Friday, February 17, 2017

CONVERSATION

Now picture this:  I am sitting at my desk.  With my iPad on the desk.  Using the computer, I am “finger talking” with a Facebook friend in England.  Then the iPad sounds off.  It is our son.  So I “finger talk” with him also. 

Now how cool is that?  Son is only 20 miles away but England is over the pond and I am having a conversation with both of them at the same time.  Doesn’t that just beat all?

Conversation: 1. an informal talk involving two people or a small group of people,  2. oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas,  3. an exchange similar to conversation

Now anyone that knows me will attest to my ability to have a conversation.  I strike up conversations with strangers while standing in a line, riding in an elevator or eating in a restaurant.  Longer conversations take place over a cup of coffee.  Really long exchanges of ideas can last for hours at our discussion group.  My hubby will tell you I am very proficient in having conversations with him where he never utters a word.

“Mary.”

“Yes, God.”

“So you talk to strangers, friends and your husband?”

“Yes, God.”

“What about me, Mary?  When was the last time you spoke to me?”

“What?  I talked to you this morning as I was getting out of bed.”

“Yes, but that did not last long because you … well you were in a hurry to get to the little room.”

“I know.  I drank coffee last night… Hey, you are the one who created me and you know how coffee…...”

“Mary, you are missing the point.  You said you talked to strangers.  You have longer conversations over coffee and, if I remember right, that one discussion group lasted for three and a half hours.  I can also have compassion for Bill because many of our conversations are very one sided.  My question is this:  have you ever talked to me for three and a half hours?”

“No.  But..Well..Honestly?  You expect me to talk to you for that long?  And besides, I was not the only one talking at the discussion group!”

“Mary, you are not supposed to be the only one talking when we are having a conversation either.”

+   +  +   +   +   +   +   +   + +   +   +   +
Oh, drat.  Hate it when God does that, but He does have a very good point.  It seems I have time to have real live conversations, “finger talk” conversations and back and forth conversations on Facebook.  Why is it so hard to set time to talk with God?

After all, as busy as Jesus was he sure found time.  He went to the mountainside (Luke 6:12), he went alone (Matthew 14:23), he took Peter, John and James with him (Luke 9:28-29) and he prayed that if it was God’s will that the cup be taken from him (Luke 22:40-42).

Jesus ask God to give his disciples the Spirit of truth (John 14:16-17) and he prayed them right into God’s hands.  Then Jesus prayed for all who will believe in him through the messages they hear (John 17:6-9). 

My favorite image is from Mark 1:35-38.  Jesus’ alarm clock must not have a snooze button, because he even got up very early, while it was still dark, quietly slipped out of the house so as not to wake the disciples and found a place where he could be alone. 

Old Testament to New Testament, Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, there is just a whole lot of praying going on.  Men.  Women.  Jews.  Gentiles.  Children.  Old.  Young. Jesus.  Disciples.  You would think God would enjoy some peace and quiet.  But no!  There are 108 verses on prayer, plus those on praise, shout, proclaim and witness.  Although there are a number of instructions on what we are not to do with our voice, it seems God rather enjoys hearing from us.

+   +  +   +   +   +   +   +   + +   +   +   +

“God?”

“Yes, Mary.”

“I have been thinking about our earlier discussion and wondered if you have a minute.”

“My child, I always have time.  My clock not only lacks a snooze button, it does not even have hands on it.”


“Well, I have this idea but I want to kick it around a bit.  Make sure it has your stamp of approval.  Yes, I know, that means I will have to wait and listen, not just talk.  And by the way, the sunrise this morning…………………….”

Friday, February 10, 2017

I WILL NOT …….

How would you finish that sentence?  There are so many actions that could follow those words.

Today I would like you to think about the trials in life.  We ALL have them.  Sometimes they come one at a time and sometimes we are just overwhelmed. 

Trials – I will not….. 

I will not hide!  So often, when faced with the death of a loved one, an illness, an embarrassment or the world finding out our worst thought, deed or action, our first response is to hide.  To stay within the safety of our home.  To lower our head so no one sees the fear, regret or tears in our eyes. 

We often hide because we are afraid.  How will I survive without my spouse/child/friend?  How will I face this illness?  How do I overcome my embarrassment?  How do I go out now that everyone knows?  How?  You allow God to hold you up.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you. 
Isaiah 41:10 and 13

When trials come, I will not hide.

I will not stay! 

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.  Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
Proverbs 4:25-26

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

Will trials and hardships come?  Yes!  Will they be hard, terrible and cruel?  Sometimes!  Will we understand them?  No!  What action do we take? 

KEEP MOVING FORWARD.  The Bible tells us there will be hardships.  Trials.  Suffering.  There is no place in the Word of God that says life will be a piece of cake.  What it does say is that we are to look straight ahead.  We are to keep our feet moving on the path.  We are to walk THROUGH. 

When trials come, I will not stay.

I will not forget!

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.
Romans 5:3-5

As much as we hate to admit it, we learn from our trials. 

When trials are over, I will not forget. 

I will not forget the calm before the trial.
I will not forget the whirlwind during the trial.
I will not forget the blessings through the trial.
I will not forget the hand of God supporting me the whole time!!!!!!!!!!!!!

= = = = = = = = = = = =

This blog is written because our family has come through a trial.  Or maybe I should say we are on the other side and almost through. 

The other day I went for my annual “see the doctor so you can get meds” checkup.  The doctor asked, “How is your stress level.” 

My answer was, “Do you want to know about the stress or about the blessings from the stress.”

It was then that I realized that I was at the “I will not forget” stage.  I never want to forget the kindness and generosity of so many people.  Friends who stood beside us.  Those that extended extreme understanding and compassion to our son.  Two ministers that were there for us and a Sunday School class that listened and shed tears with me.  I never want to forget because I pray that tomorrow and the next day and the next day, I will be able to treat others with this same compassion and support.

And now?


When trials are over, I will move forward with a new understanding.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Greetings on this Friday afternoon,

Well, I did not write a blog today.  It is just one of those days that got away from me so I will write one the first of the week.

Since you have nothing to read here, I suggest you read Psalm 139.  My favorite Psalm and one that assures me that God knows everything about me and loves me anyway.

Have a fantastic, super, blessed day,
Mary

Friday, January 27, 2017

LAUNDRY AGAIN!

Time to get a song in your head?  Ready?  Beatles – Eleanor Rigby.  Got it?  Change of words…

All the dirty laundry, Where does it all come from?

I swear there is a laundry gremlin living somewhere in this house.  That gremlin must take clean clothes out of the drawers and closets and toss it into the laundry hamper while we are sleeping.  There is no way two people can have this many dirty clothes.  We are clean people.  We wear jeans more than once.  Shirts/blouses/sweatshirts more than one time.  Unlike teenagers, we do not throw clothes on the floor after each time they have touched our body.  When hubby is working in the fields, I understand the hamper will accumulate more than normal, but this is winter.  Bill is not outside getting all sweaty from working in the yard and garden.  And I have not had the cleaning urge, so my work clothes are not piling up either.

And, have you noticed laundry NEVER gets done.  You no sooner finish than someone decides to take a shower and, wham, there is LAUNDRY!!

< < < < <   > > > > >

Then Jesus came to them (the disciples – that is you and me) and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’  Matthew 25:37-40

Go baptize.  Feed the hungry.  Give the thirsty something to drink.  Invite a stranger into your life.  Provide clothes for those that need them.  Take care of the sick.  Visit those in prison.

Have you ever thought how being a Christian is like doing the laundry?  IT NEVER ENDS!  There is always something to do.

I worked on the soup supper.  Fed the hungry.  Check.

What about clothes for the needy?  Clean the closet and donate to Goodwill.  Check.

Have you talked to a stranger lately?  I’m guessing the person behind me in the line at the grocery store does not count here.  Invite the new couple at church for a meal.  Invite a stranger.  Check.

Oh, yes.  I think that will be enough.  I know it is not all of them, but there are other people.  Let them do their share.  The minister can do the baptizing.  I know there are some doing jail ministry.  There are water fountains around town, so why should anyone be thirsty?

Yup, guess I can go rest.  I have checked off my share of the work.

All the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners, needing baptized,
Where do they all come from?

You see, just like the laundry hamper never stays empty, the needs of God’s children never end.

Feed the hungry.  The first person, the next person, the next person….

Clothe the naked.  The first person, the next person, the next person….

Befriend the stranger.  The first person, the next person, the next person….

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.  Make disciples of all.  The first person, the next person, the next person….

Seems to me the Lord just keeps filling the hamper.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’  Matthew 25:21

I have the last load in and feel like I have done a pretty good job.  Then low and behold, someone throws something in the hamper.

Yup, just when us good Christians think we have done enough for the hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, prisoners and those needing baptized, the Lord smiles and tosses “many things” our way.

Will the laundry ever end?  No.  Will the work God has for us ever end?  NO.


Now go be a good and faithful servant.  

Friday, January 20, 2017

GOD’S WILL – I HAVE NO IDEA

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 10:36

Being in the will of God was the meat of the sermon last Sunday.  When you google that phrase you get 20 verses on the Will of God, 22 verses on the Will of God, the best verses on the Will of God and 911,999,997 other results.  Well, that is all fine and dandy – when you have done the will of God – but I have one question:

JUST EXACTLY WHAT IS THE WILL OF GOD FOR MY LIFE?

Jeremiah 29:11 tells me; 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.”

Amazing!!  But do you suppose God could be a bit more specific.  I am not a mind reader.  And I have not found an app to explain the will of God.

Hebrews 13:20-21 adds; Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Oh good, I am to be equipped with everything I need to do HIS will!  But what exactly am I to do that will please God?

Let’s see: (a few of those best verses on God’s will)

  • Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105
  • Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6
  •  He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the LORD require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.   Micah 6:8
  • If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5

These do ease my frustration a bit.  When I trust the Lord completely (I am getting frustrated again because there are days when ‘completely’ just is not there.) and do not think I can handle it on my own or think for one second I can figure it out, there will be a light to show me the way and the way will be a straight path.  A straight path sure would save a lot of time instead of going here, there and yonder on my own.

Okay, I like these:  a light, a path and not on my own.

I bet if my feet are on his straight path I might be able to meet God’s requirements.  Hopefully, God will have patience with me and give me the knowledge I need as I learn to live honestly, to have compassion and to be respectful. 

  • your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Matthew 6:10
  • Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.  Luke 9:23

How do I know what God’s will is for my life? 
I TAKE MYSELF OUT OF THE WHOLE PROCESS!!!

It is God’s kingdom.  It is God’s will that is to be done and God’s way that I am to live not how the world tells me.  And not how I tell myself to live.  And it is daily.  And I am to follow.  And I do not have to know where the path leads.

I will be in “the will of God” when I allow God’s light to lead me.

What path are you on?
What light are you allowing to shine in your life?
Are you leading or are you following?

You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God,
you will receive what he has promised.
Hebrews 10:36

The promises of God are wonderful!  Amazing!  Absolute!  I pray the light on the path God has for you is so bright there is no way you can miss it.  I pray your feet are firmly planted on his path.  I pray you act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with God.  I pray you daily find wisdom in God’s Word and then wisdom moves you to deny yourself, take up the Cross of Jesus and follow!


Have a blessed week.

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.”