"THEN SAID THE LORD TO HIM, PUT OFF THY SHOES FROM THY FEET:
for the place where thou standest is holy ground."
Acts 7:33 KJV

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Santa for The Lord

Painting by:  Artist Michael Garland 1996
Today I joined the masses... looking for fun things to surprise my family with under the tree.  My daughter Jessie, son Stephen Jr., son-in-law Jeff, and "adopted into the family" daughter Jodie... all have outgrown the "Santa stage" and usually it is best to allow them to pick-out gifts, tell me what they want, or give them gift cards or money!  That pressure I have succumbed to... but still insist on a couple of things unexpected to make them smile.

I think one of the most exciting and magical traditions of the Christmas season is gift-giving.  Beautiful packages wrapped in brightly colored paper with bows and ribbons are placed beneath the Christmas tree, to be shook, squeezed, rattled, and guessed at it's contents.  Each gift under the tree offers a blessing, both to the recipient and the giver.  The custom of giving gifts began even before the wise men brought gifts to Baby Jesus.  The Romans gave gifts that symbolized specific blessings.  If one received a gift of sweets, it was a wish for good things for the coming year.  A gift of a lamp ensured light and warmth, while small presents of gold and silver symbolized a blessing of wealth and prosperity.

Today I read these verses in Matthew 25:37-40 (KJV)
"Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?  When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?  And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
These verses challenged me to pause in the midst of my Christmas hustle and bustle... and consider ways that I can reach out to others and make their lives better.  There is always something we can do --- whether it's prepare a meal for a family struggling financially, share toys with a child, or spend time with someone who is alone.  The size of the gift doesn't matter - it's the love behind the gift that matters.  I once again had to stop and ask myself this question, "What has God placed in my hand today... that was meant to be shared with someone else... and not kept for myself...???  My desire is to be used as a "Santa for The Lord," blessing the lives of others ! ! !  Can you imagine how different Christmas would be if each of us found one person to bless... can you imagine how different we would be?

Dear Lord, are there those that You would have me to reach out to this Christmas Season?  Show me, I'll be watching... Speak to me, I'll be listening... Guide me, I'll follow.  AMEN 

Friday, December 2, 2011

It's not about the Presents.... but the Presence

As Christmas is approaching... and I - like most everyone else, am scrambling to purchase that perfect gift for those that I love.  For a couple of years Christmas was a very sad time for me.  In 2008 my sister & I lost our mom and a few days before she died... our daughter Jessica and her family left the U.S. to serve on the Mission Field in Thailand.  Those losses... took their toll. 

Now, over 3 years later... I am looking to Christmas with anticipation.  For
Our Grandchildren:  Sophie, Caroline, Jackson
myself though... It's not about the Presents... but the Presence.  There were years that "getting" that perfect gift was exciting and Steve and others have given me some very special gifts... but the older I get - I can honestly say - there is NOTHING that I want that can be wrapped.  The "presence" of family and friends and their well-being - are the most precious gifts of all.  To have Steve, my children, and grandchildren, Lord willing, with me this December 25th will be enough and worth more than anything "money" can buy.  The only thing that could even begin to make it better is the "presence" of more family and friends, and health and healing for some very special people in my life!

I can't help but feel that way about the Lord also.  He has blessed me with many things (blessings) over the years but... It's not about His Presents that He gives... It's about His Presence in my life that is most important.  I don't want to live one minute that His Presence is not with me... leading and guiding my everyday!

(Psalm 139:1-7)  "O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?"        

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Don't RUSH the SEASON

Today while I was out doing my Thanksgiving Dinner shopping... I was a little confused as to the Holiday we are about to celebrate.  The Salvation Army bell ringers were out and wishing those of us who dropped money in their little red buckets... Merry Christmas.  Poinsettias greeted me stacked like a Christmas Tree when I entered the store's double automated doors... Christmas stocking stuffers and Christmas candy lined several aisles... and Christmas music was playing in the Electronics Department.  As I walked through the Ladies Apparel the first article of clothing was a festive Red Sweater with candy-canes dancing on it's bodice... then peeking through the Men's Department, I was faced with "Santa Boxers"... and Rudolph "red nose" socks.  

I looked at my list and checked it twice to make sure what I was shopping for!  Stuffing... Gravy... Sweet Potatoes... etc.  Yep, I'm here because of Thanksgiving!

I'm not being a scrooge... I LOVE CHRISTMAS... but just haven't got that "Jingle Bell" spirit as of yet!  Also if you have... I'm not knocking it!  I just want to savor Thanksgiving first - then I'll prepare to "deck the halls" and bring out the Christmas decor.

"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name."  (Psalm 100:4)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

EUCHARISTEO

The anticipated package arrived... day before yesterday... and again I am amazed at the Lord's timing!  I had heard so much about the book:  "one thousand gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  The Amazon box was opened and out fell three copies of the book.  I love reading and when I find a wonderful book... I like to share... so that is the reason for the three copies.  Yesterday the journey through the white crisp pages began.  By the end of the second chapter --- I had grown a love for my new "favorite word"... EUCHARISTEO... the Greek word for "thanksgiving" or "giving of thanks"!  Actually as the writer breaks down this word it contains (grace, thanksgiving, and joy) all packed neatly in its 11 consonants and vowels.  How appropriate for the time of year we are in.... fall - November - the month of Thanksgiving.... Oh, but I feel the Lord has much more for me in the pages of this little book than just something for this time of year.

I have pondered much on this excerpt from Chapter 1:
"Standing before that tree, laden with fruit withheld, we listen to Evil's murmur, "In the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened..." (Genesis 3:5 NASB).  But in the beginning, our eyes were already open.  Our sight was perfect.  Our vision let us see a world spilling with goodness.  Our eyes fell on nothing but the glory of God.  We saw God as He truly is: good.  But we were lured by the deception that there was more to a full life, there was more to see.  And, true, there was more to see: the ugliness we hadn't beheld, the sinfulness we hadn't witnessed, the loss we hadn't known."
I have often thought of all the things lost in the Garden of Eden... but had never really considered that this is the place where the catalyst of all sin began:  "ingratitude!"  In the following words - I found my "cynical self":
"We eat.  And, in an instant, we are blind.  No longer do we see God as one we can trust.  No longer do we perceive Him as wholly good.  No longer do we observe all of the remaining paradise.  We eat.  And, in an instant, we see.  Everywhere we look, we see a world of lack, a universe of loss, a cosmos of scarcity and injustice."
Is it ever enough... do I always want more... something bigger... better... newer... do I compare my blessings to those of others... do I really view God as always GOOD????  In just the few chapters that I've read - I've had to face the reality that there are things that I'm grateful for - but just the same - there are things that I'm not satisfied with - times I've asked WHY - times I've asked WHY ME - times I've asked WHY NOT ME - I complain and gripe - I'm often afraid - I worry --- and the list goes on.  I have had to admit that I am also that person that she mentioned:  someone who is "born again but still so much in need of being "born anew!"

"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."  (1 Thessalonians 5:18 KJV) 
"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world."  ~Sarah Ban Breathnach
I look forward to reading, as Paul Harvey would say... "the rest of the story" ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"BUSY BULLDOZER"

Five busy bulldozers,
Friends so keen and strong.
They lift and dig and zoom about,
Working all day long!

When our first grandchild "Jackson" was born... "boy toys" again began to appear in the toy boxes of our home, and books about dump trucks, airplanes, boats, and bulldozers!  All the things "little boys" like.  The other day while pulling out the stash of story-books because the grandkids are home from Thailand... I happened upon the "Busy Bulldozer" book, purchased for Jack several years ago, and I read it one more time.

Today while going to meet a special friend for lunch I was early for the appointment, and so I sat and watched a busy bulldozer hard at work on a site being made ready for a new building.  While sitting there and contemplating the work the bulldozer was doing and watching it's movement... I couldn't help but think... I wonder if that dirt - that has been there for possibly hundreds of years really wanted to be moved??  Or that tree that had grown it's roots deep into the fertile soil was ready to be knocked over??  Then I thought of times when people have made me feel "bulldozed" by their pushy attitude, boisterous spirit, or just their presence.  Times when I've felt pushed out of a situation that I wasn't ready to make an exit... or times when I was accomplishing a task and felt someone moved in and pushed me over... accomplishing their own agenda... or just felt belittled by a persons attitude.

There was a time in my life during my "younger" years that I was probably the "bulldozer"... but after years of mellowing, aging, and "wimping out" - I am a lot more like the tree or the dirt.  When I find myself in these situations... I often hang my head and retreat to safety - while tears flow for my feelings of insecurity, rejection, and hurt. 

Somewhere central in the swing of the pendulum between "bulldozer" and "dirt" is where I'd like to rest.  Finding strength and boldness in and from the Lord but accomplishing my tasks with love, caring, and humility...  Never making others feel "pushed out" - "scooped up" - nor "bulldozed over."



Ephesians 3:12  "In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him."

Psalm 28:7 "The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Things We Cling To

Entrance to Neighborhood
Looking from inside the house into the yard
Neighbors leaving with their important belongings


The above pictures are of the flooding in Bangkok, Thailand in the Province of Nonthaburi where our daughter and her family live.  Our son-in-law Jeff wrote this concerning the flood waters:
"As much as we prepared and tried, we couldn’t keep the flood waters from coming. As we watched districts all around us succumb to the floods, it became clear we wouldn’t be spared.  Our neighborhood received about three feet of water in just over two hours, and since our house is raised just a little bit, we have about 6 inches of water standing in the first floor." 

As I've read the reports and looked at all the devastation in pictures from Thailand Newspapers and Internet News Websites.... I seemed to be focused on the devastation of all the things these people have lost.  The Lord has such a way of teaching us lessons... and this evening I read something that I felt the Lord placed into my path of view.  As I read the following words my heart was so convicted:
He doesn't want us clinging to His gifts,
He wants us clinging tightly to Him.


 "My soul clings to you;
   your right hand upholds me."
 
Psalm 63:8

 

Here is one of the last posts our son-in-law made before leaving Thailand to come to the States for a long awaited furlough (which will be interrupted in a few weeks for him to return to Thailand to clean up the mess): 

Is there any better way for us to evaluate our first term on the mission field than to lose some temporary, material possessions? What have we accumulated that is of eternal value? Thankfully, we can look back at souls won for Christ that water can't touch, no matter how high it rises.

 

Thank you Lord for your tender teaching!  

May all who read this... please pray for the people of Thailand whose lives have been affected by this devastating disaster and pray their hearts will be drawn to cling to the Lord!

 

Monday, October 24, 2011

BUILT ON THE "ROCK"

Today as the flood waters rise in Eastern Bangkok Thailand in the Province of Nonthaburi, the home where our daughter and her family live is being surrounded by water.  As I talked with our son-in-law Jeff this morning, I could hear concern in his words.  When I asked how they were doing... his reply was "not too well". They had gone back to Nonthaburi on Monday afternoon to check things out as the water came closer to where they call "home".  Jeff had Jessie and the children leave to go back to the Hotel where they are staying until time to return to the U.S. later this week and he was going to stay the night.  After placing sandbags & plastic at all the doors and gate... and watching the water rise even more... he decided it best for him to leave also.  This was his comment:  "Well, when the water comes, there's nothing you can do. Not in the house yet, but can't imagine it not being in the morning. It's all in God's hands."

We all have sang the children's song, "The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock"... but this truly is an example of just that.  Although most of their "earthly belongings" reside in that house... that is not where their "HOPE" lies... because their house is built on "The Rock" and like Jeff said... "It's all in God's hands."

I have thought and prayed so much about this the last several days and for the Thai people whose lives have been devastated by this disaster.  It is so easy being on the outside to "glibly" say:  "As long as you all are safe... THINGS can be replaced." - but when it is "YOUR THINGS" it takes on a whole new light.  We watched as they prepared to go to the mission field several years back and got rid of most of what they had here in the U.S.  For me it was emotional watching them have to part with things they loved because they could not take them.  They left with only things that could be packed in suitcases.  For them though... it was what had to be done to follow the calling the Lord had placed on their lives.  Now to see them have to face losing the things they have purchased there... it just rips this momma's heart out.  

I must say... it is evident that the Lord gives them strength and it puts me to shame at my lack of faith.  So proud of them and what the Lord is doing in their lives and through them there in Thailand.  Can't wait until they are here with us but I'm sure that their hearts will remain with the people they love in Thailand.   Please pray for the Gordon Family and the Thai People!


"My Hope is Built on Nothing Less"
by Edward Mote, 1797-1874

1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lord, Carve Me Into Your Image

I just love the "fall season" and can't help but get excited about all the things going on around me this time of year.  Leaves are falling, the harvesters are in the fields, the air is cooler, crockpots every where are filled to their brims with homemade soups, the aroma of cinnamon and cloves simmering in pots of cider, outside firepits are filled with wood for chilly evenings under the trees, mums of all colors line steps and porches and decks, and children (and adults) are enjoying the fun of decorating and carving pumpkins.  Even the ladies at our last fellowship meeting at church seemed to get in the "fall spirit" with a Pumpkin decorating contest (Me Included).

I listened to a song the other day that reminded me of pumpkin carving and of my desire for the Lord to shine His light through me.  It is called "Sun and Moon" by Paul Wickham... here are part of the lyrics:

If You are the sun -Then I wanna be the moon 
I want to reflect the light - That shines from You 
And if this is war - Then I'm gonna draw my sword 
This time I know what I'm fighting for  
God I wanna let You know I want everything You are 
I'm waiting for the morning light 
To show a fire in the dark  
Shine Your light - I want to feel You now 
God I need a miracle - Take my heart, make it glow 
Shine Your light - From the inside out 
I wanna be more like You
If You are the sun Then I wanna be the moon
If love is a choice - Then I need You to hear my voice 
I'm the one knocking on Your door - Making all this noise 
Whatever it takes - I'd give it all away 
I want to show my love in a thousand ways  
God I want to let You know I love everything You are 
I'm waiting for the morning light To show a fire in the dark
And I can't live a single day without You
And I don't even want to try
And I won't take another step without Your light

If You are the sun - Then I wanna be the moon

I want to reflect the light - That shines from You
  
There are times in our Christian walk that we must "be still" and "carve out" quiet moments in our day, in order to discern what is from the hand of the Lord and what is diversions handed us by our "too busyness".  Without the quiet moments the waves of our own desires, the deceptions of the devil, or the opinions of others... are a current that can easily sweep us away, washing us off course and out of His will.

This is my prayer for God to carve and mold my life into the likeness of His Son... so that I may reflect the Light that Shines from Him!

{cut off top of pumpkin}  Lord, open my mind so I can learn new things about you.  {remove innards}  Remove the things in my life that don’t please you.  Forgive the wrong things I do and help me to forgive others.  {cut open eyes}  Open my eyes to see the beauty you’ve made in the world around me and to see others through your eyes.  {cut out nose}  I’m sorry for the times I’ve turned my nose at the blessings you provide.  {cut out mouth}  Let everything I say be pleasing unto You.  {light the candle}  Lord, help me show your light to others through the things I do. Amen


"For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."  2 Corinthians 4:6-7

Friday, October 14, 2011

"HIDE & SEEK"

"Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah."  (Psalm 32:7)

Every time I read this scripture... it reminds me of the game we all played as a child... "Hide and Seek."  I remember when my children were very small they would go in the bedroom - stick their heads under the bed (bottoms and legs out) - and then yell... "Mommy, come find me."  Of course like all "good mothers", I would hold back my chuckles when I saw their little legs and butt wiggling in plain view from excitement... and would search all over the room saying "Where are you - I can't find you!"  The older we became, the more intense the game became... we had to find the BEST hiding place where NO-ONE could find you!  For me though, being the "big chicken" that I am... it had to be a "SAFE" place - away from anything that could creep or crawl or jump on me.  

After having some devastating hurts in my life from people and events that have occurred... I often view myself in a "turtle shell".  Having the protection of my home to withdraw to my "safe-place" where the torrents of life cannot beat down on me.  When I feel that the storm or danger has passed... and safety has returned... I stick my head and legs out and move forward. 

It is in the Lord that I find that "shell of protection."  At those times - I "HIDE" in HIM - I "SEEK" HIS face... HIS protection... HIS guidance... HIS direction.

"Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word. Depart from me, ye evildoers: for I will keep the commandments of my God. Uphold me according unto thy word, that I may live: and let me not be ashamed of my hope."  (Psalm 119: 114-116)

"He who dwells in the Shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  (Psalm 91:1) 

You (LORD) are my hiding place
You always fill my heart
With songs of deliverance
Whenever I am afraid
I will trust in YOU!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Creating a "No Drama Zone"

Ever had those people in your life that drain you emotionally and raise your blood pressure and anxiety levels to the top of the charts????  

Whether it is perpetual drama in a family, home, workplace, school, social gathering, church, or anywhere else... it causes unneeded stress and can ultimately lead to a miserable life.  "Drama Queens or Kings" have a way of simply sucking the life out of - well life.

Even in the Bible there were Drama Queens:
  • Vashti - thought more highly of herself than she ought.
  • Jezebel - wanted control; to run things without God, it's all about her.
  • Delilah - brought a great man down because she knew his secret (and used it against him).
Drama is consuming... It destroys relationships... It opens a door for hurt and devastation!  Drama most often involves a variety of other sins:
Gossip - Slander - Lack of self-control - Fits of rage - Hatred - Envy - Spite - Jealousy - Exaggerations - Selfishness - etc.
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. (Galatians 5:15)

There was a time in my life that I could not function without "DRAMA" following me around.  I hated it yes... but loved it at the same time.  I felt important.  I thought I was so important people involved me in ALL their junk.  Now I realize that I had invited myself into their junk.  I had opened the door with my big mouth after a "thought bubble" or "probing question" popped outThe sad reality in all of this is the fact that the substance of most drama is often so ludicrous and inconsequential that you just want to bang your head against a wall.

Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. (Proverbs 26:20)
In short, drama only survives if you feed it.  It will consume your time, your conversations, your thought life, all your energy, and eventually your community as well.  Like a fire, the trick to extinguishing it is to cut off its nourishment.  To end drama, you have to starve it!  There are far greater things that the Lord has for us to do than to be so "sucked into" the "Drama Queen's" in our lives spectacles, that we lose sight of what really matters..  

"PAIN IS INEVITABLE... MISERY AND BEING FRAZZLED IS OPTIONAL."
  
Create for yourself a 
NO DRAMA ZONE ;)
You'll be happy you did!

Monday, October 3, 2011

THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM

In my attempt to see that Steve & I eat healthier... one day last week to go along with our Salmon and fresh green beans that I had cooked - I also made "mashed cauliflower"!  This is something that I have grown to really like (thanks to Ruby Tuesday's), but Steve has not gotten the nerve to even taste it to see if it is palatable to his taste-buds ;)  If prepared correctly... it does have the appearance of "mashed potatoes" which is one of Steve's favorites.  When he came home from work... dinner was prepared and all evidence of the cauliflowers outside leaves and stalk were no where in sight.  He questioned what was for dinner and I just said "good stuff" so he began to fill his plate.  Upon one taste... he knew that was not the "creamy mashed potatoes" that he was use to.  The appearance may have mimicked them, but the taste left something to be desired.

I got a few good laughs as I watched his facial expressions... and couldn't help but think of the fact.... THINGS AREN'T ALWAYS AS THEY SEEM!  We judge so quickly by sight and then when we dig a little deeper we realize that sight often fails us.  We meet people everyday and don't see the inner cries of despair that may lie behind their very "together" smile.  We often judge when store clerks are not friendly, or the drive thru attendant doesn't say thank you... but instead of being unfriendly back to them - why not stop and consider what may be going on in their life that has made them that way.  There are those of us (me for one) who have the ability to never show what is going on in the inside... while others can't hide the turmoil.  People we meet everyday are hurting... have needs... and carry burdens and heartaches.  

I'm so thankful that with our Heavenly Father we don't have to wait until our emotions are in check before we can come to Him.  He wants us to come as we are, broken and bruised with tear-stained faces and no masquerades, ragged at the edges, splattered by the mud of life, we are invited to approach the "throne of grace."

"The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth."  (Psalm 145:18)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

OVER & OVER... AGAIN & AGAIN

It has been quite a while since I sat at the computer to share my thoughts... seems times get busy, attentions are drawn elsewhere, and life happens and moves on.

I've been doing some "clutter clean-out"!  Going through closets, drawers, and most difficult of all... boxes full of memories, you know... those filled with old letters, trinkets, cards, pictures, wedding and graduation announcements, mine & Steve's childhood memory items, our kids childhood memory items, and obituaries of friends and loved ones, etc.  Things that one moment can bring a smile of remembrance and then the next bring sobs of loss.  

One of my favorite quotes is from T. S. Elliot:  "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time."  

 It seems as if life keeps bringing me back to things that I thought I had dealt with in the past and yet there they are one more time, over & over, again & again.  I "put off" doing these kind of "clean-outs" because of the emotion that often accompanies the chore.  I have turned the art of "procrastination" into a "spiritual gift"!  However, I am still surprised when these feelings rear up like the Loch-ness monster from the depths of a lake and stare me in the face.  

Each time I am confronted with these ghosts of the past, I see that even though I am staring at the same monster, my response is different now than it was a year or years ago.  Tucked into my pocket is the gift of understanding and a continual process of "letting go".  Understanding that when things happen in life that wound me to the core, learning to trust God, letting go, and giving them over to Him, they don't wield the power they once had.  

So in all of my exploring over the last couple of weeks, and arriving back in my memory to places I have been, it has been as if it were a first visit.  Because of God's continued healing and strength the wounds no longer hold the magnitude of pain they once possessed. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

SHE CALLS ME "HER ANGEL"

Almost every Monday and Friday Morning for the past 7 1/2 months... I have gone to an extended living facility to care for a precious lady that we all know as "Sister".  On November 16th she will turn 90 years young.  I had gone to church with her for almost 19 years and admired her "prayer warrior spirit" just as many years.  She sat in the same pew (unless a visitor had beat her to it), was always dressed so neatly, many of her outfits bought by a younger sister, her weekly styled soft white hair, and jewelry that matched almost every outfit.  

I started going to lift her spirits and to pamper this dear friend.  Fragrant soaps, sweet smelling lotions, body sprays, perfume, make-up, hairspray, and all the necessities, along with necklace, earrings, and bracelet to match her outfit... are all a part of our routine.  But the most special part of this bi-weekly event, is that of "washing her feet".  I know a lot of churches do this as a form of worship - but all of the Baptist Churches that I've ever attended, do not practice this example set forth by our Lord.  Fresh hot water is always gotten and I proceed to my floor position in front of her seat.  First, the soaking (and usually lots of laughter), then the washing, followed by towel drying and lotion before shimmying on her skid proof socks.  I can't tell you what an HONOR this ritual is for me!

It doesn't matter who walks into the room, or who calls on the phone - she always refers to me as "her Angel" (and I can't help but smile every time I hear it)!  All of us are made with a desire deep within to be needed, and since my children are grown and have homes of their own... that feeling has to come from somewhere else.  For me it comes from a room, on a back hall, with a pink and green fluffy wreath on the door, at a place called Smithfield Manor.  

I go to encourage "Sister"... yet I leave more encouraged than you can imagine.  As I'm walking out the door - she never fails to tell me she loves me and to "keep looking up"!  The other day she was not feeling well and I bathed her in the bed... when I readied to leave - I kissed her on the cheek, told her I loved her, and she touched my hand, squeezed it and said... "You're my best friend."  I joked with her on my way out of the room, told her I'd see her at our next appointed time, and closed the door on what I call her... 
"MY BLESSING!"   

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Window through which I Look

A young couple moved into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they were eating breakfast, the young woman watched her neighbor hanging wash outside.

“That laundry is not very clean,” she said. ”She doesn’t know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap.”

Her husband looked on, but remained silent.

Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.

About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband,

“Look, she has learned how to wash correctly.I wonder who taught her this.”

The husband said, “I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows.”
———————————————–

And so it is with life. What we see when watching others may depend on the purity of the window through which we look. 

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: (Psalm 139:23)

Monday, August 22, 2011

The War Which Rages Within Me

Yesterday morning before leaving for the Early Service at church... I turned on the TV to listen to Dr. David Jeremiah while getting primped and dressed.  He has been doing a series of messages on "Claiming Faith - Finding Freedom," a study of the book of Galatians.  During his sermon he quoted a poem that immediately caught my attention.  I jotted down the first line because I knew that I would later in the day go on a hunt for the complete rhyme.  Amazingly, even in Pastor Rodney's Sunday School Class a verse was used and a reference made to what the contents of the rhyme were concerning - causing again my desire to go on a "google search" ! ! !  Consider the following words:

Two natures beat within my breast.
The one is cursed, the other is blessed.
The one I love, the other I hate.
The one I feed will dominate.
- Author Unknown

I find myself daily aware of "the war which rages within me"... between the flesh "the natural woman - the old nature" and "the spiritual woman - the new nature."  As I mature spiritually it becomes more and more apparent to me that I must daily feed (nourish) the new nature so that it will grow and become the stronger nature in this battle.  At the same time - I must say "NO" to the "old nature" and its desires!

I do not fight alone in this battle... Every Christian encounters these skirmishes in the battleground of our hearts and soul.  The "old nature," energized by its liaison with the world, in numerous ways, molests to disturb the peace and joy of the Believer. 

The spiritual lives of some of the greatest characters in the Bible were marred by "personal weakness" and "major mishaps."  Noah - Abraham - Jacob - Moses - Samson - David - Thomas - Peter - Paul - and the list goes on.  The Lord, with forthright honesty, gives us glimpses of the lowest points in the lives of those He used most.  Even though these men knew and loved the Lord... the same battle raged within each of them.

The "nature" we feed... will dominate!

 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.  19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,  20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,  21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.  25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.   
(Galatians 5:16-25 KJV)

Lord, help me to daily "Walk and Live in YOUR Spirit"!