Friday, January 13, 2017

RING, RING

10:00 AM -- Ring, Ring – “Hello, there is nothing wrong with your credit card but,”  Hang up.

11:02 AM -- Ring, Ring – “Oh excuse me, I had to adjust my head set.  You recently stayed at one of our resorts”  Hang up.

12:30 PM – Ring, Ring – “I would like to offer you an extended warranty”  Hang up.

3:30 PM – Ring, Ring – “You have won $5 million.”  And how did I win this five million?  “Oh, I do not know.  I am just to arrange for you to receive the money.  Now you will need to send us $895”  Hang up.

11:10 PM -- Ring, Ring – (Notice 11:10 PM – being past our bedtime we were sound asleep) “We know where you are.  We are coming over.”  Go right ahead.  See you.  They hung up on me.  I went back to sleep.

Do any of these sound familiar?  We have received the first three so many times I am beginning to wonder if I should invite them over for dinner.  Or at least learn about their family.  Maybe get a call back number.  The calls, about winning millions, only come occasionally now.  They might be a bit upset because I have not sent the transfer fee and I keep hanging up on them.  Maybe I should be friendlier.  Ask them about the weather.  Check on their children.

The call at 11:10 PM was the normal “kids have phone, kids will make crank calls” and they were a bit confused when I did not get upset.  Don’t ya hate when a crank caller hangs up on you.  How rude!!!

BUT what would happen if I received this call:

Anytime – Ring, Ring – “Mary.”  Yes.  “Mary, this is Jesus.  I happen to be in the neighborhood and would like to stop by.  Is that okay?”  Of course!  (Hey, I am not going to tell Jesus it is not a good time.)  “Be there in a bit.”  I will be here.  Hang up.  (Oh, drat.  I should have let Jesus hang up first.  What if he had something else to say?  What if he needed directions?  Silly me, HE knows where I live.) 

In a bit?  Here?  In our home?  Dust?  Is there dust?  What books are out?  Where is the Bible?  Should I delete those movies and programs I have on the DVR just in case HE turns on the TV? 

Hubby?  He is out for a walk.  I better call him.  He will not want to miss this visitor. 

Food?  Will He want something to eat?  Does He eat?  Bacon?  Oh, Jewish background.  No.  Peter’s dream makes pork on the approved list.  But maybe something lighter.  I have grapes.  Grapes, a little cheese,…..

Wear?  Do I need to change clothes?  This is stressful.  Why did I tell HIM it was a good time to come over?

OH NO!!  HE is here and all I have done is stand here and go in circles.  

Take a breath.  Open the door. 

Those eyes.  That smile.

“May I come in?” 

YES!  YES!  COME IN. 

                 —                           

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!”

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”               Luke 10:38-42

If Jesus knocked at your door, would you be a Martha or a Mary?

you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

If Jesus knocks at your door:

Take a breath.  Open the door. 

Look into HIS eyes. 

Notice HIS smile.

Hear HIM ask, “May I come in?” 

Sincerely reply, “YES!  YES!  COME IN.”


Friday, January 06, 2017

AND AGAIN GOD WEPT

I almost dread hearing the news.  What has happened to our world?  Our country?

This blog has been my writing outlet for a long time now.  Most posts have been positive.  Hopefully offering anyone that stopped by a glimpse into life and how God can be seen in our day to day lives.  Hope with each sunrise and peace with each sunset.  With glimpses of God in the laughter of a child, or the touch of a friend, or the sweet kiss of a loved one.  With the confirmation of forgiveness and mercy and grace.  But today…..

Today, once again Satan invaded our lives with another shooting.  How sad is the word “another.”  These killings have become a part of our existence.  They are now a part of our day to day life.  Yes, murder has been around since Cain and Abel, but when did it become so common that we say, “Oh no.  Another shooting.”

When did hate become so acceptable?  When did the lives of others become worthless?  When did we quit being shocked?

Today I…today I have more questions than answers.

BUT, and it is a big BUT, I have not lost my hope, trust or faith in God. 

From The Message Proverbs 3:5-7:

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God!  Run from evil!

I do not have to know the answers.  I do not have to figure it out on my own.  I only have to run to God. 

When you have a day that is hard.
When you turn on the news and your heart breaks.
When you have more questions than answers.

Hold on to your hope, trust and faith and run to God.

God.

“Yes, Mary.”

That part about don’t assume you know it all?

“Yes.”

Can I take that part out?  I have some people convinced I know it all.

“No, Mary.  You have to leave that in.  By the way, you are not fooling anyone.”

OK.  You can quit smiling.  But, God, just so you know, every shooting, bombing and killing breaks my heart.


“I know.  Each one breaks mine too.”

Friday, December 30, 2016

ANOTHER YEAR GONE --

It seems the last week in December is spent looking back.  Every news show, newspaper, magazine, website and Facebook post has something to do with the Top 10 Events in the world, the country, the state and our lives.  There is the annual list of banished words, new words, dangerous toys, most popular baby names and, of course, the Darwin Awards.

After looking back, it is then suggested everyone should make New Year’s resolutions based on how we would like our lives to improve the next year.  I have never understood this because most resolutions will not make it through January 1, nor all the way to March 15 or June 2.  And no way will they survive to September 22.  Take me for example.  No matter what I resolve to do, the diet does not last because those rolls at Nordmann’s call my name each morning and our daughter makes the best cheesecake, watching NCIS wins out over exercise and patience is still not a virtue.  All that looking back and soul searching to better my life all for zip.  Nada.  Nothing. 

Yes, ANOTHER YEAR IS GONE!!!  I hate to put this song into your head for the next week or two but my advice to the year going out:  Let It Go. 

There is something so much better.  What you ask?

THE YEAR COMING IN, OF COURSE!!!

The Prophet, Jeremiah, had to give the kingdom of Judah a bit of bad news. Their kingdom was about to be destroyed.  He also informed them that the future was bright and full of mercy, restoration, renewal and a new covenant.  Think of the old year/new year with these words from Jeremiah.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   Jeremiah 29:11

PLANS!!  God has a plan.  Not a review of the last year, but a plan for the coming year.  A plan for your life. 

Philippians was written by the apostle Paul and contains no Old Testament quotations.  That means Philippians is a “looking forward” book.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14

FORGETTING WHAT IS BEHIND AND GOING AHEAD!!  I like that idea.  Moving toward the goal instead of tied to yesterday.  A goal for your life.

What will 2017 contain?  We have no idea!!  What we do know is that there is a plan and a goal.  Now take what you learned in 2016.  Quit looking back.  Allow God’s plan for your life to become a reality and keep moving closer to your goal.


HAPPY NEW YEAR

Friday, December 23, 2016

PROMISE OF ---

Entitled PROMISE OF, our Advent Calendar offered a blessing each day. 

The promise of Jesus is His presence and friendship.  He is a light in our dark times and always our savior

The promise of Jesus is truth and faithfulness.  He meets our needs and opens the door to possibilities beyond our wildest imagination.  The promise of Jesus is our adoption into His perfect love.

We were given the Promise of the Holy Spirit and, when we listen to the Spirit, we receive wisdom and wise counsel.

Are you ready for the Good News?  Really ready?  You better sit down because this is just going to blow the socks right off your feet.

When you – me – everyone accepts the Promises of Jesus, they receive ---

The opportunity to be FILLED
The blessing of a NEW LIFE
The cleansing of being FORGIVEN
The thrill of JOY
The wonder of GLORY
A sense of HOPE
A place to REST
The gift of GRACE
The assurance of VICTORY
A life of PURPOSE
The sense of PEACE
The promise of ETERNAL LIFE

I do not know about you, but I want it all!!!  I want every promise!  Every blessing! 

Christmas morning I want to hear Jesus say, “Mary, my gifts are too great to fit under any tree.  My gifts for you cannot be put in a box, wrapped and tied with a bow.  My gifts cannot be ordered online.  My gifts require no charge card.”

Christmas morning I want to hear Jesus say, “Mary, my child, it is all yours.  Every promise, I give you.  Every blessing, I give you.”

Christmas morning I want to hear Jesus tenderly say, “Merry Christmas, my child.  I love you.”

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord
Luke 2:11

What do you want for Christmas?
Do you want it all?
You can have it all!

God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, has so much to give – GIVE – you.  If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior, He is waiting for you.  Just waiting for you to open your heart and allow the Spirit to come in.


Merry Christmas

Friday, December 16, 2016

God’s Gift

I want you to picture – yes, use your imagination – three gifts.

The first gift is small, about the size of a deck of cards.  What could be inside?  Maybe a piece of valuable jewelry.  Or maybe a gift card with a very large balance.  Or it could be nothing.  But it sure is a pretty package.

The second gift is a bit larger, about the size of a shoe box.  You would think that the bigger the package, the better the gift.  The wrapping is pretty and the bow just tops it off.  Do you wonder what could be inside?

The third gift is a tall skinny gift bag.   Does the shape give it away?  Not everything would fit in this gift bag.  A bag designed to hold – Let’s see what it holds.

Oh look!  It is a cup with packages of hot chocolate, tea and spiced cider mix.  Not quite what you expect to find in a bag designed to hold a wine bottle.

Too often we look at the wrapping – the outside – and make a judgment on what is inside.

“That must be a thug.  Or a gang member.  Or, heaven forbid, a motorcycle rider.  Look at those tattoos.  Why would anyone do that to their body?  Have they no self-respect?  My goodness, I do not want to have anything to do with that person.”

Unwrap the package.  Look inside.  That person with all sorts of strange ink might just be a youth minister.  Or a lawyer.  Or a doctor.  Or might be your next best friend.

“Really!  Look at that frown.  Did their mother never tell them their face would freeze that way?  They are always so grumpy.  My goodness, I do not want to have anything to do with that person.”

Unwrap the package.  Look inside.  Maybe life is hard for them.  Are they struggling with being a single parent?  Or maybe they are coping with an older, stubborn, unreasonable parent?  Maybe their spouse is in the military.  Or they do not have enough money to buy groceries.  Maybe their car broke down.  Maybe they need a smile.  Or someone to realize they are having a bad day.  Maybe they just need someone – only one person – to see past the frown and see the joy waiting to come out.

“A baby was born.  Just a baby.  Nothing special.  Babies are born every day.  Every second.  Around the world.  Babies are everywhere!  “

“So what is the big deal about one baby, born in a barn (or stable or cave), all those years ago?  He was a baby!  Have you seen all the pictures?  He looked like a baby.  Nothing special there.  He had all his toes and fingers.  Now either the artists ran out of time to paint a complete outfit or Mary had not been able to shop before she traveled to Bethlehem because that baby was not fully covered.  Yes, just a baby in a swaddling cloth with no fancy bows or ribbons.  Not exactly a gift to get excited about.”

Unwrap the package.  Look inside. 

But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child: and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.                  Galatians 4:4-7

What?  This normal looking baby is God’s Son?  A redeemer?  His Spirit is in our hearts?  No longer a slave?  God’s child?  God’s heir?

YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!!!

Well now, doesn’t that just take the cake?  This normal looking baby, with all his toes and fingers, born in a town long, long ago is so much more than he seemed. 

I am glad I unwrapped this gift and looked inside.


Thank you God for this most precious, valuable gift.

Friday, December 09, 2016

WRAPPING GIFTS

Today the wrapping begins!  I will set up a table.  Get the paper out of the closet.  Make sure I have plenty of tape and wrap each package.

It is not as much fun as when we had little ones.  I miss buying dolls.  And bears.  And trucks.  And toy dishes.  Shopping for adults lacks wonder.  Lacks surprise.  Cash or a gift card in an envelope just does not say Merry Christmas.  And a token under-the-tree gift or the usual “we get every year” does not bring excitement to the unwrapping process.

Or maybe I am in a rut.  Maybe I need to do away with my traditional under-the-tree gift for the adults.  (Calendars – hey, not giving away any surprises.  They know they will get a calendar.)  Maybe I need to say to the younger generation, “No cash this year.  No gift cards.”  Maybe I need to go shopping.  Maybe I need to make the gifts personal again.  Maybe I need to…….

“Mary, you are doing it again.”

“What am I doing again, God?”

“Sit down child.  This might take a bit of your time.”

“Mary, when your children and grandchildren were babies, they asked for toys.  And you gave them toys.  As they grew up, you wrapped their desires and placed them under the tree.  Now that they are adults or on the road to adulthood, their desires have changed.  Be it cash, a gift card or that annual calendar, you are fulfilling their desires.”

“But, I can see them using a “gift.”  Money is, well, money is just money.  It is every day.  Nothing special.”

“Let me try again.  Jesus was a baby.  A baby is just a baby.  An everyday happening.  Nothing special.  Except, this baby, this one baby, was the perfect gift.  I gave my children the gift they needed.”

“So, I am to give what they need not what makes me feel good?”

“Well done.  Now go put some love in each package and you will have a very Merry Christmas.”

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Christmas can be very stressful.  We all have an image we try to live up to.  It can be how Christmas was when we were children.  It can be a scene from a movie.  It can be how the neighbors celebrate. 


Do not try to recreate your memories or make your home like a movie set or outdo the neighbors.  This year, give gifts purchased or made with love.  Bless other’s lives with your generosity.  Relax instead of trying to make each year bigger and better.  This year enjoy!!

Friday, December 02, 2016

MY BIRTHDAY

My birthday was almost a month ago but I want you to know I just plain – LOVE BIRTHDAYS!!

Growing up, I got to pick what we had for supper.  There was a cake especially for ME.  I received birthday gifts.  (And gifts were special because gifts were ONLY given on your birthday and Christmas.)  My daddy, a truck driver, tried to be home on our birthdays. 

Our two children never knew what to expect on their birthday.  I bought the cheapest birthday paper tablecloths I could find.  Then I would cut them up and plaster them all over the house.  Sometime I hid their gifts and they had to find them.  There was always cake and ice cream. 

What about hubby?  Well, Bill is a bit more subdued than I am so his special day usually consisted of his favorite meal, a pie and a gift that I knew would absolutely annoy him.  One year he told me not to buy him anything.  Well, that was not going to happen so I bought him two things.  And those two dresses fit me to a T.

Yes, I love birthdays!  A day to feel special.  A day to celebrate who I am.  Just a day ---

“Now, Mary, stop and think about what you just said,” the voice from on High suggested.

“Well, God,” I answered.  “I said I get a day to celebrate who I am.”

“Think again.  A day?  Just a day?”

As I pondered.  As I scrunched my face.  As I looked up.

“Want a hint?

I nodded.

“Look up Psalm 71.”

“Finished?  Now tell me where it says you are to only celebrate one day?”

“May I try again?” I asked in a quiet voice.

“Yes, child.  Try again.”

Yes, I love birthdays!  Every year I get a day to celebrate my birth.  Every day I get to celebrate who I am.


From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.  I will ever praise you.  I have become a sign to many; you are my strong refuge.  My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.         Psalm 71:6-7