Sunday, December 25, 2016

This Is Christmas

It was a nice enough Christmas eve worship. As the pastor said, it's not your grandparents' Christmas carols. Well, it was the same words, but the praise team had beefed it up a bit, and with the drums and bass guitar, it was different, but good. The message was pure gospel. The room was full of church members and visitors looking for a Christmas eve experience. Communion was taken. 


But when the lights went down, and we encircled the room with our candles lit, as we always do on Christmas eve, it was a reminder of what being a child of Christ means. Tt's a reminder that Christmas is about Jesus, and He came to earth to light up the world from the darkness of sin. nd the candles in our hands remind us that we are here to share Him with those who don't know. That's when the whole service comes together, and it's the very best part. We're the family of God, and we light the world with His love. And that's what Christmas is all about.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

And the Loser Is!

It is a very sad day today. No matter who wins the election, the people of the United States have lost. We've lost integrity, patriotism, honor and dignity. We will have as president either a womanizing and uncouth scoundrel or a lying, unethical political whore who belongs behind bars with many of her cronies. We all lose, and it's the peoples' fault. No one to blame but ourselves. May God the Father protect us from the enemy within.

I Vote To Ban Whisker Burns

Some sports teams don't shave until a certain goal has been reached, such as a championship or a league game, maybe even a win over their dreaded rival. So, I'm wondering if this trend of men not shaving and looking like they just stepped off skid row is due to a united effort to win a common objective. For instance, I was thinking, wouldn't it be interesting if they have said to one another in some magical way, "Let's all grow our beards just long enough to shred the ladies' faces to a crimson mass of raw meat, and then we'll all shave after the election (not knowing, or caring, what their choice would be).


So, today, in addition to a decision for president, I'm dreaming of fresh faced gentlemen with faces smooth and clean and soft as a baby's butt. That's not too much for an old gal to wish for is it? I know I shouldn't care what these young, and not so young bucks do, but I'm tired of seeing men who look like they should be pushing a grocery cart full of old clothes and blankets through the inner-city alleys.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Precious Friendships


There are some things in this life to which we give too much attention, too much thought, and for which we pay too much. Automobile comes to mind. Some park their cars at the extreme end of a parking lot to protect it. How I wish we would be as protective to the things in life that are truly important. A monetary investment is important, but people in our lives are so much more dear and precious to us.

I have, once again, had that very fact thrust in my face. When it comes to the relationships in my life, I am especially sensitive, tender, and passionately loyal. In this case, the relationships being my friends, and how I hate change or any circumstance that causes a separation of sorts between us. Often in my long lifetime I have experienced separation from good friends for various reasons, and each time it has a devastating effect on me. I have noticed that not all people have the same reactions, and I wonder why it is that it affects me so. This is a quandry that I am sure will never be answered.

I don't like moving. I haven't moved often in my life, compared to some, but I have moved enough to know I don't like it. I hate leaving my dear friends, sometimes knowing that it's probable I  will never see them again. I lived fifty years in one vacinity before moving away to another state. Saying goodbye to my friends hurt so badly I could hardly bear it. Five years later we moved to another state, leaving good friends behind. 

This morning I became quite melancholy, and a bit depressed over some things that will separate friends from me in a less dramatic way, but it will be a change that keeps us from seeing each other as often. I don't like that. I can handle change. What I find hard to handle is separation from friends, permanently or temporarily.

The worst sort of separation between friends is the kind that comes from disagreements and difference of opinions. I loathe this most of all, and take great care to avoid these situations, though they will come even when you think all is well.


I know that I am too sensitive about some things. But my friendships are precious to me. I love to spend time with them and get to know about their lives. I love to hear their stories, where they've come from, and learn what they believe. These people are where I want to invest my time and my emotions, and to be torn away from that investment is almost intolerable for me. Once you are considered my friend, you will always be considered as such. My precious friends may not be close, but they will always be my friend.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Why Me?




She came to a complete stop at the light and began to wait patiently for it to change. Immediately she noticed a strange sound, a sound that came from the outside of her car. 

“Oh, no.” she moaned. “Now what is wrong with my car?” She rolled down the window of her car to hear it more clearly, then realized that the noise was coming from the car sitting next to her. 

“Thank God, it’s their car, not mine.” Instantly, she was struck with the thought, “Why would I wish bad things to happen to someone else rather than me? What makes me so special that bad things shouldn’t happen to me?” 

She repented on the spot as the light turned green, and, as she pulled away, she said a prayer for the person in the other car.* 


(True story from my friend, Linda.)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bouncing

I have this dog. She's just the sweetest dog you could ever ask for. She is so devoted to me, and when I'm away from home for days at a time she tends to get moody. Her name is Tinker, but I misnamed her. I should have called her Odie. If you remember the bouncy dog, Odie from the cartoon strip Garfield, then you'll understand that Tinker has a lot of energy. She bounces everywhere, runs fast as a greyhound, though she's a small Rat Terrier, and is almost uncontainable. She can walk backwards or sideways across a large room, and she can spin continually for minutes. She's a precious lover, but there's one thing Tinker doesn't like, and that is to be held which takes her out of control of her situation.

I have this bed. Most people would have to have a step to help them into the bed, it's that high. Lately, Tinker has been struggling to jump high enough to get onto the bed. She's almost thirteen years old. She still has her spryness, but she's not comfortable with her jump anymore, and she will bounce and bounce, but not trust her legs enough to take her up. So, I watch her bounce and bounce, her head appearing like a heartbeat at the end of my bed, but no body comes with it. Bounce, bounce, bounce.

Periodically I will stop, call her to my side of the bed and offer to lift her up, but she always refuses. She even comes to me on her own, but when I reach down to lift her, she runs away. Tinker needs to do this on her own, just as she has always done. But she can't. She needs help. And she won't take it. Bounce, bounce, bounce. She wants me, she wants to be with me, but not enough to give up and let me help her. Tinker's independence keeps her from the happiness of being near to the one who loves her so much.

And there I was, bouncing. But I'm so glad I got over being like Tinker. I bounced and bounced until I was almost 40 years old. I knew God and Jesus were up there, calling to me, watching for me, and I wanted to be with Him. I talked about Him. I had read a lot about Him. I knew a lot of the things He had said in the book. But, if I let Him pick me up, I wouldn't have control anymore. I wouldn't be able to do the things I thought I wanted to do, and that wasn't acceptable to me. Bounce, bounce, bounce. I saw Him there everytime my head popped up. And He would reach down to lift me up, and I would run away, as fast as I could. I knew He was there, but I wouldn't let Him have me.

Lucifer was kicked out of God's kingdom for being so self-centered and independent. He wanted to be in charge, like God, and God called that "sin" and sent him and his groupies packing. But Lucifer was an angel, a heavenly being, and not nearly as dear to the Father as we are. God loves us, and tolerates us for much longer than we deserve, and He waits patiently and devotedly for us to stop bouncing, and let Him lift us up to rescue us from those vain attempts to save ourselves.

Poor Tinker. My sweet little dog chooses to stay separate from me. She just goes on bouncing, needlessly, stubbornly, and in vain.

Friday, May 6, 2016

It's 3 O'clock On a Georgia Afternoon

As I sit peacefully at the kitchen table by the open back door, the dogs are all sleeping, Ron is working, and the strong wind is whistling as it moves rapidly through the woods in the back of this north Georgia home. It reminds me of a summer afternoon in the country in Nebraska. Yes. It's that windy. There's a dog yipping far away, bored with his leash, no doubt. Perhaps he's snapping his jaws, trying to catch the wind. The Cardinals are "pipping" as I close my eyes to take it all in. I love days like this.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Very Brave Woman

I saw, in passing, a very brave woman today while at lunch with friends. She came in the side door of the restaurant, and she passed by my table. I didn't bother to look up at her as she passed. I had already seen her come in the door, and, since I didn't know the woman, I had no reason to look again. Some might have, but I had no desire to embarrass her nor cause others to look at her. 

When my husband and I left, our car was parked just outside the front door of the restaurant, and there, sitting at the table by the window, the same brave woman sat with her family and looked to be enjoying their lunch. I said to my husband before we drove away, "There's a very brave woman sitting by that window; now don't stare. I saw her come into the place, and I watched as her teenage daughter followed her. With every step that the daughter took, she scoured the faces of all the people, almost daring each person to look at her mother." 

My husband had sunglasses on, so he was able to glance through the window at the brave woman who had a very disfigured face. It wasn't possible to tell if it had been a stroke or a bad burn that caused the damage, but, again, that wasn't important enough to me to think about. I was more concerned with how brave she was. She had walked in with her head held just as high as any one's.

You can ask, "Well, what's she going to do, just stay home all the time?" And I would reply, "No. But I can imagine it took time to be able to go out. Then it would still be difficult to not be self-conscious, not be embarrassed when people stared, and you know they do." No. I believe it takes a very brave woman to go out into public with such "imperfections".

What a world we live in! Everywhere we look, women are overwhelmed with advice on how to make yourself into the most beautiful creature. If you have a flaw, there's a makeup product to cover it or make it look smaller. Ask any woman you know. If you can't cover the flaw or make it look smaller, people stare at you. Children stare at you, point at you, ask their mother's about you. Women will tell you they don't care, but that's a lie. We care.

But, if you have a major disfigurement, people stare at you, and then look and stare again. Some people stare, then look away quickly, waiting for you to look away so they can stare again. Some people laugh. Some actually make faces of distaste. They call you "gross". Children stare at you, point at you, laugh at you, some cry out of fright and ask their mothers what's wrong with you.

I admired this woman who was brave and ventured out into life in a manner of which so many women refuse to do; imperfectly. This was a woman who probably realizes the inconsequence, the triviality of being physically imperfect. Sadly, her daughter has yet to understand it, though I believe her main thought was to protect someone she loves so much.

In this world of rude, crass, unkind and insecure people who make fun of those who are physically "different" for one reason or another, an otherwise very beautiful woman must be very, very brave to venture out into this cruel gauntlet of a world.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Not So Easy This Time

Some things in our lives are so easy to confess. They're not too embarrassing, and we know that many have the same faults to confess, so we easily admit them and repent. But, some things in our lives are not so easy. There are dirty little secrets deeply embedded in our hearts that we have no desire for the world to know. Consequently, those dirty little secrets go on and on, infecting our thinking and poisoning our spiritual lives.


I've harbored my dirty little secret for years. Sometimes it makes me so bitter that I refuse to talk to certain people. Anger and resentment build and build, and those feelings not only cause a rift in relationships, but it causes displeasure and heartache for my Lord and Savior. It's sin, and it needs to be uprooted and eliminated. But, at whom am I angry, the person, or God? Good question.


I wrote my first short story when I was about twelve. It was my childish version of The Swiss Family Robinsons. I began writing poetry before that, and verse is still my very favorite to write. But, writing my thoughts comes easily, much more easily than speaking them. Furthermore, I delight in writing. It's a gift that I know my Father has given to me, passed from my mother's side of the family. My grandmother was a published poet. And so, that goal of writing has been in my mind since I was a teenager. But, it's a goal that I may never be allowed to achieve.


So far, there has been an insurmountable obstacle that keeps me from publishing a book myself, and that is because God won't let me. Every time I think of it I hear Him clearly saying, "No." I'm not losing my mind in thinking this, and He's not being mean by saying it. He has reasons, and I know what they are. And, therein lies my secret.


I have an ex-sister-in-law. For many years she and I were very close. We shared many heartaches and happy times, and we also shared a love for Jesus. She told me once that she was jealous of me because I had many friends, and her husband would never allow her to have friends. He was extremely abusive to her, and after thirty years of miserable marriage she finally left him. My sister-in-law is now writing a book about her years of being a battered and abused wife. So, you see, the jealousy tables have turned, and frankly, I'm not handling my feelings as well as she handled hers years ago. I am angry. All my life I wanted to write a book and God won't let me. In my bitterness I reason that she is not a natural writer, as I believe I am, but God is sanctioning her endeavor and forbidding mine. 


Yes. I know full well that kind of thinking is wrong, twisted, injurious and unfair. This is my dirty little secret, and it keeps me from communicating over the miles with her, and I am even uncivil at times. I am sick with shame, but I have not yet repented. I am hoping that this blog will help me to rebuke my sin. She may have suspected something, but I have never told her about these feelings. I pray she will forgive me.


As long as I am unrepentant of this jealousy and bitterness, I know with certainty that I will not have a book published, and maybe not even then. He knows my pride, and He knows what I need and don't need to be spiritually close to Him, and I am willing to comply. But, I haven't reached the place where He wants me to give it all to Him, to release these feelings to Him and lay them at His feet. I hold on to the shirttails of my pride, and I will suffer with that until I have totally released it to Him. And, I must make my peace with her.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Where Did the Real America Go?

My pastor used a term once, entrenched religion, that I really like. It means being so comfortable, so settled in to your worship habits, that you tend to see only the process rather than the Master. This is how the Christians in Laodicea acquired God's wrath because they were "lukewarm" in their faith. If we look about us in America, I believe we will see many churches filled with entrenched religion, and they are risking their spiritual lives.


There are many areas of our lives in which we have become lazy and take so much for granted that we may actually risk losing. My mind started thinking about this after I watched a video this morning of a 7-year-old girl play our National Anthem on her trumpet for a sports crowd. She did an excellent job, and she was duly congratulated for her performance.  But, there is where I saw what was, for me, the problem. The cheers and excitement began before the end of the song and were directed for her, not for our Anthem or our country. We see this continually at our sports events. Our National Anthem has become simply a stage for people to display their talents, or lack thereof. Nothing more. 

I remember as a small child in the 1950s on Saturday nights my parents would watch boxing matches on TV. I would wait so impatiently for that program to start, for at the very beginning they played the National Anthem, and I would stand proudly with my hand over my heart until the end. I guess I've always been a patriot. I'm proud of my country. It bothers me to see a patriotic symbol being used for self-exhibition rather than promoting our beloved United States. And while I'm at it, I will say that I believe the same thing is happening in our churches; using the stage for self-promoting instead of Christ worship.


Little by little the patriotism that used to be so strong has been chipped away to being an embarrassment. Soldiers are booed and disrespected. Government is no longer trusted and admired. American people care little for anything but themselves and their own advancement. And Christians are being sucked into this lie of self first.

All this makes me sad and nostalgic for my early years of admiring the President, trusting my leaders and teachers, actually believing what the bible says, even if it was so difficult to adhere to, and watching the crowds stand reverently in the stands, some with their hands over their hearts, men with their hats in their hands, until the very last note of the National Anthem. And, then seeing a man or woman brush the tear away from their cheek, because they know men and women personally who gave their lives for the freedom to play that song as a proud tribute to the United States of America.


We've lost this solemn love for our homeland, and exchanged it for a worthless three minutes in a spotlight. Consequently, we have nothing at all that we believe is worth protecting and fighting for, and so, we will be destroyed and forgotten when the first army comes to take us. America the proud, it was, and is no more.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Freedom in Jesus Christ




Religion closes your eyes to Truth, and imprisons you in a world of demands. 

Faith in Jesus Christ opens your eyes to the Father, and frees your heart to want to please Him in all you do and say.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

HELP! I'VE BEEN HIT WITH AN UGLY STICK!


It's not an excuse; it's simply a fact of my life. I grew up as an only child, one who had almost everything her own way. There was no one in my home that I had to share with; I learned to share at my friends' houses and at school. I had no one telling me what to do or how to do it except my parents, and they were teaching rather than infringing on my play world. My nature is to be somewhat compliant, to get along. But, my childhood years taught me that there was a line that I could put in place that no one should cross. That line was where my compliant nature ceased to yield, and my 'only child' nature demanded its way.

I have struggled with this 'only child' nature all my life. I am almost 70 years old, and it is still the cause of the most unattractive behavior. It effects attitude, thought process, choices, and lifestyle. I have been considered to be a very congenial, loving and considerate, co-operative being. But, let someone cross that boundary line that I have unconsciously established for my life, and I can become stubborn, difficult, demanding, head-strong, and just simply one of your worst nightmares. That little girl in Shirley's world learned that there are some things that must go my way or I will become the Wicked Witch of the West. It's a knee jerk reaction that I neither contemplate nor scheme. I don't realize it is happening until it is nearly at its end. And, by then, I have alienated almost everyone around me, and, worst of all I have disappointed my heavenly Father. My thoughts and my behavior have been full of sin.

I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121: 1-2

Each of us has that ugly place in our lives that causes us to act contrary to what we know is right. When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord, those ugly places began to be revealed to me in a systematic process to clean them out and make me fit for my eternal home with Him. I'm not there yet, but I keep listening to His leading and learning to lean on His teachings. I cannot do anything alone that would prepare me for His presence. But, if I am growing closer to Him with every breath I take, I will become more like Him.

The ugly sin in my life can be dealt with, and even eradicated, but not without Him. Anything I try to do alone will fail. I've proven that over and over. But, when I call on my Jesus for help, I can be assured that I will succeed. Nothing is too difficult for Him.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Getting Through the Gate

It's amazing to me how you can go through your life knowing that something is wrong, even knowing what it is that's wrong in your life and not do anything about it. Man is a selfish and self-centered being. You may think these descriptions are the same, but I assure you they are different. A selfish man wants everything for himself. A self-centered man thinks only about himself.


Interestingly, I spent years of my life knowing that I belonged in church on Sunday mornings. I knew I needed changes in my life. I even believed that Jesus was the Son of God, but I was unwilling to accept Jesus as my Savior and Lord. To do that would mean that I would have to call Him my Lord. I would have to get off the throne and let Him have His deserved place in my life, and that was something that I simply was unwilling to do. I didn't want to give up being my own god and doing what I wanted to do rather than what He wanted me to do. My selfishness and self-centeredness caused pain and dysfunction in my marriage, in my children's lives, and especially in my own life.





Matthew 7: 13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it."


He had been calling my name for years, but one Saturday morning I didn't turn my way, I turned His way, and I said a prayer of repentance and acceptance. I dropped all the trappings that kept me from entering that narrow gate, and I have spent the rest of my years wondering what on earth took me so long. Walking through life with Jesus has been so much fun; a new surprise and joy every single day. There's no guarantee that all will go well with no problems, no frustrations, and no disappointments. The guarantee is that through all of it He is there with you. He's been through it Himself, so He knows how to help you through.



Today, the only way I get up on His throne is to sit contentedly in His arms and enjoy the love of a Master Who wants nothing more than to shower His love upon me. I don't need rules or laws to keep me in line. I love Jesus so much that my highest ambition is to please Him in everything that I do or say. I want to be transformed into a woman worthy of spending eternity in the kingdom of God.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Know the Difference

There are many quotes by famous people that sound really good, and we take so much of what they say 'to heart'.   Everyone has an opinion, and you know what they say about opinions. Yes. everybody's got one.  But,  the answer to every single question, or problem, or situation is always answered in God's word. We would be able to recognize wise or unwise quotes and opinions if we knew Scripture. 
              

Paul instructs us in Ephesians 5:26 that our spirits are to be washed with the word, just as we wash away the dirt with water from our bodies.

God's word is the only truth there is. God's word is the ONLY answer that works.