Thursday, July 20, 2017

God is in the Details

One night this week, a loved one had a severe emotional meltdown due to Alzheimer's. For a moment, I thought I was going to be punched. There are no words to soothe a person who is in an emotional frenzy caused by this terrible disease. 

After the dust settled, my emotions were high,  I cried, thought sinful thoughts, prayed, more sinful thoughts, more prayer, watched a re-run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and went to bed. I slept well but was tired the next morning. During prayer, I talked to God about my nasty thoughts. I want the mind of Christ, not nasty thoughts about anyone much less the people I love. One of the verses He gave me was Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.


I asked for Him to give me some Scripture to cling to during this diff
icult time. He did. Last night, I went to YouTube to watch a few videos, there in recommendations tucked between ballet videos, classical music, and home tip videos was a gem by Dr. Charles Stanley on controlling our thoughts.

Our Heavenly Father knew exactly what I needed to hear. What a blessing! I e-mailed a few of my closest friends about the situation and included the link. He knows what we need before we ask, but we need to ask anyway. 

My lifelong friend Sandy (met her when I was 3 or so) sent an encouraging letter to me which included the following Scriptures:



“How gracious He will be when you cry for help!  As soon as He hears, He will answer you (Annette).”  Isaiah 30:19

“God has said, “Never will I leave you.”   Hebrews 13:5

“Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all you who are weary & burdened, & I will give you rest…I am gentle & humble in heart, & you will find rest for your souls.”  Matt. 11:28-30

“the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds you.”  Psalm 32:10

“Jesus is my hiding place, He will protect me.”  Pslam 32:7

“God is my help.”  Psalm 54:4

“I love you, O Lord my strength.”  Psalm 18:1

“The Lord will bless you.”  Psalm 116:12

“The Lord your God is with you.  He delights in you, He will quiet you with His love”  Zephaniah 3:17


“for you O Lord have helped me and comforted me.”  Psalm 86:17

Ladies, be encouraged, He knows our struggles, He is faithful, His love endures forever. This is just but a season I am in, this life is short, my real life will begin in heaven one day which is my real home.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Lights, Camera, Action?

I bought a new point and shoot, Sony camera which films video as well. It arrived last night. I skimmed the instructions, inserted the battery and memory card. Took a few pictures using the zoom lens. I need to practice using the various settings to enhance photographs. I need more than practice filming video! The camera has a microphone, I saw it listed in the description, I have not located it on the camera. It would help if I read the instructions thoroughly instead of skimming them.

I think we can treat the Bible the same way. Maybe we are reading it and come to a familiar passage and skim over it with familiarity or perhaps we come to a passage which is a lengthy genealogy, dare I say it, at times I've skipped ahead and ignored the genealogy completely. Maybe we become so familiar with a version of the Bible we miss the nuances and details. The Bible deserves to be read not perused. We are to take it as a letter from home, the holy, living word of God. We are to live it out, not spout quotes from it in a self-righteous, legalistic way to others. The Bible's purpose is not to make us think we have all the answers or feel superior to others. It should transform the way we think, speak, and act. We should reflect Jesus and His love in our thoughts, words, and deeds.

For Bible Study, I tend to use the ESV and or the NIV. I love the Amplified version as well. For reading through the Bible in 90 days or a year, I rotate versions, this year for a 90-day reading early in the year (How is it July, already?!?!?!) I used the New English Translation. I will continue to use it for daily reading this year. You don't have to go out and buy multiple versions of the Bible, there are free versions for download on Kindles and other devices. BibleGateway.com   offers multiple versions online at no charge in numerous languages as well as reading plans.

So if you feel as if you are in a rut, change it up and select a new version of the Bible. Stay in the Word and remember Heaven is our real home.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Temptation

Have you ever decided you are not going to do something and within the blink of an eye you are tempted to do it? 

I will use a silly example, I decided I am not buying any makeup unless it is a product to replace something I used to the last drop or speck, and then I see a product from Bare Minerals called Invisible Glow Powder in Fair to Light. Do I need it? No. Do I want it? Yes. Have I been tempted to drive over to the local Ulta or swing by Sephora on the way to Houston to purchase it? Yes. Have I? Not so far.

We make up our minds (whether the matter is trivial or serious) and very quickly in most cases, we are tempted to reverse our decision. We try to rely on willpower. Willpower won't cut it. Neither will pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps or the stiff upper lip thing. That is all about us, not about the Lord and His strength. 

He strengthens us, all we need to do is pray. Paul makes it so clear to us in Philippians 4:5-7 (ESV):

 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Maybe we need to pray about the matter in our regular prayer time and we are done with it for a while or we may find ourselves praying about it again the same day because Ulta is in the same shopping center as Kroger and we cannot put off grocery shopping another day. 

Though I used a silly example, I do not take the topic of temptation lightly. We must remain in prayer, keep our focus on Him, we can do all things through Him!

In Philippians 4, Paul goes on to say:

 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.  Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.





Tuesday, July 4, 2017

July 4th

June came and went quickly, too quickly. One day it was the last day in May and suddenly it is July 4th! I suppose my days were so similar in June that nothing stood out to me. Many doctor appointments with a loved one on top of 1 appointment for me, the dreaded, annual physical. I say dreaded because the last several years my Vitamin D level has been low. The 1st year it was 7, the next 2 years it reached the 20's...I am happy to say this year it was 79. YAY! What a relief. So as I puffed up with pride, patted myself on the back as the doctor went over the blood panel results with me, the air was let out of my balloon when she gave me the LDL number.  Anyone else old enough to remember the sound of a needle scratching a record? That is the noise I heard in my mind as she gave me the number. Good cholesterol and triglycerides were fine, but the LDL (lousy) was high. So for the next 6 months, I will back off the bacon (allowed on the Whole30 plan) and may begin eating oats again.

Why did I say all this, you ask? It illustrates how in my physical life and spiritual life there is room for improvement.

I will add more vegetables and increase the amount of time I exercise. (Have I mentioned it is hot and I would rather exercise in October?)

Spiritually speaking, I am flatlining as well. As the heat intensifies, I tend to watch movies at night and sleep a little later in the morning. Time to shed the summer, slug mode and get up an hour earlier. Spend quality time with the Lord instead of a rushed 30 minutes or so. Move Bible Study to lunch or evening and quit cramming it in the over coffee each morning, as I watch the clock and think work begins at 7:30 a.m. better finish this section quickly.

I need to follow my own advice and let this verse from Psalm 46 really sink in:

Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Comfort

Everything in Texas is bigger...including my hair! When I want it sleek, smooth, with a hint of curl at the ends, it becomes giant, it morphs, it gains volume and height approximately 12 seconds after I step out the back door into the humid, morning air. The same amount of time it takes my glasses to fog up, I can see one moment, the next I have the eyesight of Mr. Magoo.  (Another reason I prefer contacts!) I hope someone is old enough to remember Mr. Magoo.

At times our spiritual life is the same way, we ignore the Bible and or prayer for a day and think I will do it tomorrow. Before we know it tomorrow has morphed into a week,  two weeks, or maybe longer. As time passes, the gap between us and God becomes larger. Maybe the gap turns into a chasm because we are disappointed, hurt, and or angry. Life can be hard, many circumstances are not a walk through the tulips. Yet, if we trust Him, the hard times are bearable, He provides love, comfort, hope, mercy, and grace. 

If you find yourself treading water, in a valley, or deep in a pit; find time to be quiet. Listen to the Lord, pray, open your Bible. Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us, His hand is extended, we must reach out and place our hand in His.

The following are a few verses which bring much comfort to me from the ESV:

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

John 10:27-29

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lordfor he is good,  for his steadfast love endures forever!






Sunday, May 28, 2017

Summer Bible Study

Anne Graham Lotz is teaching The Daniel Prayer online this summer beginning June 11, 2017. The videos are free. There is still time to order the workbook. The details can be found on her Facebook page and her Blog.

I am looking forward to the study. I believe in prayer, I mean it when I pray, but I know my prayer life has been lackluster the last few weeks.

I don't want it to be lackluster, cold, or lukewarm, I think the study will reignite the fire in me. The ember will become a flame.

Let me know if you are interested in joining her study. We can form an online group.



Monday, May 22, 2017

Summer 2017

The unofficial start of summer is days away. I am behind on memorizing Bible verses for the year, I am behind on weight loss, I am behind on purging excess items from our home...Ugh!

I have clothes which are too big and many items we do not need I should have donated weeks ago. I need to pretend I am moving, it helps me be brutal with purging and galvanizes me into action, giving books to friends, donating clothes and items to charity, pitching what needs to be trashed. Maybe Saturday will be the day I box up clothes and books, toss expired makeup, make sure we don't have a growing collection of shopping bags, etc. Weird how too much stuff creeps into our house when we are not paying attention. It seems to pile up and affect our everyday life if we let it go too long.

In a spiritual sense, "stuff" can creep in and pile up as well. What may be lurking at our doors, waiting to enter if we are not paying attention?

In my case - to name a few things (in no particular order):

Procrastination - Doing the Bare Minimum
Being Ungrateful
Overscheduling
Being Stingy with My Time
Not Seeking God 1st
Time to Read Scripture or Pray but Not Both

You get the drift. We must be diligent and on guard. We must take the words from I Peter 5:8, seriously: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. John 10:10 tells us: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

When we let sin creep in, we are not living an abundant life, we are living a miserable life even if we don't acknowledge it. We must seek God 1st and abide in Him. John, Chapter 15 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, Jesus tells us about the importance of abiding in Him:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full."

Ladies, to live victoriously we must abide in Him and remain vigilant. God bless you and stay in the Word!












Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Ups & Downs

Life as a caretaker certainly has its ups and downs, sometimes you feel as if you are on a kiddy ride, other times you feel as if you are on the world's largest roller coaster, your car reaches the top of an incline and you are about to plummet straight down for a few hundred feet before you reach a loop and are hanging upside down. Ultimately, the track levels and you climb out of your car, ride over. As a caretaker, there are times it seems as if the ride will never end.

Thankfully as we experience bumps in the road of life which continues to change, the Lord never changes. He will never leave us or forsake us. He is faithful, His grace and mercy are new each day and more than sufficient.

Late last week, I lost my focus on Him, as a result, my thoughts were anything but godly at times and I spoke rudely to the AT&T man who upgraded my mother's modem and switched the service from cable TV to satellite and then told her to drop off her old equipment at a UPS Store to ship it back to AT&T, if she didn't, AT&T would continue to charge her for it. I did not yell at him, I told him I realized it was not his policy, but let him know in my opinion that was a stupid policy and a waste of customers' time (My opinion was a waste of his time.). My thoughts became more intense as the afternoon wore on, I complained about it to a friend and my husband, and before you knew it, my mood was shot until the next day. Over a cup of coffee, I thought woman, you need to repent and pray which I did.

So the desire of my heart is to stay focused on Him, in prayer, in the Word, and in worship this week. If my roller coaster car plummets down a steep incline so be it, He is with me.

The following Scriptures are a soothing balm to my weary mind:

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”





Saturday, April 1, 2017

Distracted

I seem to be in a season of distraction. For several days, I've been distracted, pulled away from what I started and need to finish. Some of it cannot be helped. I can coexist with it when my attention is diverted from mopping, however, when I do not know what I read 30 seconds ago in a Bible passage because simultaneously the dogs are barking, the phone is ringing, someone is knocking on my door hawking windows and siding, I cannot coexist with distraction.

What can I do to alleviate the problem? Rise from my bed early whether I feel like it or not? Turn off the phone for 30 minutes to an hour? Become a hermit or would that be a hermette? The obvious solution is to get out of bed earlier, drink my coffee, spend time in the Word and in prayer. (Though the hermit idea has merit.) Quiet, peaceful time, the only noise is as the time draws to a close, the birds are chirping as they begin their day.

I almost forgot, today is April 1, it is time for another SSMT verse, I chose Psalm 73: 28 (ESV)

But for me it is good to be near God, I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works.

So as we go about our Saturdays, I will make an effort to close the door on distractions, dwell in God's presence and peace. I will remember Paul's words:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Let us remain in prayer for people, ourselves, and situations in our own backyard as well as around the world. Discern what is important and what is a distraction...Keeping our focus on the Lord.





Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Those People

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to put down other people, those people if we watch or read too much news? I am not suggesting we go through life uninformed, I am suggesting too much is too much. It takes our focus off the Lord and what we need to change in our own lives and may cause us to point our fingers and say what is wrong with those people? We see the speck in their eye and miss the log jammed (think telephone pole) in our own eye.

In Matthew 7:2-4, we have the words of Jesus:

For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?

Sometimes we forget social media posts are far from expressing an opinion and are in fact judgment of other people. What if each member of the Body of Christ prays for our own relationship with Christ to flourish, for our loved ones, politicians, leaders, gang members, members of drug cartels, the orphans, widows, and disenfranchised...you know, those people instead of spending hours a day talking about it on social media? What if we serve the underserved in our communities? What if we check in on the widow down the street? What if we mow the lawn for the neighbors' whose child is in ICU? There are so many things we can do with our time on earth besides judging those people on social media.

Seriously, how can we exhibit and spread the love of Christ if we are murmuring and complaining on social media? We can spread the love of Christ with social media, but we also need to step away from the device, computer, phone...and be the hands and feet of Christ in our homes and outside our homes.

We need to endeavor to live out Matthew 22:36-40, a life of prayer and love, serving Him:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Easier said than done, but with His grace and love, it is possible to pray with love for those people.







Friday, March 17, 2017

Schedules and Tap Roots

I dislike the time change each spring. I am astounded each year, how moving the clock forward 1 measly hour causes havoc with my schedule. I try to go to bed early unless I am at the rodeo (The time change always occurs during the Houston rodeo.), I try to wake up by 5:30 a.m. but many times I fail just as I did this morning. I woke up, it was pitch black, I shuffled into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot, I look at the clock, surprise it is after 7:00 a.m.

No prayer time this morning, no time in the Word this morning, and frankly I am not in the work mode yet, though I signed into my e-mail at 7:30 a.m. to respond to clients. It is now 7:51 a.m. - my thoughts are maybe I can take a 15-minute nap after work, maybe I can turn off my phone and pray at lunch, maybe I should walk around the block a couple of times at lunch and skip the nap after work...Coffee please jolt my system with caffeine! (And logical thoughts)

A small example of how easily our plans can be derailed. How we react when our plans are upset is very important. We have to be flexible, move with the ebbs and flows of life. The foundation of heaven was not shaken by my slumber, I need to move on through the day. Get over myself so to speak.

I like schedules, I no longer make them as tight or detailed as I did years ago. That pretty much ended when I scheduled 45 minutes to remove a tree stump from my front yard and could not accomplish my goal because it never occurred to me there was a 7-foot tap root running horizontally underground! It took my husband, a chain, and his truck to remove the stump, my schedule was blown and I was distressed. I could not get back on track, my day off work was a bust. I did not see what I had accomplished that day, yards of dirt and mulch shoveled into flower beds, hedges trimmed, flowers planted. All I saw, was I could not finish every item on my list because I was not on the schedule. Pride much? Self much?

So for anyone else that feels off schedule, off-kilter this week, a little bummed by massive snowfall, out of sorts for any reason, let these words from Psalm 19 (ESV) sooth you:

The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
3 There is no speech, nor are there words,
whose voice is not heard.
4 Their voice goes out through all the earth,
and their words to the end of the world.
In them he has set a tent for the sun,
5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,
and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.
6 Its rising is from the end of the heavens,
and its circuit to the end of them,
and there is nothing hidden from its heat.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect,
reviving the soul;
the testimony of the Lord is sure,
making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
enduring forever;
the rules of the Lord are true,
and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
13 Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!
Then I shall be blameless,
and innocent of great transgression.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

















Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 - SSMT # 6

My memory verse is Ps 73:26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (ESV)

At times, it is hard to admit my flesh is weak, my heart may fail. Today it not hard to admit I failed! I received a letter from a client disputing work I submitted to them. My heart pounded, fear tried to overcome me, then I prayed. I called my vendor rep, asked for the date the work was requested and returned. It was requested and submitted in June 2013. I sent accurate information. November 2016, the subject of the report had her record expunged and reported to my customer I made an error. I almost let fear consume me. In 2013, the work was accurate, it would not be today because her record has been removed from public access, only law enforcement, the District Attorney's Office, and the County Clerk have access to the record.

I picked out the memory verse last month, how appropriate it is today and every day. All news is not good, all phone calls are not good, all relationships are not healthy - they are comprised of people, imperfect people, they are comprised of me and you. None of us has it all together, none of us are perfect, we all need a Savior, a God Who is our strength. He never changes, as James reminds us:

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (ESV)

Paul tells us in Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)

We can count on our Heavenly Father and our Lord. We rely on them because our heart and flesh will fail.

Remain in prayer, stay in the Word, and hang out with your Christian Sisters AKA Siestas. Jesus loves you.



Friday, March 10, 2017

Good Fight or Judging Others?

I read I Timothy 6 the other day as a part of my daily reading. The chapter leaped off the page at me. The vitriol from the election has not waned, harsh words on all sides are still splattered on Facebook. Christians berating each other on social media and in person, another way to phrase is - Judgment Much!

Of course, people have opinions which they wish to share, but the judgment, the self-righteous attitude, the name-calling must stop, that is not sharing your opinion. If you feel the need to post 75 pro-Trump statements a day, you need to find a hobby. If you feel the need to post 75 statements a day bashing Trump, you need to find a hobby. Suggestions include but are not limited to: gardening, fishing, knitting, bicycling, reading, running, sewing, glass blowing, woodworking, and bird watching.

Judgment is judgment not discernment, anger is not righteous indignation, profanity is not passion (increase your vocabulary to make your point if need be), and hate is not debate.

The following Bible verses are meant to guide us through life, to teach us how to respond and love out the Gospel:

I Tim 6:11-12 (ESV)

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

Do we see anything in the above verses about self-righteousness, name-calling, or anger?

II Tim 2:23 (ESV) Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

Does anything in the above verse tell us to argue? II Tim 2:24 does tell us how we are to act: And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.

What does the Bible say about pride? Proverbs 16:8 states: Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. In fact, I can still hear it in King James: Pride goeth before destruction..Goeth somehow emphasizes something major followeth pride.

I Peter 3:15-16 (ESV) again mentions respect: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.

Lastly Eph 4:25-27 (ESV) tells us: Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.

So instead of judging and letting the sun go down on our anger, reduce your amount of time watching and reading the news, disengage from social media, and pray. Pray for revival, to begin with you. Look at your own life not everyone else's. Seek first the Kingdom of God not the media. Don't be concerned if others do not share your opinion. Focus on the Lord's will, you will find life if better that way.











Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1st SSMT Verse # 5

2017 seems to be speeding along at a brisk pace. I cannot believe it is time for another memory verse! My verse is Psalm 73:25 ESV:

Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire but You.

I battle earthly desires. In our age of buying, consuming, catering to self, it is hard at times to focus on what I should - our Father, the Kingdom, the Gospel, Heaven - not self.

Do you ever tire of the be a little selfish, you deserve it ads in print and on television? Many evenings, I watch movies or TV shows via my Amazon Fire TV device. No commercials, an hour television show averages 39 to 45 minutes. It is jarring when I watch broadcast TV, not to mention the content in some ads.

I want to feel the same reaction when I am looking to self instead of heaven. I want to be jarred awake, I want to turn away from self. I want to truly set my heart on the Lord.

Lent begins today, a good time to reset, rethink, and to refocus on the Lord if we are off track in any area of our lives. I've seen wonderful suggestions on Facebook for Lent. One that grabbed me, is putting at least one item a day in a bag or box to donate to charity the week after Easter. You will donate at least 40 items to someone who can use them. I've also decided to limit myself to 2 hours of TV a day. Some days that will be relatively easy, other days (such as a rainy afternoon), I think it will be hard. Time will tell.

I am currently on a sugar-free/sweetener free, no grain, no legume, no dairy eating plan until the end of March, giving up chocolate is a moot point. However, donating almost new business clothes, sweaters, purses, and other items is a great way to help me refocus. Clearing out the physical house helps declutter the spiritual house.

Ladies, if you celebrate Lent, I hope you grow in Christ and the things of the world dim in your view. God bless you.






Friday, February 24, 2017

Answered Prayer

Christians offer up many prayers to our Heavenly Father. I believe all prayers are answered but not necessarily in the timing we want or the way we intended for God to act on our behalf or for others. We look at matters with a finite mind, we do not see the big picture as God's plan unfolds. My friend Norma went to her heavenly home almost 2 1/2 years ago, but in my mind, I can hear her say, "God answers yes, no, or wait."

Wait - that can be a problem with our western mindset - we want answers now, faster than the blink of an eye in this TV on Demand world. Sometimes we lift a person or issue up to God for years, we are like the persistent widow, we keep praying in faith. We stand in the gap, we are watchmen on the wall.

My friend's mother prayed for over 25 years for her husband to come into the Kingdom, he had no idea she prayed for his Salvation. When I was 19 or so, he woke up one day, confessed Christ as his Savior, called the church and scheduled his baptism. He has served the Lord ever since and is still going strong at 82. Persistence was the key.

I still pray for people and issues I've lifted up in prayer for 5 years, for 10 years, for 15 years. I wait patiently at times and impatiently at others. I've climbed on God's throne and told Him how to answer and when. As if He needed my advice. When I realize I am praying my will in Jesus' Name by telling Him how and when, I repent, and get back to praying in faith.

This week, I've received quick answers to prayer. In January, I prayed for a relationship to grow between myself and young members of my family if it is the Lord's will. Due to a family situation, I did not get to know them as children Now through Facebook, I am getting to know them. Later in January, I asked the Lord if it His will to arrange for me to mentor a young lady. With my caretaking responsibilities, there is not much spare time, but He knows that. A couple of weeks ago, I began lifting a friend up in prayer because a sizeable mass was discovered in her liver. She could feel something swollen and thought it was her gallbladder.

Over the last 3 weeks, I've received emails from one of the young family members, our relationship is growing leaps and bounds through helping her with Bible Study and I am mentoring her, the mass in my friend's liver is shrinking and yesterday was discovered to be benign. Due to the size and location, it may have to be removed. We are praying for it to disappear.

Quick answers, of course, are my favorite, but I will not give up on the prayers I've prayed for great lengths of time and neither should you.

Jesus tells us in Luke 18:

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

Paul tells us in Thessalonians 5:

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

He also tells us in Philippians 4:

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Keep praying ladies, God is faithful!







Monday, February 6, 2017

Pharisees R Us

Listening to a few friends I love, talk about world events, I would never know by the conversation they are members of a faith which calls for forgiveness, love, dying to self and mercy. Instead of contemplating prayer and dare I mention it fasting, they want to call thunder down on people with a differing opinion. We all say sinful things and think sinful thoughts at one time or another. We all need to repent and confess our sins. We all need a Savior.

Legalism and self-righteousness will never lead people to Christ. We do not need modern day Pharisees is the church. Sadly, it can be easy to cross the line and become a self-righteous, legalistic member and president of the local chapter of Pharisees R Us. Ask the Lord to show you if you are perilously close to the line or have crossed it. We don't want to be like Saul, we want to be like Paul and bring Christ to the hurting and lost.

We must not put God in a box and make Him be all-American and patriotic. Yes, we are fortunate to live in America, the land of the somewhat free and home of the brave. I love America, but it is not my real home, Philippians 3:20 tells us our citizenship is in heaven, and from heaven we await our Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to save everyone not one nation.

Our behavior in public is evangelism (Especially behind the wheel if your car is plastered with Christian stickers!). Our behavior online is evangelism. What are we evangelizing? The Saving Grace of Christ or our personal views of ______________ (fill in the blank)?

Let the following verses be fresh and impact you today because they sum up the message we are to live:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.









Wednesday, February 1, 2017

SSMT Verse 3

WOW! 2017 is moving right along, it is time for memory verse 3. I've chosen Isa 53:4-5 in the ESV:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.

With the turmoil, the cruelty, poverty, sickness, the perversion of truth, and violence in the world it can be easy to forget every bit of this was settled on the Cross. None of this is a surprise to God, as we say in Texas, He has not dropped us in the grease yet and He's not going to.

Jesus died for you, for me, for everyone that has ever lived and ever will live. We must remember the Lord God Almighty is sovereign. Nothing can shake Him. Our foundation is sure in Him.

Turn off the TV News, limit your screen time with Facebook and Twitter, no need to go tit for tat to praise Trump, dis Trump, praise Obama, dis Obama, instead meditate on the Word and PRAY. Read a good book...about anything other than politics, go outside, take a look at God's creation and the beauty all around you because, from the look of Facebook posts, there is a whole lot of judging going on instead of expressing opinions. Stop the murmuring and complaining and start praising the Lord!



Monday, January 30, 2017

Least of These

I listen to people say end the flood of refugees from Muslim countries and others say open our borders to everyone, struck by one thing - these are comments made by my brothers and sisters in Christ. I realize we need to vet people entering our country - I don't want to let criminals and terrorists enter the USA, but are we missing the mark here?

In Matthew 25 we find these words spoken by Jesus:

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by 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 welcomed me, I 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? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Maybe people in war-torn nations are not the least of these? Maybe this is not an evangelistic opportunity? Maybe, I've misinterpreted the passage? I want to get it right, I want to be in His will concerning those who need help.

Over the centuries, missionaries entered friendly and only friendly countries to bring the Gospel to the lost, right? No, many missionaries entered hostile areas and proclaimed the Gospel to hostile people.

Ultimately the Body of Christ should be the Lord's hands and feet on earth spreading the Good News in love without a hint of legalism. I pray we see the least of these with the eyes of Christ and are filled with His love for them.

So instead of posting subjective Memes, every news article known to man to prove a point or dismiss an opposing opinion, why don't we dig into the Word and spend time in prayer? It will lower your blood pressure, diminish your headache, and fill your heart with love.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

POTUS

Last year at this time, the primary season was about to kick off with what I jokingly referred to as the Cast of Thousands. Each primary that went by, I was astounded at which candidates were out and which candidates were still standing.

Fast forward to January 2017, a new president has been sworn into office. He might not be who I consider an ideal candidate, he might not be someone I would choose if asked which American president would you most like to meet? However, he is the POTUS.

People marched in protest which is their right, though I disapprove of the vandalism I witnessed and the mounds of trash left behind by protesters. Vandalism is a crime, protesting is not.

My weapons will be prayer and fasting, not bashing him on Facebook and Twitter. To be honest, I hope he stops tweeting!!! To my Christian brothers and sisters still complaining about Obama - STOP. To my Christian brothers and sisters in Christ complaining about Trump - STOP.

Instead of inundating FB and Twitter with political posts, take the time to pray. Stop murmuring and complaining. Stop judging. Stop the hate.

Examine your hearts, where are you placing your trust? Is is in the Lord and His promises or what you read online? Love your neighbor. Who is your neighbor? Everyone is your neighbor.

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”






Monday, January 16, 2017

Houston Marathon

Yesterday was the Houston Marathon, one of my nephews ran the 1/2 marathon to raise money for Bo's Place. My nephew and his wife have received counseling there since the death of their child a few months ago. I am so proud he crushed it.

When a tragedy occurs, we often wonder why? We think were You even there God? Some people become angry and don't want to hear His name or anything about Him. Many times, well-meaning friends and family are determined the person will get over their grief in a week and beat the person over the head with Scripture because, in reality, they are right fighters. They are most concerned with being right. Please right fighters, I urge you to be quiet and let the person grieve. Pray for the grief-stricken in your private prayer time. Pray with them if they ask you to pray with them, otherwise be quiet. Silence is OK.

We frequently hear the expression life is not a sprint but a marathon. The same applies to our spiritual life. There are starts and stops, bumps in the road, twists and turns, but none of these are too great for Christ.

He loves us, He is there with us in the good, the bad, the dark, frightening, and lonely moments. Nothing can separate us from His love. We have this promise:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Trust Him, hold onto His promises and know you are loved.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weeds in the Garden

Living in an area which allows for gardening year round is great except for one annoying aspect (even worse than August heat) - WEEDS!!! We have species of weeds which flourish in winter, species which flourish in spring, species which flourish in summer. and species which flourish in autumn. And to add to the mix, we have weeds that remain green and grow during droughts and others which grow when it rains and or floods.

It is cold and wet this weekend, a few snowflakes, a little sleet - gives me an excuse not to pull Chickweed and Velcro Weed which have popped up in my lawn and in 2 of my flower beds. How dare they try to choke out my Pansies, Petunias, Violas, Snapdragons, and Dusty Millers! Next Saturday, the high is predicted to be 80, so I will be working in the yard. Velcro Weed is a nickname for Galium Aparine, you pull it out of the ground and it sticks to your hands, your clothes, your shoes, if you don't pull it before it blooms, it goes to seed and the seeds stick to you, too. It is terrible.

Weeds are an illustration of the things of this world that choke out our time with God in His Word and in prayer. We are back to our normal routines after the holidays. If our schedule got off track during the holidays, we need to correct it now. It is easy to stay in bed 20 minutes more on a cold morning instead of getting up to pray. It is easy to watch the news, weather, and traffic over and over before work instead of spending time in the Word. I get it, I've done it, I will do it again. I am not perfect.

I know tomorrow it will be hard to get out of bed because it will be 25 and I am not a morning person. My alarm is set, I will have water in the kettle, coffee grounds in the press...I will light the fire and spend quiet time in prayer and in the Bible before the hustle and bustle of grocery shopping and Saturday morning errands.


Ladies make time for reading your Bible and prayer. You will never regret it. (P.S. It is 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning and 22. The rain is gone, the sun is out, the bird baths are frozen solid, I walked across the lawn to fill bird feeders, it is not often our ground is so frozen I don't sink in the mulch as I step into 1 flower bed to fill 1 of the bird feeders!)















Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Merry Heart

I took my mother to Walmart the other day, it was a pleasant day, so I waited in the car while she purchased a few items. My justification for waiting in the car - I didn't want to be around all the shoppers with colds and I dislike Walmart.

My car windows are open, a nice breeze is blowing, and I am reading a book. Occasionally, I glance towards the doors to see if mom is on her way out to my car. People milling about the parking lot. People smiling, people laughing, people oh so irritated they are at Walmart 2 days after Christmas.

I am nearing the end of my book, maybe I will finish it before mom returns to the car! I look up once more...and a woman is walking by my car on the way to her car. My mouth falls open, I gape at her, I think why did I leave my camera at home? I put my book down, I lean out my window, I crane my neck, I try not to laugh.

The woman tells someone she is talking to, OK, I have to go now, I need to unload my grocery cart. I think to myself, was she talking on the phone as she dressed and left home? It is the only rational explanation. Because she was wearing a beautiful paisley blouse, looked like it was part of a business suit. Her hair was impeccably styled. Her makeup was artfully applied. And the blouse totally clashed with her floral, flannel pajama bottoms and house shoes!

I generally do not laugh at people or make fun of people, but I did laugh over this. I wondered if I should have alerted her to the fact her Paisley blouse/PJ ensemble did not work or if I should have said ma'am go back home and finish dressing before you drive to the office.

I thought back to the time my feet felt funny as I walked to church for an early morning prayer session. I arrived, looked down, I had a running shoe on one foot and a walking shoe on the other. How did I manage that, grabbing shoes out of the closet in the dark, trying to be quiet and not disturb my husband? Everyone at the prayer session laughed when we exited the chapel and they saw my feet. I laughed as well. I thought of my friend riding the elevator at the mall, looking down and noticing she never changed shoes and was wearing fuzzy slippers which entitled her to a new pair of shoes on the spot!

What has any of this to do with a Christian blog? We need to laugh and not take ourselves so seriously all the time. Proverbs tells us: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Ladies, I pray 2017 is filled with joy, with laughter, and well-chosen shoes and ensembles.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

SSMT 2017, Verse 1

I am on board with Beth Moore's Siesta Scripture Memory Team to commit Scriptures to memory this year. My 1st verse is Psalm 36:5, ESV
Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds.
It is a short verse, but I felt led to make it my 1st verse. It is not too late to join us as we commit at least 24 verses to memory this year. Instructions can be found on her website:Lproof.org and The SSMT Facebook page: LPM SSMT 2017

I think of all the things that are etched in my memory and think Scripture should be in it (there is some, but I could use more), too. One note and I can still sing the theme to Gilligan's Island and or The Flinstones. All manner of things...in by brain for decades, and I tell myself it is so hard to memorize the written word, but I think I've talked myself into it. I don't think it was easy memorizing the Barefoot Boy Poem in 7th grade, I don't think it was easy memorizing how to conjugate verbs in Latin, French, or German. I was much younger, my brain was more nimble, but I agonized over some of it because I did not really want to pour my energy into those things. (I just thought of the Episcopal Catechism, I had to memorize for confirmation!) There were phone calls to make, makeup to try, ballet and pointe classes which were far more important than memorizing a poem!

Blessings on thee, little man,
Barefoot boy, with cheek of tan!
With thy turned-up pantaloons,
And thy merry whistled tunes;
With thy red lip, redder still
Kissed by strawberries on the hill;
With the sunshine on thy face,
Through thy torn brim’s jaunty grace;
From my heart I give thee joy,—
I was once a barefoot boy! (There is more, but you get the drift)

Memorizing Scripture will take effort because my brain is not as nimble as it used to be, but there are not the ballet and pointe classes, nor the makeup to try, and fewer phone calls to distract me. I can pour my energy into memorization because I want to do this.

I pray 2017 is a year in which we look to the Lord, keep our focus on Him, and let the distractions of 2016 be a thing of the past. Blessings ladies!