FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

I love Jesus because He cares about me; I mean He cares about major problems, but also He cares about the petty little problems I’m having too.  He doesn’t just roll His eyes at me and look at His iPhone while I’m talking to Him about stuff.  His eye is on the sparrow.  I know He watches me!

Jesus cares when we lose the mate to a sock.  As I was preparing to write this post, I wondered what the most mundane problem in life must be.  I was instantly helped with that question when I heard, “My cozy sock lost its mate.”  Did you know God wore socks?  It does seem like a small problem unless of course, that is your only pair of socks.  Maybe that’s what the Lord hears about most often from us.  At any rate, He listens and cares.  I wonder if He wears the kind with those individual toes in them?  Can you imagine?

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.  – Zephaniah 3:17

Today I want to encourage you to pray about everything, big and small.  God does care and He is interested in all the things that you’re concerned about.  Doesn’t it hurt your feelings when your child keeps some things away from you because they don’t think you will be interested or understand what they’re going through?  God is your Heavenly Father, and He probably feels hurt when we do that to Him, don’t you think?

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.

Søren Kierkegaard

The Christian writers best ally is that of prayer.  As we confide to our Heavenly Father the day’s best-laid plans for literature creation, God has the most brilliant way of blessing our efforts with His wonderful wit and wisdom.  He adds so much more spark to anything the writer’s imagination can come up with.  Any Christian writer who has dealt with writer’s block, then prayed about it, can readily attest to that.

No, I don’t think God wears socks, but I know for a fact He has a sense of humor!  We’re made in His image and most of us have a sense of humor.  Yes, a few people are a few fries short of a happy meal when it comes to a sense of humor, but most people appreciate when something is funny.

This fall, you should be thankful for your cozy socks, and that you have both of them.  If for some reason you lose one, don’t shy away from sharing your sadness with God.  He understands and loves you and cares.  🙂

 

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

God will not deal with you the same way He deals with me.  Whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, the LORD will accomplish what concerns you.  You can have friends close by, go on a rant, beat on your desk and make a dozen whiny posts on facebook – but if you want something accomplished in your situation, you need to hit your knees and talk with your Shepherd.

I’m a sheep too – I have issues!  I’m raising my hand – I’m raising it really high!  I HAVE ISSUES!  I have concerns and people, I have some problems.  Even with all that baggage, I have a God who loves me and cares enough to not only hear my prayers but bring comfort and courage and build character in me as He helps me through my difficulties.  I can see the works of His hands along the pathway my life has taken.  I trust His answers to all the questions I have in life.

If I had a recording of my life and played it back, I could detect exact moments in that movie where I knew for a fact that Jesus intervened and helped me.  I’d take my little red laser pointer thing and circle certain parts of the movie and say, “I prayed for help in this situation, and God came through!”  Knowing the Lord makes my life richer and I place my total confidence is in Him.

His strength has made my soul undaunted.

I love that lyric in this song!  Not only do I love the Lord for helping me, but I love Him for being so patient and kind to me while I was going through some self-inflicted painful times.  We do bring some of our pain on ourselves by doing stupid sinful stuff.  In the beginning, I thought God was really angry at me after that and I could never be made “right” in His sight again; however, I eventually concluded that it was the enemy who wanted me to think that – and give up.  

Now, when I think back, I believe God was weeping for me during those times.  I had strayed so far away and I knew it but didn’t know how to find my way back home to God.  Once I stopped behaving so horribly, it was amazing how quickly it was put under the blood of Jesus and God forgave me!  I haven’t looked over my shoulder.  I keep moving forward, knowing that Jesus is my Lord and there’s no longer any known sin between my Lord and me.

If you have known sin in your life, it’s getting in the way of a relationship between you and God because you see, He’s perfect and cannot look upon any sins.  It’s His desire that you repent of your sins and ask Him to forgive you of them.  To repent just means to turn away from the sin and turn toward your loving Savior, Christ Jesus.  He will come into your heart and life and save you, just like He saved me.

To be saved means you will have a personal relationship with Him and live in Heaven with Him when you die.  You see, just being a good person in this life is not enough.  Your name must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Only Jesus can save you, through the blood He shed on Calvary.  A Holy God won’t accept a sin-filled soul.  I hope and pray you will accept His pardon and trust Him to help you with your issues today.  🙂

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

Do you remember the first Bible verse your teacher asked (more like challenged) you to memorize in Sunday School?  I do – and this is it!  Of course, I memorized it from the King James version which is:

WHAT TIME I AM AFRAID, I WILL TRUST IN THEE.  – Psalm 56:3

Not to brag, but I was the first one in the Primary class to memorize it, and my teacher gave me a brown teddy bear wearing a little gold cross.  Of course, the best prize of all was that I had started the journey toward hiding the Word of God in my heart.  You see, when you hide God’s Word inside your heart, it’s like knowing there’s a fire extinguisher handy in case there’s a fire one day.  The verses we commit to memory come to mind just when we need them most.  God is faithful to bring them to our mind if we are faithful to put the time and effort into memorizing them in the first place.  One lesson I’ve learned in this life is – if you hold up your end of the bargain, God is more than faithful to hold up His end!

I can’t tell you how many times this verse has popped into my mind.  I’ve been afraid many times.  Most of the time, it’s not like being afraid at a scary movie, but more like being unsure of an uncertain future.  Fear is fear no matter what, and to conquer a fear of any kind, we need to instill some faith!  Faith is our fear extinguisher.   There are Christians walking around who don’t even know they need a fear extinguisher!  Amazing.

Fear by its very nature is a lack of faith in God.  It means we are not trusting Him as we should, and it’s a very dangerous place to find ourselves in.  When we feel completely overwhelmed with fear and know we are short on faith, that’s when we make stupid decisions and fail to rely fully on our loving Father.  We try to get out of messes on our own, relying on our own savvy, which pales compared to the Father’s plan for handling the situation.  If we keep depending on our own abilities and ignore God’s prompting in our lives, we can end up digging quite a large hole for ourselves – and then we have to hit our knees and seek the Lord and humbly ask Him to lift us out of the hole we dug for ourselves!  I can’t be the only one who has done that, right?

Save yourself some pain and hit your knees in prayer right away.  His will and His way are best.  Ask Him to cover your fear with more faith, then trust the Lord to work it out.  You can alleviate your fears completely with your fear extinguisher!  It’s filled with faith and it works instantly – believe me!  

I’m glad I learned this verse as a child.  Of course, when I was a little girl I said it as I walked through dark places in our house at night.  I was afraid of boogie men just like every child is, and used the verse to bring comfort and ease my childish fears.

Today I don’t use it in the same way (aren’t you glad to hear that?)  But this verse has reminded me to place more trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know there’s nothing He cannot handle.  I can sort things out because I know He sorts me out.  It’s a sorting situation, you might say.  🙂

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

A SUMMER OF PSALMS - 8-12 - BANNER

PSALM 120-1-2

This old lady is having a difficult time discerning true news from the fake news lately, especially on Facebook!  I see posts about how Pope Francis said this or that and I’m appalled at the idea that he could have possibly said any of it.  Well – good ol’ SNOPES.COM.  I should just check stuff out before sharing some of what I share.  I get all my friends in a tizzy and then find out none of what I’ve posted is even fact!  Ugh!  Lying lips and deceiving tongues!!!  When did people start getting their jollies by posting horrific lies about good people?  It’s horrible and I, for one, refuse to share it anymore.

I’m sure all my Facebook friends are very happy to hear that!  🙂

In this environment of fake news and made up stories, what are Christians to believe?  God’s word is clear – we are to believe the ever-loving and never-changing Book that has sustained us through the worst days of our lives – the Bible.  As we read His word and pray to Him, He is faithful to us even if we feel distressed about the lies and deceit that are all around us in this day and age.  We have to come to terms with the fact that there are people who mean to distract us from the truth – and God’s people need to pray to Almighty God for discernment!  There are fake news stories in media that at one time could be trusted because they only printed or reported the TRUTH.  That is no longer the case.

It blows my mind that there are people in the world who write false stories.  We had one thing drilled into our heads in journalism class, and that is you check sources and double-check them.  You make sure that what you are writing is real, true, factual.  Journalistic integrity is dead, folks!  We live in a society of fog now.  Nothing can be believed and everything has to be fact-checked before re-posting.  Take nothing at face value.  Their deceit means we need deliverance.  God is faithful!

The lesson for Christians today is to pray, pray, PRAY!!!  Ask God for discernment because you need it – and I need it!  It’s fairly benign in a social media setting – I mean if I share something that ends up to be false, I’ve had some conversation with my friends and end up deleting the post and saying NEVERMIND to everyone in embarrassment.  No harm, no foul (except I feel for the poor Pope.  Yikes!)  The reason I keep such a close eye on those stories is, I’m sure one of these days the story will not be fake news – and when that happens, I don’t want to be asleep at the wheel.  Does anyone else feel that way?  We know things will get worse – not to be all gloom and doom – but hey…  just speaking the truth.

The good news is, in the midst of our mess, our LORD has a message for us!  It’s our job to listen, stay alert and awake for HIS voice…  that’s the only voice that matters!  Got fake news?  Got fake friends?  Got fake anything else?  Got troubles???

Isn’t it amazing that a Psalm written so long ago can speak to our hearts and minds today?  That’s the awesomeness of God.  He was there, but He is here, and He will be there!  Omnipresent.  It blows my mind, but it comforts my mind at the same time.  Isn’t God great and good?  Yes, He is.  ALL the time!  🙂

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

The “T” is allowed in the word COMMIT.  The “T” is allowed in the word TRUST.  The “T” is most definitely not allowed on the end of the word CAN.

We need to remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to proceed.  When we charge off and try to be successful on our own without God’s help, that’s the wrong way to get where we’re going.  Giving the plan to God is key and makes everything so much easier for us.  We are nothing without Him and we can do nothing without His help.  In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him – only then will He work on our behalf, making our path straight and opening doors that would otherwise stay shut.

We know that it takes just a little faith to get going.  We’re told that it takes faith the size of a mustard seed.  When I was a teenager, I wore a necklace that had a mustard seed inside a glass case.  It was so tiny and lightweight, most of the time I forgot I was wearing it.

Isn’t sign language beautiful?  The main point of this Psalm is that God wants the very best for us, but He wants us to keep Him in the loop, so to speak.  He wants to be a part of our decision-making process every step of the way.  Anything we do that is not within His will and His word – it’s not good and it’s not right.  We need to do things His way according to His will.

Do we always do that?  No – speaking for myself, I’ve not.  Those are painful lessons in life – but we learn the lesson (hopefully just once), and we ask the Lord’s forgiveness and then we get up and try again and with His help, we do better.  Grab on to your mustard seed-size faith and try again!  The second part of this passage says HE WILL HELP YOU.  Will you trust God to help you find victory in your life?

Is there a lasting victory for you?  Sure there is!  Our Lord is loving and merciful and kind and strong!  He wants the very best for you and wants to help you in every aspect of your life.  You CAN because He’s going to help you!  Just share everything you do, or plan to do, with Him!  Always give HIM the glory for the successes in your life!  

Remember to pray before you plan.  Make sure what you plan to do is God’s best for you, and His will for your life (as far as you can tell).  Keep reading your Bible and pray because you want to do things God’s way.  🙂

 

 

Father May I?

God’s will is at the center of everything!  There are control freaks in the world who will balk at the notion, but it’s true – they are not in charge.  Go sulk in the corner if you resemble that remark.  I’m joking.  Sit in the front row right in the middle if you resemble that remark!  😀

The Lord wants us to pray because we love Him.  To pray is a choice we make and not just something that Christians do from 11 a.m. till noon on Sunday morning in a building with a steeple.  We pray – and we keep the lines of communication open all the time.  One prayer we all pray every day is “Father, please forgive me.”

We can be confident because our God is faithful.  By confidence, I’m not talking about self-assurance, but a steady peace within that comes from the knowledge that God is in control and it will be okay when it’s all said and done.  How do we obtain that steady peace in our lives?  We take time for prayer – even if those prayers are groanings.  Some prayers are not prayed in words, but God understands them.  He knows our thoughts, our intent and He counts our tears as we pray.  It’s His will for you to pray.  Is it your will to pray?  Let God hear from you today!

Well – we have some spiritual cookie dough waiting for us.  Let’s see…  we have used God’s wonderful sifter to sift His strong flour into the batter bowl.  Last week, we added some of God’s chocolate chips (and ate another handful for good measure) so our cookies will be sweet.

It’s time to use God’s powerful mixer so our dough is mixed together well.  There – that should do it.  God is such a good Father.  As we put the little spoonfuls of dough on our greased cookie sheet, He lets us lick the beaters and the batter bowl.  I must admit, that’s my favorite part of baking!

Dear Lord,  We are nothing without Your mighty power.  It’s as simple as that.  You are our everything and we need Your power in our lives.  Our spiritual cookies would be too lumpy bumpy without a powerful mixer.  So it is with our lives as we strive to serve You.  We know that there are temptations to sin at every turn.  We also know that in Your mighty name we are more than conquerors!  You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Help us to remember that in You we can do all things!  In Jesus’ mighty and powerful name we pray, Amen.

Next week as we finish our May emphasis, “Father May I?”, we will finish baking our spiritual cookies.  Our spiritual chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, I’m looking forward to them, aren’t you?

I have one more link to share with you today.  You may have heard, there was a Royal Wedding yesterday.  I think I saw a few posts on facebook – like maybe a hundred or so…  anyway, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this sermon, I hope you’ll click on this link and listen to it.  Have a blessed week!  🙂

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/sermons/power-love-bishop-michael-currys-sermon-wedding-prince-harry-and

 

 

 

 

Father May I?

Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  It’s not as complicated as some folks want to make it.  We speak, God listens, He speaks, we hopefully listen.  Prayer is a way we reinforce truth in our hearts and souls.  It’s how we practice our faith…  we put feet – actionreinforcement, to our faith.  What if we had parents, but we were never allowed to interact with them?  Never allowed to talk, laugh, even argue with them?  That would not be much of a relationship, would it?

The best way to give Satan a black eye is to start praying to God in Jesus’ name!  Satan cannot read your mind – remember that when you pray.  If you can possibly think your prayers, it’s best.  Satan can’t get a foothold on a prayer that is from your mind to God’s heart.  He could possibly get a foothold on one said aloud.  If the devil doesn’t know what you’re thinking – he can’t possibly come up with a counter measure!  Spiritual warfare is a real thing – and it starts with humility before the Lord, with sincere heartfelt prayers.

This portion of Scripture tells us to pray in Jesus’ name.  That’s why we always tag our prayers with that phrase.  I remember being asked to pray aloud once in teen group – and I forgot to say “In Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer.  I was given a tongue lashing by the teen leader afterward.  I still get scared when someone asks me to pray aloud – and if it happens to be a pastor asking me to pray – it’s worse yet and I probably won’t do it.  We really must be careful when dealing with young people as we teach them.  They are so vulnerable and the smallest thing can affect them for the rest of their lives.  Encourage young people…  they’re doing their best and we should love them for that.  Correct them in private – not in front of the rest of the class.

If we ask anything in Jesus’ name He will do it so it will glorify the Father.  So, asking God to give me a dozen donuts in Jesus’ name is probably a bad idea.  I can’t imagine that it would glorify the Father for that prayer to be answered.  God already knows what we want, but more importantly, He knows what we need!  He knows best, but He still wants us to ask.  He wants to hear from us because He loves us so much!  Remember that prayer isn’t about getting what we want.  Prayer is about getting to know God.

When I started writing the Heart Hunger Blog, I weighed a whopping 220 pounds and had a horrible food addiction.  A friend in my group, “A Second Helping of Wellness… with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith”, told me about how her husband lost 100 pounds when he embraced a low-carb lifestyle.  So many people ask me why I called this blog HEART HUNGER and the answer is really pretty simple.  There’s a God-shaped place in every heart, and nothing but GOD fits there.  We try to put all sorts of things in that place, but they don’t fit!  God is the piece that fits in the God-shaped place.

During the month of May, as we ask “Father, May I?”, I want to imagine we are baking a batch of spiritual cookies.  We already know that cookies are little carb bombs, so eating real ones would not be a good idea if we want to watch our weight, right?  So – these spiritual cookies we bake need not only special ingredients, but they need to be made with special utensils from God.

I want to use a good brand of flour for my spiritual cookies because it’s the flour that holds everything together.  I also want to use a Holy Ghost sifter to discern the words I hear and know truth from lies in this life.

Dear Lord, We’re asking “Father, May I?” this month.  We want to bake the best batch of spiritual cookies we can.  Please bless our hearts and minds with Your flour of strength so everything will hold together when it seems to be crumbling.  When we experience doubt or confusion, help us to send everything we hear through Your special sifter of discernment and read the ultimate cook book, Your Holy Word, The Bible, to make sure what we are hearing in the world is in line with what You want for us.  When we ask for anything in Your name, we know if it’s within Your will, You want us to have good things.  As we sift the flour, may we please hear from You?  We need to hear from You!  It’s in Jesus’ precious and Holy name we pray, Amen.

I love spiritual cookies.  There are no calories, no carbs, no weight gain and no guilt.  There is happiness, joy, love, freedom and peace.  🙂

 

Seek Him

The last thing a Christian woman wants to be is unequally yoked.  No…  not an egg yolk, silly!  Yoked…  hooked together.  Till death do you part can seem like a life sentence in San Quentin if you’re pulling the wagon with the wrong partner!

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  – 2 Corinthians 6:14

I didn’t learn this until I was older, but now I know – as long as I keep my hand in God’s hand, He will set me on a joyous journey and my path will be straight.  The first time I saw this quote, I literally cried – it’s so true.  When I was younger and immature, I didn’t think about this at all.  Back then, I can’t say my heart was hidden in God – so there’s the first problem, eh?

How can a non-Christian man understand a Christian woman?  He can’t.  He may try, but all of his suggestions and solutions would be gleaned from the world, not from God’s Word.  Prayer?  He would not be a man of prayer.  Where does his strength come from?  If not from God, then from the Wall Street Journal, I guess.  Most Christian couples pray together, so…  that leaves you alone to pray – by yourself.  Soon you would feel resentment at having to bear the spiritual burden alone.

He could be of a similar mind to you in every other sense and still not make the cut.  He could vote a straight political ticket, be a non-smoker, go to the gym three days a week, drive a car made in America (wait – are there any cars made in America anymore?) – anyway – unless he is a believer in Christ Jesus…  nope – sorry – he would not be the man for a Christian woman.

If two Christian people can just come together and look to the cross of Christ Jesus – together.  Show devotion to Him – together.  Praise Him – together.  Seek His face and His grace in prayer – together.  Then…  they are equally yoked and the wagon’s pulled without one partner feeling strained or resentful toward the other.

Christians are not perfect people…  we embrace grace – God’s wonderful, amazing grace!  It’s as simple as that.  We need a life partner who wants that same thing in life.  We wilt and die without it – marriages end when God is not invited in.

If a woman will keep her heart hidden in God – the right man will know he needs to find God before he can get to know her.  Two people yoked together should be looking in the same direction – that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  🙂

 

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!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  God bless you – and thank you so much for reading my blog and following it.  How will you bring the New Year in?  How will you welcome 2018?

I think making resolutions is alright; however, there is far too much pressure put on a person, don’t you think?  I mean, how long is this list going to be?  If I’ve smoked for 30 years and I resolve to quit this year – then add to that a resolution that I’ll lose 30 pounds (all in one day, right?) – and oh, don’t forget, we need to pay off ALL our debt this year (that’s done in one day too, I’m sure.) 

I don’t dig the resolution thing because to resolve to stop every bad habit you’ve had for most of your life…  ugh – not so much.  It’s too much pressure.

Here’s another idea.  How about choosing ONE WORD that describes the attribute you most want to ask God to increase in your life this year?  I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting some possible WORDS you may want to embrace and pray to have enhanced in 2018.

I have a facebook friend who lives in the U.K. (don’t you love facebook???) – we chatted about this very subject a few days ago.  In her country, they have organized gatherings for senior citizens, which I think is a very good idea!  Social interaction is so vital to mental sharpness and let’s face it – we’re so much happier when we have friends and meet with them on a regular basis.  I told her in the U.S. we have things like The Red Hat Society, but I was not aware of a country-wide organized social gathering for seniors.  Compassion like Christ had – it extended to all people of all ages!  All people need the love of God, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  ❤

I get uncomfortable when I feel as though I’m losing control.  Is that human nature?  I don’t know – probably.  Giving your ALL to the Lord is not easy, and it’s never done just one time.  At least, in my life it’s never been done just one time.  It’s a daily commitment to hand everything to God.  It doesn’t matter how large the issue is, or how small…  hand it to God.  Give it to Him and trust Him with it.  Surrender to Him – and be obedient to Him.  He really does know best.  ❤

LOL – I was just fighting with my laptop (stupid thing!) – somehow, the screen got small and I couldn’t get the cursor to the place you click to make it regular size again.  Now, I ask you…  why would they put the icon over there where you can’t even reach it when you need it?  I think elves make these things – not rational elves either.  Anyhoo – I try to have more patience with human beings than I do with electronics.  Maybe we all need to pray for more patience in the coming year; and we will be careful to give God the glory for times when patience wins!  We really are nothing without Him.  ❤

I won’t lie – 2017 was one rough year for me!  I won’t bore you with the details.  My poor facebook friends have been subjected to the deets every step of the way.  Suffice to say…  I was stuck in bed with a bad back for about seven months!  It’s a humbling experience.  I would see the ads for Laser Spine Institute and just cry and cry!  I wanted to get my back “fixed” so desperately!  I’d struggled with sciatica for decades!  I finally had surgery on November 8th of this year.  But God is good because it was not a traditional surgery – it was the less invasive surgery with the less than 1″ incision.  That was the kind I prayed I could get!  That’s the kind they advertise on TV.  But my insurance would not have covered the procedure at Laser Spine Institute.  They covered it – the very same type of procedure – here in Kansas!  It’s a God thing – and I praise Him for His faithfulness to me!

I no longer have that shooting pain going down my leg!  It went away immediately – and once my incision healed and my back stopped having spasms, I was back to normal!  I’m still on restriction – can’t lift more than 10 pounds, no bending and I can’t dance the Twist yet…  but I can walk with no pain!  I walk now – so much and so far – you wanna know why?  Well, silly…  because I CAN!  During this time, my sweet friend Diane sent me this very special angel.  She is so beautiful!  She is in my “she shack” (it’s like a man cave, only for women).  She shines brightly and reminds me that there is always HOPE no matter what!  Thank you, Diane, for your kindness to me!  ❤

I’m reminded of an old hymn (hey, I was a church pianist for 50+ years, give me a break!)  The words say, “Faith is the VICTORY that overcomes the world.”  Victory is not attached to our circumstances – we are victorious no matter what!  Why?  Because we have FAITH which produces VICTORY and our faith is in Christ – and what did He do?  He overcame the world!!!  Past tense – it’s a done deal!!!  All we have to do is ACCEPT His gift!  Accept the sacrifice He made on Calvary so long ago for all mankind.  ❤

When my mama was here, I always talked with her, either on the phone or in person.  I couldn’t imagine a day without her.  Of course, I’ve been forced to embrace or at least accept a new normal since her death in 2004.  The really cool part about talking with the Lord every day is that – He’s not going to leave or die or whatever.  I know that God’s there, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  We talk nearly every day, and we talk about big stuff and small stuff.  He just wants me to keep Him in the loop, so to speak.  Just as my parent wanted to hear from her daughter every day, my Heavenly Father wants to have a conversation with me every day.  May we all seek His face every day in 2018.  ❤

I believe that there are times when God will allow a rough patch in our lives in order to make us more grateful for our lives when they are better again.  He doesn’t lead us around bad things, He holds our hand and leads us right through them!  It’s easier to be grateful when everything is going well and we don’t feel pain.  I’m the first to admit that… but I’ll also proclaim that there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  I remember when I was lying in bed back in April 2017 – and I heard a robin sing.  I remember thinking, “Lord, if I was busy somewhere else, I probably would not have noticed that bird singing.”  I thanked God for the serenade from that robin!  It had been a very long, quiet winter – and when you finally hear a bird sing, there is a sudden rush of HOPE that pours over you.  ❤

Years ago I was invited to a lecture about communication in marriage.  I wasn’t thrilled about going because quite frankly, I had just gotten divorced and didn’t think the subject applied to me.  I thought I’d walk into this church and there would be lovey dovey couples sitting all over the place.  Does that seem like an environment I’d be happy in at that time?  Exactly.  I was like, “OK, let’s get this over with…”

I should have recognized that God was preparing me for the next chapter of my life.  I could not believe the wealth of knowledge I gleaned from that lecture!  It was awesome and well worth the time it took from my life.  It actually changed my life.  And I really didn’t see that many couples there – and as the evening progressed, I frankly didn’t notice because I was paying attention to the lecture.

I learned that listening is the most important job in conversation.  Listen – and use body language to show the other person that they have your undivided attention!  Lean forward and make eye contact.  Really listen…  wow.  You mean I can’t just start jabbering and expect the other person to do all the listening?  I was shocked!

That night changed my prayer life as well – I do less talking and sometimes I don’t talk at all.  I just focus on the Lord – lean forward and make eye contact (oh, I wish) – but I always want to incline my ear toward Him.  Always. 

Here on planet earth, we restore all sorts of things!  In an effort to recycle things, we save them and love them back into usefulness!  What an accomplished feeling we have when something old and rusty looks showroom new again!  Cyber high-five to all the restorers reading this post today!

The best restorer of all is our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!  He suffered and died on a cruel cross on Mount Calvary so that our sorry souls could be restored – saved for eternity!  That’s a big deal!  He loves us so much!  ❤

In 2018, I want to be more obedient to God and His Word.  Of course, to do that, I actually have to delve into His Word, the Bible.  Since I’m not really a creature of habit – some days I’m an early bird and catch the worm and other days I stay up and am a night owl.  Depending on which mode I’m in, I’ll either do devotions in the morning or at night.  I don’t think the Lord really cares when we make time to be with Him – He just wants us to make time for Him.  ❤

I think we get GRACE & MERCY confused sometimes.  It’s really okay because it’s all good stuff – but it’s also good to know the difference.

God’s GRACE is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God that we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.

God’s MERCY is His loving compassion for us.  He doesn’t give us what we deserve, but He gives us what He wants to give us – His love.

See how close and intertwined they are?  No wonder we get them a little muddled once in a while.  ❤

I want God to forgive me of my sins – well duh…  of course I do!  But He says I have to forgive others their sins against me.  That’s the deal, so I have to forgive – no matter how much a person hurts me, I have no choice but to forgive.  And you know what?  Frankly, to carry a grudge around on your shoulders is really stupid!  They’re going merrily on their way, living their life – and they’ve forgotten all about it – and you.  So…  ditch that heavy grudge and forgive – but some things you won’t forget – and shouldn’t.  There are lessons we learn in those situations.  You want to keep the lesson, just in case you get in a similar situation again.  Therein lies the wisdom…  keep the wisdom from the situation.  Forgive the person – ditch the grudge – keep the lesson and the wisdom.  Works for me!  ❤

I want to end with this lovely poem by Lucinda Berry Hill.  It sums up what we’re talking about – making this year better in every way than last year.

We all need God’s help to learn to take the high ground instead of jumping in the mud hole with others.  May we bring a blessing to each other in 2018.  ❤

I know this was a really LONG post…  they’ll get shorter, I promise!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!  Be safe and responsible tonight!  God Bless You!