FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

There’s just something about fall…  we want to spend more time in the house nesting, baking, pumpkin spicing EVERYTHING!  We get out long enough to enjoy a tailgate party and watch a football game – but even then we’re snuggled up in a stadium blanket.  It’s time to slow down and rest.  Are you weary and burdened?  Jesus says He will give us rest!  We can trust that promise to be true because Jesus doesn’t lie.

The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale.  – Cornelia L. Tuthill, “Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke,” 1840

It’s about time for me to change from plain cotton sheets to cotton flannel sheets.  They’re so soft and comfy and surprisingly cool.  I used to think they would be too warm, and I’d end up too hot at night, but that hasn’t been the case.  They’re perfect for the fall and winter months.

As I begin counting my blessings this year, at the top of my list is the way Jesus brings sweet rest to my weary and burdened spirit.  Along with the theme of rest, I will include the set of new flannel sheets on the bed.  The house is slowly transforming into a warm and cozy oasis from a cold and cruel world.  Isn’t that what home should be?

[T]hat old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.                 – Wallace Stegner

So many people get the urge to do a deep cleaning in the spring – we’re bombarded with magazine articles about spring cleaning.  I’ve always been prone to do my deep cleaning in the fall.  Don’t ask me why, but I have more energy and the spirit seems more willing, and if there’s one thing I know about myself – I have to strike while the iron’s HOT.  I know that energy won’t last.

I say a little prayer, then I’m off to the races, cleaning out closets and cupboards, scrubbing and mopping, sweeping and dusting.  When I’m finished, I’m more than ready to ask Jesus to give me that rest He promises.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time out shopping and fighting off the crowds of people so I could find some bargains.  I had people to buy gifts for, so I was part of the crazy rat race!  These days, I opt for a warm spot, hot tea, cozy slippers, and a laptop.  It’s a blessing to have a time of rest and renewal.  The older I get, the more I appreciate rest.

What’s at the top of your blessing list?  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  – Matthew 3:1&2

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John the Baptist had a definite purpose on this earth…  it was to proclaim that the time to repent of sin and turn to God, through His Son, Christ Jesus – is NOW!  Guess what?  Every follower of Christ has the same purpose.  We are here to share the gospel – the good news – of Jesus Christ.  It’s our reason for living and our purpose on this planet.

I have a unique way of learning Scripture and enriching my relationship with the Lord.  I grew up in a generation that was smitten with theatre – but I had a great interest in religious themed theatre…  namely, “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  Every time one of those shows was playing, I did my best to get tickets and take a group of friends to see it.  I love the music in both plays.  I still listen to those soundtracks in the car – and sing with them at the top of my lungs!  It makes God smile – and sometimes He laughs too.

This portion of Scripture gets me singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from “Godspell.”

What can I say?  You either watch this and wonder what kind of crazy person is writing this blog…  or, like me – you see a sea of symbolism in every frame.  I cried as I watched it – because I saw people ditching their STUFF and running to the fountain.  They knew that whatever they were hanging on to would not be needed – because Christ is all they need.  One woman kicked off her shoes – I love it!

tell-them

Did you see the guy standing on the banks – on the sideline – not getting in the water?  He’s the doubter – he’s the one who is almost persuaded.  He’s the one we’re ministering to most of all.  We love to sharpen the iron of brothers and sisters – and it’s a lot of fun to do that – but we really want to encourage the ones standing at the side – watching – dry – still hanging on to their stuff, because in the world stuff is very important.  In the world it’s frowned upon to jump into fountains.  Isn’t the world boring?

Will you kick off your shoes and jump into the fountain?  Come to Christ just as you are – He cares about you – not your handbag or shoes – not your new hairstyle – none of that matters once you find Jesus.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.  – 1 John 2:25

God is not a man – so He never goes back on any promises He makes.  If you have not heard anything positive yet today…  you just did!  If nothing has given you reason to smile yet today…  this should.  God will keep every single promise He makes to His children!  You can take His Word to the bank – you can bet that His promises can be trusted.

What has He promised us in this portion of Scripture?  He’s promised us eternal life!  We have hope if we are a child of God – that even when this life is over, the best is yet to come!  I’m looking forward to it – not that I’m in a hurry to die – it’s not like that.  I’ll get to Heaven when God says it’s time, for He has stuff for me to do here.  But it’s a comfort to know that I don’t have to agonize about what lies beyond this life.  There’s a peace and an assurance that I’ll be alright because I’ll be with my Lord.  There’s no better place to be.

This promise of eternal life in Heaven is for all who have repented of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul and mind.  Those who lead a holy life will one day live with God in Paradise.  We can’t base the promise on intellect or strength or any other sort of measure – believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

This is good news!  This is hope for anyone who is feeling as if there is no hope.  God has made provision for us and today He is telling us that we may rest in the assurance that we will live beyond this limited time on planet earth – in Heaven – with Him.

I’m reminded of an old hymn – Blessed Assurance.  I know – I’m old – but I still love the old hymns of the church.

So…  today if you are needing a reminder as you continue your Christian walk…  if you need to be uplifted, empowered and injected with some positivity…  here ya go!  Be strong and keep the faith.  The best is yet to come – God says so!  🙂

 

HEBREWS 10:23 ON 10/23

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Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

Shared with permission.

My parents and I were living in a refugee settlement in Vienna after we left the former Soviet Union.  Everything was uncertain, scary, and pretty terrible.  This didn’t stop my dad from announcing one day that we were going to visit the opera house in Vienna.  I thought playing tourists was ridiculous – we had no money, no citizenship, and no home.  “We don’t know if we’ll ever be back here again,” my dad said.  “Life is short.  It’s stupid to sit here and wallow in our troubles.”  Now I realize…  he’s right.  – Nataly Kogan

When our president said that he would fundamentally CHANGE the United States, a cold chill went up my back.  Part of me thought, “Well, maybe I’m just getting old and this is not as bad as I think it will be.”

This is not a political blog, but having lived under the leadership that promised HOPE AND CHANGE, I’m really just praying that in 2016 we get FAITH AND TRUST.  I want to be able to trust that those who lead my country are on my side.  It’s time for a change from hope and change.

Faith is not about finding meaning in the world:  there may be no such thing.  Faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.  – Terry Tempest Williams

How many people can you really trust?  Do you have to use both hands to tally it up, or will one hand suffice?  If you are having to take your shoes and socks off to count up your trustworthy peeps, you are blessed indeed!

In this verse, we are told to HOLD TIGHTLY WITHOUT WAVERING TO THE HOPE WE AFFIRM.  Does that mean the hope and change in America?  I really don’t think so.  It’s referring to the eternal hope we have found in our LORD, Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is a comfort to know that He has everything under control.

But this verse goes on to remind us that GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.  It is important to remember that even when we can’t trust our government or some people in our life – God can be trusted to keep HIS promise.  Every single promise He makes He will keep!  This includes His promise of eternal salvation for anyone who comes to Him and confesses Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepting Him into their hearts and lives.

At salvation, we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means everything the Father bestows upon the Son, we will receive with Him. The Lord has sealed these gifts for us by the Holy Spirit and reserves our treasures in heaven.  – Charles Stanley

The times we live in are frightening, but we do not have to be polarized by our circumstances.  We cannot afford to stop dreaming, stop living and stop loving because the world around us is a scary place.  Find a way to hang on to God and trust Him to keep His promise.  In the meantime, live your life to the fullest because your life is in God’s hands and in His keeping.

We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.  – Gretchen Rubin

I think in this day of uncertainty we need to know there is a God who understands our fears and sees every tear we shed in the privacy of our room.  Lean on Him because He can be trusted.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

8-11 ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

On August 11, 1976 from the rooftop of what was once a Holiday Inn, a sniper armed with two rifles, a lunch box filled with ammunition and evil intent in his heart to kill because he was distressed over a broken romance, opened fire on innocent citizens – strangers – in Wichita, Kansas.

He killed three people and injured seven.

At that time, the Holiday Inn was the tallest building in Wichita and in the state of Kansas.  It is now the second tallest since we now have the Epic Center.

The Holiday Inn was built in 1964-67.  I remember the excitement in Wichita back then.   It was wonderful that Wichita was finally going to get a big name hotel.  Our city was really going to grow because we had this nice place for visitors to stay.

We don’t have a crystal ball, do we?  We had no way of knowing that nine years after the Holiday Inn opened its doors, Michael Soles would change so many lives in just eleven minutes!

Wichita has had its share of crime, but there was something about this one that made all of us more frightened.  We all felt so safe in Wichita for the most part.  There are higher crime areas in America to be sure.  But the idea of shooting people you don’t even know to take out frustrations about your own love life?  Seriously?

I’ve followed his case and his parole hearings.  In 2007 once again the victims and families of victims made a plea to keep Soles behind bars for the rest of his life.  It absolutely blows my mind that he will be eligible for parole in July 2017!  That is next year!!!  I hope and pray the victims and families of victims will once again show up to keep him from leaving prison!

Here’s my question.  I want to know if he got some psychological treatment, because if he is released next year, what’s to say he won’t do it again?  He killed people – on purpose!  Why is his evil butt not in jail with no possibility of parole???  Is that not premeditated murder???  I know they don’t like to use the “S” word anymore, but that is exactly what he was…  a SNIPER!

The Epic Center is now the tallest building in Wichita.  I love the design because the roof is at an angle – nobody can stand on top of that building with a loaded gun!  The windows at the top of the building do not open – another plus in my book!

The people of my generation think of one event when we see the Epic Center, and we thank God that the city was wise enough to utilize this design.  It doesn’t make what happened in 1976 right.  Of course I am aware that God is in control of this situation.  I’m also aware that God gave every one of us a brain and made it possible for us to form a sense of right and wrong – and the ability to forge change when we see something that is wrong.

Law enforcement officials made it clear in the testimony at his 2007 parole hearing that Michael Soles spoke of the murders as though he was telling a story about someone else.  He has not taken responsibility and seems to not feel a bit of remorse about what he did.  He is obviously detached from the event and feels nothing.

Time doesn’t change anything. It doesn’t change what happened.  Time has a tendency to make people forget how horrendous this crime was.  – Carl Hensley, son of murder victim

To let him out next year would be the biggest mistake – especially if he has not had any psychological treatment.  He’s clearly unstable and does not deal with strife in a constructive manner.

Michael Soles is evil.  He was evil then, he is evil now.  – Kevin O’Connor, Sedgwick County deputy district attorney

I’m not an attorney (but I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery on television).  There are cases where people kill one person and never get out of prison.  Soles killed THREE people and will be eligible for parole next year!  That just doesn’t pass the smell test for me – sorry! 

As a Christian I believe in forgiveness because of how much I’ve been forgiven for.  My problem in this case is that Soles has not received any psychological help (in my research I saw no evidence of it) and will undoubtedly be a repeat offender because he’s not taking responsibility.  He’s not OWNING what he did!

I sure don’t want to be walking around the downtown area when he decides to go up on a rooftop and start shooting again.  Yes I know that security is better than it was in 1976…  Well, maybe it is – but what if it isn’t? 

And those apartments in the old Holiday Inn…  are they renting out that penthouse level now – and how secure is that?  I’m not the first to ask that question, by the way.  Why don’t Wichitans deserve to be kept in the loop about things like that?  Time is a wonderful healer, but sometimes it’s just time that has passed.  Change happens in the heart – and Soles doesn’t even acknowledge he did anything wrong.

Part of me thinks, “What are the chances that he would go to the same building and walk up to somebody’s penthouse apartment and walk out on the balcony and open fire?”  How unlikely is that?  Well, I don’t know – but I think it’s just the thought that he would have the freedom to do that – I’m sure that is what has me so angry and so paralyzed.  I was a kid – I was only fifteen in 1976.  I can tell you though that it was the beginning of the end of commerce in our downtown area.  Nobody felt safe to shop there anymore and the folks who worked downtown didn’t leave their office buildings to go out to lunch for a long time.

Wichita has not been the same since 8:46 pm on August 11, 1976.  The Garvey Center used to be a symbol of progress and hope.  Now that building is a bunch of apartments, but every time I look at it, my mind goes back to that day in 1976.

One more thought before I get off my soapbox.  To the city officials of Wichita: they implode buildings every day for all sorts of reasons.  Why in the world did we keep that building after the Wichita massacre?  I hate it – I still hate seeing it – I think it’s a stain that should have been imploded a LONG time ago.  It’s my blog – and that’s my opinion.  Take it or leave it.  That HOLIDAY INN building with it’s uniquely shaped architecture and bright white color – it makes me cry to this day.  We continue to build all kinds of new buildings – heck, we’ve built three ARENAS – and closed one and the other one is in critical condition.  We could have taken the opportunity to rid ourselves of a very painful eyesore, but did we?  NOOOOOOOOOO!  We didn’t.  It’s still there – like the haunted house in the small town that nobody wants to get close to.  What a sad, sad reminder of the worst day in Wichita’s history!  What are we thinking – and is it too late to re-think it?  Am I overthinking it and just need to get over it?  I dunno – maybe.

Maybe it’s still there because it’s part of the Garvey Center.  I don’t know how much other than the hotel is there – maybe that’s why it still stands.  I’m sure somebody is making mega bucks renting out apartments.  I’m not against making money or renting out apartments, but seriously – I’m tired of the LANDMARK being there.  I mean – I dunno – repaint it or make some changes to it so it stops looking like an old Holiday Inn.  Even Holiday Inn hotels have changed their architecture – quite a bit.  I’m just tired of associating that building with this event.  Is anyone else in Wichita feelin’ it or is it just me?

In July, 1976 we were celebrating America’s Bicentennial and there seemed to be so much excitement and promise.  What a difference a month made.  😦

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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https://youtu.be/gXGfngjmwLA

There are horrible portions of history that make us cringe.  Try as we may, we can’t just go back and re-write it.  The holocaust is probably the worst time of all.  We ask God why these things had to happen.  This all took place nearly 20 years before I was born, but I know it happened.  My father was in the Navy during WWII and of course, we studied about it in history class.  I wonder if it’s even taught in classrooms today.  Is this just one more part of our history that we try to sweep under the proverbial rug?

I don’t believe we will know the answers to any of our questions that begin with the word WHY until we reach heaven – and frankly, by then it won’t matter why – am I right???

GOD WILL NOT BE SHAKEN

As I watched the GOP debate last night, a few thoughts came to mind.  I know that God’s timing is perfect and I know that this is HIS plan playing out.  I also know that He will see His children through everything that the future holds.  Now, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have opinions and it doesn’t mean that I won’t vote – I most certainly do and I surely will.

America is not immune from repeating history.  We must be well-educated about the past to avoid future pitfalls.  You know, many times my parents would talk to me about something and relay their own experiences – and follow the story with the statement, “I just don’t want you to make the same mistake.”  It was their attempt to keep me safe and save me from hurt and disappointment and failure.

We must pray about who our next leader will be.  Let’s pray that God’s will be done and vote accordingly.

AMERICA'S IN HIS HAND

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  – 2 Chronicles 7:14

I want to encourage all of us to humbly pray and seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways.  Then America will receive the blessings of forgiveness and healing of our land.  🙂

NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY

TL 11-30 NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY

 

11-30 NOT EVEN ONCE

We recognize November 30th as NATIONAL METHAMPHETAMINE AWARENESS DAY, in order to generate awareness about the damaging effects of meth abuse on individuals, families and American communities.

A picture says it all.  I watched this and cried.  I’m not just sad, I am mad!  The dealers are getting rich, knowing they are systematically killing their customers.  It’s blood money, but in most cases the dealers are just as hooked as the customers.  Where does this end?

Meth labs are in decent neighborhoods.  Some people move many times in an attempt to escape drugs.  A friend told me there was a meth lab about a block away from their house – in a small abandoned cinder block house.  Meth makers are like rats in the dark.  They wander around looking for an empty building to inhabit.  They’ll use any kind of building and they don’t care if there are children playing next door.  Actually, they count that as a bonus.  Dealers have no conscience and will get anyone at any age hooked on meth.  Remember, if they’re making their money that’s all that matters.  They don’t care where the kids get the money (they often steal it from their parents).  Meth dealers are selfish and destructive.

Even if a person moves to a so-called “upscale” neighborhood there is no guarantee there will not be drug dealers close by.  Some of the more affluent areas are where the high schools seem to have the worst problems with drug use.

Some things are simply out of our control.  All we can really do is teach our children about the evils of drug use and warn them about what could happen in their high school.  We pray over our neighborhoods and our schools and hope the kids listen to our advice.

If you have a neighborhood watch or a homeowner’s association, make sure they are on board with drug issues – on the lookout for any suspicious behavior and ready to report it to the authorities.  At any cost we need to protect the kids as much as possible.

Unfortunately, addicts often become thieves in order to afford their expensive habit.  Please see this link for common sense advice about displaying wrapped gifts in front of open windows.

http://www.crimedoctor.com/home_security_3.htm

It’s tempting to have your beautiful Christmas tree displayed in a large picture window with presents underneath.  Think about how tempting it would be for someone to smash your picture window and take the gifts.  Even if you feel secure in your neighborhood this sort of burglary can happen.  Addicts will do anything to get the money for their next high.

I pray for the ones who are addicted – and for the ones who fund their habit by selling to children.  I pray for the children who are tempted to try drugs or feel peer pressure to give in to temptation.  I pray for our neighborhoods – that God would bless us and protect us from this evil behavior.  I pray for the rehab facilities set up to help addicts and that the addicts would see their need to take advantage of those facilities.  I pray for the 12-step programs offered in churches.  May they help many addicts in Jesus’ Name.

This is the day we recognize the problem exists, raise awareness and remind each other that we need to be more vigilant about where our children go in the neighborhood and who they hang out with.  We love our kiddos and want to protect them.

Leave me a comment here if you vow to never try any drugs.  By leaving a brief note such as I PROMISE, you are being proactive in your determination to stay away from this temptation.  I hope after reading this post you will take a moment to leave a message.  I promise to pray for you – that God will help you to keep that promise.  ❤