Saturday, December 29, 2012

JESUS CALLING

Last night as I lay in my bed trying to get to sleep I began to talk to God.  Tears of remorse for my sins fell onto my pillow as I repented and asked for His forgiveness, which I certainly don't deserve. At last I said to Him, "Whatever it takes, Father, I am Yours to do it and go through it. I will do whatever You need me to do. I will listen to You and obey whatever you ask me to do."

This ended up being a one-way conversation as God had nothing to say to me, and soon I was asleep.

This morning I was excited to open my brand new Jesus Calling devotional. I hadn't gotten to today's page yet when I glanced at the first sentence of another page I saw, "My plan for your life is unfolding before you." Tears filled my eyes as I clearly heard God's voice. "Listen up!" He was saying. Then I glanced down. "Do not fear your weakness, for it is the stage on which My Power and Glory perform most brilliantly............expect to see miracles---and you will."

Okay. I was desperate to move on to today's page, and this is what it said, "Trust Me with every fiber of your being! What I can accomplish in and through you is proportional to how much you depend on Me. One aspect of this is the degree to which you trust Me in a crisis or major decision. Some people fail miserably here, while others are at their best in tough times. Another aspect is even more telling: the constancy of your trust in Me. People who rely on Me in the midst of adversity may forget about Me when life is flowing smoothly. Difficult times can jolt you into awareness of your need for Me, whereas smooth sailing can lull you into the stupor of self-sufficiency."

He also says, "You may think that no one notices, but the One who is always beside you sees everything----and rejoices. Consistently trusting in Me is vital to flourishing in My Presence."

I was crying so hard I could hardly read. This was His answer to me. He will do what I asked, and I must watch and trust Him, and I must expect miracles, even at this senior stage of my life. He really has so much more to do in me.

This devotional was taken from Psalm 40:4, 56:3-4, Psalm 62:8, and Isaiah 26: 3-4. Praise His Holy name!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Sad Day

I don't really feel like writing this today, but I think I must while my thoughts are fresh. I hope that in time I will see the error of my thinking and will be able to write something more positive.  I am a positive person, seldom negative.  But I also see and believe in truth, and I am writing today what I believe to be true.

Last night we experienced the reelection of Barack Obama.  I am shattered.  That's really the only way I can think to describe it.  Is it mentally, spiritually?  I can't answer.  I think my daughter used the correct word when she said "lament".  Yes. I am lamenting what this means for my children, my grandchildren and their children.  This means, in my estimation, they will face some devastating repercussions in future.  And, after writing this, I can write no more.


Alone

Lonliness is not something I feel often.  I've learned over the years how to be alone, and that I can be comfortable with it.  In fact, most of the time I enjoy being alone.  It's easier if you are a selfish person, liking to have your own way, not wanting to have to bow to others' wishes.  I was brought up alone, so I started my life having my own way except when out with my playmates and friends.  I had no problem sharing with and submitting to them .

But today I am feeling it; very lonely and alone.  I am retired, my husband still works, and my only companions are my four best friends, my dogs.  They require little and give to me so much love that I am happy to submit to their occasional whims. 

Today I miss my parents, especially my mom.  I just passed the anniversary of their deaths, and it is approaching Christmas.  I don't go through this every year, but this year, today, I can hardly stop the tears. Today I am feeling very alone.

I am quite good at feeling sorry for myself.  It goes along nicely with being selfish.

I'll get over it, and rather quickly, to tell the truth.  Right now, I must enjoy my lonliness.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

How Much Do You Want To Pay?

As i sit here considering "cheap grace" I had to chuckle as I remembered (as i do often) one of the best commercials ever to be made for TV.  This was an STP commercial when my oldest was born, so it's about 45 years ago.  The customer is talking to the mechanic, and he asks if he really NEEDS to add the STP to his tank.  The mechanic shrugs and concedes that, no, he doesn't HAVE to, but the STP isn't that expensive to add. So, the guy has a choice, and he informs the customer, "Pay me now, or pay me later."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Speak Wisely

I am reading my Sunday notes, and thinking about a guy back in the 80s who would stand on the street corners at Northeast High School with a sign and yell at the kids that they were going to hell because they weren't saved, and they needed Jesus.  I know of at least two young men who laughed at him, and they wanted nothing to do with that kind of Jesus.  I shudder to think of how many, not only teens but adults, were, and perhaps still are, repulsed by that behavior and others' like it over the years.   Jesus took the time to know people and speak with love and patience to them. God's will can be thwarted if/when we speak unwisely.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

He Amazes Me!

Why should I be amazed by a God Who has done such mighty things?  He has created a universe, the heavens, the stars and the planets, earth, my world, me, and the amazing creations around me that I take for granted every day.  And yet, He still amazes me!  Why can't I get it through this brain that He can do anything; will do everything; has done everything?  Yet, He still amazes me.  Do I need more faith?  Of course, I do.  Do I need more of Him?  Always and forever, I do!  Today I can't get enough of Him.  Oh Father, my Love and Inspiration, my Life, help me to be totally engulfed with this overwhelming appetite to be endwelled with Your Spirit and love; to know You better and better always! Amen!

Worry and Wait

I walked into the hallway from my doctor's office as another woman turned the corner from the Imaging Center next door.  We naturally fell into step and she pushed the down button at the elevator.  We began that small talk that strangers use to break the uncomfortable silence.  Though, I don't think either of us was uncomfortable.  We had been set up for this moment, but we didn't know it. 

"Good morning." "It's a beautiful day." "Not too hot yet." And as the elevator descended the conversation got a little more personal just because we both could see that we were both open to it. 

She heaved a heavy sigh and softly said, "Well.  That part's over.  Now all I have to do is worry and wait."  And that statement made me want to pull her close and hold her as tight as I possibly could.  Instead, I said, "You just came out of the Imaging Center.  It must not have been routine." 

"I had an EKG done, and now we wait to see the outcome."

"Only for a couple of days, " I ventured a guess.  "I don't like waiting a long time either, so I'll pray that you'll know soon."

"Well it's all in God's hands, isn't it?" she was cautious, but I could see that my comment about praying had opened a door.

We left the building and my time was running out as we started toward our cars.  We would part company soon, so I needed to say what she needed to hear, and God came through on the spot.  No waiting for Him this time.

"Psalm 56:3," my mouth spurted.  "'When I am afraid I will put my trust in You.' Psalm 56:3.  Don't forget it."

She smiled at me and I could see the encouragement and delight in her eyes as she saw the hope that came with these words.

"Psalm 56:3."  She was writing it down in her memory notebook.  "I'll look it up as soon as I get home and write it down, thank you so much!"

"I take that verse with me whenever I go into surgery," I told her. "It never fails to calm me and focus on Him rather than me.  God will bless you."

With that, we both went our separate ways to supposedly never meet again in this life.  I hope to meet her again in the next.  We didn't touch hands, we didn't hug as I would have liked.  She turned away smiling with the encouragement that God had given her, and I turned away smiling with the super blessing that God had chosen me to receive by sharing His wonderful Word.




Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Telling On Myself

Fun in the '60s
I'm always preaching to members of my family about speaking clearly and distinctly because I have begun to lose some of that wonderful gift that God gives most of us, the blessed sense of hearing. I haven't reached the hearing-aid stage, but that sense has diminished somewhat, and I am very sensitive about not being able to hear as clearly as I have in the past. I have great empathy for those who cannot hear at all.

I wandered in my mind this morning to two separate occasions from long ago when I had misunderstood certain phrases or titles because I hadn't heard it spoken clearly or perhaps I just wasn't listening. I was a much younger girl then.

When Richard Nixon was president of the U.S. we often heard about his home estate in California.  One day at work my friends were talking about it. I heard it mentioned as I approached them.  "Sam Clemente," I echoed what I had heard them say.  "I have heard of him somewhere. Where do I know that name from?"  They all laughed and answered that they were speaking of the President's estate, San Clemente.  "Oh, yeah.  I knew I'd heard that before."  Truly, I needed to pay closer attention to the newscasts.

The first time I made such an error I was ten years younger, and at least I didn't have to face my embarrassment immediately.  It has given my own children much laughter whenever they recall my telling of the story.  I understand, because in my mind it is funny now.

It was circa 1966, the years of much partying and dancing and enjoying our youth.  We spent most of our Friday or Saturday nights going to a small town night club/dive to drink and dance to live music played by upstart local bands. Some of those bands went on to record some pretty good music, and a couple of them became mid-western legends and played together for many years. The bands played the popular music of the day while we danced the nights away.

One night, as was often done, I approached the band during  a pause between songs and asked them to play one of my favorite songs of the day.  I yelled as loud as I could to call out to them over the noise of the crowd even though I was no farther than four feet from them. "Will you please play State Trooper?"  They looked at one another then looked at me with questioning eyes. "What?" one of them called to me.  "STATE TROOPER!!!" I screamed it as loud as I could, and still they just stared at me with blank expressions.  I made my request one more time, but all they could answer was that they didn't know the song and had never heard of it.

I was pretty miffed by that time.  I had heard this band play many times, and had heard them play this song.   Why weren't they understanding me?

I have to admit that it was a few years before I finally realized why my request had fallen on deaf ears.  And I am so thankful to this day that the guys in that band had no clue as to what song I was requesting.  At least, I hope they never figured it out.  And I'm glad I didn't mention it to the group I was with, so they didn't realize my error.  They certainly would have gotten a good laugh.  You see the musical group that made this song popular was The Beatles, and the song that I loved to hear the band play was "Day Tripper."

https://www.google.com/#q=day+tripper

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A No-brainer?

Reading through the story of the prodigal son this morning God reminded me that He has given us the freedom to choose Him or not. While the son was in the distant country his father never went after him. The father could have gone to bring him home, but it wouldn't have changed the son. The son had to come to a decision; the decision to continue to live in squallor and pain away from his home, or to go home, repent, and be with his father and family. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn't it? Yet man continually thinks he can live without the Father.


What a blessing to have a wayward child return to the graces of the family!  But even more of a blessing is the child who was true and faithful and never left.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Taking A Moment To Smile

"Good Morning!" I smiled broadly at the teenage girl taking my money at the McDonald's drive-thru window. She glanced briefly at me and said "good morning" without a trace of emotion. I kept smiling. "Is it?" I asked her. "Is it a good morning for you?" Finally she smiled and turned to look at me. "Yes. It's ok." Her countenance had brightened a little as she realized that I truly cared about her feelings. I suppose she is use to people passing by her window without a thought for her. Some speak to her, but then pass on quickly. She must see no reason to put forth any effort in engaging in any sort of exchange with them. Like a little robot she tells them what they owe, they pay her, and she says, "Have a good day." In her head she's thinking, "This is a recording."


I had her attention now, and I decided that with no one in line behind me I would try to let her know she meant something to me.


"It's a beautiful day, and you have a great place at your job to enjoy it by standing here at your window. Have you been busy this morning?"


Her smile continued as she began to tell me that she had been busy and that she really enjoyed her job, that she worked with a lot of nice people. Our conversation was less than a minute, and then I moved on.


"I sure hope you enjoy your day." I quipped. "See ya later." And off I drove.


As I headed down the road to meet with some friends I had a smile in my heart. It wasn't much, no big deal, but because I took the time to stop for less than one minute this young lady has reminded herself that she likes her job, she has something to smile about, she has good friends at work, and someone stopped to say "Hi" to her. I imagine it was just a little break in her monotonous morning. But, with the nudge of the Holy Spirit, I started it. That really felt good.


The overwhelming gratefulness that washed over me was so fulfilling. So often I lament the fact of being too old and too infirm; too old and too infirm to get a job. I am in the Social Security days of my life. I've been out there in the work force, but it's now time to sit back, and I wish I could go back. But today I realize that if I were working 8 to 5 again I wouldn't be out here spending time with friends, time to lead a Bible Study for those who haven't heard His Word and are so much less fortunate than I, to blog the stories of my childhood for my grandchildren, or to stop and say hello and give a smile to a teenage girl who needs a lift. No matter where I am in my life I have much to do for the glory of Christ. Right up until my very last breath I will honor Him with my best.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My Friend Belinda



                                         MOTHER THERESA LIVES ON

                                                                      Part One


God has put a most wonderful woman in my life. Allow me to introduce to you Belinda Parks, a mother of two boys, married to Will, a woman who yearns after God's own heart. Belinda has devotedly given her life to a ministry that God has called her for almost twenty years, a ministry to a people that she has come in contact with by choice and perseverance. She goes looking for them with love and determination. She has never waited for them to come to her.
I doubt that Belinda knows the meaning of wait. She is a fireball that never seems to find a place to stop burning, and I have witnessed over and over how her heart burns and aches with love for the people of Atlanta that have little, who struggle day to day for the needs and necessities of daily life. She reaches out to a people who have made wrong choices in their lives, or are victims of others' wrong choices. She finds a people who many of us never see, never touch, in fact, who are invisable to most of us because we rush through our padded lives thinking only of ourselves or our own. And if we did come in contact with them most of us turn our heads and pretent not to see. We are loathe to touch them, to smell them, and our hearts have been hardened by our selfish and prejudiced thoughts that are usually lies we tell ourselves so that we don't have to go near them. We are afraid of them. These are thoughts that almost never cross Belinda's mind because she sees them with the eyes of God, merciful, loving, as brothers and sisters, and most needy of His Word and forgiveness.

I heard my call from God one morning in worship after pastor had mentioned Belinda's need for helpers in her ministry. I had no clue as to what I could offer. I had been ill for years, so I was weak and out of shape physically. But, in my mind I knew that God's workers always need prayer and encouragement, and I knew that was something that I could do. God would do the rest.

I spoke with Belinda after the service and told her that I was willing to help, to pray, to make phone calls, whatever she thought I could do. Her response to me within weeks was to ask for my teaching skills on Wednesdays at one of the women's groups. I was excited that I could give this offering to them, and that I would get to know these women, enjoy watching their growth in God, and helping in ways that I never thought I would ever get to be a part of. I was going to get to do something I had always wanted to do, reach some that were less fortunate than I, bring them God's Word, and just love them. I was most thrilled that God chose to use me just when I had begun to think that I was beyond that now, too old, too infirm. He chose to use me! I had no clue that God was planning to not only use me but to change my life and even my basic beliefs by being with a most unbelievable woman,  Belinda Parks.

God has begun a work in me, to change me. When I prayed for God to make me a more loving person way back in 2009, He began preparing me little by little, by bringing verses to my attention, softening my heart in areas, and bringing me to a place where I knew even a change in churches was necessary for my spiritual growth. That change brought me to my meeting with a new family of worshippers, a new pastor who spoke to my heart in new ways, and then Belinda, the most loving woman I believe I have ever met. God is just so exciting!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

In My Memory, But Not In My Heart

There is an old adage that "Time heals all wounds", but I believe that a better, more accurately adage would be, "God heals all wounds".  I have experienced that time heals, or eases, all scars from the wounds.

I am pondering this morning how the process of time has lessened the pain of the many years of living in the world of sin since I have been healed by the saving blood of Jesus Christ.  I can remember how, in the beginning of my walk with Him, the pain was so intense that I could hardly control my remorse. Facing the despicable in the pure light of righteousness was overwhelming for me, and it took years to come to a place of no longer identifying with that despicable person?

During these twenty-seven years of being a born again believer I have been taught to leave the old person, put on the new person, and to forget that which I have left behind.  These were Paul's direct instructions to the Philippians in chapter 3, verse 13, "...one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,".  But how does one forget thirty-seven years of one's life? And, due to the constant upheavals and destruction and pain, how does one forget such memorable years?

In the words of a very famous person I guess I have come to the conclusion that it is all in how you interpret the word "forget".  I will never, and I cannot forget what my past behavior was.  Nor do I believe that God would have me to forget.  Rather, I believe His instructions to me have been very clear that I am to move forward in His ways and by His Word, Jesus being my example of my goal and for "the prize of the upward call of God in Jesus Christ". Phil. 3:14.  And all the while He reminds me to never forget what He has saved me from, and I believe that is for two reasons.  Number one is that it keeps me humble, knowing that without Him I am less than nothing.  Number two is for having a reference point to help others who I see walking on the same path that I walked at one time.  God has used me over the years to relate to people in need. 

After so many years of walking in the midst of other Christians, living in a world away from most of the temptations of life, and now being of retirement age when most people settle down and live the quiet life I no longer fit the stereotype of one you would search out if you are living in a world of sin and need to find a person who understands. When I meet with those who have stories similar to mine and that have not yet discovered the victory that Christ provides it is exciting for me to see the looks of astonishment on faces, and then see the understanding of what Christ can do for them.  Christ changes people.  I am not the same person that I was, and I don't look like the same person. My countenance is different.  She doesn't exist anymore, but I will never forget so that I can show the way.

I do not mean to say that I have arrived.  I have a long way to go yet, and I am learning and growing every day.  But I am so completely a different being that I think I could easily be mistaken for one who has always been in church, so to speak, without experiences of the world.  Oh, how I envy those Christians sometimes.  But, I have a different job than they do, and I am called to share what I can to help the lost.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

That "F" Word!

You know the "F" word I'm talking about. As a young person I used this word often, and I felt very good and proud of myself for having the freedom, the hutzpah (if you will), the bravado to say it. My language was peppered with words unacceptable to society, and that's what I loved about it.

Today I realize that it really isn't the words that are unacceptable, it is the attitude that inspires these words. The attitude is that of disrespect for anything that you don't like. It is an attitude saying, "I don't like you." "I don't like that." "I am going to shock you." "I want you to see me." "I want to stand out." "I want attention." "I want to be anything that you don't like." I could go on and on, but the main idea is using language that shocks or is unacceptable means that other people don't matter, it's all about you.

This is just another way of rebelling against the norm, and when this becomes the norm the new generation will think of something new that will shock you. The secret to getting along in this world and keeping peace that we all cry out for is to be respectful of others. This doesn't mean tolerance. Too much tolerance leads to too much bad happening in the world.

I ask you, respectfully, to be respectful. Think of and be sensitive to others and their beliefs or what they are accustomed to. If you admit the truth, that's probably exactly what you want in return. But majority says, clean it up, care about others. Be respectful.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Encouraging Each Other

So often I get the feeling that a lot of Christians I have been with are very timid about expressing their deep feelings for God. They are very comfortable with being known as a Christian, an active member of a church, able to quote scripture. But, ask some to testify to how they feel and they are very timid and slow to jump up and open their hearts. "Ask me what I know, but don't ask me what I feel."

Standing outside the sanctuary of worship we open our hearts readily and enthusiastically to one another on many other subjects. "Did you see that purse that Jane was carrying? I LOVE that purse!" "Hey, George! Watch that new running back on our team. I LOVE to watch him dart through the openings those great linemen give him!" It's so easy to express our love for the outside things in life. Where is our passion for the only One thing in our lives that counts for anything? What causes our reluctance to verbalize our deep love for Him?

There are many reasons that this can happen. Some are just naturally shy, not ever comfortable with public expression of love. Some find it difficult to put into words the depth and extent of their faith. Some are afraid, afraid of what others will think of them, afraid they will appear to be attention grabbing, afraid to be seen as foolish and, heaven forbid, emotional. Perhaps they've experienced others being very quick to demonstrate and voice their thoughts and feelings, and they have thought these things about them.

God has made each of us uniquely. We each have our own personality that dictates to us how we respond to life. You are extroverted. I am introverted. He is stoic. She is an emotional cripple! All of us wanting to be like the other. Some of us thanking the Father that they are not like me. But, it seems to me that when we are speaking of our Creator, our Savior, or our Comforter that we should be so expressive as to humble ourselves prostrate on the floor, in the mud, as low as we can get to tell and show the world and our brothers and sisters in Christ how deeply and passionately we adore Him. Jesus made Himself "nothing" the bible says, and died a reprobate's death on the cross for ME, for YOU! How can I hold back anything from Him?


In a bible study group last night I was brought to tears by a woman in our midst. She is naturally a quiet and reserved lady. Her observations to us can sometimes be few, and when she does speak her words can be measured, reserved and quiet. But, last night when she spoke of the Holy Spirit a passion came into her voice and onto her face that surprised and delighted me. Speaking of the Holy Spirit she said forcefully, "I LONG for the Holy Spirit! I LOVE the Holy Spirit so much. I am drawn to Him, and I FEEL His presence!" About Jesus she impressed upon us, "Jesus is so real to me. And the Holy Spirit is so real to me!"

Such simple words spoken in love and devotion gripped my heart. These are words that I could echo, but I hadn't. And hearing them from her was a blessing to me that is just unspeakable. Her words filled me with His love, His presence, and reminded me that I am not alone in this wicked world. I have brothers and sisters who feel just like I feel about Him. I have this wonderful soul mate sitting with me, hardly able to express the depth of her love, but doing it anyway, with halting, tearful words.

One woman I know was challenged on her faith and simply quoted, "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the bible tells me so." Another man stood up in church one night, a very distinguished and composed man, and with tears on his face simply said, "Jesus paid it all."

Let us all remember that we who love God are all challenged in so many ways to open ourselves up and spill out all that we can to show Him our gratitude and praise. Each word we speak, as simple as they must be to Him is music to His ears, makes God want to smile and sing over us. And, each time you speak a word of worship and praise, another brother or sister is reminding themselves of their own feelings and are encouraged, not only to speak, but to strive to draw closer and to be more like Christ. We owe each other the blessing of sharing Him with one another.