Thursday, May 22, 2014

A LESSER PROPHET

While opening The Word and flipping through looking for a passage, I was drawn to Amos as I turned those pages.  Amos kept returning to my thoughts with a promise to myself I would reread it---but not today.  Today I was too busy--today I was beseeching God for my purpose.  Today I was pontificating to others about God's Good Purpose for us.

I thought I heard a rap at my door in the  twilight of the day, as I prepared for bed.  The part of the evening when the last rays of the sun slowly sink behind the row upon row of houses that surround me.  The last glimpses of light before the dark of the night swiftly falls over the city.  It was my sweet young neighbor--a mother of four---the baby still tiny in her arms.  She wanted to see my backyard- my oasis--without thought to how God was using her  to answer my prayers.  Quite unsuspecting of her part in the revelation God was slowly revealing.

It all started with Kristen Welch's manifesto I published Sunday via Ann Vos Kamp's blog.  What a maze of  confusion ---I told you---that she told me---that she said.  All used to bring to my consciousness--what God was trying to tell me and with His perfect planning.

We sat and rocked on my front porch that night.  The conversation turned to how we in America have a sense of entitlement.  It began with the medical community and slowly evolved into the poor among us.  We went from our quest for answers and solutions when it comes to our physical bodies.  When answers and miracles of healing are not forth coming, we continue our quest--looking --no demanding the cure.  Somehow in the spiral of conversation, I talked about those a few blocks away who sleep in tight quarters--in sub standard housing--many bodies to one mattress with no covering and flat on the floor.  The poor who live among us.

Today as I slowly emerged into consciousness, Amos popped back to the surface.  Read Amos---one of the lesser prophets.  "I was neither a prophet nor a prophet's son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, 'Go prophesy to my people Israel.' " Amos 7:14-15  In a sitting I re-read those ancient words--looking for God's message to me.

The message for me--for today 

"Seek me and live" Amos 5:4

"But let justice roll like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream."  Amos 5:24

"Woe to you who are complacent in Zion." Amos 6:1

Through the intricate tapestry of a guest writer on another's blog, an unsuspecting neighbor, and His Word---God is beginning to answer my prayer--my plea to reveal His Good Purpose for me.  I do not have all the answers--but I sit filled with awe of what He has shown me.  A book filled with the indignation of God when we ignore those in need--become fat and happy with our circumstance--and forget we serve a Just God filled with righteousness.  

Allowed to peep briefly behind the curtain as the red slowly faded in the western sky and the prophet of old---the lesser prophet---the Shepherd---began to show me The Plan.  I always stand amazed in the glory and mystery of how He works-
The Great I Am.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

SITTING IN JUDGEMENT

I have only been here in the GREAT state of Texas a year and I have already received my first jury summons.  REALLY???  I am sitting today with a room full of other potential jury candidates waiting to be questioned as to my ability to be fair and impartial and convict or not based upon the evidence.  All those years in Louisiana and I only had two jury summons and did not get chosen either time--did not even get the opportunity to enlighten the judge and attorneys as to my extensive legal knowledge.  No chance to say---"Yes, I know the defense attorney--he is my client---Yes, I know the prosecuting attorney-she is my sister in law---yes I know all about the accused--I read the local paper everyday.  DISAPPOINTING!




Here I am--in the Land of the Anonymous---they do not know me and I do not know them and I do not read the local paper.  I suppose I am as impartial as you could ever get.  OR AM I?  I am able to look past the exterior and judge solely based upon the facts?  I think I am---but we shall see.

Will I be able to be wise and discerning as King Solomon was in The Book?  I love the story of the two women --both claiming a baby as their own. King Solomon prayed for wisdom and then proclaimed his decision.   King Solomon's solution to cut the baby in half quickly flushed out the real mother.  The one willing to give up her true claim to save her baby's life.  




Righteous Judgement---to not base my decision upon my emotions---or what seems right and feels right--but rather weigh the facts presented in the evidence.  God's righteous judgement of us all--based not upon how we present our stories--or how we think we should be judged but based solely on the facts--the truth.  I will search for the truth and base my judgement entirely upon that--without bias or partiality--only on the truth and pray for God to give me wisdom.


I Kings 3: 16-28

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

DON'T BE A STINKY!

Have you ever had one of those moments---perhaps after a hard workout or a long session of yard work--when you began smelling something?  You keep searching for the source of the smell--and then discover----WHY IT'S ME!  I try to put a positive spin on my stink and think I have de-toxed while sweating today.  Better that than spritzing with a little good smell um in a futile effort to disguise the stink.



Someone I know told me a stinky story recently that left me speechless.  It seems they kept smelling dog poop while at the gym.  On the phone with a business call while running on the treadmill, their ear buds were swinging under their nose.  They finally noticed every time the ear bud swung under their nose, the smell was most prominent.  Searching their memory, they remembered the little bud covering had disappeared for a few days.  When it finally re-appeared on the floor, they picked it up and thought nothing of it.  Retracing what had happened, it seems the dog had eaten the bud cover while chewing on it (loves to chew all things plastic and rubber), and then with the natural course of events, the bud re-appeared a few days later,and the dog somehow managed to clean it up enough that it was not noticeable how it made it's re-appearance into the world.  So they told me, "I managed to put a dog turd in my ear."   GROSS---AND FUNNY!  Moral of the story---wash ALL things off which you pick up off the floor and if it is stinky BEWARE!



Now WHERE could this be leading?

Sin is S T I N K Y!  There is no way to disguise the stench and it will permeate every pore if not cleaned up.  You may think you have cleverly disguised the smell, but the stink will rise to the top in short order.  There is only one way to receive a thorough and lasting cleansing---Jesus is the only anti-dote for the stink!  A daily cleansing is needed---to avoid being a stinker!


"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness."
I John 1:9

Monday, May 19, 2014

TIME TO PAY THE PIPER

My annual hiking adventure is literally just around the corner.  Today it occurred to me perhaps I should take a walk and see how all my parts are working.  WHAT part of my brain thought it was a good idea to go to the mountains hiking with NO training?  As I slowly limped home  after a short 7 miles, which were mostly flat this morning, it dawned on me--I AM IN BIG TROUBLE!  




OH and if that is not enough---we will be biking also---I have NOT been on a bike in two years.  For those of you unfamiliar with riding---my legs are the least of my concern.  Sit on that bike seat for 20 miles---OH GOODNESS---I may need to order new parts before that day is over.  



Perhaps all is not lost.  We are going kayaking also.  Perhaps I can jump into that frigid water and numb all my parts which should be trashed by the time this day rolls around.  Let me see--when is the last time I kayaked---at least ten years ago!



OH I know---I will pray about it.  I will ask God to swoop down and clean up this mess I seem to have gotten MYSELF into.  

Sad--but true---I get myself into these HUGE MESSES---and then expect God to rush to my rescue.  When my children were younger, I was a big believer in making them pay the consequences for their actions.  Where could I have garnered that nugget of wisdom?  MAYBE from His Word. Example after example is sprinkled all through His Book.  We may sin---He will forgive us---but we still pay the consequences.   Somethings tells me I am going to pay for my actions---incur the consequences for not preparing--and I am ready for the sore and tired muscles and tender parts that are coming.

What would really be sad---if I did not learn from this lesson.  If I allowed myself to fall into the same predicament again---expecting God to rescue me from my foolishness.  THAT WOULD BE SAD!


"Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap."
Galatians 6:7

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A PUSH TO THINK

Ann VosKamp is a hugely successful Christian writer---but in all honesty--her style does not appeal to me personally.  She has more talent in her little finger than I do in my entire body--but she is a wordy writer---her style if filled with prose ---descriptive flowing prose.  I find my mind wandering before I get to the end of a paragraph.  Different styles appeal to different personalities--THAT my friends is why there are so MANY books!  Her book is a national best seller--it took me weeks to finish it.  I kept getting lost.  One thing we can all agree on---she is spreading The Word---causing us to think upon Jesus---she loves God.

I read her blog---always looking for a prod--a nudge---a nugget of truth which causes me to stop and think.  She pushed my button today---via another writer,
Kristen Welch.  God used Ann to point me to Kristen who pushed me to think.

Here is the link---I challenge you to read it---and perhaps you will be pushed to think--nudged to act--challenged to seek your purpose.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

INSPICE IAM ANNOS i.e. EXAMINE THE YEAR

One Year And Counting---how is it possible that I have been in Texas for an entire year?  It has been a challenge to pick up and move 300 miles to the West--but I have grown and learned with the challenge.  A step in obedience-there are days I "Get it"---exactly why God had me move---all for His Good Purpose. 

I have only returned to my other home--Ruston--twice---on purpose.  It occurred to me to make this home--I could not run back to Ruston and the familiar every month--I had to stick it out and make it work.  Running home would not force the issue, but only postpone the hard work it takes to make a new home.  It has been a struggle  and the work is far from over.  But as the old commercial says, "I've come a LONG way, Baby!".

Lessons Learned-

Fort Worth may be a large city---but within the large city is a small town heart. It has been amazing to discover some of the same realities here that were in Smalltown, USA.  There is a segment of the population who have been here for generations--they tend to stick together--and are not particularly open to inviting newcomers into the inner circle.  It was surprising to make this discovery--but the great thing about a really large city--you are much more unaware of the existence of this generational hierarchy---unaware and therefore unaffected.

The world keeps turning---when we loose someone--in death, in divorce, in miles of separation-whatever the circumstances of being apart---life goes on.  A piece missing from the puzzle does not nullify the message of the puzzle.  I have missed my friends and family greatly--but the truth of the matter is life kept rolling along--even in my absence.  The picture may look slightly different--as with the  puzzle missing one piece--but depending upon the placement of the piece-- the over-all theme is the same.  When I return to R, I have missed a large gap of life there--I am out of the loop.  It did not take long to catch up, but I expect with time--that will change and it will become more difficult.  The history I have with friends and family will never change--but the present will slowly become different.

There are rich people and poor people in every town--no matter the size.  The larger the town the more you see of both.  Multi-millionaires are a dime a dozen in Texas--and especially in the large cities.  Having palatial estates and an opulent life-styles are the norm in large sections of the city.  The same goes for the poor and struggling--there are large sections of the city with those scraping by.  At times it seems there are more luxury cars on the highway than middle America cars.  As Jesus said, "The poor will always be among us," but the numbers of the very rich is surprising.  There is still the differentiation between "Old Money" and "Nouvea riche"--reminiscent of generational hierarchy.

Suffering, illness, pain, death, and struggles are universal.  The larger the city--the more you see of it, but you cannot escape the inevitable in life.  People are people and the themes of the stories of their lives are quite similar where ever they are planted.  If you will make eye contact with me, I will talk to you.  Talking usually leads to the story---most people need to talk and someone to listen.  I am a good listener and it is amazing some of the stories I have heard.

There is loneliness in the midst of the multitudes here in the Big City---exactly as there was in Ruston.  I am in charge of making this work---here as I was in R.  People are people--perhaps I have met a much wider variety of people--but the basic need to love and be loved is in us all.  I have a cave here in FW---exactly as I did in R.  It is up to me how much I stay in the cave and how much I venture into the world.  

God is God---here or Ruston--in fact anywhere---He is unchanging--faithful--loving--just--righteous---and on and on with a long list--that NEVER changes.  
He is THE GREAT I AM!  For that I am thankful and blessed.

Looking Forward

I will be here--until God tells me otherwise.  I see some of His purpose for my move--but think there is more to the plan than has been revealed.  I am looking forward--with some apprehension---to the revelation of "The Plan".  I miss Ruston--my life long friends--my family--and the familiar but I am working toward more friends and becoming more familiar.  It takes time---patience---openness---willingness.   Who KNOWS -but God--what the future holds.  I have said no more moves---BUT I have eaten every NEVER I ever said---so.  Tomorrow's blog is a revelation God gave me today---it leads me to believe--He has plans for me---I am open to His plan--where He leads I will go.


The one constant---never changing---always evident --in my life--
God

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

Friday, May 16, 2014

LOST AND FOUND

A LITTLE TONGUE IN CHEEK TODAY--

FOR THE GIRLS IN MY WORLD--

Here I am---almost a year into exclusively weight training---pumping iron--at least 2- mostly 3 times a week for an hour each time.  During the past year I have probably averaged 2.5 times per week for the past 52 weeks or roughly 130 sessions.  Each hour session has around 800 + repetitions so I have lifted that bar 104,000 during this year at a minimum.  With a minimum of 15 pounds and as much as much as 50 pounds depending upon the muscle group I am working.  That would mean at an average of 32.5 pounds I have lifted approximately 3,380,000 pounds during a year.  COLOR ME TIRED!  No wonder I have not done much else!  (WHO ELSE but an accountant would want to do this math?)

Here is what I have discovered, Girls----Some things I thought were permanently lost----I HAVE FOUND THEM!

Let me begin with my arms---I thought I had lost my biceps---turned out they were hanging out with my triceps--just flapping in the wind most days.  I am happy to say I can now raise my hand whether in praise or in question with no fear of taking flight! I am rather pleased with the loss of my wings--although one of my dreams is being able to fly!

Then there are the shoulders which hold those lovely wings up.  The protrusion of the shoulder blade is now nicely covered with a row of muscle that begins at my neck and nicely rounds over and into my upper arm.  AND NO MY NECK HAS NOT GOTTEN THICK--my head may be thick---but that's another subject.  I lift those 3 Fort Worth grands--the biggest around 40 pounds and do not miss a beat.

First time down on the bench during our session, we are working our chest---pecs---Who knew things could once again be up-tight and without the benefit of metal or elastic?  And the added bonus---the top part of that six pack has a defined line right down the middle--sort of like the dotted line we see so often.

Then we go to the back and lower regions---as in really low back.  Once again my jeans are nicely filled out with my rear which it turns out had not abandoned me but merely gone south.   All it takes is about ten minutes of squats and lunges to get things headed back toward the promised land of the equator.  The added bonus---your legs from the knee up become hard and firm.

Lest I forget---the abs.  The last group worked each session---Could I just tell you this is the easiest part of the hour?  Upper abs---lower abs---planks--crunches--leg lifts and extensions...they are all a breeze after all the other.  And yes--I have indentations instead of love handles now in case anyone grabs on.

SO SISTERS!  I am here to testify---What was lost---has been found!
Could I give you a firm word of truth----GET INTO THE WEIGHT ROOM!
All has not been lost---it was just hanging around waiting to be found!






Thursday, May 15, 2014

CAN YOU GIVE ME A WITNESS!!!

The devastating tornadoes that rolled through Arkansas recently were tragic.  Loss of life, loss of property, loss of limb---an entire lifetime swept away in a moment of time.  I saw a video posted on Facebook as someone drove through the midst of the destruction brief minutes after the world turned upside down.  It drew an incredible amount of comments---all very negative.  The videographer drove through screaming mothers searching for babies-the moaning injured and devastation as far as the camera could catch- recording it all.  The outrage was over the need to create a video in the midst of layer upon layer of human suffering.  I well remember one comment, "Bad Form, Brother, Bad Form!"




I do not pretend to know the reasoning behind the cameraman.  Perhaps he felt we all needed to witness the devastation.  Perhaps he thought he could sell the video to a local news affiliate.  Perhaps in a world gone crazy with recording every moment of life via the WWW--it seemed appropriate.  His witness became a passive act of recording the facts as he slowly rolled through the destruction and misery.  His witness was a noun---a name placed on his act of recording the history of the destruction and pain.



Human misery all around--pain--suffering--devastation and the world slowly drives by taking it all in with no thought to stopping and helping.  We all become convinced someone else is taking care of this mess.  We rely upon the government authorities to do the dirty work of cleaning up the mess of death, injury, and destruction.  As I watched the video, I wondered who might be under that pile of rubble you just passed?  Could you possibly have saved a life by the mere act of stopping and helping instead of passively passing by and becoming a witness?



As I am studying Acts, I have been mulling over what witnessing entails.  Jesus did not mean it to be passive---but active.  As we wait for His return or the end of our time on this earth, we are instructed to be a living witness of Who He is-The Great Redeemer. It is not up to the professionals in ministry--it is up to each of us.  Shame on me if I pass through this life with suffering, pain, and misery surrounding me, if I am merely a witness of the Fallen World around me and not a witness to those of the ONLY answer.  Forgive me, Father when I passively walk the path and embolden me to actively provide The Witness! 
 YES---I CAN GIVE YOU A WITNESS!

"He told the, 'You don't get to know the time.  Timing is the Father's business.  What you get is the Holy Spirit.  And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.' "
Acts 1:7-8

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

YOU DO YOU

I was reminded this morning as I listened to a daily devotional---You are not me and I am not you.  YES--EXACTLY!  I become distracted from His purpose for me by looking around me at all of you.  You are NOT doing what you should be doing---You are NOT doing it right---You are loosing focus---He put that right in front of you--why are you not doing it?




A trip to the local cowboy shop is needed---I am sorely in need of a set of blinders.  Perhaps THEN I can keep my eyes on the goal and my mind on "MY BUSINESS"!  Instead of micro-managing your life---I should be looking in the mirror and getting that board out of my own eye.  Honestly it is much easier to pick your life apart than fessing up to my MANY HUGE short comings.



We are all uniquely created for a reason---He has a unique purpose for each of us. Your purpose is not greater than mine and we are all needed to accomplish His purpose.  We all begin to feel we are not needed---the "Greats" out there are doing so much more.  Billy Graham, John Piper, Beth Moore, to begin the long list of those who touch the multitudes.  They are the ones who are lifting the big load.



Why we may be used to save only one soul--our influence may be in a small circle--our gifts may only serve a very few.  When we discount how He uses us--what does that say about the worth of that one soul--that small circle?  Are they any less precious than the masses others may draw?  Our job is not to question--our job is to keep our focus and stay on the path---You do you and I will do me--and HE will be glorified!


"When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, 'Master, what's going to happen to him?'  Jesus said, 'If I want him to live until I come again, what's that to you?
YOU --FOLLOW ME.' "
John 21:21-22

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

WHITE KNUCKLE RIDE!

On my return trip to Fort Worth after a few days in Ruston, I had white knuckles gripping the steering wheel the entire trip back.  When I saw it was going to rain, I left earlier than I originally intended.  It was a good thing---it did not just rain it poured down almost every mile of the way.  One of those Louisiana/Texas rains where you cannot see beyond your car hood.  I was cautious and slowed my little car way down.  The evidence of all the wrecks and cars in ditches was enough to warrant my caution.  One of the tricks I use is finding a car traveling a speed I am comfortable with and tucking in behind it---a safe distance back.  Keeping those tail lights in view is at times the only way I can determine where the road is.  The light becomes my guide when I am blinded by the curtain of rain as it pours down in sheets.  NOT a fun trip!  




  Life is filled with storms.  Storms which rage and blow and can cause us to lose our way.  A storm of sorrow, pain, or loss can blind you and obstruct your vision.  Tidal waves of grief will slip over you--leaving you gasping for air and totally disoriented.  A monsoon of day after day of dealing with life's seasons of storm will wear you down and create a struggle to survive.  Surrounded by a fog bank of emotion--we forget to look for the light which serves as a guide.



There is a guide---one to take our hand---and lead us through these consuming storms.  When we are over-whelmed with the flood--the storm--the fog of doubt and sorrow, search for the light.  It may appear as only a pinpoint at first---but as you focus and keep you eyes glued to it---it will lead you and protect you.  He is a faithful guide--who never disappears--even in the worst of storms---He is by your side.



For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” 
Hebrews 13:5

Monday, May 12, 2014

A WHOLE LOTTA GUTS

Back up so you can see and hear me as I jump up on my soap box--
ONE MORE TIME!



Today in church, our pastor applauded the body for being inclusive of those who look different--act different---do not fit into the mold we have created of how a Christian should be.  He told two different stories of very distinct but different occasions when "Different" walked through the church doors.  We passed the test!  One different was a man covered in tattoos and dressed to display them instead of cover them--He was turned away from two churches--but when he entered our doors he was greeted and welcomed with not even a second glance beyond his face.  The other story---and video---a family with a grown severely autistic son--who has random verbal outbursts.  They sit with him at the back of the church--but as time draws near for church to dismiss--he always bursts out with "Taco Bell."  When visiting our church, a lady walked up to them after church and told them how blessed she was watching their family.  Inclusive and loving--the way it should look.



As he spoke, I looked around me and noticed how many people sat alone.  It is Mother's Day and the church is filled with families.  Sprinkled throughout the large group of people are many sitting alone.  The pastor pointed out during his message it takes a WHOLE LOTTA GUTS to walk into a church alone--especially on a day such as Mother's Day.  Some there are struggling with infertility---some are struggling with the loss of a child---some are struggling with contentious relationships with their own mothers---some are struggling with broken relationships with their children--It is not always a happy day for everyone.

I walked in alone and sat alone---BUT it was up to me to take the step of finding others in the same place.  Instead of wondering why no one speaks to me---I should take the initiative and do the speaking.  Instead of patting myself on the back for raking up the courage to go alone---I should take the next step be the one who is inclusive.  I am going to work on changing that!

NOW---do you notice those who are alone--who might look different---who might act different?  Some of us look exactly like you--but our stories are hugely different.  Are you willing to step out of your comfort zone---perhaps even off your reserved pew?  Would you welcome a stranger into the family?


"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."
Romans 15:7

Sunday, May 11, 2014

OUT OF THE RUT

My mother's mother died in childbirth when Momma was two years old.  Her daddy did not marry again until she was around nine.  She missed those extremely important early years of mothering.  The gap of those early lessons on how to mother spilled over into her own years of mothering.  She did the best she could under extremely difficult circumstances -- but nurturing was not her strong point.  

She left us thirteen years ago on Mother's Day.  Not a day goes by that I do not miss her.  How I would love to talk to her!  Her mothering technique was more on the side of "Get over it and get on with it!"  No time for any of us to roll in the pit of self pity---just move on!  I love to tell Momma stories and often I get these looks of unbelief.  She was a trip!




I did the best I could raising my children.  That often was not very good!  I was very consumed with keeping a perfect house, keeping nutritious meals on the table, keeping perfect looking children and crossing all the t's and dotting the i's.  Somehow I missed the importance of playing with my children.  We played, but not enough.  I let the daylies of work, home, school, and on and on consume my time and thoughts.  I ran from early pre-dawn hours until I fell in the bed late at night---and many important things in the relationships around me were neglected.  I think I did better than the generation before me, but there was plenty of room for improvement.




Happily I tell you the current generation of mothers in my family are doing a wonderful--marvelous job.  They are loving their children well.  God is being honored and taught by their mothers, and they spend quality time with my grandchildren.  God has slowly redeemed over generations the art of mothering in our family.  What a blessing to know the beautiful picture of how mothering should look by watching my daughter and daughter in law and what a gift His redemption is!







HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY TO THE TWO MOST
WONDERFUL MOTHERS I KNOW!




"Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise.
'Many women have done wonderful things,
but you have outclassed them all!' "
Proverbs 31

Saturday, May 10, 2014

NEWS FLASH

Today as I pondered over Acts I had a revelation.  Matthias was chosen to take the place of Judas after the group of Believers had prayed.  He was the man with the winning lot---not by chance--but by God.  There is NO randomness in life and there are no coincidences---only God incidences.  God has gone to great lengths to show me that in my life and through many other Believers He has placed in my path.   

It was in God's plan that Matthias be chosen as the replacement disciple.  Do NOT forget God also had a plan for Barsabbas.  We KNOW Barsabbas was a Believer and therefore God had a plan for him. God has a plan for even the Unbelievers--check out Pharaoh.   Just because he was not chosen as one of the twelve does not mean God did not use him for His good purpose.  He was a member of the original body of Believers.  There at the beginning -helping to spread the word which has continued to spread until today.  He was there before the Word was written---it all had to be spread person to person and he helped spread the message.  Without one single doubt, God used him and used him well.

When I first read this passage, I felt sorry for Barsabbas--not being chosen.  I  was gently reminded---it is God's plan that he was not chosen---He still used him for his good glory---because of who I know God to be--this was all part of the plan.  God does not make mistakes and all works for good for those that are called according to HIS purpose.

I was not chosen to live out my life in a marriage---I am in a large company of women who were chosen to live alone.  God has a good purpose and can use each of us well in this state of singleness.  The bottom line is---I was chosen--chosen to be alone---just as Barsabbas was chosen to not be in the twelve.  It is a step of backing up and choosing to view life through a different lens.  This view shows I was chosen to be alone---not I was not chosen to remain in a marriage. God's perfect plan for each of us---ALL for HIS GOOD PURPOSE.

"Judas must now be replaced.  The replacement must come from the company of men who stayed together with us from the time Jesus was baptized by John up to the day of his ascension."  vs 21-22


" ' You, O God, know every one of us inside and out.  Make plain which of these two men you choose to take the place in this ministry and leadership that Judas threw away in order to go his own way.' They then drew straws.  Matthias won and was counted in with the eleven apostles." vs 24-26

Acts 1


Friday, May 9, 2014

UNDER THE BOTTLE BRUSH

There are days you can find me "Under the Bottle Brush" quaking in fear.

It occurred to me I was living in the shadow of fear when discussing my investments.  Satan takes our past--and the fears we have learned from our past and uses them against us.  My daddy died when I was 14--my mother struggled to support our family of four and did not remarry until we were all grown.   I was a young single mother for a few years--it was a huge struggle to go back to school and obtain that degree with no financial support.  I literally lived on almost nothing.  I remember wondering how I was going to buy needed shoes for my son.  All this profoundly affected me for life.


Fast forward an entire lifetime.  I am retired, I am alone and this is it--do not see any rich relatives out there or any big book deals headed my way.  And the whispering starts in my ear.  What else is God going to take away to teach me?  Look what you have lost already---look what happened to Job---your future could be bleak.  I am living under the cloud of fear instead of the promise of faith.  

As I mulled all this over, Jonah popped to the surface.  God had taken Jonah for quite the spin around the block and Jonah let God have it.  He yelled at the Almighty - All Powerful God--"I knew this was going to happen!"  Ranting and raving like a madman---Jonah let God know he did not like how things had turned out.  It was NOT according to Jonah's plan.  God patiently listened and then taught Jonah a valuable lesson.  The Lord provides and the Lord takes away---and then reminds Jonah---you did NOTHING ---I provided it--so I can take it away.


It is a daily struggle to turn from my fears---and turn to my faith.  All may be taken away---but nothing is gained from sitting under the bottle brush quaking in fear--except a victory for Satan.  Who am I to question--and where is the trust I haughtily proclaim?  If it all disappears today--and I am left on the street with not even one cent to my name---IS HE NOT THE SAME GOD WHO HAS FAITHFULLY WALKED BY MY SIDE THE ENTIRE PATH?  Where is my faith--even if God sends a worm---He is the ALL WISE God--filled with love and grace.

"God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up.  It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk.  Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade.  Life was looking up.  But then God sent a worm."
Jonah 4:6-7

Thursday, May 8, 2014

LIFE LINES

As I visited with a bouquet of beautiful friends and family while in R---my Louisiana home---God reminded me once again of His gracious provision and love for me.  I drove away from Louisiana with my heart filled and over-flowing with the sweet aroma of deep friendships built over a life-time.

During my darkest hours--when I cried out to God-"I cannot do this!"---my God community grabbed me.  When there were no words and I could only utter, "Oh, God!", they filled the gap and prayed for me.  Bombarding heaven with prayer after prayer, they became my life line to the Great God of the Universe.  Holding on and gently pulling me until I saw a glimpse of the light as I slowly emerged from my pit of despair, the community God began forming in my life years ago beseeched God for me and kept my name before His throne.   

Knowing decades before the path of grief I would tread, God began to form a Believer Fellowship which would become my cocoon during the dark winter of hopelessness.  They reached out---embraced me---held on to me---and loved me well with nothing expected in return.  When I could not love myself --they wrapped me in the warmth of their love and patiently held on.  

God intends us to be in fellowship for this very reason.  Each and everyone of us will struggle at some point in our lives.  Most will come to a time when they are desperate ---our community becomes the lifeline He began weaving long before.  Look around yourself---identify the strands of the rope of hope--embrace those golden threads.  Allow Him to weave a strong cord of fellowship around you---
ALL for God's Good Purpose.


"Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude."
I Peter 3:8

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

HELP---I NEED HELP!

Determined should be my middle name---and perhaps Stubborn my nickname.  I cannot think of many things I will not try to tackle--by myself.

Move the furniture across the room and then back again when I discover I do not like the change---NO PROBLEM---Push-Pull-Shove-Grunt-Groan---moving it an inch at a time.  Turn the mattress on the bed---foot end back to the head--all the way over---it's like picking up a family of four and relocating them.  It needs turning though.



Paint the entire house---paint the entire apartment--re-treat the deck and wood fence.  Put not one but four coats on the apartment---three coats on the house---it took almost a month to paint the house---WHY?  I did it all alone.




Move three times in two years---down-sizing each and every time.  Pack all the boxes---move all the boxes--un-pack all the boxes.  Give away-throw away all that will not fit.  Why no--I don't need help--It's a piece of cake.



Just today, I crawled under the car to make a temporary repair with PINK twine!  Ask for help--perhaps there was a better solution---NAH!

What causes us to not ask for help?  Why are we so reluctant to accept the offers of others to give us a hand?  STUBBORN----DETERMINED---NO SINFUL!

My pride keeps me from asking for help---or even accepting help when it is offered.  The need to be in control and on the throne of self reliance creates the hesitation.  I PAY---oh DO I pay---for my sin--sore back--strained muscles--bruises-bumps---it costs me dearly.  And then there are those who would have been blessed by helping---my pride refused them a blessing!  

I need to back up---examine my motives---and take a lesson in grace.  Without a doubt--my largest sin---failure to give up control and give in to accepting my limitations---Time to work on that!


"And do not neglect doing good and sharing; for with such sacrifices God is pleased."
Hebrews 13:16

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

MEAN GIRLS

I thought I was old enough to be beyond the realm of "Mean Girls".  Sadly they still exist--even being old enough to know better!  You women KNOW what I am talking about!  Those girls subject to nose bleed from their noses being held at high altitudes.  Those girls in need of eye correction due to their short sightedness.  Those girls suffering from claustrophobia brought on by the crush of a VERY small group of friends.  Those girls with tongues as sharp as razors able to cut to shreds any supposed threat.  

OH, my own wise words failed to make the path around the track during my recent encounter with the MG's.  Wise words---"When someone is mean or critical, their words come from their own insecurities."  While in the midst of an attack ---I was doing all I could to just keep my head low.  Analyzing where the mean attack came from finally rose to the surface sometime later.  At the moment, I sat in amazed silence in a surreal nightmare world I thought I had escaped long ago.

TOP the MG attack with their sidekick, Mean Guy.  He was the most vicious of the trio.  By  the end of the evening, he had taken my fragile ego and stomped on it  over and over.  As I thought about it later, I wondered if it was intentional--or merely a warning for those not in the parameters of "Fitting In".  OH--and lest I forget--it was all done in the "Name of Jesus".  TRULY it was a surreal experience!  I LIVED IN A BUBBLE for a LONG time!  I began to see the Real World almost six years ago and it amazes me each and every time my vision is broadened by glimpses of The Fallen World around me.

There is a story of "Mean Girls" in The Book.  Genesis tells us about the original "Mean Girl" Hagar.  She gave Sarah fits!  Looking down her nose at poor barren Sarah--flaunting her reproductive prowess.  The KEY to this story---Sarah allowed the Mean Girl Hagar to gain the  power and the edge.  It was at Sarah's request that Hagar began pro-creating with Abraham.  Sarah gave Hagar the power---instead of patiently waiting for God's fulfillment of His promise--Sarah took things in her own hands.  Hagar's meanness--all explainable--she was a slave--no status--low self esteem--striking out at the one who had it all.  Sarah suffered the agony of living with the "Mean Girl" because of her own impatience and lack of faith.

SO moral of my story---Do not play with the mean girls. Turn and walk away from them.   Love them from a distance--be kind--be courteous--remember they are children of The Most High.  BUT the only power they have is the power I give them.  Be patient and full of faith---knowing The Most High God--has a plan. 


"One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac.  She told Abraham, 'Get rid of this slave woman and her son.  No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son, Isaac!' "
Genesis 21: 9-10 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

SOUL SEARCHING

I have not fallen off the edge of the earth--or even a cliff---

I am spending some time reflecting and soul searching--

Looking for His Good Purpose for me.