A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In 1975 my thinking about suffering in life was challenged in a profound way.  A film depicting the Ten Boom family during WWII called “The Hiding Place” was playing at a local theater.  Once I saw it, Corrie Ten Boom became my favorite person on the planet.  I’m thankful to everyone involved in the film.  Nobody understands why my favorite movie is about such a horrific time in history.  Well, I suppose it’s because this film taught me about adversity in life and how to react when bad things happen.

We don’t like to think about storms, do we?  And yes, I guess this movie could be considered a “downer” to some people, but I walked away with the thought that if Corrie Ten Boom was able to lean so heavily on God and trust Him to see her through something so unbelievably evil, then I can trust Him for any bad situation I find myself in!  I was not depressed after watching it – I felt a peace and a hope that God is sufficient for any circumstance in life.  He is and always will be enough.

One day a psychologist friend asked me how I’m able to function in life.  We had talked a bit about how bumps in the road of life can affect us in negative ways as Christians.  The first thing people notice about me is that I don’t have children.  They become uncomfortable at that point.  Nobody knows what to talk about with me because the “go-to” subject of any conversation is kids.  How old are your kids?  What school do they go to?  It’s the most predictable conversation people have when they meet for the first time.

But when they ask if I have children and I say no, they’re at a loss.  They have no idea what to say next.  Once in a while I hear, “Oh, then you probably have fur babies then, right?”  Well, yes I did – but we lost our fur baby a while back.  Sometimes I just smile or nod yes to save face.  I don’t want two pity pauses in the conversation.

I was chatting with a friend recently and the subject of childlessness came up and I said something to the effect that I felt like a freak.  She said, “It stinks.”  It’s true – it does!  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but it does!  Sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge the fact that something stinks, ya know?  I felt better after she said that – I felt understood.

When I was younger, it was difficult to be around the women my age who were having children.  I kept thinking it would get easier as I got older, but now those same women have grandchildren and no…  it’s no easier to deal with that either.

The Bible says that children are a reward… which makes a childless person wonder if they are being punished Everyone’s quick to tell me that’s not the case, but that’s not how it feels.  One of my friends told me that the Lord may have saved me from worse heartache because perhaps a child of mine could have had serious health issues or something like that.  Well – I guess that could be true too.  I just don’t know – but I have to trust God.  He knows what He’s doing and I need to accept it.

God does surround me with songs of victory.  He helps me cope with all kinds of loss.  I can’t really explain it except to say I know in my soul that God’s helping me.  When it storms and I’m tempted to give up, I hear that sweet song of victory and I know it will be okay.  The Lord is with me.  Oh, and even though Corrie Ten Boom is no longer alive, she’s still my favorite person.  🙂

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Even Worse Luck

I’m fighting a migraine headache – and reading this quote is not helping it!  LOL!  So, we should be glad we have bad luck because it’s protecting us from something even worse?  Hang on, Sloopy…  let me read that upside-down because it could make more sense that way.

You know, there are days when a train makes you late for an appointment, or a little family of ducklings need to cross the road and you wait patiently in your car for them to get safely to the other side.  Those are seemingly obstacles that make you late and feeling crazy…  but wait – maybe those are God’s way of keeping you out of harm’s way.

People who do luck will say it’s just worse than bad luck.  Here we go, not giving any credit to the Creator.  If I’m detained along the way, I try to take time to thank God for it instead of get all angry about it.  That is easier to do since I don’t have a job to show up for, by the way.  Maybe if those “obstacles” had not been there, something awful would have happened, such as a wreck.

The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  – Psalm 121:7

Do we believe in God’s promises?  If we do, then we must also believe that His method of carrying out those promises could include putting an inconvenience in our path once in a while to save us from harmful consequences.  Yes, He loves us enough to do that.

Luck is too random and wrapped in chance to even fathom that it has varying degrees…  good and bad – good and bad and worse than bad???  What???  Pass the Excedrin Migraine…  yeah.  

Let’s call it what it is…  God’s supernatural protection over our lives.  How about going a step further, and thanking Him for it when we recognize it?  I’m not always great at recognizing it, but I’m trying to do a better job.

I love that God keeps me safe and protects me against harm!  I claim His promises on my life and praise Him for them.

And guess what?  That is that for me too!  I think the Excedrin is starting to kick in – great!  🙂

 

 

Blessings and Miracles

Of course it’s March, and we will be hearing all about LUCK.  When you give luck the credit for something wonderful that happens in your life, you are not giving God the glory and honor for it.  I’m sure we don’t intend to slight our dear Lord at all – ever, but we should be more mindful of how we express joy for our blessings (and in some cases, miracles).  

It’s really a matter of where you place your trust, isn’t it?  Luck is such an elusive and vague thing, so why would you place your trust in it?  Luck is not higher than we are, and I’m not convinced that it even exists.  Some people think that way about God, and I think that is very sad.  I will bless the Lord God Almighty!

My faith and trust will be placed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He’s all I need to navigate this life and make Heaven my eternal home!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  – Proverbs 16:33

 

Chance encounter… random happening… plain ol’ luck?  No.  There’s more to it than that.  Do you catch yourself saying things like…

What a lucky shot!

Wish me luck on that test tomorrow!

Only luck had kept her from getting sick too!

Good luck getting the secret ingredient from mom!

I’ll try my luck fishing on the other side.

I’m gonna take a chance and change my luck.

I’m sure we’ve all slipped and said these things at one time or the other.  If we can just think a little bit about what we’re saying, and more to the point, the implications of what we’re saying, we’d be giving all the credit for the good to God by saying:

Thank You, Lord, for helping me with that shot!

Whisper a prayer or two for me as I take that test tomorrow!

Thank the Lord she didn’t get sick too!

I’ll pray that you can get that secret ingredient from mom with no problem!

Lord willing I will catch some fish over on the other side!

I’m gonna dump the luck and say a prayer instead!

What just happened here???  The randomness and chance in the first sentences were turned into gratitude, praise to God, and prayers!  When we acknowledge God in these ways, we are letting Him know that we recognize His sovereignty and His control over everything – big and small.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.  – Thomas Goodwin

Don’t leave your life in the hands of randomness and chance.  Luck belongs at the local casino, because let’s face it, gambling is probably the most random activity human beings engage in!  Your life deserves more order and planning by God, who loves and cares for you more than you can imagine!  🙂

His Love

The word overflow means to have the contents flowing over or spilling, as an overfull container.

So, let me get this straight…  the purpose for my life is not that I be a world-renowned neurosurgeon?  Whew!  What a relief!  One of the MAIN purposes for my life – and for your life – is to share God’s wonderful love with others.  What others?  ALL the others!  Anyone and everyone!  That, I am sure, we can do!

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  – 1 John 4:8

Real love is not found in a heart-shaped box of chocolates.  The only surprise in that box is about ten more pounds on your thighs!  No…  Valentine’s Day is all fine and good for the romantic in all of us, but real love from God is where we find true joy and do the most good for our fellow-man (and woman).

Think about this:  If God IS love, then anyone who doesn’t have a relationship with him through His Son, Christ Jesus, can only be described as selfish and self-absorbed in nature.  It’s just a thought to ponder.  If there is no other source from which we can obtain real love – then those who don’t know God do not know real love or have a clue how to show real love to others.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating:  the devil imitates and copies everything that God does.  There is a false, fake, second-rate imitation of love that looks very close to the love of God – but it’s not OF God.  I’m sure those who are under its influence believe it is from God Himself, but it’s not.

To rest in our Lord’s strong and loving arms is wonderful indeed; however, His embrace is not to be selfishly hoarded.  God’s love is to be showered on others.  His Word is not only to be read and heeded – it’s to be shared through preaching and teaching.

We have to be very careful, especially in this modern-day, where everyone has a voice and knows how to use it.  Social media’s jam-packed with all sorts of quotes and sayings that seem sincere, but they don’t hold water theologically.  Study the Bible for yourself to make sure you know God’s real love!

Read God’s Word daily – be aware of what HE says, in His loving and lovely way.  Let Him be the light that guides you and your path will never be dark.  Once you know His love, you’ll never be the same.

Sometimes I feel like a weirdo – a fish swimming upstream, waving at everyone swimming in the “right” direction…  I’m like – “Bye bye…  see ya!”  I like to take personality quizzes and took one recently on facebook.  Here are the results.  I don’t know whether I feel better about my personality or not.

Your Enneagram personality type is the Individualist. You’re creative, very intelligent and fiercely independent. You’re driven by the desire to live true to yourself and you’re willing to stand out from everyone else in the process. When unbalanced you tend to be melancholy and envious of others, but if you trust your inner voice you have an impressive imagination that can change the world. You may feel like a rebel without a cause, but when you’re in touch with your inner drive, your unique voice can take you far. Be yourself, never compromise on your vision, and find creative ways to express your reality. You have the potential to be one of history’s greats!

I look at a lot of memes every day – to get inspiration for my own designs and see what is popular these days.  Have you seen the one with the scarecrow standing out in the field – and the caption says, “He feels so special because he’s out standing in his field!” – ???  I guess I’m that scarecrow!  LOL!!!  It could be worse.  😀

Before I go, I want to invite you to check out this offer from Deanna Stalnaker on Amazon.  This looks like a wonderful story!  Here’s the link:

And while you’re reading your favorite blogs, check out Judy Janowski’s blog: https://lifeisagardenparty.blogspot.com/

You need to get Lucinda’s wonderful books.  They are a fantastic companion to THE B.I.B.L.E – (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).  If you’re looking for encouragement and inspiration, these books are just what you need!   https://Lucindaspoetry.webs.com/  

Thank you so much for following my blog!  Have a blessed and glissando kind of week!  I’m gonna head back out to the corn field now and be out standing in my field!  Ha!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Decisions

When women are describing their dream mate, what is it they say – ???  Tall, dark, handsome, and non-communicative – right???  The sad truth is, most women don’t think much about how well a man can communicate, either verbally or non-verbally.  We find out after we marry just how important that quality is!  Frankly, in my humble opinion…  communication IS everything!

There’s a choice I had to make in college that I think may have altered the course of my life.  No, it’s true.  I had to choose between debate and interpersonal communication.  Well, no way was I going to get up in front of a bunch of talented speakers and try my hand at debate as a freshman!  It was a no-brainer…  interpersonal communication, here I come!  I don’t think I did myself a favor by going that way.  I should have thrown my shoulders back and charged ahead.  Now, I wish I would have; however, it does absolutely no good to second guess a decision that I made so long ago.

When one introvert meets and marries another introvert…  communication can be a bit sketchy for a while.  I’ve coined a phrase and use it often:

I am not a mind reader.  I’ve never been a mind reader.  I’ll never BE a mind reader.  Use your words so I will know what is going on.

Every decision as a couple needs to be discussed — not just the big ones.  It’s a matter of respect for one another.  With every year that passes, communication gets easier – you find your own way, and every couple communicates differently.  As long as it works – hey – that’s what matters!

Dear God, we know that marriage can be tricky sometimes because there are two people to consider.  Two sets of values, emotions, and baggage carried around from the past.  Help us to be considerate of one another and respectful in our decision-making.  Help us to make all moves together as a unit instead of as an individual.  You have declared that married couples are ONE.  Remind us, as only You can, that what You have joined together, no one can tear apart.  Thank You for being so good to us.  We love you, Lord.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Sometimes it helps to think about a couple that you really admire – and try to mirror some of their actions in your own marriage.  I loved being around my parents.  Those two could just give one another a look and they’d know and understand each other.  I want that in my marriage – and I think that’s the goal of most couples.  It’s those unspoken moments that we cherish the most, I think.  The smiles, grins, silly faces…  I love to remember all that!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

I’ll bet I could have been a great in debate class…  I hold my own fairly well on facebook!  Ha!  Does that count??? 

Today is Superbowl Sunday, of course.  I have one thought to share about it. 

One more example of a big decision…  to get excited about Jesus, or get excited about football.  Is there room for both?  Well, yes, of course there’s room for both in our lives.  I’m still angered by the behavior of the players, so will not be watching the Superbowl this year.  I’d rather get excited about Jesus.  He never lets me down!  🙂

 

 

New Habits

When I think of something working from the inside-out, my mind turns to a microwave oven!  I know – weird, huh?  Hang in there with me, I’m making a point.

Those little micro waves begin cooking in the center of whatever is in there.  Just as a microwave heats your coffee or cooks your bacon…  God works on us!  Now you feel like a cup of coffee or a strip of bacon, don’t you?  LOL!  I doubt that God sees you that way.  Nah…  pretty sure He doesn’t.

God begins His work with His precious Holy Spirit – in the center of our being – our hearts and minds.  Renewal begins to take place.  We love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates.  We have to be careful to never hate people – but behaviors we can definitely hate and refuse to participate in.

Because the enemy of our soul is still working in our world – it’s possible to slip and fall.  Even those who belong to God are to some degree vulnerable.  Actually, it seems the more you are trying to work for the Lord, the more that ol’ devil whispers in your ear – and remember – he copies everything that God does.  He’s a copy-catter!  He will do anything to get you off-balance.

God wants us to thrive in this life.  He wants us to lean on Him and learn His ways.  Remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just Say No” – in her one woman drug campaign?  I was a young teen at the time and thought, “she didn’t go far enough.  You can’t just say no to drugs – you have to turn and say yes to Jesus!”  

There was a time when the 12-step program was centered around a faith and trust in God.  I think they tell you a “higher power” can be anything now – but it was originally all about God.  Lean on God instead of your addiction.  I’ve been through OA twice.  The second time, the leader explained the “higher power” as anything you place higher than yourself.  I wasn’t diggin’ on that, but I wasn’t the leader, so held my tongue.  I did – and yeah, it took a miracle.

Maybe your higher power is your cat…  but the only HIGHER POWER that you can always depend on to come through for you is Jesus Christ!  He will be by your side when temptations arise.

Let Jesus have your heart, soul, and mind…  let Him help you form some new habits – replacing your unhealthy and self-destructive habits.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

If a farmer were to hoard grain in a time of famine or when others are in dire straits, people would naturally not only think badly of, but would probably talk about in less than glowing terms.  If that same farmer chose to sell the grain for a fair and reasonable price, those same people would think better and bless he and his family.  We can translate the grain into the gospel of Christ.  Our Lord did not come to earth to save just you or just me.  Of course, if you or I were the only one on the planet, He certainly would have – but what Christ did for the world was…  well – for the world!  We are not to have the attitude that we’ve found the way to salvation, so there’s no need to share the good news.  We should be willing to share at every opportunity God gives us!

Why is it important for God’s children to share the joyful news of salvation with others?  Because it’s part of God’s plan for us to take as many others with us to Heaven as we can.  Friendship evangelism is the most effective way to help others hear the good news of Christ.  His life, His death, and His resurrection.  The Roman Road is a road we should travel several times in our lifetime.  It not only teaches a new child of God, but it reminds His older children of where they are and where they came from.  It’s a humbling exercise to be sure.  We have so much to thank God for, don’t we?

So what’s in it for God’s children?  It’s all a part of not only our growth, but a command we’ve been given from the Lord Himself:

I’m not a soul saver – that’s God’s job through Christ’s sacrifice.  No, I can’t save anyone, but I can share my testimony and show others how they too can be saved.  We sow seeds – sort of like Johnny Appleseed, I guess.

These men enriched themselves by the starvation of their neighbors.  That was back in Solomon’s day.  Today, of course, we have laws to protect from such things, but this can still apply on a spiritual level.  None of us should be just scooping up all the blessings of God and not giving anything back.  That doesn’t please God, does it?  We most certainly should go and teach, preach, baptize, and make disciples.  God’s Word in action is a bread we can break with the spiritually starved lost.  Let’s review the points of Spurgeon’s sermon:

Let’s make God’s Word available to all people everywhere, in a language that they understand.

Let’s keep the Gideon Bibles in hotels and motels, and in all places we possibly can.  I’ve heard countless stories of how people read the Bible just in time before going through with suicide.  It’s important that the Christian Bible be available to all.

Preaching should be understood clearly.  Talking over people’s heads is a waste of everyone’s time.  May we speak and write for the average person.

Let’s give importance to answering God’s call on our lives.  In our day, there are so many distractions.  Never in history have there been so many distractions in our lives – most of them to amuse ourselves in the form of entertainment.

Christ crucified must be the sum total of any sermon or lesson in Sunday School.  His blood sacrifice is the fundamental truth we need to teach and preach (and write blog posts).

May there not be a lack of love in our ministry and in our witness.  Love is the greatest of all.  Preachers, teachers and blog writers will be held accountable if any of their listeners or readers should perish.  Cover all you do with much prayer, and pray for those you want to reach.

Labor passionately for the spread of the gospel to all men.  Support missions at home and abroad.

Watch for an opportunity to express kindness and love to someone else every day.  Don’t be thoughtless or too wrapped up in yourself to pray for others.

Help those who speak up for Christ.  Consecrate your money for those who minister at home and abroad.  As we give to missions, God gives to us.

God rewards those who do His work with an easy conscience.  He gives them peace of mind and heart.  When we place jewels in His crown and palm branches in His path, that is the ultimate reward for doing His bidding.

He who dares to run the risk is not only unwise, but goes against God’s way.  Will you share the gospel with your neighbors, or hoard it?

Jesus went about doing good.  Do we have the right to think we can do less?  Don’t withhold grain from your neighbor.  Let’s all live in peace till God takes us home.  🙂