Friday, February 16, 2018


OOPS

I love to talk to strangers.  I love to hear their stories.  But sometimes ……

A couple weeks ago, I made a quick visit to see my sister.  We stayed in a hotel close to where she lives.  We yacked until midnight.  Slept.  Went down to breakfast.  And there sat two ladies, probably 75 to 80 years old.  We nodded and said good morning.  As they were leaving, I said, “Now do not get into too much trouble today.”  They smiled and said they would do their best.  We talked for a few minutes, decided they could get into trouble if they wanted and, as they were walking away, I added, “Have a nice day.”

They turned and said, “We are headed to a funeral.”

Later that afternoon, sis and I were playing a game when she started to giggle.  I asked why.  Smiling (that smile only sisters can give each other) she said; “Only you would say have a nice day to someone headed to a funeral.”  Then she giggled more.  And more.  And more.

Because she had to work the next day, she went home but I stayed the night.  (Extra quiet time for hubby and I did not have to find my way home in the dark.)  Deciding to partake of the evening snacks, I headed to the lobby.  And there sat the two ladies.

I joined them and we had a blast.  You know how, in the movies, other diners never turn to look at the person that breaks out in song?  Or looks when a man gets down on one knee to propose?  Or barely reacts when someone spills something?  Well, let me tell you ----

When three old ladies are laughing out loud (emphasis on the loud part), everyone turns to look!  We giggled!  People looked our way.  We talked quietly.  People still looked.  I think to see why we got quiet.  I noticed one woman leaning our way, listening and then giggling too.  Maybe we should have just invited everyone to join us.

Are you smiling?  Would you have enjoyed being at the table?  Exactly the point I want to make.

Then Jesus came to them 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

We – that would be you and me and him and her and them – are to make disciples.  BUT - they have to want to come.  AND – they will want to come if they see us celebrating and joyous and happy.  They will look at us.  They will lean toward us so they can hear.  They will join us at the table.

Do our lives make people want what we have?

Friday, February 09, 2018


A good son and a good Son

FROM JOHN 2:1-12

Jesus, his mother and the disciples were at a wedding in Cana in Galilee when there was a great catastrophe.  They ran out of wine!  (This would not look good in the social column of the weekly Galilee News.)  Jesus’ mother knew just how to remedy this situation and said to Jesus, “They have no more wine.”  Jesus tried to tell her it was not the time for him to perform a miracle.  His mother acted like she did not even hear him and told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Jesus was a good son.  He had the jars filled with water and turned it into wine.  The banquet master thought it was better than the wine that had been offered first. 

That was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory.  Then he traveled to Capernaum, with his mother, brothers and disciples, where they visited for a few days.

FROM JOHN 2:13-17

Jesus went up to Jerusalem and entered the temple courts.  He looked around and saw people selling cattle, sheep and doves.  He saw others exchanging money.  (Remember how gentle he was with his mother?  That is about to change.)  Jesus made a whip and drove everyone out of the temple courts.  The cattle and sheep ran out.  Coins were scattered as Jesus overturned the tables.  The ones selling doves were told “Get these out of here!  Stop turning my Father’s house into a market.” 

Jesus was a good Son.  He had zeal for his Father’s house.  There were a number of reasons for Jesus to be greatly upset.  The selling and money changing was taking place in the area where some came to worship.  They could not get in.  Even worse – they were not being honest.  They were price gouging the poor by overcharging for doves.  The cattle and sheep were priced way over market.  The exchange rate was way higher than normal.  And the Priests just stood back and watched as they figured the taxes they would receive from the vendors.

Jesus was a good Son.  He defended his Father’s house.

A good son.  A good Son.

I love reading about Jesus.  Especially when he shows his emotions. 

I can picture him giving his mother a look of “did you not hear me” all the time telling the servants to fill the jugs with water.  I can also see him giving his mother a tender look.

Can you picture them leaving town.  Traveling to Capernaum.  Jesus’ mother preparing a meal.  The disciples talking.  Jesus stepping outside with his mother.  Jesus and his mother talking.  She was probably asking him if he was eating well.  Getting enough sleep.  All those worries mothers have.  She would have asked if he really had to leave.  I picture Jesus taking her in his arms and comforting her.  I picture her taking a deep breath as she accepted the fact that Jesus was a good Son and would be leaving.
I love reading about Jesus.  Especially when he shows his emotions.

Do I ever love seeing Jesus mad!  It shows he felt deeply.  He saw people making a mockery of the Temple and all it stood for.  Remember, at age 12 he sat in his Father’s house and asked questions.  He knew the Temple was a place of worship and it made his blood boil to see people using it to cheat the poor and stop people from entering and charging high exchange rates and priests waiting on their cut of the take.  Jesus was a good Son.  He stood up for his Father.

What did he do then?  He performed signs and people believed in his name. 

So often we picture Jesus healing the sick and telling parables.  We forget Jesus had emotions.

He loved his mother.  He felt a mother’s love.

Jesus walked.  He knew what it was to be tired.  He knew what it was like to be hungry.  He knew what it was like to sit at the dinner table with friends and sinners. 

Jesus had compassion.  How many people did he heal?  Can you picture his eyes as he took the hand of a little girl and told her to get up?  Can you hear his voice as he told the woman who had touched his robe that she was healed? 

Jesus laughed.  Jesus wept.

I love reading about Jesus.  Especially when he shows his emotions. 

When you read about Jesus, take time to think about the surroundings of the story.  Think about each person.  What emotions did they have?  What was their reaction to Jesus?  What was his reaction to them?  Believe me; this will help you understand Jesus better.  And when you understand Jesus better, you will want to be more like him.



Friday, February 02, 2018


BETTER MOVE

One of the garage lights had the ballast quit.  So hubby and I decided to replace it.  Easy, right?  We did one in the office so no big deal. 

Trip 1:  Off to the hardware store to get a replacement.  This is just what you need.

Trip 2:  Return ballast.  Try another one.  (Yes, we had the information off the non-working one.)

Trip 3:  Return ballast two and try the lumber yard.  (You must remember this is a small town.)

Trip 4:  Return ballast to lumber yard.

Trip 5:  30 mile round trip to next town which guaranteed they had the correct one.  There Bill found out they no longer make the one we were replacing.  But this one will work.

Trip 6:  Back to hardware store to get additional wire because the wire supplied with the ballast was not long enough. 

Finally, Bill was on the ladder and began taking down the old ballast.  I was holding the work light when I had a thought, “I better move.”

I moved.  Ballast fell.  Right where I was standing.

LISTENING

Mary listened and answered, “I am the Lord’s servant.”  Joseph listened and became a father.  The Wise Men listened and found the child.  Joseph listened and the family escaped to Egypt.  Joseph listened and the family lived in a town called Nazareth.  John the Baptist listened and baptized Jesus.  The disciples listened and followed Jesus.  Jesus listened and obeyed his Father.

Did you notice that each listening was followed with an action?  The action of obeying.

OBEYING

Sometimes the obeying part is easy.  Moving made sense, so I moved.  Glad I did or a non-working light would have been the least of our worries.  That old ballast was a bit heavy.

Most times, the obeying part is much harder than the listening part.  Why?  Obeying requires something of us. 

Abram (Abraham) was instructed to walk faithfully and be blameless and became the father of many nations.  Noah was warned of things not seen and built an ark.  Esther risked her life and saved the Jews.  Simeon was righteous and devout and held the baby Jesus.  Jesus told Matthew, “Follow me.” and Matthew followed.

And sometimes we obey for only a brief time.

Peter walked on the water and then sank.  The rich man wanted eternal life but went away.  Judas was a disciple and betrayed Jesus.  The people shouted, “Hosanna!” and then shouted, “Give us Barabbas!”  Peter swore he would never disown Jesus and denied him three times.

BOTTOM LINE

Listen and then, like the old song says, trust and obey.

Friday, January 26, 2018

LOOKIN GOOD

Last Sunday, a very nice gentleman, told me, “You are lookin good.” 

I replied, “Well I don’t know about that but I look like me.”

And you know what?  That is exactly how I should look.  But I have not always felt that way.  Most women do not.  Now, I am not male bashing (although that is fun to do), but women are held to a whole different level of “lookin good” than men.

·        Women, who no longer have a high school body, have let themselves go.
·        Women are supposed to look like a famous fashion model.
·        Women are expected to return to their previous measurements, after giving birth.
·        Women are supposed to apply makeup and fix their hair and then take care of the house, the children, etc. without getting a hair out of place and heaven forbid their mascara might run.
·        Women are to go through the “life change” with no mood swings, no hot flashes nor weight gain.

The problem is women can never live up to these standards. 

·        Life happened.  My high school body disappeared soon after high school.
·        I do not look like a model.  Heck, I came out of the womb bigger than some of them.  And, where their legs go all the way to their butt, my butt goes all the way to my legs.  I will never look like that.
·        I loved being pregnant!  The afternoon sickness (Yup.  Not morning.) soon passed and the rest was amazing.  But neither child came out dragging those extra pounds with them. 
·        I do put on makeup.  And I fix my hair.  But the color is gray and the cow lick passed down from my mother creates a unique hair arrangement that just will not always lie down. 
·        I once had a woman say that women should not let themselves go.  Then she hit that inevitable life change and blossomed.  I chuckled and said, “Thank you God.”  Weight gain?  Take a few pounds left behind by two children, add a surgery that changed my metabolism, throw in the “life change” and top that off with a pill to control RLS but which will not allow weight loss and you have my body.  It might not make it down a fashion runway and those high school clothes no longer fit, but it is mine!
·        I wear glasses.  I had surgery on my feet and they do not always want to work right.  And, after years of using an adding machine, a typewriter and a computer, my hands are demanding I fix the carpel tunnel.

The problem is women can never live up to the standards set by certain parts of society.  And we should not feel guilty.  And we should not feel less.  And we should not apologize. 

Lookin good?  YES!  Because I look like me.  The me God created.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful.
Psalm 139:14

Yet you, LORD, are my Father.
I am the clay, you are the potter; I am the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8 (made personal)

No one – female or male – should ever feel less than “lookin good.”  God created each of us.  When you look in the mirror, say, “I look like me.  Thank you LORD for creating the unique and special person I am.”


Friday, January 19, 2018

BUT HOW

At our ladies discussion group, the question was:  How do we make 2018 better than 2017?  Of course the immediate answers were to be more thankful, be more compassionate, and be more…..

Those were the easy answers.  The quick replies.  Then I asked the question again, “How do we make 2018 better?”  The conversation stopped.  We each knew what would make it better.  It was the “how” that was causing the problem.

Usually there are six of us but last night there were only four.  One of the ladies had no problem looking forward to 2018 and knowing it would be better than 2017.  She had a rough 2017.  Two of the ladies had no major problems in 2017.  And my 2017 was so much more than I had expected.  The question remained:  How do we make 2018 better? 

More thankful – but how?  More compassionate – but how?  Manage our work schedule – but how?  Relax and enjoy life – but how?

And the elephant in the room?  Of course we each knew the answer.  We did not want to use the word.  We did not want to hear the word.  A six letter word that puts fear into our very soul. 

CHANGE

Take a deep breath.  It will be ok.  The word is out there now. 

Why do we so fear change?  To be honest, we change every day.  No two days are the same.  The weather changes.  The news – not going there!  Those we love change.  Our children grow up.  We grow older.  The shows on TV are different.  The music is different.  The cars we drive.  The food we eat.  The clothes we wear.  Our lives change every day.  So why are we so reluctant to answer the simple question:  How do we make 2018 better?

Why do we not want to answer?  Because the answer is I must change.  Not you.  Not the music industry.  Not our children or spouse or parents.  I must change.  AND I DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE! 

I want everything to stay the way I want it.  I want everything to be the way it has always been.  I can be more thankful, more compassionate, more … without changing.  I can.  I can. 

I cannot.  If I do not change, I do not grow.  I do not gain wisdom.  I just stay where I was yesterday.  Ten years ago.  Twenty years ago.  And, oh, how I would hate to be the person I was twenty years ago.  Ten years ago.  Or even yesterday. 

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

Change is good!  The LORD has a FUTURE for me – for you.  He does not want us stuck in yesterday.  Nor ten years ago.  Nor twenty years ago.

A FUTURE!  Quit holding onto the past.  Use the word change as an adventure instead of something to fear. 


A FUTURE!  GO FOR IT WITH ENTHUSIASM AND JOY!

Friday, January 12, 2018

COLD

I don’t know about you, but, often when I try to pray, my prayer goes like this:

Good morning God, I am excited to see what you have planned for me today (have to put a load of laundry in).  Where will you take me (there is a prescription to pick up at CVS) and what will I find (and do not forget a bag of DOVE chocolate)?

Today I will read the chapter that goes with the Sunday School lesson so I am (read – I wonder if the new Lee Child book is in at the library) ready for class. 

I lift up my family and friends and ask you to watch over them.  I lift up your church and ask that you guide us to do your work.  I lift up all that are not in warm homes and those that are on the street.  It is so cold.  (funny how I got through that part with no mental interruptions)

(now what should I say -- think that about covers it -- time for lunch so – oh, right) Thank you for all the blessings you have given me (I better charge my iPad before it runs out of juice) and open my eyes to the unseen blessings (better call the eye doctor and change my appointment).

Amen

My mind works in a strange way.  Family and friends will agree.  They are never exactly sure how it works.  When I try to pray, in my head, even I am not sure how to control my thoughts.  They will jump from one thing to another and even talking to God fails.

BUT, when I journal, when my hand holds a pen, my conversations with God are focused.  My fears and joys and dreams and questions and praises flow onto a page, with no thought of laundry or chocolate.  When my hand holds a pen, time does not matter and the whole world is silent. 

How do you pray?  Do you sit quietly, head bowed and feel God listening to you?  Do you pray the minute your eyes open and before they close in sleep?  Do you look up?  Do you get on your knees?  Do you pray with your voice or silently?

PRAYER

It does not matter if you stand or sit.  Nor if your hands are in your lap or raised toward heaven.  What matters is what is in your heart. 

You should pray humbly:
  • with confidence that God hears
  • with trust in God’s promises
  • with the understanding that God answers prayers with “yes” and “no” and “wait until the correct time”
  • with a thankful, open and honest heart

COLD

Are you wondering why this is entitled Cold?  When I started this, I was going to pull from my January 9th journal entry, but my mind took a leap to why I write in the journal which moved onto prayer and now back to the intended purpose.  (Hey, I told you my mind is a bit different but do not worry.  It is not a new or age thing.  It has always been this way.)

Lord, please watch over all those that have the flu and it is spreading so quickly. 

And watch over people who are cold – inside their souls, in their homes and the homeless.  Cold – a scary word.  Do warm the bodies of those on the street.  Warm the homes of those lacking heat.  Mainly, Lord, warm our frozen, cold hearts and souls.  Soften our hearts with your LOVE!  Expand our hearts to include those we do not love and the ones we do not even see.  Thaw our frozen hearts so they will empty of hate, resentment and fear and become full of love, compassion, hope, forgiveness, and sincerity. 

Amen

Sometimes what I write surprises me.  When I asked God to watch over people who are cold, I meant a physical cold because of the weather.  Somehow, inside their souls appeared on the paper.  That really made cold a scary word.  If our bodies become too cold – frozen – we will die.  If our souls become too cold – frozen – we die but without the guarantee of eternal life.


My prayer for each that reads this is that your body stays warm during this winter and that your soul stays warm for eternity.

Friday, January 05, 2018

A CHOICE

A New Year.  New opportunities.  Resolutions.

This is going to be very, very short.
It will take you less time to read this than it did to break your resolutions.
Just something I heard.
Something for you to think about.
Something for you to tell those that do not believe.
 

YOU ARE ALREADY HIS.

Sadly, you do have the choice to tell God, “No.”


What choice will you make?