My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others

A dear friend who has gone to be with the Lord once told me I was her Barnabas which Biblically means "encourager." I never saw myself like that, but as I've grown in my walk with the Lord it seems that is my desire. I hope that what I share here will be an encouragement to you as we trust the Lord - for great is His Faithfulness.

My Divine Assignment: To Encourage Others.
In Christ's Love, Shelley



KEEP His JOY IN TRIALS, TEARS & TRIUMPHS ~~ A WOMAN'S HEART SHOULD BE SO COMPLETELY LOST IN God THAT A MAN MUST SEEK Him TO FIND HER ~~ Our desire to learn God's Word must be greater than our need to breathe ~~











Saturday, December 24, 2011

Welcome Santa, Celebrate Jesus !!!


     As followers of Christ, we want to be truthful about Christmas & it's traditions.  Sometimes this can be challenging.  I purchased a great video by the creator of Veggie Tales titled "Buck Denver - Why Do We Call It Christmas?"  I learned quite a bit  as far as Christmas traditions & how they came about.
     Last week on the news,  atheists were saying that Christians "stole" the  traditions from pagans & winter solstice.  Question - do atheists think stealing is wrong & if so where did they get that belief?  I found that  quite humorous if it wasn't so disheartening that so many people are looking for "something."  I pray that at Christmas & all through the year we are sharing that "Something" or should I say Someone to give them hope, peace & JOY in the midst of difficult times.
     A wonderful book I purchased years ago reveals the real story - The Story of St. Nicholas - more than reindeer & a red suit by Cheryl Odden.  As believers, we do not have to exclude Santa from our Christmas because he was a follower of Christ - giving & helping because he loved Jesus. 
     I pray that we will welcome Santa into our homes & see the delight on little ones faces from the gifts they have been given.  Then let us celebrate Jesus because He is God's greatest Gift.
     For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...and His Name shall be Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.    Isaiah 9:6

Friday, December 9, 2011

To Christmas or not to ....

   As I "mature," it seems with each passing year I want to decorate a little less. There are a few reasons for this. First, I just don't want to unpack & pack all that "stuff" I used to put out. Second, I continue to desire to simplify & what better place to start than with Christmas decorations.  I have given  many of my decorations to the Salvation Army these past few years.  Third, the Nativity is the basis of my decor now, as I have many different ones, including the Willow Tree set which my girls gave me & children's nativities that my little ones love to rearrange. I love the Nativity & I so want my focus to be on The One who came to seek & save the lost.  I was lost.
   Most of us are aware that there is a "war" on Christmas. Could it be that it has the word CHRIST in it?  My humble opinion - YES !!!!  Yet there is a dispute among Believers - should we even celebrate Christmas because many of the traditions were "re-made" from pagan celebrations.  Read more about this -  Got Questions? 
     I've thought about this "controversy"  YET even if some  Christmas traditions came from pagan rituals, we know that God can take what the evil one has purposed for harm & our Lord will use it for good.  Pastor Joseph Parker has said, "I believe people have a greater openness to the Gospel at Christmas."
     It's not about what or how , but WHO we celebrate.  If my heart is right with God, if my desire is to tell others about the Saving Grace of God during this time of year, then I will celebrate Christmas.  For my God, the Creator of the Universe, who stepped down from His Throne to come as a Baby is greater than any pagan tradition.  Let's not miss this opportunity to share The Good News when so many people are in need spiritually & hurting hearts long to be healed by His Touch. We are His Feet & Hands.

 We know that all things work together for good to those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28

 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see - I am bringing you good news of great joy for ALL the people.   Luke 2:10 


Image found at google.com by huffpost

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Good Intetnions

     Thanksgiving day was pretty much a routine day. As Abbi worked Thanksgiving & Amanda works the weekend we will celebrate Friday evening.  One thing I did was the "one thing" I said I would not do - put away Thanksgiving decorations before we had our meal together.  My good intentions were swept away by my desire to do a little deep cleaning before I decorated for Christmas.
     On Wednesday, I had the 2 older grand-girls & we made a trip to Lima. We hit quite a few stores for some returns and for "know what I want" shopping.  Morgan said it was a shopping day, not a fun day.  But they picked out a new toy for the Caring & Sharing project & we did enjoy lunch at the Mexican restaurant.  Wherever we went I handed out Gospel Tracts about the true purpose of Thanksgiving, explaining to my girls why I do this.  Not one person rejected my "gift" & all seemed very appreciative.  My intention was for the girls & I to share these with the neighbors when we got home, but the weather clouded out my good intentions.
     Thanksgiving day came & I had planned on simply putting the tracts with a written note in the mail boxes of my neighbors, but once again my good intentions kept being moved to the bottom of my to-do list.  It did not get done.
     Later in the evening, a comment on the radio pierced my heart - "an attitude of gratitude doesn't mean much if we don't put it in to action."  I have recently realized that I seem to have many "good intentions" that are never put into action.  Very simple things, easy to do things that would bless someone or even draw them to Christ, yet I've missed the opportunity to possibly change a life for eternity.  My heart grieves at the thought & how it must grieve my Lord. Yet I am very thankful that "His mercies are new EVERY day" & I can choose to turn my good intentions into actions that bless my Lord & others.
Matthew 5:16   ... let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:19-21  "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven... For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

(Image from google -pcgamersworld.com)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Natural Healing

     Natural healing incorporates many things - herbal & vitamin supplements, therapeutic massages foot reflexology, & ionic detoxing foot baths.  I'm sure there are others, but these are the things I do.  And now 2 weeks later, my sinus issues are gone  My head feels much clearer which allows me to think better.  Natural healing also takes more time because it isn't covering up symptoms.  It helps the body to get rid of the "nasty" stuff it's dealing with while the supplements help nourish the organs & increase the immune system's ability for healing.
     There is a natural healing that takes place in our spiritual lives also & seems to do the same things as I've shared.  Often  the natural healing of our souls may deal with forgiveness - our need to forgive others or to seek God's forgiveness.  Sometimes it begins when we are dealing with the loss of a loved one & this process can take years -but it is still a healing process.
     In our own lives, the healing process may need to begin when we get the "nasty" stuff out - bitterness, anger, envy and, well, you know what it is for you.  I wish this was as simple as doing the foot bath - just put your feet in the water with the ionic rods & let it draw all that junk out of you.  Nope, doesn't work that way.  Yet, God will release these things from us if we seek His perspective on what seems to be keeping us from the healing we need.  I've found that when I don't feel good, I don't feel much like discussing this with God, but as my previous post explained - it doesn't matter whether I feel like it.  Do you need healing?  Take it to the Lord now.
I Peter 5:7    Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.
Psalm 55:22    Cast your cares on the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall.
Acts 3:16    It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Don't FEEL like it !!

     I've been suffering, no let me take that back, I've been dealing with a sinus issue for 10 days. (I was convicted that the word suffering did not apply here when I think of  persecuted Christians or terminal diseases.)  If you've known me long, you know this is something ongoing.  Due to previous health issues, I have a major weakness in my respiratory system.
    On Monday, my head felt like it was in a vice. I went to the chiropractor - it helped some.  Worked all day Tuesday still dealing with it, but went home at noon on Wednesday as I felt like my head could explode.  Had a sinus/full body massage this afternoon & think I'm on the road to recovery.
     When my head feels like this, I don't feel like doing ANYTHING - especially reading because I can't keep my focus.  Unfortunately, that includes reading my Bible and devotions.  I sincerely want to read them & miss it when I don't, but I just don't FEEL like it.  This reminded me of what our children & grand-children are really saying to us when they disobey.
     What is that quote?  Feelings follow Faith in action, not the other way around.  I want to stay committed to doing the things of God whether I FEEL like it or not. I am SO humbled & thankful because God doesn't say to me, "I don't feel like it."  He may say "No" in some cases, but it's because He sees the bigger picture. 
   David reminds us - Psalm 42:5 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior ...  Psalm 103:2  Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.  Psalm 104:1 Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty.    It's not whether I FEEL like doing something but am I willing to do it by faith & leave the rest to God.  I pray that I am.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seriously ....

     Or as one of my grand-daughters who can't say her "s" would say - derioudly. Of course we now have to acknowledge the abbreviations that have come about due to texting.  I bet the teachers love that as I've heard that some kids include it in written papers because (or b/c) that's what they do all day.  Plz, I mean please, can we get back to good old English. Seriously !!!!
      For the second time in 5 minutes, the paragraph I just wrote has disappeared completely & I can't remember what I wrote the first time because it often comes to me as I am typing.  It has made me wonder, even now, is there something else God wants me to be doing or is there another force that doesn't want me to share my heart about the things of God?  I know that even doing things for God can get in the way of what God really wants us to be doing. It is really hard to know sometimes.
     And actually that is the reason for the topic of this post - How serious am I about my Christianity, my DAILY walk with Christ? Or more to the point, how serious am I about REALLY sharing the Gospel with others?  We are not all called to be Billy Graham or Ruth Graham for that matter, but as believers we ARE called to share the Gospel because it is the ONLY thing that keeps us from spending eternity in hell. Yet, even in writing that statement, it is uncomfortable - why is it so awkward to share the Truth?
     Sometimes I feel God wants me to step up to the next level beyond sharing tracts at the check-out or leaving them on a table with a generous tip.  But do I wait for the "opportunity" or do I "go" knock on my neighbors door to find out if they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?  How uncomfortable should I be or am I willing to be to tell someone about Christ?  Anyone who truly loves the Lord probably never feels that they are doing enough so in a way that can be good.
     I don't know if there is an answer to all the questions I have or you might have.  But for now I will persevere in knowing Him more intimately with each passing day, loving others through acts of kindness & words of encouragement & seriously keep in mind what my purpose here is all about.
     Philippians 3:11-14    Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Friday, October 21, 2011

DISTRACTED

For someone who is considered "very organized" I get frustrated with how easily I am distracted.  Now I have not done ALL three shown in the pic at ONE time but....   As women we are all familiar with the scenario of making the bed along with picking up clothes on the floor, taking the clothes to the washer, folding the clothes in the dryer & putting them away to find that the bed is half made.  Some call that multi-tasking but it would be nice to finish the first thing before going to the second, third, fourth and on and on. I'm getting better at going after something & actually remembering why I went there.  It must be all those supplements I take. :-) 
    No doubt you've had the experience of having your grocery list or some other "important" thing go through your head during the sermon on Sunday.  So why are we so easily distracted??  Why can't I keep my focus on one thing at a time??  Well, when it comes to the things of God, I could blame it on the devil, but that's way too easy.  What's that saying?  If the devil made you do it, you blew it !!
     It bothers me most in my prayer life. I've been told if you pray aloud it helps your focus but I still find myself praying but "thinking" about something else.  Seriously, how it that possible?????  To be honest, I am unsure what the remedy for this is & if you have any thoughts I would love to hear from you.  This Scripture is what I am drawn to when I lose my focus.  As soon as I realize it, I need to bring my mind back to the thoughts of God.    
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2).

Friday, September 30, 2011

GM - The Best Choice

     I would be curious to know how many men might have checked out the post today after seeing GM in the title. If my husband were to see it, he might be a bit flustered because this is a FORD family. So let's just get it out there, the GM doesn't mean General Motors in this case.      
     It means Grace and Mercy & God has been speaking to my heart about this for quite some time.  Whether it's a GM, Ford, Honda or any other make of car, you have to operate it if you need to get from point A to B.  I am finding that God is calling me to operate through Grace and Mercy much more than I ever have - in my marriage, at my work place, toward others who I may not agree with. I wonder if it's getting a bit easier to do, because of my age & the fact that it uses too much energy to be angry, bitter or annoyed.  It certainly doesn't do anything to uplift my spirit to spend much time in those not so nice places.  And it certainly doesn't allow be to uplift others when I have those kind of attitudes.  As Patsy Clairmont once shared "Are you sportin' a 'tude?"  I pray that it is easier for me to do because of my walk with the Lord these past years.
     The Bible has so much to say about Grace & Mercy it would take a week to share all the Scriptures.  Many of you already know the acronym for GRACE - God's Reward At Christ's Expense.  When dealing with others if we simply remember the Grace God has shown toward us, how can we not show His Grace to others. Easy?  Not always, but oh so important.  And where would His Grace be without His Mercy?  Justice is getting what we deserve, Mercy is not getting what we deserve, Grace is getting what we don't deserve.  If God has been so kind to extend to us His Mercy & Grace we have no choice but to do the same in love & obedience to Him.
     It doesn't matter to to God what kind of vehicle we drive - a clunker or a Cadillac.  It greatly matters to Him that in our lives we operate with Grace & Mercy.
     Two of my favorite verses - Ephesians 2:8,9  For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast.  I Timothy 1:13,16  (Paul is speaking) Even though I was once a blasphemer & a persecutor & a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance & unbelief...But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on Him and receive eternal life.
 
     As you continue in your day remember these Scriptures, let them speak to your heart, but most of all let others see them in you for then they will see Jesus.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

FRUSTRATION.......

Well, if you are on Facebook, you too were probably FRUSTRATED with the changes!!!  If you've not read my very first post, you may want to at this point to see how I feel about change.  Anyway, every time they CHANGE something it is supposed to be easier to navigate but within hours there are posts & pages dedicated to dislike or even hate for the " new upgrade."
     I probably wouldn't even be writing about this except for the conviction that came over me a few minutes ago due to my "frustration."  Seriously, am I really having a hissy fit over this? (hissy fit -A sudden outburst of temper, often used to describe female anger at something trivial. Originally regional from American South. Thought to originate from contraction of "hysterical fit" - yep that pretty well describes it.)
     As I continue to ponder this, many thoughts come to mind.  What important things in my life are more worthy of the energy I expended over the Facebook issue?  Things like abortion, sanctity of Biblical marriage & keeping families intact, the decline of the values & morals I was raised with, the sexualizing of our little girls, but most of all sharing the Gospel as the world continues to promote self-centered living, greed, lust, it's all about me attitude.  Am I as concerned over my neighbor or family members spending eternity apart from God?  I believe I am, but to what extent?  Am I willing to get my shoes dusty, my hands dirty and give of my time most of all? I would have to say, not nearly enough. 
     I will continue to be on Facebook as it is my desire to be a witness & encourager to others.  But when it comes to where my real frustrations & concerns should be there's only way place to refresh my thinking in this area & to encourage me to be about God's business moment by moment.
     Romans 1:16  "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
     Matthew 5:13-16 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its flavor, how could it become salty again? It would be good for nothing, but to be thrown outside and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world: a city that is set on a mountain cannot be hidden; neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a lampstand; and it gives light to everyone in the house. Likewise, let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
     1 Peter 3:15-16 But let your hearts be fully consecrated to the Lord God, always being prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in you to anyone who asks, with humility and respect. Thus, you will have a clear conscience; and those who speak evil of you will be ashamed by your Christ-like conduct.
     May we not be ashamed, may we let our light shine & may we always be prepared to give a reason for the Hope we have within us.  Blessings on you day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Move the "S"

     It seems that this post will be a continuation of my last post which was a continuation of the post before that. I guess I can claim my first "post series" & I think that phrase has something to do with sports also, but I'm not a follower in that arena - I leave that to my hubby. 
     A few days after my prior post on "resigning" I was reading my morning devotions for August 28th.  The title: He Reigns.  It speaks of God being sovereign over the entire universe & He reigns over my little corner of that universe.  "Your Heavenly Father may not always reveal Himself as quickly (or as clearly) as you would like. God is in control, He is here & He intends to use you in a wonderful, unexpected way. He desires to lead you along a path of His choosing.  Your challenge is to watch, to listen , to learn...and to follow."
     Then I looked back at the title & I thought "move the S."  When I reSign myself to God's will then He reignS in my life. And as God loves to bring the little things together in our lives I had just purchased a book for my little girls that I used to read to my girls - The King Who Rained by Fred Gwynne (anyone remember him?)


Even the title of this book can be drawn in.  For as we resign our lives to God, He will reign in them for His Glory even when it rains !!!!  How can we ever doubt a God that is so involved in every detail of our lives even when we don't acknowledge it.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.  Proverbs 3:6
Let us not hesitate to allow God to be our All-in-all so that others will see His Son Jesus Christ in us.  Let us say to the world, My King Reigns !!!!

    

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm RESIGNING !!!!

Many, many years ago I went to a Christian Women's Retreat for the day with some friends.  My girls were fairly little at the time. One of the study sessions I took was titled, "Where Do I Go to Resign?" I'm guessing many young mothers & some times even us "more mature" women may feel that way on occasion. There is no doubt that with small children, whether you work out of the home or not, it can be overwhelming. Even for those who no longer have children at home, there are days when we may want to say, "I resign ( to give up one's position) !"
     If I remember right, the Bible teacher may have used a bit of deception for her title. Her premise for the time she shared with us was not about resigning from things in our lives that cause stress but resigning ourselves to the Lord.  Wow, there's a big difference in those two lines of thought.  At first, the other ladies in the room seemed to sigh & yet laugh at the thought that there really isn't any place to go to resign from our lives, especially if Christ is the Lord of every area of your life.
     No doubt, it would be much easier to put up a post-it that says "I QUIT !" than to fall on our knees before the Lord & say, "Your will & not mine be done Lord.  I RESIGN (to give up deliberately) all I am & all I can be to you for Your Glory."
     I'd like to add resign to our "R" list from the last post.  I believe it should go between repent & restore.  And it brings a simple Scripture verse to mind:  He must become greater & I must become less.  John 3:30. I believe that is the Christian definition of resigning.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The R's Have It....

     On our girl's get-away weekend at South Haven MI we took some amazing pictures of the Sunday sunset.  We had gone into a store that had the alphabet tiles for spelling out words so Abbi was also taking pictures of the alphabet & before I knew it I was looking at EVERYTHING to see if it looked like a letter.    You've probably seen some framed pictures which have been created this way with words such as hope, joy, faith or names.  The idea is to take a picture of something that looks like the letter & not necessarily the letter in a word displayed some where.
    As I awoke the other morning, I was reminded of some words that I try to keep in mind.  I had written them down at one point but can't find them, so I plan to make my own alphabet picture with these words.
     As the post says, The R's have it - Repent, Restore, Rest, Renew, Refresh, Relax.  The words themselves need no explanation but let's apply them to God's Grace in our lives.  First, we must come to Him in REPENTANCE, not merely sorry for our sin but turning away from it & replacing it with Godly living.  When we do this, He RESTORES us to a right relationship with Him. We then can find the REST we so desperately need in a mach speed world which bombards us with immorality & trivial things to fill our time.  After the rest, our minds can be RENEWED through spending time with Him daily in His Word & our hearts will be REFRESHED so that we can fulfill our call to share the Gospel through our words & deeds.  The final step is to RELAX knowing that He is in control & He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us...  Ephesians 3:20  So the next time you are hoping to have some R & R, add the other 4 Rs & see what a difference it can make.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Green

When I was a child green was the color of grass & a crayon.  Now "green" has a whole new meaning, much of which has to do with conserving energy & taking care of the earth.  Even Christians cannot agree on exactly what taking care of the earth means.
Green is not one of my "colors" as I rarely wear it, well, actually I can't think of anything green in my closet.  Teal is as close as I get.
Outside my window at work, I have full view of a building that has a green metal roof.  I commented to a patient one day that I really didn't care for the green roof.  Well, this patient, Waynie, reminded me that God made a whole lot of things green.  Of course I couldn't argue with that.  That comment was made many years ago & I haven't forgotten it.  When I look around my home there is green grass -well maybe not so green right now due to the lack of rain, but the pine trees are green, as are my tomato plants, zucchini, leaves on my roses, lettuce, spinach and of course most of the weeds.  There is no getting away from green in any shade and that's okay.
     In my search for Scripture verses for green I found that the NIV contained 22.  Of course the most well know is in Psalm 23:2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters...  I'd like you to take the time right now & imagine that picture of yourself, no matter what you are dealing with, in the green pasture, the soft grass with the blue sky & white clouds and the still waters just few feet away.  What a description of God's peace.
As you go about your day, reflect often on Psalm 23, think about all that it tells us about God & His care for us.  There is no better place to be than in the loving arms of God with our Shepherd, Jesus Christ right beside us.  Blessings on your day.







image

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Empty and/or Full

     The word empty usually brings something negative to mind - empty gas tank, empty well, empty piggy bank or, for us big girls, empty checkbook. Of course, if all of those things are full, then we are happy. But they can't be both EMPTY & FULL, it's impossible. On the other hand, we can be both empty & full - full of ourselves & empty of the desire to please God.
     In this case, you can't be half empty or half full like a glass of water. It is impossible to be half full of ourselves & the other half full of wanting to please God. We need to EMPTY ourselves of all that keeps us from being filled with Godly desires.  Even if our deepest desire is to please God, the sins of selfishness can creep back in, but we MUST persevere.  I've found it helpful to pray Scripture back to God often using Galatians 5:22, 23 - "Lord, fill me with Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness & self-control."  I dare say, if we can be FULL of the Fruit of the Spirit, there is not much room for anything else.
     Often when searching for a picture, I find one that gives me a different perspective on what I want to share in a post. The following picture was one of those instances.

As women are minds are always full - what to do next, places to go, who to call or pick up and on and on.  We often feel we can't shut our minds off when we go to bed.  When our heart is full of desires that please God then our mind will follow, But we must ask God to fill us with what pleases Him. We cannot do it - the desire may be there but we must ask.   I'd like to end with these Scriptures:   Matthew 22:7  Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'     Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.   Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. 


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Master Gardener

    On Saturday, I went to the Van Wert Master Gardeners' Walk.  We didn't make it tall all 11 sites because by noon it was HOT & HUMID, taking your breath away.  I love being in my garden this year as it has been a few years since I've really had the energy to be out there. I'm working on some vertical gardening this year.  I've pretty well "deleted" the squash bugs, only finding a few eggs here & there - I immediately remove them with duct tape.  Now I am at war with the the tomato worms.  I found out from my Master Gardener, Kylee, that it's the tobacco worm - they look similar.  She said I shouldn't kill them because of the moths they turn into, but I still need convincing after seeing what 4 separate worms have done to 4 tomato plants.
     The gardens we visited take time & dedication, especially the home of Fred & Louise Hartwig (photo frome their home), Kylee's parents, but how wonderful they look. Louise likes to stay busy & there is no doubt she is very busy keeping up with her amazing landscaping.  I admire her & the others' commitment but I'm not ready to "go there" myself, so I enJOY the beauty & hard work of others.
     That night as I was in my quiet time before bed, I opened up my Prayers for the Moment & randomly turned to a page.  The topic was Spiritual Growth with the page title To Draw Near to God.  What are the "chances" that on that page would be a reference to gardening??  Here's part of the prayer taken from John 15:7,8 - May we abide in the Vine, sustained by Christ's life, living by His Words, bearing His Fruit -- much fruit.  In preceding verses Christ says, "I am the Vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in Me & I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing."
     May we heed the call of our Master Gardener as we enJOY all the beauty of this earth He has given us.  Take the seeds He has planted in you & spread them wherever you go.  We may plant, another will water, but God does the gardening of the heart.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Survival of ....

     It's amazing what the Lord brings to mind at times.  I was out in the yard trying to catch up & get ahead of the weeds, etc.  I thought about what one of my daughters said the other day when it came to watering the plants or not.  Her outlook was "Survival of the Fittest."  Between work & caring for children that sometimes has to be the bottom line.
     Yet today, as I was considering what to do next, Survival of the Fittest came to mind but RIGHT behind it was Survival of the Faithful.  I LOVE WHEN THAT HAPPENS.
At some point, with the "dry spell" we are having, you have to decide how much water you will to use to keep things alive.  As Christians we also have "dry spells" & we may need to decide what areas of our lives need to be "watered."  But never forget the Bible PROMISES that the Faithful will Survive.  The best way to do that - grab The Survival Manual & dig deep until your thirst is quenched with the Living Water.  It's never in short supply.
     I am learning that being faithful  & persevering means making the choice to do it.  Sometimes it can be done quickly, sometimes it may take a day or a week, but do not give up.  It's not always easy, but it's always the right choice.  If you need help to get through, ask for it.
    I Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that He considered me faithful, appointing me to His service.  
Revelation 2:10 ...Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you
the crown of life.
Revelation 14:12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
    


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ripple Effect

      As I pondered what I felt God had placed on My Heart to share, I had a few different thoughts.  Not by accident, one was confirmed this morning as I listened to David Jeremiah  while getting ready for church.  It was about encouragement.  This week I had thought about the word "courage" & how a few letters can quickly change the meaning.  What a contrast by either adding "en" or "dis."
     From Dictionary.com - Courage as a noun: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
Discourage - verb: to deprive of courage, hope, or confidence; dishearten; dispirit. Encourage - verb: to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence; embolden, hearten, reassure, urge; support, aid, help.
     Dr. Jeremiah shared these thoughts.  Encouragement is an urgent need in our day; it is a unique priority of God; it is the underlying purpose of the Bible & once begun has no end as the ripples of a pebble thrown into the water.  Either we have a heart for encouragement or we don't.  Like many things it is a choice & taking one brief moment for a hug, kind word, phone call, or short note will have a ripple effect now or eventually.  The Bible has much to say about encouragement.  Often the Psalms reveal the discouragement of people whether self-inflicted or from others.  Yet, most times those specific Psalms end with encouraging words because of their hope & trust in God.
      II Thessalonians 2:16,17 -  May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself & God our Father, who loved us & by His grace gave us eternal encouragement & good hope, to encourage your hearts & strengthen you in every good deed and word.
If you would like to study more Scriptures on this link to Study Light  & type in encourage, encouraging & encouragement separately - then choose a version of the Bible.  You will be ENCOURAGED so that you can encourage others.
      In times like these, we must have hearts of encouragement to bring the Good News of Eternal Life to others.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Pretty Nails

     After working in the garden these past 4 days along with 37 years of being a dental hygienist (almost 31 with Doc) I have AGAIN come to the conclusion I will NEVER have pretty nails.  I need to keep them fairly short for my job which is quite easy - even when they get to a nice length they soon break off .  Genetics has also made them thin.  Oh well, in about six months, I will reach that wonderful age of, shall we say thirty score?  For the most part it really does not bother me.  Sometimes the Granny arms & the spider veins aren't so "pretty" but they are easily covered up.
     So the pretty nails would be nice but pail in comparison with the fact that I am relatively healthy, can get out in the garden, & still enJOY my job (with a few neck & shoulder pains).  Most of all, I can be an active Grandma to 5 incredibly cute, fun & some times exhausting (what do expect at almost 60) grandkids.  I truly thank the Lord for that because long ago I prayed that my little ones could live close so that I could help them know & love the Lord.  Pray answered !!!  Wouldn't trade that for pretty nails or pretty anything else!!!!  And for those of you who have pretty nails I am on occasion jealous.
     As women of God it is not wrong to want to look nice or have nice things.  We know the most important thing is that our heart is right with Him.  Ipray that we age gracefully in the fact that we are fearfully & wonderfully made in His image.  When you look in the mirror or when others look at you, who do they see?
                                                                                                         Charm is deceptive, & beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.  Give her the reward she has earned, & let her works bring her praise at the city gate.  Proverbs 31:30, 31

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Life Happens.....

     We've all heard the saying, "Life is what happens while we are busy making other plans."  Most of you know that I am a PLANNER. It's what I do, it's how I cope & I confess, it's how I try to keep control which can be good or not so good.
     I spent the first weekend of this month in the hospital. In short, what could have been heart attack symptoms early that Saturday morning turned out to be pneumonia in my upper right lung - it was thought I aspirated something into my lung during the night.  I was given an IV antibiotic before being sent home early Sunday afternoon. The IV did the trick because by Tuesday I felt pretty good, just a little fatigued but had a normal week. I've dealt with bronchitis & had walking pneumonia once over 30+ years & with both parents smoking my lungs seem to be my area of weakness.  BUT the heart is in good shape & I am grateful for that.
    It's been almost a month since I've blogged & I've missed it - thought about it often but.... life happens.  In that time there were things to do, places to go, people to see & grand-daughters to spend the night.  I enjoy all those things but don't want to be BUSY.  Again I confess that I am very selfish with my time & I really do like being home.  Just as Dorothy says, "There's no place like home."
     One of my favorite songs is by Steven Curtis Chapman More to This Life which includes these words - But there's more to this life than living and dying, More than just trying to make it through the day; More to this life, more than these eyes alone can see, And there's more than this life alone can be.
     This past week has made me realize that I want to continue to simplify my life more & seek God's guidance in keeping my focus & priorities straight.  As one Bible Teacher asked, "Are you a human being or a human doing?"  More on that subject in a post to come!!!!
There is only one Scripture that kept coming to mind while writing this post.   John 14:16 - Jesus answered, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
   We can't get around it - life will happen.  We need to make sure that we are connected to the One who truly is Life.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Seek & Find

The artwork is by Jack Dawson.  It is part of his "Seek & Find" series.  I shared a link to it on Face Book Saturday.  For those who didn't see it I would ask that you follow the link at the end of this post to view the story behind it.  You will need to click on Paintings & Prints on the left side bar, then on the link under the picture "If My People" & watch the video about the painting.
     When you are at the home page, you will see a wonderful painting he's done & you might want to take the time to read about it, as well as many of the others.  I was absolutely in awe as I read about many of them.  For my teacher friends: make sure you view "School Daze" & every one view "The Passion Tree."  Actually, save the link to the home page and view them all at some point.  Don't miss the video on the "About the Artist" page.
     I hope to visit his gallery in Missouri this summer or fall, although they are very close to the area where the tornado came through.
     The artwork will speak for itself, so I have no need to write more.  Have a blessed day & be a blessing, too. 
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
Follow this link: Bittersweet Gallery Jack Dawson
  

Monday, May 23, 2011

WHY ME ?????

I can't tell you how long ago I saw this cartoon in the paper but it's been YEARS & I've never forgotten it. Actually, the longer I walk with the Lord the more true it rings. With all the horrific weather that's been going on here in the U.S. I'm sure "Why me, why us?" has been on the lips of many & that's okay.  The shock of sudden devastation brings on many questions in our human frailness. As I awoke this morning to the videos of the tornadoes in Joplin, MO my heart broke. I'm sure yours did also.  The weather lately isn't "hit or miss" it's more like "hit, hit, hit again !"
    My husband spent most of his day planting in the driest field he could only to sit & watch it pour off & on for an hour after supper.  I wanted to console him just like I want to console all the other victims of this weather, but words seemed empty.  At times like this, I truly don't ask "Why me?" but I so wonder "Why not me?"  I certainly don't deserve God's Grace any more than any one else but I am eternally grateful for it.
     There may be a time in the future when something I would rather not have to deal with will happen to me or my family & I don't know how I will react at that moment.  I only know that in all of this & what may come, I can trust Him.  It's been said that God does not give us grace a head of time, He gives us what we need when we need it.  I believe that with all my heart.  If I try to "plan a head" in what I would do in certain situations I cannot really know because God's Grace will be there to up hold me.
     When Paul arrived and saw the evidence of the grace of God, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts. Acts 11:23  God, I certainly don't deserve Your Amazing Grace & I could ask "why me?"  Yet because of your infinite Grace through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus Christ, I am able to say "Why not me?"  Thank You.
P.S.  Often when a title comes to mind for a post I have a quick thought as to where it will lead & I jot it down.  As put the Scripture in this post, it was only then that the rest of the post was spoken to my heart & tears came to my eyes.  Through His Spirit He speaks to us if only we take time to listen.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Forecast ????

     Rain, rain, go away. Come again some other day. (But not TOO soon.) That's how most us feel right now, although those who read my posts probably  haven't been greatly affected by the weather like those along the Mississippi & where the tornadoes barreled through.     
     Being married to a farmer may have a bit impact mentally & emotionally as I watch Don try to take it in stride. He's fully aware that he can't change it. We've gotten some things done that would still be on the to-do list if it were not for the rain. Then there's always the possibility of replanting the little that's been planted. Yet some of the farm land in the south that's flooded may never be usable again due to salt water coming in.
     All this can wear on you emotionally, but not for what seems to be the obvious reasons. Just the thought of the homes torn to shreds by the tornadoes & those in the path way of flood waters breaks my heart. We hear it said at these times for those who didn't lose their lives, "We have our lives, we have each other." I have no idea what that feels like.  I think of the few THINGS I would want to grab if I had the time - my Bible & family photos. Yep, that's pretty much it.
     I know in my heart that I can never truly fathom what many people are dealing with.  Matthew 5:45 says this - "for He maketh His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. "  I've walked with the Lord long enough to know not to bother with the idea of "that's not fair." I have learned that if I am willing to accept the mercy & blessings of God then who am I to question what I see as "not right."   I can't explain it, so I do my best to trust Him. BUT I do know one forecast that is for certain - God reigns & the Son shines. At times like these, Christians need to be the ones who let the light of the Son shine through us even when there is rain in our own life.  But if the rain is overwhelming for us, God will send some one to help - Hebrews 13:5 - for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trap Doors

     My devotion time this morning lead me to write this post.  It was titled Optimism 101 from Once a Day Every Day for Women. I love devotionals & at one point was doing 3 a day but it became overwhelming so I returned to "simplify" mode.                                                               The devotion began with  "pessimism & Christianity don't mix as Christians need to be optimistic about life here on earth & life eternal. Sometimes, despite our trust in God, we may fall into the spiritual traps of worry, frustration, anxiety, or sheer exhaustion, and our hearts become heavy."  Immediately this thought came to mind: I feel like I fall through trap doors often, some of my own doing, some not.  Many times it is when physically I'm just not on my game, so to speak.  Other times it is when the events of this world weigh heavy on my heart & I feel helpless to do much about it.
     The next thought in the devotion was this: "What's needed is plenty of rest, a large dose of perspective,  God's healing touch, but not necessarily in that order."  That makes so much sense, but I'd like to add one more thing - perseverance. If I've learned anything in my walk with the Lord these many years it is the need for perseverance no matter what.  There are days I just don't feel like it, so I get through that day & start the next one & I keep doing that until I'm back on track.
     I believe the reason we, as Christians, can persevere is because of Hope. We know that this life is not all there is but He has things for us to do while we are here. Philippians 4:13 was the Scripture given - I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  And the cartoon which I've always loved says it well. My new motto - Persevere while you are here!!!! 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Struggling

      Usually I try to post every other day but as the title suggests I've been struggling, even with writing a post which I love to do. There isn't anyone who doesn't struggle with something, whether it's small & resolved quickly or overwhelming as if you've been hit by a truck.  Actually, just living our lives is a struggle.  From the very beginning, we have to "struggle" to enter this world, join our family & take our first breath.  Welcome to life on earth.
      As Christians, I often wonder if we may have a greater issue with struggling. In our everyday lives we can be pulled in so many directions, trying to decide between good & best or even best & best choices. Many times I struggle to choose what ministries to support financially and/or with my time. 
     Most of the books I read are for growing in my walk with the Lord.  They often make me feel the need to do things differently & I become overwhelmed - I should be praying like this or that, I should be journaling, I should be ....   Can anyone else relate to this? 
     God is not the author of confusion & I do what I feel lead to do. If God desires, He will let me know there is something else that needs my attention.  BUT He's not asking me to be OVER-COMMITTED because that does no one any good.  It distracts me which is exactly what the devil wants. When you add some thing you usually need to let go of something else.  Put it in His Hands, He will give some one else the desire to take up where you left off.
     I have a "personality trait" that whatever I do it is never enough because I tend to be a Mrs. Fix-it-Fox, as one Bible teacher put it.  I want to make it right for everyone. I've read that if you don't let the butterfly "struggle" to get out of it's cocoon you are NOT doing it any favors.  The only One who has the answers to our struggles is the Lord, but the answers are not always as clear as we would like them to be.
     A few things are clear: do not compare yourself to others, over-commitment is not God's desire for us, ask Him to speak to your heart about choices and then listen (I'm still working on that one).  And one more thing - don't neglect to be in His Word daily for it is there that He speaks most clearly when our hearts are open to what He is saying. 
Psalm 25:9
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.

Psalm 25:12
Who is the man who fears the LORD? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.

Psalm 31:3
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.

Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.

Psalm 37:4,7
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.

I found these verses all together at Encouraging Bible Verses you might want to bookmark it.  Would love to hear your thoughts about struggling.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

King Who?

When I was in high school girls really didn't participate in sports - mainly basketball in gym & that was half court.  I loved football.  Three of my cousins played and my Dad had played semi-pro in South Bend, IN. Our girls played volleyball & some basketball.  I enJOYed watching them & the boys games also. After the girls graduated, we took a hiatus from high school events.  With our oldest grand-daughter turning six, & 4 more following close behind, I figure it will start all over again soon.  Football is still my favorite - mainly college.  I rarely watch anything else, so when Don is flipping channels to watch every game that is on I find something else to do.
     Sometime last year I saw that in 2005 Lebron James had said, "In the next 15 or 20 years, I hope I'll be the richest man in the world. That's one of my goals. I want to be a billionaire."  It has been said that he nicknamed himself "King James" but I don't know that for certain.  There is ONE thing I do know for certain.  There is only One True King and Lebron James is NOT it.  Revelation 9:16 makes it perfectly clear - On His robe and on His thigh He has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Can't Keep a Good Man Down

As much as I love writing posts for this blog, sometimes the lyrics to a song & a video says it much better than I can put into words. I pray you had a Blessed beyond measure Easter.  May we carry it's message each & every day to the lost & the hurtin..  I hope you enJOY this video.  It will get your heart pumping Can't Keep a Good Man Down by Newsong.  (cartoon by Inherit the Mirth)

He said goodbye to the angels of heaven
And He came to earth as a common man
He taught us how we could love one another
There was healing in His hands
There were those who believed and followed Him
And there were those who wanted Him dead
They thought the grave would silence Him forever
But they found out instead


You can close your eyes
You can say it's a lie
You can stick your head in the sand
You can turn away, even try to explain
He was just another man
When they nailed Him to the cross by His hands and feet
and they put Him in the ground
Three days later everybody found out that you can't
No you can't keep a good man down, no
No you can't keep a good man down


I hear you say that it all sounds crazy
It's a good story but it can't be true
How could a man who was dead and buried
Mean a thing to me and you
Here we are two thousand years later
and still the choice is just the same
You can say that you don't believe it
But it doesn't change a thing


You can close your eyes
You can say it's a lie
You can stick your head in the sand
You can turn away, even try to explain
He was just another man
When they nailed Him to the cross by His hands and feet
and they put Him in the ground
Three days later everybody found out that you can't
No you can't keep a good man down, no
No you can't keep a good man down


I can take you to the hill where they hung Him on the cross
I can take you to the empty tomb
I can tell you He's alive 'cause He lives in me
But the rest is up to you


You can close your eyes
You can say it's a lie
You can stick your head in the sand
You can turn away, even try to explain
He was just another man
When they nailed Him to the cross by His hands and feet
and they put Him in the ground
Three days later everybody found out that you can't
No you can't keep a good man down, no
No you can't keep a good man down