Monday, July 16, 2018

NO PAIN NO GAIN---WHATEVER!


I am really quite proud of these two--#1 daughter and my favorite son-in-law.  They have more hardware to hang around the house and the kids drag around with little or no respect for what it took to have that ribbon placed around their neck.  These two are tri-athletes~  it's not enough to have a brood of four ~for dates they go on a run.  WHERE DID I GO WRONG???  I digress----yesterday they competed in the Wacotri ~DEEP IN THE HEART OF HOTTER THAN HELL TEXAS!  They seem to enjoy getting out in 100 degree heat and high humidity and enduring pain, faint, and dehydration to have another piece of metal to get lost in the toy box.  You begin a tri by swimming in the midst of a pod of trashing, kicking, and unaware of your presence swimmers ~IN A RIVER!  Not good enough to swim in a pool--must get into a polluted nasty river and dare death while swimming in the midst of fatal bacteria and other nasties.  THEN you get on a bicycle that has a seat the width of a pencil and is made of the hardest metal known to man.  Add to that you clip yourself into that pedal--so if the bike goes down --you are headed south for a thrilling slide down asphalt hot enough to cook an egg.  Finish all that and you get to run--on that SAME blistering asphalt or worse concrete with your feet directly on the hot plate.  You can't ingest water fast enough to recover what is pouring out of you.  WOW--what a FUN date weekend!  PAIN seems to be there aphrodisiac!

WELL NOW--for your information--they cannot hold a candle to this mama's  ability to endure pain.  Having birthed a 9 pound 6 ounce baby with a head the size of a volleyball---N A T U R A L L Y~~~I WIN!!!  No trophy--no medal--just a lovely big strapping boy who stayed on my hip until he was two.  Though he was a grand prize--I DID LEARN MY LESSON--I do NOT pursue pain anymore.  I never push myself into pain territory when working out.  I am always whining, moaning and groaning at the least discomfort and headed OUT THE DOOR when it does not let up.  My poor sports massage therapist, Jeff, has to chase me all over that table and I have threatened him bodily harm on more than one occasion.  I am interested in being in the best shape possible with NO PAIN!  That old saying about no pain no gain is for the masochist--not for this sissy.  I avoid pain WHENEVER POSSIBLE!

Laugh if you will, but pain is NO laughing game.  BUT we will have pain in life--I do not know how you can avoid it.  NONE of us like pain, but hopefully something is gained from our pain.  For athletes, it is stronger bodies.  For many though, the pain seems to have no benefit--no possible good reason~unless you believe what our Sovereign God promises us-

ALL things work together for good for those that love God,
 and are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

CLING to this promise when life is more painful than you think you can bear, when the world has turned upside down, when nothing makes sense.  HOLD FAST to ALL THINGS.  KNOW that we have a God who loves us---KNOW His ways are not our ways---KNOW he holds your tears in His hand---KNOW GOD and KNOW PEACE~ even in the worst of times--in the most extreme pain--HE is GOD and ALL THINGS work for our good if we only Love Him.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

YOU SAY

Taking all I have

I am laying it at your feet

You say

I am loved

I Believe

What You Say of Me




BLESSED SABBATH

DEAR FRIENDS

Thursday, July 12, 2018

GOD'S WILL

In Small Group, we are talking about the Will of God this week.  Specifically we are speaking of our childish perception of the Will of God.  How many of us have had someone tell us some tragedy in our life is the Will of God?  How God must cringe when we mistakenly give Him all the credit for every bad thing that ever happens to us.  

Our book


devotes a chapter to "How does God work to achieve His will in this world?"
The author categorizes God's will into three groups-

The intentional-perfect will of God
The circumstantial, permissive will of God
The ultimate will and purpose of God

As I read through the chapter, it occurred to me I had experienced all three.  When my marriage ended, divorce was certainly not the will of God as clearly explained in The Word.  At the end of the day, due to "Circumstances", divorce was the only answer.  God permitted the end of my marriage, though it was not His perfect will.  Divorced or not--God will accomplish His ultimate will and purpose in my life.  He is an omnipotent God who will not be thwarted by man's roadblocks.   



When bad things happen, and if they have not happened to you yet--hold on--they will, God does not expect us to bow our heads and accept what happened as His Will.  Reciting the platitude "It's God Will," does nothing to take away the unbearable pain.  He does expect us to turn to Him and He WILL comfort us.  God has been the nearest when I have been the most defeated and in the worst pain.  God does not cause tragedy, illness, or bad things to happen--He ALLOWS it.  There is a HUGE difference.  If we expect to be allowed to exercise free will, free will can also bring tragic consequences.  I love the quote above, when bad things happen the important question is how will we respond.  Will we blame God or turn to God? 

I cling to the hope and firm belief that God can use all things for His glory and our growth.  The expected growth as explained in the scriptures which leads us nearer to the sanctification through the work of the Spirit.  We are set aside for His purpose and God's ultimate will and purpose for us will be achieved.  My daily prayer is for God's perfect will for me to be revealed and to walk the path He has set out for me.  

May God's will be accomplished in each and every one of us, and when we are affected by circumstances of the world, may we recognize it for what it is--God's permissive will.  God wants us to live according to His promise~

And we know that for those who love God,
all things work together for good,
for those who are called according to His purpose.
Romans 8:28

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

GIVE IT UP--LET IT GO!

Surprise and shock, I am reading a new book-



Anger, greed, jealousy, and guilt are negative emotions than can bind our hearts tighter than a wet rope.  If we are bound by ropes, we are unable to move, frozen with no ability to move in any direction.  So it is when the tentacles of these negative emotions grab a toehold and begin to strangle the very lifeblood of hope from us that the good is locked out.  When we are so choked off with the strangle hold of the negative, the hope of the good coming to light becomes diminished.  As sure as a garden will not grow when the sunlight is blocked from it, our hearts will also be kept from growing if the negative emotions have formed a barrier choking off our growth.

The last chapter I read dealt with the need for confession.  Andy points out our need to confess by reminding us of how we would feel if we were given a confession and apology long needed but never expected.  How would it impact our lives if one who had wronged us freely came forward to admit what they had done and ask for forgiveness.  Thinking this over, I knew it would have a huge impact on my heart and my trust of my fellow man.  More than likely it is entirely possible it would forever change me for the better.



As I pondered this, I realized I had unresolved guilt over an incident decades in the past.  Sadly, I cannot remember the person's name who was involved in my deception for they were only in my life for a brief time.  I do remember the incident and have felt guilty over it for all these years.  The same day I read this chapter a couple of friends came over who also have read this book.  I told them the story and my willingness to confess, but my inability to remember the name of the one who needed my apology (LONG GONE from this neck of the woods).  Wisely, one of the two looked at me and said, "You just confessed--you told us."  So the power of the secret was expelled by my verbal confession and the stronghold of the negative emotion of guilt was crushed when I admitted what I had done.  

My secret was exposed and my guilt was absolved when I admitted my wrong.  The tentacle of guilt was cut the day I told the long hidden secret of what I had done.  This tentacle had been strangling the life blood flowing to my heart and my growth had been stymied by the poison of unconfessed sin.

SO--you are not going to like this, but it all needs to come out--to grow--to flourish--you have to pull the strangling weeds of the negative emotions which are blocking the Son.  Simple as that---give it up--let it go---and grow!


Therefore confess your sins to each other
 and pray for each other so that you may be healed. 
James 5:16

Thursday, July 5, 2018

LESSONS FROM THE THREE AMIGOS

The Three Amigos or Three Stooges, depending upon the moment, were loads of fun and exhausting at the same time.  They also are wise beyond their years and ask deep questions while giving interesting insight into the world.


One thing amazing about automobile trips is the conversations.  Some of my best talks--especially with the opposite sex -have been during long car trips. When  trapped the male of the species will finally enter into a conversation, which usually proves to be very productive and quite enjoyable. While traveling, one of the boys announced Lulu should get married again.  As I tried to explain to him why that would probably not happen, another of the grands chimed in and told me it is against God's Law for divorced people to marry.  I then tried to explain there were times God did not frown on you marrying following divorce. Trying to explain that without giving the reasons behind Biblical divorce was not easy.  This also lead to a conversation about grace and exactly what grace looks like.  The third grand sat back there and just listened without making a single comment.


WHAT a conversation!  They are 9, 7, and 5--I knew this subject would come up one day, but really thought it would be much later.  I have been alone since the second one was a small baby, so they have no memory of me ever being married.  And yet--they are asking the questions because their other grandparents have always been together.  They have figured out that is what it is supposed to look like and are wondering why I am alone.

As I thought over the conversation, it occurred to me how much this looks like the world.  Part of the world thinks just move on with your life and live and let live; another part has strong opinions based upon firm opinions based upon legalistic thinking; and the other part--well they may be taking it all in, but don't care or don't have an opinion they are ready to express.  Most of the time, most of us fall into the third group--unless we have a dog in the fight or cannot stand to not share our opinions.  What we often leave out of the equation is grace.  We all want to  be judged based upon grace, but are not always so free with dispensing grace to others.


It really delights me that they feel free to tell me what they are thinking and ask questions.  My little legalistic grand will be fine, I talked with him several times about grace, and his mom will do the same.  The one who wants me to marry I suspect thinks that is the way to be happy--since the marriages around him are great examples of good marriages--he wants Lulu to be happy.  The other one, I suspect is taking it all in and we will have a talk someday about it.  He may be a great deal like his Lulu--and need to process before discussing.


One important thing is I affirmed each of them in what they were thinking and did not automatically say, "You are wrong!"  I opened the door for another opinion without totally shooting them out of the water for their opinions.  How much better would the world be if we acknowledged the validity of different points of view?  Our perceptions are always skewed by the eyes we are looking through.  We can all look at the same scene and each of us have a different version of what we saw.

SO in a round about way, I am reminding myself to always listen to what others have to say, give credit to their right to have a different opinion with no fear of my opinion being diminished.  What a peaceful world this would be if we could only be kind to each other.

To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, 
and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Titus 3:2

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

LESSONS FROM LUCY



Lucy is three.  Anyone who has ever had a three year old in their home, will understand what I mean when I tell you she acts just like a three year old.  She can turn into a pout faster than I can snatch the last cookie.  This pout can then become a full blown hissy fit if not nipped in the bud.  Even with intentional nipping, it can become a whirling dervish of unhappy.  Most of the time there is only one antidote, ignore it and let it blow over or play out--which ever comes first.  Diverting her attention also works and a good tickle always disarms the worst fit.


Last night on the way to dinner with a friend, I had my own hissy fit.  Channeling my inner three year old, I threw a royal fit because this does not look like I thought it should.  Now I have looked around and come to the conclusion all the rest of you live on Easy Street, while I am headed down to the Dead End on Hard Road.  I spent a few minutes ranting and raving over the unfairness of life and questioning the injustice of it all.  


Wisely, my friend let me blow off steam without saying a word.  When I finally settled into a gentle breeze, we both had a great laugh over my three year old fit.  Did it help?  Well it certainly did not change anything about my circumstance~it is what it is.  It did allow me to let go of some things I had stuffed way down deep.  I'm fine is my mantra, and I seldom allow myself to blow off steam over the unfairness of life.  NOW~I am not going to walk around being Debbie Downer (Sorry Debbie), but an occasional hissy fit with a trusted friend does more good than harm.  I always feel better after airing the built up frustrations, and also always come away with a fresh perspective on how blessed I am.  SO perhaps Lucy is on to something~an occasional hissy fit may be just the medicine the doctor ordered and a good cleansing laugh afterward is the tonic to begin again.  Little Lucy is a great teacher!


WELL, Friends, I pick up the Three Amigos today for a week of fun.  Larry, Moe and Curly will consume all my time and attention, so no blog for a week.  BUT THINK of all the material those three will give me!!

11 I also saw other things in this life that were not fair. The fastest runner does not always win the race; the strongest soldier does not always win the battle; wise people don’t always get the food; smart people don’t always get the wealth; educated people don’t always get the praise they deserve. When the time comes, bad things can happen to anyone!
Ecclesiastes 9:11


Tuesday, June 26, 2018

LESSONS FROM LUCY

This one lives in a house with three brothers, a big dog, and mama and daddy.



With all these people and dog comes mess.  Her mom is on a mission at the end of everyday to pick up what they have messed up.  There are spills and calamities almost daily.  Pristine is impossible when you put this many living beings in a confined space.  And then she comes to my house.  I try---really try to live in cleanliness and order.  With only Hero and me, the big challenge is the dog hair.  Add to that this time of the year he is shedding big time, and you have a daily run of the vacuum~at a minimum.



This one can be covered in blue icing from top to bottom and sitting in a bed of cookie crumbs and not think a thing about it, BUT let one little dog hair get on her hand and she is NOT happy!  As I vacuumed everyday, she would walk around and point out the dog hairs, lest I miss ONE!  When she reached down to pet Hero she would immediately look at her hand to see if she had a dog hair on it.  It took me three days to convince her to take a bath, (WE DID SPONGE OFF!), but WOE unto me if she got ONE dog hair on her!  AND to top that off, she went into fits of giggles when he licked her FACE~we ALL know what else he licks--GROSS!!



This reminds me of myself, I can be totally oblivious to the sin sty surrounding me, but WOE unto you if you try to entice me to gossip.  I cannot abide gossip and will quickly point out the error of our ways if gossip comes up.  I am brushing off and moving on with my nose in the air over the error of your ways.  Never mind that the dust and dirt of my daily sin is clinging to me with a death grip, I don't want to be accused of gossiping!



Bless Lucy's heart, she was so engrossed in where there was dog hair, she didn't even realize she was a living~walking~pigpen.  It's always easier to dwell on one little thing than to look at the big picture and see the piles of debris and bodies surrounding us.  When searching for dog hairs, don't forget to clean up the rest of the mess too!  Dirt is dirt~whatever the shape or form--it all is dirt.



1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 

2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, 

and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye 

and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 

4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 
5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, 
and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5