Friday, January 31, 2014

2014-0131 - godly counsel 2

If someone doesn’t love, honor, or respect my belief in, and dependence upon, the one and only true God, the Maker and Creator of the universe can I expect him or her to guide me in the direction I should go?  No!  I don’t think so.  Therefore, I have some important decisions to make for my life.

Exodus Chapter 20   (Paraphrased)
The Bible speaks directly to many situations we encounter every day; consider The Ten Commandments, they are pretty specific.  And, in those instances where the Bible doesn’t speak directly to a specific situation, it provides the right principles and guidelines for our Christian walk.  But, we must read the Bible, meditate upon it, and figure out how to apply it to our daily lives.

Do you have a problem that is bothering you today?  May I recommend that you stop, and pray, and ask God to help you find the answer to your question?  Then listen for His answer!  Sometimes we stop at telling God the problem; but we don’t stop to listen for His advice.  He will answer us if we listen for Him.  Sometimes we have to wait for an answer; do not rush into anything if He doesn’t get back to you within 15 seconds.  Your problem didn’t arise in seconds; it won't be solved in seconds!  Give God time to lead you where He wants you to go.

Read your Bible, and seek the counsel of godly men and women.  Seek those that love The Lord and they will help you serve The Lord.  They will help you make the godly decision, even if that decision is to wait.

Psalm 62:5-8 (KJV) – My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him.  He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.  In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.  Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us.  Selah.

My prayer for today...  Dear Lord, Thank you for The Bible – Your instruction book for daily living.  Help me remember to turn to you for the answers I need, please keep my heart and my mind open to Your advice, and protect me from those influences that would persuade me from serving you.  Help me Lord to listen for Your voice and remind me to lean upon You for strength.  And, thank you Lord for sending Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins so I can go to heaven.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014-0130 – godly counsel 1




Decisions...                  
Decisions...
                    Decisions...


What should I do???
When we are born again, and we become Christians, many of our daily decisions can seem like we are at war.  We are at odds with Satan, and the world, and the things of the world.  Sometimes, it is hard for us as Christians to know exactly how to behave. 

We want to fit in with our co-workers and our neighbors, we want to keep up with the Joneses, and we want people to like us.  There is a war going on inside us.  We know that we are to live different from the world, but we have to live in the world, and sometimes it’s so hard to be the one that’s different.

Proverbs 20:18 (KJV) – Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

There are times in every life when we realize we have more questions than answers.  And, when I get to that point the best thing I can do is head for The Lord!  He is my God, my Lord, my Creator, and my Savior; and he has all the answers I’ve ever needed.

I haven’t always been quick to look to The Lord for my answers.  Too often, I’ve looked at what the world has to say on a subject to help me make decisions.  I usually look to books or the internet for advice; I call and write my friends to get their perspectives on situations; but sometimes I fail to talk to The Creator God (pray) or read His instruction book (my King James Bible) for the answers I need.

Please, don’t get me wrong, it is not wrong to look at things from many points of view; it is always a good idea to research things and have enough information to make an intelligent decision; but, many times, I’ve started and stopped at the worldly advice I get from people who do not love The Lord.  The problem in this is that I am a Christian, and the world’s advice doesn’t generally line up with what God would have me do.

Reformers Unanimous {click here}, a wonderful Christ Centered Recovery Program, sets out 10 principles for Christians to live by.  Principle 6 says “Those who do not love the Lord will not help us serve the Lord.”  That is quite sobering for me!  And, so convicting!  I have a secular counselor, and I’ve often looked toward worldly advisors, and I’ve always accepted that they had my best interest at heart; but, could that possibly be true?

I have some deep soul-searching to do and I would appreciate your prayers in this matter.  I believe it may be time for me to let go of the world and hold on tight to The Lord.

Psalm 33:11 (KJV) – The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.

My prayer for today...  Dear Lord, Thank you for loving me and protecting me during times of internal warfare.  Help me Lord to remember that you are my strength, my rock, and my expectation.  Help me to let go of worldly counsel and to seek counsel from those that love You and that will help me serve You.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014-0128 - be a witness

http://www.fellowshiptractleague.org/english.html
Gospel Tract
The Fellowship Tract League
I am a Child of The King, born again into the family of God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.  He is my strength and my power, my savior and my best friend.  He cares for me like no other; and it is my strong desire to serve Him, to honor Him, and to glorify Him in all that I think, say, or do.  My actions speak louder than my words; and I may be the only Bible that some of my friends and family will ever read...


1 Corinthians 10:31 (KJV) - Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.


I am the recipient of God’s many blessings and He loves me as no other ever has, or ever will.  He has saved me out of sin and debauchery to a life with purpose and reason. 

No, I am not perfect, but He is!  It is my responsibility and my privilege to share the gospel, the good news, of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior with others.  That is part of the reason I am writing this blog. 

There are many ways to share the gospel.  Some people enjoy going out door to door and talking to people in their homes.  Others like to witness to their co-workers, or the people they see during the course of the business day.

We like to leave gospel tracts stamped with our churches name and address (with a nice tip) for our waiter or waitress after a meal in a restaurant.  A word of caution, please do NOT leave a tract unless you are leaving a generous tip.  It does not honor The Lord and may harden the server’s heart against Christians and future attempts to witness to the server. 

The Fellowship Tract League {click here}is a wonderful ministry and a great resource for gospel tracts.  You can find my favorite tract "Eternal Life is a Free Gift" by clicking here.

I like to smile at people and ask them how they are.  Sometimes that leads them to smile back or to ask how I am.  I like to take that opportunity to tell people how good God has been to me that I am better than I have any right to be through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

Sometimes I give a tracts to the people who take my money (or the ones that give me my food) at the local drive through; or, better yet, if we have something special coming up at church I give them an invitation and ask them to be my guest.  I also leave tracts with grocery store clerks, and bank tellers, who handle my money.

Sometimes an opening will arise if I tell people about events going on at my church.  When I run across someone who is down, a listening ear on my part may soften a heart, and give me an opportunity to share the goodness of The Lord.  It’s really important that people know you care!  People really don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.

My Prayer for Today...  Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the people I meet every day.  Help me be tender to the needs of others so I can approach them in a way that will honor and glorify You!  Help me to love others with a sacrificial love, as Jesus loved me, and to demonstrate that love clearly to them so they will be able to see You through my attitude and my actions.
  
Happy Birthday, Zenice!

We love you!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

2014-0127 - quality vs. quantity

As you may recall, one of the goals I set a couple weeks back is to lose weight, get healthy, and stay motivated!  In order to track my progress, I determined to weigh myself on Saturday mornings.  The first week I was so happy, I lost 1.6 pounds!  I didn’t make many changes to my diet, I didn’t feel deprived, and I added some exercise to my day to help with my energy levels.

The second week my scale said I didn’t lose any weight at all.  Arrggghhh!  I started out to be a little discouraged; then I thought about it a little while and chose NOT to be discouraged.  I hadn’t lost any weight; but I didn’t gain any either!  I decided that was a good thing and that I would count that as a success!  We have to take our battles one at a time and I am content this week with NOT GAINING weight!  That made me happy.

As I thought about what changed from week 1 to week 2 I realized that I probably hadn’t eaten a lot more calories in week two than I had in week one; but, I ate a larger percentage of those calories in carbohydrates.  I was sick, and was experiencing some digestive issues that second week so I ended up eating more “comfort foods” and white carbs like bananas, potatoes, white rice, and crackers.  I am sure I ate more fruit than green vegetables.  I was craving sweets so I substituted peanut butter for lean protein several evenings in a row.

I didn’t write down everything I ate and drank I ate so I’m sure I put more calories in than I should have.  I didn’t feel good, coupled with the fact that it was bitterly cold outside, I didn’t walk last week; therefore, I got virtually NO exercise.  And, last – but certainly not least in my little world – I didn’t drink as much water as I should have.  Goes to show me that the quality of the calories I consume are just as important to my consistently losing weight as the quantity of calories I consume.

At different points in my life I would have taken this as a complete failure and would have let my defeatism dictate that the diet (change in eating habits) was a disaster.  I wanted to go out and binge on something sweet, and high calorie, and really bad for me; but, I chose not to do that this time and I am counting that choice as a victory.

God cares about my struggles!  All of my struggles!  But, Satan likes nothing better than for me to get discouraged and quit what I’ve started.  He plants seeds of misgiving so that God’s children start questioning their ability to make good decisions; he likes it when we don’t trust ourselves, and he loves it when we doubt whether God really cares us.  Be comforted!  God cares about us!  He cares about everything we think, feel, do, or say!!!!

We all know that God cares about those big things like salvation and our Christian testimony, but Satan wants us to think that the daily stuff of life is too small to interest the God of the Universe.  God does care about the details of our lives!  God cares about our thoughts and feelings, our joys and sorrows, our trials and triumphs, our motives and the means we use to accomplish our goals.  God cares when and how we do things.

Yes, I’ve let negative talk, and poor self-confidence, stop me lots of times before; but NOT THIS TIME!  This time I am drawing on Gods strength and power to get me straightened out and moving in the right direction.


Philippians 1:6 (KJV) - Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:



My prayer for today...   Thank you, Lord, for lending me your strength and your power.  Thank you for giving me a sound mind and the wisdom to look at my own shortcomings in this situation and for giving me the resolve to renew my efforts.  Help me, Lord, to choose the right food this week, to write down all that I eat or drink, and to get some exercise.  Remind me often that you love me and that you will help me if I make the effort to help myself.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014-0125 - technology vs clutter

Technology is wonderful, except when it isn’t.  I have a bunch of photos on my cell phone that I want to get onto my computer, so I can share them with others, and I am having a dreadful time getting it right.  I took lots of pictures at my friend’s birthday party and lots of people asked me to share them.  Either I have copied one set of photos over, and over, and over again; or I fear that I have deleted some pictures I promised to friends.  Yes, technology IS wonderful, except when it isn’t.

I’m not always a technical goofball.  But, lately it seems that I’m more goofball than technical.  Suggestions would be greatly appreciated!  I also have before and after photos of the clear-the-clutter project that Amy and I embarked upon last Saturday!  You guessed it, I haven’t figured out how to share those pictures either, but thankfully, no one is asking about them, hahaha.  So, I’ll tell you about our progress…  And, then, when I get the visual part figured out I’ll share the shots.

Amy and I have made a ton of progress on what we’ve lovingingly nicknamed the Green Room, it’s the first bedroom to the left as you enter our apartment; and, as I’m sure you’ve guessed by now it is painted green (at least in most places, hahaha).  There do seem to be some areas near the floor where the paint doesn’t quite come all the way down, hahaha!

Last Saturday we collected 4 bags of clothing and fabric, 1 large box of wall décor, a footbath, and 3 boxes of miscellaneous items for donation to Goodwill; today we added 2 more bags of clothing and fabric, 3 more boxes of miscellanea, and 2 wicker pieces for delivery to Goodwill. 

Over the course of our progress, we’ve also emptied a dozen or so boxes of various sizes, and filled seven trash bags.  Amy was even able to convince me to throw out a broken printer that dear Hubby and I have carried across seven states, and stored for eight years; she rescued the ink cartridges and took them into Staples for the recycling rebates.

Over the last two Saturdays, Amy and I de-cluttered and organized my closet, my chests of drawers, and some 25 linear feet of shelving space, which are now devoted to a very neat and tidy arts and crafts area.  We emptied all the drawers in my sewing desk and lined up my homework for this week.  I get the happy task of sorting, sifting, and making the keep/go decision on a couple of large boxes of sewing related “stuff” before next weekend arrives.

We sifted through four boxes, and a couple of tabletops worth of Christmas décor; we squeezed the keepers into two medium/large stacking storage boxes (with a little room to spare) and a small Christmas tree box (one of those 32” fiber optic ones).  We organized my yarn – including an afghan well on its way to completion - into a couple of those stacking storage boxes, and there is one full of useable fabric.  We also got rid of the equivalent of two bushel-baskets of scrap fabric (and with little fight!)  Those scraps represented the abandoned dream of becoming the quilting queen of my neighborhood, hahaha.

I am so glad that stuff is gone out the door!  I have pictures!  And, as soon as I catch up with the technology in my life I’ll post the before and after shots!  I am praying that Amy will do some guest posts for me so people will get the organizers perspective on clearing this clutter!

We were both pretty tired by the end of the day.  But, it felt right to me because I knew we were doing what God wanted for my life.  As the clutter goes out the door, I feel so much closer to The Lord!  And, I thank God daily for Amy’s willingness to help and for her patience with me.

Psalm_111:3 (KJV) - His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever.

My prayer for today…   Thank you, Lord, for today and for the wonderful feeling of getting some of these things cleared out of the house and getting other things organized so they are easily accessible, and usable to Your honor and glory!  Help me Lord to stay out of the store, to keep away from impulse purchases, and to use the resources I have to encourage and exhort my sisters and brothers in Christ Jesus.  And, help me find opportunities to share the gospel message.

2014-0124 - absent or present

Today was bittersweet.  A lovely woman, a member of our church family, lost the battle with cancer - and passed on victoriously to be with our Lord - the other day.  Today we attended her funeral; a memorial to the way she lived her life.  It was a lovely service.  Yes, we were saddened at the loss of our friend; but joyous in the fact that she is with Our Lord!

There were hundreds of people in attendance to show their love and support for her family.  We – as a congregation – sang some of her favorite hymns; some of her loved ones read a few of her favorite Bible passages; and one of her closest friends – who is also fighting cancer – played her guitar and sang a beautiful hymn.

She sang a hymn that speaks of the Christian hope.  As human beings, we tend to worry; so, it is reassuring that we, as born again believers, don’t have to worry about tomorrow.  There isn’t any fear about where we’ll go when we pass out of this world; we will move on to be with our Lord!  The Bible tells us that our confidence or our hope lies in the fact that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 5:8 (KJV) - We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

This lady exemplified Christian love and service.  She genuinely cared for others, even before herself, and her life serves as testimony of the love, mercy, and goodness of our Lord.  It was hard for us to watch as she struggled with cancer; but her testimony has never wavered!  She has been, and continues to be, a shining example of God’s love and concern for His children.

Even as she prepared to meet her Lord, she met with our pastor, and they planned her funeral.  She desired that her unsaved friends and family would have a chance to hear the gospel message and that they would have an opportunity to be saved.  She also wanted her saved friends and family to be reminded that God is in control, and now that she is gone, they must continue to carry the message of the God’s love, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the saving grace of being born again to others.

Yes the battle against cancer can be devastating, and sometimes we lose the battle; but, we have the victory because we have the assurance that we will see our beloved sister again when we pass on to be with Jesus.  This beautiful woman never asked for cancer, and she would have gladly seen a cure; but she knew no matter the outcome that God was, and is, in complete control of her life and the lives of her loved ones.  The hope we share with her is the hope of Jesus Christ, and the assurance that when we leave these bodies we will be with Him in heaven!

We may not know what will happen tomorrow; but we know who is in control of tomorrow!

I Know Who Holds Tomorrow
Written by Ira Stanphill

I don't know about tomorrow
I just live for day to day
I don't borrow from the sunshine
For it's skies may turn to gray

I don't worry o'er the future
For I know what Jesus said
And today I'll walk beside Him
For He knows what lies ahead

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Ev'ry step is getting brighter
As the golden stairs I climb
Ev'ry burden's getting lighter
Ev'ry cloud is silver lined

There the sun is always shining
There no tear will dim the eye
At the ending of the rainbow
Where the mountains touch the sky

Many things about tomorrow
I don't seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow
And I know who holds my hand

Songwriter: STANPHILL, IRA
Published by Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Universal Music Publishing Group



My prayer for today…  Dear Lord, Thank you for letting me meet this lovely lady.  Her testimony shines so much brighter because she shines for you today.  She stood tall for you, even through the trial of cancer, and the way she lived her life was an inspiration to so many.  Dear Lord, please comfort her friends and family, help them to love one another, and encourage them to carry Your gospel message to others.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

2014-0123 - Christian radio

Another huge winter storm, with bitter cold and piles of snow settled in on Delaware this week.  It isn’t pretty out there.  The polar vortex hit us again on Wednesday brining temperatures in the single digits and it was very windy; the wind chill factor was in the double digits below zero and it was extremely dangerous outside. 

I remember such winters being common when I was growing up in the Midwest; but, thankfully, they are a rarity here on the East Coast.  We just aren’t prepared for these temperatures and we don’t have the equipment to deal with the big snows quickly and efficiently.  So the State of Delaware pronounced a state-of-emergency and asked us to stay off the streets.

Reluctantly, my employer notified all of us that we would close all of our offices on Wednesday.  We were given enough notice about the storm that I came home prepared.  I brought a pile of work home with me so I wouldn’t get too far behind.  I also have dozens of things that need to be sorted and put away from my Saturday clear-the-clutter session with Miss Amy!

The problem is that I was still sick and I never really got up enough energy to get out of bed!  So, today, I am back at work and feeling behind, the drive in to work kind of stressed me out as many of the back-roads I use had packed ice and snow on them.  I woke up with the same headache that I went to bed with and now I’m trying to work with a migraine.  It’s amazing to me that the work doesn’t just stop when I can’t get into the office, hahaha!

But, honestly, it is not my intention to be a Gloomy Gus nor do I want to bring anyone else down.  In times like these, when I am feeling sorry for me, it is best for me to find something to be grateful about and to focus on that, instead of keeping the focus on “poor-me”.

So…   Today…   I am grateful for Christian radio.  I am able to listen to 96.1 FM – WIHW, Christian Radio of Dover, DE [http://www.cbcofdover.com] on the radio while I’m here at work.  Capitol Baptist Church has a transmitter which airs the Fundamental Broadcasting Network [http://www.fbnradio.com/] and many are able to receive the signal here in Dover and surrounding areas.

For those that live further away (like me), we are able to receive the broadcast at home via the internet at www.cbcofdover.com or on the Tune-In radio app.  I can listen to radio broadcasts of our services when I’m unable to get to church.  It is a real blessing to me as it helps me guard what I allow into my mind and my thoughts.  Seems that the older I get, the more that I enjoy good preaching!

Old-Fashioned, KJV, Christian Radio helps keep me feeling upbeat and mindful of the fact that I have a testimony to guard even when things aren’t going my way, or when I don’t feel well.  The Christ centered songs, and the good old-fashioned King James preaching, remind me that God is with me wherever I go and whatever I do.  The uplifting messages remind me of God’s love, of the sacrifices that Jesus made to secure my place in heaven, and that I have so many blessing to be grateful for!

Ephesians 1:2-4 (KJV) - Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love…


My Prayer for Today…   Dear Lord, Thank you for Christian Radio and the opportunity to listen at work.  It helps me stay focused on your love, grace, and mercy.  Lord, please give me a good attitude, and help your love shine through me that others may see how much You love them through my actions and my attitude.  Help me be thankful in all things.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

2014-0119 - the harvest

The farmer doesn’t plant the field, or endure the dog days of summer, because it is fun or because he needs some excitement in his life.  He makes his plans, plants the fields, and does his daily chores because he desires the harvest.  He desires the good part of farming…  Likewise, the good part of life, the abundance of God, is only available to us when we make our plans, do the work, and develop the good habits that lead to the desired result.

Jesus Christ himself was the best teacher in The Word, and in the world, on finishing what He started.  Jesus’ example was to honor and glorify God; that was His lifes work; and He did it in all that He said and did. 

John 17:4 (KJV) - I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

I would like to follow Jesus’ example. I want to honor and glorify God with my thoughts, words, and deeds.  That means that one day at a time, chore by chore, I must make the right choices to change my habits so that others will see the power and strength that God has given me to live the abundant life.  God is in the details; so I must be more attentive to them too.

Some of my friends have chosen a word - just one word - to think about, and to study, and they will meditate on it for the entire year.  I think it must be very powerful to think upon one word for a whole year; but I am guessing that it could make a profound change in the way we approach life.

This year I will think on “CONSTANCY.”  I have long been lacking in constancy.  I used to confuse constancy with consistency so I looked up the definitions of both in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary.  Both are good words; but I need to develop constancy in my life.

I will post the definition on my wall, I will look at it every day, and I will ask you to pray with me that I may develop constancy in my life.  The time, effort, and resources I’ve wasted during my lifetime can serve a useful purpose if I use those experiences to change my starts into good habits.

Constancy – From Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

CONSTANCY, n. [L., to stand.]
  1. Fixedness; a standing firm; hence, applied to God or his works, immutability; unalterable continuance; a permanent state.
  2. Fixedness or firmness of mind; persevering resolution; steady, unshaken determination; particularly applicable to firmness of mind under sufferings, to steadiness in attachments, and to perseverence in enterprise. Lasting affection; stability in love or friendship.
  3. Certainty; veracity; reality.

  

My prayer for today...  Dear Lord,   Thank you for making me aware of my need for constancy, give me the desire to stick to it until the harvest.  Lord, I desire the abundant life that you have offered me, and I am asking your help in establishing the good habits I need to develop in order to achieve success. 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

2014-0118 - farmers and more

For those of you who pay attention to the dates; I fell asleep last night before finishing my post and getting it published…  So, today, you get two for the price of one.  I also have tomorrow’s post ready so I can rest on the Lords day!

God really has a special place in his heart for farmers.  God placed the very first man he created on His farm to tend to it. 

Genesis 2:8 (KJV) - And the LORD God planted a garden [or farm] eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Jesus loved farmers.  He told His disciples that His Father was a farmer.  

John 15:1 (KJV) - I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

Farmers must be the best people in The Word, and the world, at keeping at a thing until the finish.  By the way, some of my favorite people are farmers, and they are a wonderful example of sticking to it.  The hardest part, (and the most expensive, I would guess) comes at planting time and at harvest. 

I would imagine that right now (mid-January) the farmers are busy planning; buying or renting land, counting acres, calculating yields, and reading farm guides for the newest information.  They do their shopping this time of year, they look through seed catalogs, talk to their neighbors to see what the word is, decide what to plant, where to plant it, and how much seed they’ll need for the ground they want to cover.  They take a good hard look at their farm equipment, check to see if any needs repair or replacement, and watch for the sales so they can make the big purchases.  Planning is critical to the farmer.  That corn on the cob doesn’t just happen by accident!  I love the planning part of most anything; I bet the farmers do too!

Come spring the farmers will be a flurry of activity and excitement.  They get to ride around on those big machines tilling the ground, planting the seeds, cleaning out the cobwebs and the winter debris; all of their spring chores seem to be very action oriented, time consuming, and dollar devouring activities.  The farmers are up at dawn, out until dark, and they come home dog tired and hungry enough to a horse.  OK, a figurative horse, not a literal horse, my farmer friends actually prefer their own homegrown beef, that’s literal beef! 

Did I mention that I miss Iowa?  Not necessarily the weather, but the people we left behind when we moved east!  But, I digress.

I wouldn’t guess that the farmers have much time to get bored during the spring, but planting can’t last forever and the summer comes.  They can’t count on the weather, and the days are long and hot, and it’s not terribly exciting watching the corn or the soybeans grow.  So, I’m guessing that’s when the farmers really have to demonstrate patience, their willingness to wait on God, and their dependence upon His provision.  This is the time of year they cultivate “stick-to-it-ness.”  Can I get a patent on that word?

After the planning, and after the planning, the farmers have to patient if they are going to reap an abundant harvest (or, in my vernacular, get to the good part).  Most of the exciting part of getting the farming season started is completed; now it’s time they go out and do the same things, the same way, every day if they want good results.  It’s time to develop those good habits that lead to desired results.

Farmers need to check for weeds, kill the pests, and irrigate (optional on some farms).  Their equipment needs to be maintained, the bills need to be paid, and a hundred other little things that keep a farmer busy call for his attention.  Some things may begin to take on a daily drudgery, and in my humble opinion, that is the real work of farming; they keep at it even when it doesn’t look like fun!

Hhhmmmm!…  When it doesn’t look like fun…  Not fun?  That’s about the time when I’m all about starting a new project; I have been all about the fun!  But, farmers know they can’t do that!  We would think them absurd if they did all that work and then tore it up and started over with something new before harvest, right?  It would be a tremendous waste for them to spend all that time, effort, and money to turn their crops under before they got their first ear of corn.

But, unfortunately, I do that all the time!  I have had many good starts in my life, but have not been good with the daily routines (the weeding and watering, so to speak), that turn those starts into good habits.


My prayer for today...  Dear Lord, Thank you for sending Jesus, He is the true vine, and the author and finisher of our salvation.  Thank you, too, for farmers and for their testimony to you.  They work daily, with faith that you will provide the harvest if they persevere.  Thank you for their example to us and remind me to persevere to your harvest, the abundant life.  Remind me daily that the fields are white unto harvest and that I need to labor to get out the gospel.

2014-0117 - stick to it

I suppose it is in all human nature – ok, I am human and it is my nature – to start something new with gusto and zeal and then I get tired, or run down, and I start slipping into my old ways.  It is so easy to make plans, to set goals, to gather supplies, and to get started.  It’s not in getting started I have a problem; it’s in sticking to that which I start.

So it is with books, crafts, sewing, and other projects I’ve started…  I look around and I see dozens of projects started; but the finishing is nowhere in sight.  That isn’t good for me, it isn’t good for my sense of accomplishment, and it isn’t good for the clutter levels in our home.

It’s not uncommon for me to have several books going all at the same time because I have started one, saw another with an interesting title, and others were recommended to me; unfortunately I may not make it back to the first book to ever get to “the good part”.  You know, life can be that way too!  If we don’t stick to what we start, we’ll never get to the good part, or the abundant life, that God wants for us.

Starting may be the most exciting part of any endeavor, but starting is hard work and eats up a lot of resources.  It takes time, effort, research, and dollars to start almost anything.  Most start-up businesses fail within the first year because people just don’t stick to it; then all the time, money, and effort the owners have poured into are wasted or lost.  Sure, I will admit that starting over and over again may result in some great stories and some good experiences; but do does that build character?  I don’t think so!

This year I’ve set some goals and desire to establish good habits; but the success isn’t in the setting of goals, or the starting of new habits, it’s in the continuing of those habits in my daily life after they lose the newness and excitement.  Indeed, after you’ve done a thing for a while, it may become dull, boring, or routine; but that’s what makes it a habit!  Success lies in making the right choices, on a daily basis, to bring those starts to fruition (the good part).

The past is the past, and there’s nothing we can do about the past, right?  Well only if it were that simple!  Sometimes the past weighs us down, the way we felt, the things we said and did, the way we treated (or mistreated) others; the guilt, bitterness, and resentments we carry forces us to relive the same mistakes over and over again.  I have allowed guilt, bitterness, and resentment to stop me in my tracks and I have repeatedly tried to fill the voids in life with things that don’t last.  Drugs, alcohol, food, possessions; but, none of them have worked!

God says we can lay aside these weights because Christ has provided a better hope for us.  He gives us the power to let go of the “besetting sins” that keep us from living the joyous and abundant life He intended for us.  Only the love of God, through Jesus Christ, is lasting; and I want to grab it, and hold on to it, and let it be my anchor.

The book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, often called the Hall of Faith, lists various people in the Bible who suffered real persecution and ridicule, and yet struggled mightily to live a life pleasing to God.  I won’t include it here in today’s blog; but read through it when you get a chance.  Maybe if we look to them for our examples, we gain learn to depend on God for our strength to handle what comes our way…

Hebrews 12:1 (KVJ) - Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…


My prayer for today...  Dear Lord,   Thank you for showing me examples of people who REALLY suffered, and still kept their testimonies intact.  Were they perfect?  No, but they learned from their mistakes and moved forward to serve You and to serve others.  Help me find an example in their lives and help me draw my strength from you.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014-0116 - lose the insanity

It's been a really, really, long day. It started at five this morning, and its almost nine at night here on the east coast.  But, the day goes on.  I was planning to stop by and let you know that I'm too pooped to pop and too beat to blog.

But, as soon as I started writing I found some energy that I didn't know I had.  It's amazing how great you  feel when you're doing something you really love.

It's getting close to the weekend, and I'm getting excited about the fact that Amy, my organizer, will be here on Saturday to help me get started.

It is not everyday that one starts ridding herself of the accumulation of a lifetime. I have been dragging some of these things around with me since I was a kid.

I still have the broken jewelry at my parents gave me when I graduated from 8th grade! It's not that its worth anything monetarily but I look at it and I remember that once upon a time, a very long time ago, they loved me.  

I have been a saver, a stuffer, a collector, (no I did not say a hoarder) all of my life: I am looking at this purge as an adventure. I plan to go places I've never gone before!

My closet will be organized, all of my clothes will fit, I will like them, and I won't have to hunt them down anymore.  Some people define insanity as doing the same thing over, and over again, but expecting different results. I am ready to lose the insanity!

I am ready to be free of all these things that have emotionally enslaved me for all these years! I'm ready to see the light, I'm ready to sing new songs, and to turn the page toward a less cluttered existence!

I covet your prayers as I start this adventure. Time to go nighty night. Have a wonderful night. Get some rest!

My prayer for today... Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me the energy to sit down and write tonight. It has given me a new motivation to get started on Saturday! I so appreciate your kindness, goodness, protection, and mercy in my life. Lord, please help me share this adventure with others so they might gain the courage to overcome things that are dragging them down.

2014-0115 - facing the fear

It has been a long day; but a really really good day!  Yes, I am tired; but it’s that good kind of tired that happens when you’ve done the right thing, the right way, for the right reason.  It doesn’t happen every day; but today feels like a success!

A couple of years ago I was in a bad car accident, and I have had some major fear when driving at night, especially when it is raining.  Well, it is winter on the east coast, and it rains quite a bit, so I’ve been skipping a lot of night time activities, including church services.  Just getting back and forth to work has been a challenge since the time change!

You could say that I have let fear and anxiety drive me into my home.  Fear reminds me that I am vulnerable and keeps me from doing the things I want to do.  Tonight, with lots of help from God, and some encouragement from a friend, I was able to face my fears and get to church.

This week I deliberately made plans get to Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.  I need those church services to grow in the Lord and to help me in my daily living.  Sometimes, I leave the house with the best intentions; but, when I start getting tired or anxious I find myself headed for home and my electric blanket!  Hahaha!

Tonight I met a friend for dinner, and sat with her at church, she is such an encouragement to me.  She reminded me that God has a purpose for my life, that He expects me to be an encouragement to others, and that I cannot fulfill that purpose if I am not present at services.

Fear has side-tracked me and kept me from living the abundant life God wants for me.  Intellectually, I know fear is not of God as it keeps me from doing His will in my life.  Satan loves it when he can keep Christians fearful; it makes us less effective.  Fear damages our testimony and makes those watching us question the power and benevolence of the one true and living God.

Fear keeps the focus on “ME”, keeps me feeling sorry for myself, and prevents me from reaching out to others, and fear keeps me intolerably lonely.  It is time to face the fear!  With God’s help maybe I can take my life back one night-time outing at a time!  It really is better to be driving though the dark, in a storm, with God than to be hiding at home all by myself!

2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) - For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

My prayer for today...  Dear Lord,   Thank you for today; I am very grateful that you helped me get to church for Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting and Bible Study.  Give me the courage to face the fear, so I don’t have excuses to hide at home.  Help me to be a good testimony to your kindness, protection, goodness, and mercy!


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014-0114- be thou an example

Last night I had the opportunity to hear a remarkable young lady speak on goal setting.  She shared with me after she spoke that she had been reluctant to discuss goal setting in a group of “mature Christian Ladies” because she thought we were probably more experienced at life, and at setting goal setting, than she.  But, God kept urging her toward the subject and she did a beautiful job.

Her presentation was well thought out and timely since many of us are working on our goals for the upcoming year.  As she was speaking, I felt Gods presence in the room.  I’m sure from the conversations that followed many of us felt convicted.  I wonder if they thought God had urged her to speak on goal setting just for them, I did!

She touched on several areas that I myself have been considering in the process of setting some of my own goals.  Her focus was not however just on setting goals, or how to achieve them, but also on the matters of the heart that should guide us in setting our goals.  She encouraged us to plan; but also stressed that we should be open minded, and flexible; and that above all we should keep our hearts tender enough to receive Gods calling in our lives.

She shared the account of a certain rich man - Luke 12:13-21 (KJV) - who had accumulated so much that he didn’t have room enough to store it anymore.  He decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones so he could keep all his wealth for himself.  That particular decision didn’t please God and it ended up costing the man his life.  It is not necessarily wrong to build big barns, but you shouldn’t build them at the expense of your relationship to God.  He valued his possessions more than he valued his relationship with God and consequently he lost both.  With my current situation, it seemed entirely inspired!

It encouraged me no end as she shared some of her personal stories; I listened and wondered at the wisdom she had accumulated during her young life.  Her humility and sincerity was fresh and sweet.  I was so grateful that she chose to obey to prompting of the Lord to share her story and to share her goals with us.  You could tell as she spoke that she loves the Lords and that she is entirely committed to spending her life trying to honor and please Him!

I need to let her know what an encouragement she was to me.  Sometimes, young people think that older folks have more experience, more answers to life’s questions, and that we know more than they do.  However, that is not always a good thing.  My experience, at her age, had little to do with making right choices, or serving the Lord.  I’ve made a lot of bad decisions.  Many of my choices have been self-motivated rather than God-centered.  I needed to hear the truth last night – even from a younger person – so that I can learn to let go of the controls and let God make right choices for my life.

Thank you so much my dear young friend!  You are truly someone special!  I want you to remember that we old dogs can learn new tricks and some of you young Christians, with spiritual maturity, are just the right people to teach us.  I would like to take a moment encourage you with Paul’s admonition to his young protégé, Timothy.

1 Timothy 4: 12 (KJV) – Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.


My prayer for today...  Dear Lord,   Thank you so much for bringing things together so this young woman could share her testimony and her goals with us last night.  Help me to encourage her in her Christian walk and remind me to pray for her as she strives to serve you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014-0113 - a song in my heart

Hello friends and family!  So glad to see that you were able to make it by today!  I want to thank you for your continued interest and support.  Today I want to talk about gratitude.  Maintaining an “attitude of gratitude” means a world of difference in how I approach my day and the way I treat the people I encounter. 

When I get up feeling sorry for myself because I didn’t get enough sleep, or I don’t feel good, or I have a dozen things to do today, you can be sure I’m going to have a bad day.  Poor me!  On the other hand, if I take the time to thank God first thing in the morning for all His blessings, I can get up tired, put on my best blue dress, and head off to work with my box of tissues.  Gratitude will see me through a really busy day, help me to encourage my husband and my co-workers, and will show me how to be contented with too little sleep!

One of the things I try to do when I am feeling a little down is to pick a hymn for the day and to meditate on it.  Today I’ve chosen my favorite hymn…   To God Be the Glory!  It is a rousing hymn that reminds me that no matter how awful I’ve been (the vilest offender) God still loves me enough that he sent His Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for my sins, that I might spend eternity in heaven with them.

The words are wonderful.  And what’s more they were written a remarkable woman!  Miss Fanny Crosby was accidentally blinded when she was a young child.  She had every right – when measured by a self centered sighted person – to be angry and bitter.  But, she wasn’t!  Miss Fanny understood the love and blessings of God better than most sighted people ever can or ever will.

Miss Crosby is an admirable example for me to follow.  You see, I tend toward the melancholy side of life, often plagued with bouts of miserable health and depression; and when I get to feeling sorry for myself I’m of no earthly good to anyone.  Miss Crosby teaches me that you can find happiness in the worst of situations; she saw through the blindness, she recognized the blessings of God even in her darkness, and demonstrated a spirit of gratitude. 

She is truly one of my heroines.  Someday, when I get to heaven, I hope I am able to meet her and to give her a big hug.  She made time to honor God with her thoughts, her words, and her actions.  If you get a chance take the time to read about her life story.  Sometimes we don’t think we have anything to offer; Miss Fanny didn’t worry about herself and her problems, she gave her best to God.

I would like to share the words to this hymn with you.  I am including a link so you can click and hear the hymn in case you’re not familiar with the tune.  I hope you’ll take a moment to read through the words and then listen to the music.




To God Be the Glory
Text:  Fanny J. Crosby
Music:  William H. Doane

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Refrain:
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord; praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Refrain

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Refrain


Friends, I hope you’ll enjoy this hymn as much as I do!  It cheers me up in the darkest of times!  And I pray that you’ll find it a blessing as well.


My prayer for today...   Dear Lord, Thank you for putting a song in my heart today and helping me find the blessings you’ve given me.  When I am feeling sorry for myself, dear Lord, remind me of your children who have truly suffered but maintained their attitudes of gratitude and shown forth their testimonies for You!