Monday, September 18, 2017

But 1st, Coffee

I don't particularly like it, but I drink 2 cups of black coffee every morning. (I do like it with cream and sugar in it, but that is more like dessert than a beverage to jolt my body into an awakened state.)

I drink coffee, read the Bible, drink coffee and pray. This week has been tough, post-Hurricane Harvey fatigue has set in, work is slow for those of us back at work, bodies are tired from the ongoing cleanup, emotions are tired from the suffering around a large portion of Texas and LA and now there is Irma threatening islands and the USA.

We must pray. We must be the watchman on the wall. We can't quit now.

My motto and life should be: But 1st, Pray.

How should we pray? Jesus tells us how:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

He also adds this caveat: 

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you,  but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

I pray we truly seek Him 1st. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Texas Strong or Texas Love?

Texans have a reputation for loving our State and perhaps bragging a bit. When I first entered the world of Facebook, I mentioned I cut out gingerbread cookies with my Texas cookie cutter and the smell of gingerbread permeated the house. A friend from another state said you have a cookie cutter shaped like Texas? I thought well of course I do, then it dawned on me, maybe cookie cutters, jewelry, swimming pools in the shape of a state is more prevalent in Texas than other states.

As we enter week 2 of post-Harvey recovery, many people are still not allowed to enter their neighborhoods due to high water. Trash and debris are piled high, neighbors are helping each other, people have truly been color blind. Very little looting across the swath Harvey damaged.

People are wearing shirts saying Houston Strong or Texas Strong. I understand the sentiment. I understand the hashtags. I wish the shirts mentioned love instead of strength. The love demonstrated is eye opening. Some members of the media have commented on the love they have witnessed.

My prayer is we don't come back stronger in Texas pride but we come back stronger in Christ, that His love radiates from us in every direction and Revival comes from this disaster and spreads over the Earth. I pray the love demonstrated the last 2 weeks becomes a habit. I pray we are no longer known for our big pride but our big love for the Lord and His people.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Eclipse on Monday, Category 4 Hurricane on Friday

Luke 21:25-26

And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.



Is the Son of Man coming again? Yes! Tomorrow? I don’t know. But in my spirit, I feel a total eclipse visible across America and a devastating storm in the same week means something. As in tick tock, do you know what time it is? Birth pangs seem to be more intense and closer together. If Harvey does not get our attention and point us back to God, what will?

Is there anything out of whack in your life? There is in mine. Is there anything you want to straighten out with God if you have 5 minutes to live? I have a few. Is this the time to pull the covers over our head or binge watch a popular TV series? No!


Let’s keep our focus on Jesus and dive deeper into his Word! Pray for the lost, the deceived, the lukewarm like there is no tomorrow. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

A Storm Named Harvey

I was never fond of the name Harvey, now I hate it. Human suffering across a swath of Texas and Louisiana. Homes and businesses destroyed by hurricane force winds, homes and businesses destroyed by 30-50 inches of rain, homes, and businesses destroyed by rivers, streams, and bayous. Today I wait for the Brazos River to crest in my town at 57 feet. My house is safe so far and I believe will make it through the river crest. 

Praying for people, praying for myself, everything is in constant motion. Devastation is all around, my heart aches for people and then a little hummingbird buzzes me. He is not majestic like a beautiful stallion or elk, but he is dynamic and he brought a smile to my face. I am thankful he buzzed me. 

So as mentioned recently in a previous blog, though everything around us changes, God never does. 

These 2 verses speak deeply to me today:

PS 118: 24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Romans 12: 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Keep praying for your brothers and sisters who have lost all but the clothes on their backs, keep praying for the 1st responders and civilians on day 7 rescuing people by boat and helicopter. Keep praying for those of us who have no income for now or the near future. Our recovery will not be a sprint, it is a marathon. 


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Coasting Through Life

I've been avoiding the news, avoiding TV, (made a typo and wrote TB which I am avoiding too), coasting through the August heat, looking forward to Bible Study resuming in September, and possibly a break in the heat in September. Coasting would define my life this month. I am thankful for A/C and sunscreen, but I take no delight in summer!

Today, I had a "nagging" feeling I needed to watch the local weather. Glad I paid attention to the Holy Spirit and watched it. A minimal hurricane is set to hit well south of us. We will be on the wet side of the storm which means possible flooding. Tomorrow I will grocery shop, cash a check, fill up the gas tank just in case the storm moves in closer to us. Better to be prepared for the storm which applies to a literal storm or a stormy situation in our marriage, church, with family members and or friends.

Are we prepared for a hard situation or coasting through our spiritual lives? We need to ask ourselves this very question for time to time. Is our foundation built on sand or stone? Are we equipped with the armor supplied to us?

Matthew 7:25-27Amplified Bible (AMP)


Jesus said, And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish (stupid) man who built his house on the sand.  And the rain fell, and the floods and torrents came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great and complete was its fall.”






Sunday, July 30, 2017

Vlogs, Podcasts, Facebook Live

People have moved from blogging to Facebook Live, Podcasts, and Vlogs. I like to read, so of course, I still love blogs - it is 1 of those things that prove I am almost old enough to be a fossil.

I have contemplated recording a message with my camera and posting it here and on my FB page, but with that comes...is there enough light, will the mic pick up my voice, when will the neighbor's dog bark, when will my dogs bark, who will knock on the door trying to sell me new windows? Technology changes, styles change, tastes change, but God does not! 

God is a constant in our life, He is unshakeable, His love reaches to the heavens, His mercy is new each day.  Let His Word strengthen you, comfort you, and bless you.

From the NET:

Psalm 104:5 He established the earth on its foundations; it will never be upended.

Psalm 45:6 Your throne, O God, is permanent. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

Hebrews 1:7-9 And he says of the angels, “He makes his angels spirits and his ministers a flame of fire,”  but of the Son he says, Your throneO Godis forever and everand a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdomYou have loved righteousness and hated lawlessnessSo Godyour Godhas anointed you over your companions with the oil of rejoicing.

Psalm 136: 26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his loyal love endures!

Lamentations 3:20-23 he Lord’s loyal kindness (mercy) never ceases; his compassions never end. They are fresh every morning; your faithfulness is abundant!














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!