Friday, January 12, 2018

2018!

My husband celebrated the new year with the flu, in an attempt to outdo him, I celebrated the new year with pneumonia. We gaze adoringly at one another over Kleenex boxes. January is almost to the 1/2 way point and I am behind "schedule" already! My Christmas decorations are not boxed up and in the closet, items to donate to Salvation Army are not boxed up and ready to go, and I am several days behind in a reading through the Bible in 90 days plan. However...I am ahead in the weight loss category! (There is always a bright side.)

Time passes so quickly, we do not have the luxury of wasting it, yet I do. That is a habit I hope to break this year. Another habit I want to break is online shopping for items which are available in my area. All those cardboard boxes in our landfills! For years we wanted stores in our area, they open 5 minutes away, we buy online. Our local stores employ local people, online giants do not employ people from my community. I have a few more goals, but due to the fog of pneumonia, I have no idea what they are at the moment. I was so ill I did not drink coffee for a week. If you know me in real life, you know how huge that is.

I hope I live 2018 by loving all people.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’  But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.






Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Bye Bye 2017

2017 you were a long hard year, filled with death and destruction. Texas was the recipient of a hurricane which devasted a wide swath of the State and when the winds died down, the rain seemed never-ending. Then a few weeks later - a horrifying church shooting in Sutherland Springs.

Recovery from the hurricane continues, many are still in tents and RVs, many are living in gutted homes, I am sure there are a huge # of FEMA trailers along Harvey's path as well. The people of Sutherland Springs continue to recover. Please continue to pray for them as well as Harvey victims. 

I noticed out of town news reporters were astounded by the love demonstrated during Harvey as ordinary citizens rescued people who needed rescue. We had little looting compared to other locations ravaged by hurricanes. People were kind and loving, taking strangers into their homes for the night, for a week, for 3 months. 

Generous Facebook friends sent money, Walmart gift cards, and coats to be distributed among the underserved in my area whose homes flooded. Recently people have asked what do people in your area still need. My answer:

Coats/Jackets/Sweater
Gift Cards to Lowes/Home Depot/Walmart/Target/Kroger
Blankets
Pillows
Sheets
Towels

If you want to send any of these items or checks (with flood relief on the memo line)
please send to: 

Living Stones Church
503-D Houston Street
Rosenberg, TX 77471

Father Frankie Rodriquez and Friends of North Rosenberg will see donations are delivered to families in need immediately.

As hard as 2017 was, it was also beautiful. Love conquered evil, grief, and tragedy. We lived out the Gospel. The words of Matthew 25 were a big part of life down here.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;  was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
As we say goodbye 2017, I am filled with joy and hope. I pray we continue to live out the Gospel in 2018, more and more each day, seeing people the way the Lord sees us, speaking words the Lord would speak - words of love and grace not words of hate and judgment. I pray we always remember the least of these.






Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve 2017

Beautiful crisp morning, fire in the fireplace, Bible in one hand, coffee in the other.

As I settled in to read the last few chapters of Deut. I totally lost focus and began to think about what needs cleaning and the flowers I want to plant this afternoon. And now I am blogging...

Come Holy Spirit, settle my mind, help me focus, show me what I need to ponder and keep as I read Scripture today.

To all of you:

Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noel, Frohe Weihnachten

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.  Now when they had seen Him, they made widely[d] known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Perfectionism

Every once in a while I feel perfectionism trying to rear its ugly head in my life. I think it developed a firm place in my life when I was a ballet dancer, after all, I was striving for perfection. There was always someone better than me and always someone coming up behind me who had the potential to surpass me.

In my late 20's it finally dawned on me, perfectionism should not be a part of my life especially after I re-established my relationship and walk with God.

Something about decorating and planning a meal for a few family members seems to give the thing license to attempt to make an appearance. Christmas Cards sitting unaddressed on the kitchen table. Maybe next year. (I've let go of something!) Finally got the outdoor lights up and working yesterday.

When I focus on getting everything just right, perfect wrapping, perfectly baked cookies and treats, my house so clean you could eat off the floor, every ornament placed perfectly on the tree...where is Jesus in all this?

Why do I celebrate Christmas? Is it to admire my Christmas Tree with the perfectly placed ornaments? If it is...I have a problem bigger than perfectionism!

Ladies, take time to ponder the birth of our Savior, take time to read the Nativity passages in the Bible, take time to worship Him.

Worse case scenario, you buy cookies at the store, you skip the Christmas Cards this year, you serve a frozen pizza. Your friends and family won't care. They want to spend time with a relaxed you and so does Jesus.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Salvation Army

Today the Salvation Army is coming to pick up part of our surplus to requirement as my English godson likes to say. I did not finish going through my books, I will schedule another pickup in January. How have we accumulated so much stuff!?!?!? I am donating fake plants, Christmas ornaments, and decorations, slipcovers, throws, comforter sets, throw pillows, curtains, Christmas lights, fall decor, paintings, and 15-20 books. I donated clothes earlier in the year...getting rid of the excess seems to be a process with me instead of a singular event. Oh well, as long as it completed soon.

I said all that not to attract attention to my "good" deed but to say many of us have so much excess in our physical lives - too many possessions we no longer use/see, we walk right by them as well as the excess in our spiritual lives because we have not taken it to the Lord for 1 reason or another and left it at the foot of the Cross.

When we ignore sin, stuff it down, or decide in our case God understands and there is no reason to confess it to Him and repent, we open the door wide for our lives to fall apart physically, mentally, and or spiritually.

I had a friend I'll call Mary, she decided she would not forgive a wrong, over time she twisted Scripture to uphold her position, our pastor counseled with her, her doctor sent her to a psychiatrist to no avail. Over the course of 3 to 4 years, I watched this vibrant woman become frail, tremble all her waking moments, and end up in a wheelchair. It was horrendous for her family and friends. Her decision not to forgive the offense devastated her spiritual life, her mental capacity, and her physical well being. Is this an extreme example? I don't think so.

What caused her to decide not to forgive? Pride? Self-righteousness? Hurt/Anger? I do not know.

The Bible is clear about the matter of forgiveness.

Matthew 6:13-15

And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

Matthew 18:21-30

Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”
 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.  Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made.  The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’  Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt.
 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’  So his fellow servant fell down at his feet[a] and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.  So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.  Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.  “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”