spiritual. Our "self-image" (deplorable word!) is dependent not on the quiet and hidden "Do this for My sake," but on the list the world hands us of what is "important." It is a long list, and its both foolish and impossible. If we fall for it, we neglect the short list.

Only a few things are really important, and for those we have the promise of diving help: sitting in silence with the Master in order to hear His word and obey it in the ordinary line of duty - for example, in being a good husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, or spiritual father or mother to those nearby who need protection and care - humble work which is never on the world's list because it leads to nothing impressive on one's resume. As Washington Gladden wrote in 1879, "O Master, let me walk with Thee/in lowly paths of service free ..."

Temptation comes also in the from of being. The snake in the garden struck at Eve with the promise of being something which had not been given. If she would eat the fruit forbidden to her, she could "upgrade her lifestyle" and become like God. She inferred that this was her right, and that God meant to cheat her of this. The way to get her rights was to disobey Him.

No new temptation ever comes to any of us. Satan needs no new tricks. The old ones have worked well ever since the Garden of Eden, although sometimes under different guises. When there is a deep restlessness for which we find no explanation, it may be due to the greed of being - what our loving Father never meant us to be. Peace lies in the trusting acceptant of His design, His gifts, His appointment of place, position, capacity. It was thus that the Son of Man came to earth - embracing all that the Father willed Him to be, usurping nothing - no work, not even a word - that the Father had not given Him.

Then there is the greed of having. When "a mixed company of strangers" joined the Israelites, the people began to be greedy for better things (Numbers 11:4, NEB). God had given them exactly what they needed in the wilderness: manna. It was always enough, always fresh, always good (sounds good to me, anyway, "like butter-cakes"). But the people lusted for variety. These strangers put ideas into their heads. "There's more to life than this stuff. Is this all you've got? You can have more. You gotta live a little!"

So the insistence to have it all took hold on God's people and they began to wail, "all of them in their families at the opening of their tents." There is no end to the spending, getting, having. We are insatiable consumers, dead set on competing, upgrading, showing off ("If you've got it, flaunt it"). We simply cannot bear to miss something others deem necessary. So the world ruins the peace and simplicity God would give us. Contentment with what He has chosen for us dissolves, along with godliness, while, instead of giving thanks, we lust and wail, teaching our children to lust and wail too. (Children of the jungle tribe I knew years ago did not complain because they had not been taught to.)

     Lord, we give You thanks for all that You in Your mercy have given to us to be and to do and to have. Deliver us, Lord, from all greed to be and to do and to have anything not in accord with Your holy purposes. Teach us to rest quietly in Your promise to supply, recognizing that if we don't have it we don't need it. Teach us to desire Your will--nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else. For Jesus' sake. Amen."

~by Elisabeth Elliot, from the book Keep A Quiet Heart,  pages 124 - 126

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his;
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday night, Nov. 25, 2013

Hello everyone, it's almost time for me to get myself to bed. I've been upstairs doing some things on the computer. I don't watch TV after 7pm, there is nothing on worth watching is the way I feel about it. Not much on the radio either. Although I do listen to John MacArthur, RC Sproul and then Alistair Begg in the morning. I would recommend them to you. They come on at 8am and go through to 9:30 on 1500 AM, WLQV. At night I listen to David Dorn from Inter City Baptist and he comes on at 9pm. If I have time, I try to catch Emory Moss at 6pm, he's quite the man if you have questions about the Bible. He knows it well!

I was able to go grocery shopping with Fred this morning. And, as usual, we forgot some things so he'll go back tomorrow morning. I do that to him ya know.

Well, I'm going to go and get my shower and then listen to Pastor Dorn and then it's off to sleep-land.
Have a blessed night everyone!

Good nite!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another forgotten post ... Sept. 4, 2009

So very hot and humid in this part of the world today. Way too hot and humid for me to be outside. It feels like something heavy is sitting on my chest when I venture out in weather like this. Not a good feeling at all.

I'm still dealing with pain and depression and just a feeling of worthlessness. I know the cause ... it's all the health issues I deal with ... asthma, bronchiectasis, fibromyalgia, essential thrombocythemia, IBS, housebound-ness and my often froggy vocal cords tops the list. I've debated seeing the doctor and I know she'll most likely want to prescribe an anti-depressant; however, all those I've read about can cause interference with other med's I'm on and the last thing I need is to feel worse than I already do. The med's I take for the platelet issue make me jittery and my heart races like mad within an hour of taking it. The med's for asthma do much the same thing ... I find myself wondering just how much my heart can handle. Then I realize I can handle more than I think I can.

Some days are just harder than others. And I know that I should be giving thanks, but that's hard to do too. I feel like I could run away, but to where? No 'place' can give me the answer I need; it's found only in a Person and perhaps that's something I need to learn in all this. I must run to Him and trust Him explicitly with every problem I face.

I don't mean to sound like such a downer, but this is simply where I am just now. I've asked God to make me real and I think this is part of the process. This is really where I am and I don't like it. Life is often harder than we'd like to admit. Thankfully this won't last forever.

Uncle Buzz ...May, 2010, Two months before I had the stroke

Some posts I forgot I had:

As some of you know, I made a trip with my Mom that ended up taking us into places we had no idea we would have to travel. Spiritually, mentally and physically it has been very difficult.

We left here the afternoon of May 18, travelled as far as I could safely go and stopped for the night, fully expecting to go on the next morning to Columbia, TN where my uncle was hospitalized. We received the call late that night that he had died. I had to look at my Mom and tell her that her best friend and only whole brother had passed from this life to the next. It wasn't easy.

We then had to plan what to do next and how to do it best. We decided that rather than go on into TN from KY we would have his body prepared and then picked up for a funeral in Indiana. After many phone calls we went to bed. But did we sleep that night? I don't remember.

The next morning we loaded the car and turned around to head north west rather than continue south as we had planned. We had breakfast ( I did make sure we had nourishing food ), then went to buy my uncle's burial clothing. Nothing fancy. He wasn't that type of man. We bought Levi jeans, a white t-shirt with a blue long-sleeved shirt to go over it. He left here as he lived here ... simple with no fuss.

We arrived about 6 hours later at the tiny town in Indiana where his mother and step-father and two half-brothers are buried. Mom was so nervous she wouldn't enter the funeral home until I finished a phone call from my brother. She didn't want to go in alone and I understood that. The funeral directors know Mom because of other family burials and were kind and gracious to us. They had everything waiting for us to choose what type of coffin; the crypt, flowers, songs, and took all the information for the obituary.

We left and then went to the motel that has housed various members of this family for years as they journeyed to their small town to bury a family member. A nice place considering the reason you're there. Very kind people who want to help in times of need. Did we sleep that night? I think so but wouldn't swear to it.

The next day we drove 50 miles round trip so Mom could buy flowers for the graves of her other family members. Remember, I said this is a small town. To drive that far to reach a WalMart proved it. It would have been a lovely drive under other circumstances. Death, unexpected as this one was, seems to mar things. At least for me. I concentrated on the road, not the scenery. I was so tired.

Thankfully later that day my sister Kay and my brother George arrived to be with us. I was so very grateful to see them. They gave strength as they gave hugs and I appreciated their coming early just to be with us.

Endeavor ...

"We should all endeavor and labor for a calmer spirit,
that we may the better serve God in praying to Him
and praising Him; and serve one another in love,
that we may be fitted to do and receive good; that
we may make our passage to heaven more easy and
cheerful, without drooping and hanging the wing.
So much as we are quiet and cheerful upon good
ground, so much we live, and are, as it were, in heaven."
~Richard Sibbes~

Psalm 93

The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD has clothed and girded Himself with strength;
Indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have lifted up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice,
The floods lift up their pounding waves.
More than the sounds of many waters,
Than the mighty breakers of the sea,
The LORD on high is mighty.
Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O LORD, forevermore.

(Psalm 93)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Call to Him ...

The Lord hears His people when they call to Him for help ...
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.
Psalm 34:17-18 NLT

Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013

Good evening dear ones. It has been a cold day here in Michigan and I am thankful I've been able to stay in the house. I have changed sheets & done some laundry; baked Mini Apple Pies (very good by the way IF you remember to grease the pans!); heated up leftovers and made cornbread to go with said leftovers for dinner; folded three loads of clothes and sterilized my nebulizer equipment. No wonder I'm tired.

I will leave you with this:

The 10 Marks of the Holy Spirit in a Believer
1. The Spirit awakens a person’s heart.
2. The Spirit teaches a person’s mind.
3. The Spirit leads to the Word.
4. The Spirit convinces of sin.
5. The Spirit draws to Christ.
6. The Spirit sanctifies.
7. The Spirit makes a person spiritually minded.
8. The Spirit produces inward conflict.
9. The Spirit makes a person love the brethren.
10. The Spirit teaches a person to pray.
These are the great marks of the Holy Spirit’s presence.
 Put the question to your conscience and ask:
Has the Spirit done anything of this kind for your soul?
~ J.C. Ryle~
May your night be blessed,
and may you worship with other believers tomorrow.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Nov. 22, 2013

I remember this day 50 years ago ... I was in high school when we learned President Kennedy had been shot. They sent us home early and I walked all the way from Lincoln Park High School to our home on Merrill Street. It was a bright and sunny day and I remember thinking "They've somehow made a mistake ... I'll find out for sure when I get home". I got home to find Mom crying. It was real. He was dead. Who did this sort of thing?

Today we live with terrorism and nothing seems unreal. That is very, very sad.

Friday, Nov. 22, 2013

How's everyone doing??? I am well, thank the good Lord! Having some pain, but that's nothing new. I did make it to JoAnn Fabric's this morning and the store was packed. I did get in line to buy fabric and one other thing, but even then it took SO long that I got out of line, put my items back and left. If these stores are going to have sales, they should have enough "Team Members" to accommodate the customers. And, as my Fred said, the people who are purchasing fabric should at least have a clue as to how much they need. He stood there watching women say "Hmmm...well, I'm not really sure ... what do you think??" I agree.

In case you haven't noticed, it's raining and it's chilly and it's going to get chillier as the day goes on. We are in Michigan folks!

Our granddaughter Erica is supposed to come up after school and we're going to do some sewing, so I'd best get off here and rest my bones a while beforehand. Oh, to have her energy. I would be dangerous to myself and to others.

Love to all!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013

Good Thursday evening to you folks. It's been an uneventful day for me and I am so thankful for that. I was going to go to JoAnn Fabric this morning, but decided to stay indoors. So, I crocheted and did a small load of laundry. Oh, I also baked corn bread for dinner. Clyde had made chuck roast with potatoes, carrots & onions & I made the bread. Can't beat a deal like that.

A quote that speaks volumes is this one:

"Sicknesses, losses, crosses, anxieties and disappointments seem absolutely needful to keep us humble, watchful and spiritual–minded. They are as needful as the pruning knife to the vine and the refiner’s furnace to the gold." ~ J.C. Ryle

Another is this:

I might preach to you forever. I might borrow the eloquence of Demosthenes or of Cicero, but you will not come unto Christ. I might beg of you on my knees, with tears in my eyes, and show you the horrors of hell and the joys of heaven, the sufficiency of Christ, and your own lost condition, but you would none of you come unto Christ of yourselves unless the Spirit that rested on Christ should draw you. It is true of all men in their natural condition that they will not come unto Christ.
- C.H. Spurgeon

And the topper is this article I found on Facebook tonight:

"The story of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5 lets us know that despite the explosion of growth in the early church, they had moments of weakness, even gross sin. I believe that their deaths serve as a warning to the Church today, and that God has a lot to teach us—if we are willing to hear:

1. In the church, there are two kinds of people, and it’s nearly impossible to distinguish them from the outside.
On the outside, Ananias and Sapphira look just like another church member named Barnabas (introduced in Acts 4). Barnabas had just sold his property and brought the money to the apostles, and to the casual observer, Ananias and Sapphira were doing the same thing.
But deep in their heart lingered a love of money and a desire for people’s praise. So they conspired together to present a portion of their money while passing it off as the entire amount. This is worlds apart from the attitude of Barnabas, but looks very similar.
We may be able to get away with this sort of duplicity for a while, but if someone looks closely, the lies are there, threatening to undo everything. And even if they don’t . . .

2. We cannot hide from God.
It may be difficult for us to distinguish between a truly repentant heart and a seasoned faker, but nothing is hidden from God. The Holy Spirit knows our thoughts as if they were being played through a loudspeaker or being displayed on a screen.

That is why despite fooling everyone else, Ananias and Sapphira were still found out. There are no locked doors or hidden closets for the Holy Spirit.

A day will come when every secret will be proclaimed from the housetops (Matt 10:27). Do we really believe this? Are we ready for it? Ananias and Sapphira had known this . . . but they forgot it. They became so consumed with the praise of others that they forgot the only One whose praise really matters.
I can’t see inside of your heart to discern whether you’re a Barnabas or an Ananias. But the secrets of your heart are not secrets to God. When you proclaim with your lips that “Jesus is Lord” and live as if his law doesn’t matter, don’t deceive yourselves into thinking that you’ve successfully tricked God.

3. The closer we are to grace, the greater the offense of sin.
Not everyone who lies gets struck down immediately for their sin. So why did Ananias and Sapphira? A couple of reasons:
First, their deaths—like much in Acts—serve as a sign. God takes something that is true in the kingdom of God and puts it on physical display. We see this most often through the healing miracles, but it is equally true of this judgment.

God doesn’t do this with everyone who lies to the Holy Spirit today. But that should not cover up the fact that this death is a picture of how God feels about it. It is a glimpse of the future judgment for all who share in the heart of Ananias and Sapphira.
Second, Ananias and Sapphira had seen the activity of the Holy Spirit so closely that the seriousness of the sin increased. Think of it like the temple: the closer you are to the holy place, the more significant is every blemish.[1]

These people had seen the mercy of God firsthand. Ananias’ name, in fact, means, “God is merciful.” They had likely been witness to the death of Christ itself! And yet despite being recipients of such great grace, they spurned it for the praise of men. Do not take holy things lightly!

4. Fear is a part of worship.
Unsurprisingly, these dramatic deaths caused a great deal of fear (Acts 5:5, 11). But we may be shocked to see that even in light of this, “more and more people believed in the Lord” (Acts 5:14). Fear is an integral part of worship.
For those of us familiar with the idea of an infinitely loving God, this is a jarring realization. But God’s love only makes sense when we know the magnificence of his glory and the might of his power. That is why John Newton wrote, “Tis grace that taught my heart to fear.” As the fear of God increases, so does the sense of his love, because we understand more fully what we have been saved from.

My favorite definition of the fear of God is awe mixed with intimacy. We are invited into the closest possible relationship with God, but this intimacy must never overshadow the majesty of who God is.

5. Sin is a deadly serious matter to God.
If we’re honest, many of us find God’s actions here offensive—but that merely reveals our ignorance of our sin and God’s holiness. We shouldn’t ask the question, “Why did they die?” Instead we should wonder, “Why do we remain alive?”
Yes, God is patient with us and slow to anger. But as R.C. Sproul says, we forget that God’s patience is designed to lead us to repentance, not to become bolder in our sin. If Jesus really went through the tormenting hell of the cross to redeem us, and we neglect that in pursuit of our sin, what will it be like to stand before God? “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation?” (Hebrews 2:3)
For more, be sure to listen to the entire sermon here.
Pastor J.D. Greear

[1] N. T. Wright, Acts for Everyone: Part 1, 79.

With that, I'll say Good nite! And may the Lord bless you.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Something to think about ...

You Cannot Sneak into Heaven without a Cross
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4)
Samuel Rutherford
If your Lord calls you to suffering, do not be dismayed, for he will provide a deeper portion of Christ in your suffering. The softest pillow will be placed under your head though you must set your bare feet among thorns. Do not be afraid at suffering for Christ, for he has a sweet peace for a sufferer. God has called you to Christ's side, and if the wind is now in his face, you cannot expect to rest on the sheltered side of the hill. You cannot be above your Master who received many an innocent stroke.

The greatest temptation out of hell is to live without trials. A pool of standing water will turn stagnant. Faith grows more with the sharp winter storm in its face. Grace withers without adversity. You can't sneak quietly into heaven without a cross. Crosses form us into his image. They cut away the pieces of our corruption. Lord cut, carve, wound; Lord do anything to perfect your image in us and make us fit for glory.

We need winnowing before we enter the kingdom of God. O what I owe to the file, hammer, and furnace! Why should I be surprised at the plough that makes such deep furrows in my soul? Whatever direction the wind blows, it will blow us to the Lord. His hand will direct us safely to the heavenly shore to find the weight of eternal glory.

As we look back to our pains and sufferings, we shall see that suffering is not worthy to be compared to our first night's welcome home in heaven. If we could smell of heaven and our country above, our crosses would not bite us. Lay all your loads by faith on Christ, ease yourself, and let him bear all. He can, he does, and he will bear you. Whether God comes with a rod or a crown, he comes with himself. 'Have courage, I am your salvation!' Welcome, welcome Jesus!

– Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ
(c. 1600 – 30 March 1661) was a Scottish Presbyterian pastor, theologian and author, and one of the Scottish Commissioners to the Westminster Assembly.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Note to self

Note to self:
Beware of the Bareness of Busyness”


Nov. 19, 2013

I just read the post from September and find myself thinking, I can't believe it's November! November 19 to be exact. One day after our 46th wedding anniversary. Perhaps I'll tell you about that.

Yesterday was supposed to be about US, my Fred and I. After we went grocery shopping, we were going to go out and spend the day together. Doing whatever struck our fancy. But the day didn't turn out like that. And it was all my doing.

I had a severe coughing spasm in the morning and that left me feeling so drained and so very sore, that I didn't get out of the house. My Fred did the grocery shopping and then put things away once he was home. I was like a lump on a log for most of the day. He offered to take me out for dinner. Ha! There was no way that was going to happen. So we ordered food and he went to pick it up. Our 46th was spent as many of our other anniversaries have been ... confining. But comfortable I guess.

Today I feel better and it's almost time for me to get my body ready for bed. I read my friend Jeanette's blog tonight, about her daughter Coral, and it prompted me to write this. It seems we are all having a cross to bear. My husband's cross looks a lot like ME I'm afraid. What does mine look like?

Thank you Jeanette for getting me to do this again. I've missed it. And I'll get back to regular postings, even if they're just a quick Hi and Hello, I'm here!

I heard this just this morning on Alistair Begg's radio message:

"Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do" and it has stuck with me all day.

I'll leave you with that thought.

Good night & may God bless.

Oma's Gone

I cannot believe that it is September 10. 9:21 pm in fact. Of course the saying, 'time waits for no man' surely means just what it says and it also includes women. I could go back and tell you all that's happened thus far this year, but I will spare you that. Suffice it to say, it's been a challenging and interesting and the Lord has been with me through it all.

As many of you know, my mother-in-law Oma, died on August 24. She was 86 and had fallen 6 days prior. That fall led to a surgery and time in ICU. They were expecting to move her the day after she died, she was doing so well. But God had other plans and she died with my husband in the room, getting her a drink of water.

We've spent the days since doing the things she wanted done. We  knew her wishes for her funeral, and carried them out. After a one day viewing here, she was taken back to Kentucky to be buried beside her husband in the country she loved so very much. I couldn't make the trip with my husband and son, so I began the task of clearing out her closets while they were gone.

One thing I can say for her, she LOVED clothes. Very much. I boxed 4 good-sized boxes (do they come in bad sizes?) for donation to the Salvation Army. This organization has rightly earned its name more than once during this process. They have saved us more times than I can count by taking things no one else could use. One person asked "why don't you have a yard sale"? No thank you. I've done that and once was enough for me. I'd rather donate.

Once my husband and son got home, we resumed the job of finding folks who could use some of her things, helped them load their vehicles and we finished this past Sunday. We vacuumed the apartment, turned off all the lights, locked the doors, and left. For the very last time, we left. And we knew that she was really gone.

Companies have been called and death certificates given to those needing them. We still have some of her things at our home; things that need to be carefully gone through, sorted and a decision made as to where they should go. We can do that at our leisure though and for that I am thankful.

Today has been spent inside because it's difficult for me to breathe in this hot, humid weather. I've been making out the cards to send to those who visited the funeral home. I remember doing them when my father-in-law died 14 years ago.