Monday, June 30, 2014

LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

Surely at some point, most of us have said,  "WHY??"

Life can be not so kind ---there is story after story from friends and family of the trials, tribulations, pain, misery, loss, despair----they have suffered.  A blogging friend suggested put the question out there--and wait for the replies---

So my question is---have you questioned     "WHY?"

Continuing my journey through Paul's letter to the Romans, I was struck by these verses -

"We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance,
perseverance, character;
and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us,
because God has poured out his love into our hearts
by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:2b-5

I tend to be a logical thinker---and pull the word apart to fully understand the wisdom contained in it.  The verses begin by stating we have great joy from our hope which is found in God's Glory.  We are then lead through the formula which produces this hope----and it begins with suffering.  Suffering which instills perseverance which builds character resulting in hope.  

AND hope will never disappoint.  God's grace poured over us---and His love poured into us by His Holy Spirit--which He gave us.  

SO my question is---without suffering do we not know hope?  Or perhaps do we not fully understand God's presence in our lives unless He sustains us as the Fallen World beats us up?

My personal experience-I did not fully understand the deep abiding-faithful love of The Father---until I was totally broken.  Did he cause the events which lead to my pit of despair?  I chose to believe He allowed it to happen--but did not cause it----His will for marriages is clearly stated in His Word.  But in my brokenness--he showed me His Good Glory--and gave me hope which comes only from Him.

Deep pondering on this Sabbath



Sunday, June 29, 2014

HOLD ME CLOSE -AS I HOLD YOU

As I put my fingers on the keyboard---I was headed in an entirely different direction and then another 


BAM

God is incredible---he absolutely titled this post---it came from nowhere-and then presto--it landed on the page.



I am reading through Paul's letters in The Word again.  I was struck by one verse as I read the first few chapters of "Romans".  ALL the wisdom in those three chapters---and one verse rolled over and over in my mind.  Precisely why we should never stop reading His Revealed Word---again and again new and fresh blessings pour forth.

Almost everyday I read several devotions and blogs which encourage me and often cause me to think.  There is nothing I like better than a deep conversation about The Word---God---Jesus---The Holy Spirit---The Truth.  Sadly since I have moved to FW-I do not have those discussions as frequently.  It is not that there are not MANY Godly souls here---it is more the fact of absence of opportunity.  Connecting is difficult in The Big City--much more difficult than in a small rural setting--especially one where you spent a lifetime.  So today--,many of my connections come through the written word and the airways of Christian radio.  I learn much--but there is no avenue for discussion---or very little.  A comment made on a blog--with a reply only whets my appetite for a deep front porch--rocking chair discussion.

As I read Paul's encouragement and admonishments to the Romans---the verse that caused me to pause was-

"That you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith."

I am thankful and blessed by each an every comment or share you make on the blog or Facebook.  I thank God for your encouragement and prodding.  We may be separated by miles, but the irresistible pull of the Holy Spirit and the beauty of the faith bind us in a manner which only God could orchestrate. 

"I thank my God, through Jesus Christ for all of you."

BLESSED SABBATH, DEAR FRIENDS!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

SNAKES---EGGS OR IS IT SNAKE EGGS?

The hood has been in a major uproar lately---


SOMEONE SPOTTED A SNAKE---GASP!!!!

This set off an avalanche of emails---when they finally called in a herpetologist--I began to think OK--ENOUGH!  The neighbors were extremely alarmed over said snake--
The first 25 emails were all about the identity of Mr. Snake--the next 25 were wondering about his where abouts---the next 25 were local experts identifying said snake and the last 25 were about what we should do about the snake.

I might be a country girl---but this all seemed a little over board to me.  All of us from the sticks know---his name is Jake----if he has a viper head--he is poisonous---if not he is a good snake.  If he is a good snake--he is eating the local varmints-leave him be--if he is a poisonous snake---a long shovel, a sharp hoe, or a loaded 38/20 gauge will take care of the intruder.  We do not spend a great deal of time in the country calling our local snake experts from the zoo---most of us have been around snakes enough to know deadly when we see it and take care of the problem pronto.

Then there were the eggs.  It seems high school graduation brings a rash of egg throwing at cars parked on the street every year.  While I certainly would not want my car covered in egg, this seems pretty tame compared to some of the graduation antics we hear about.  The throwers seemed to have good aim and the neighbors sent a flurry of emails discussing tracking down the chicken bombs.  The neighbor who reported the large empty egg case from Costco took the cake.  He suggested the case be finger-printed or Costco questioned about who had been buying cases of eggs.  Yes, I am certain the police have egg throwing at the top of their list and anyone buying eggs in Costco would naturally draw suspicion.

Life in the city----NEVER dull--especially when you are connected via email!


Friday, June 27, 2014

NEVER EASY

The youngest of the five grandboys is QUITE the character.  You can already see his little personality at 18 months.  This one requires a set of eyes upon him every waking hour.  I affectionately call him "The Meddler"!  Toys hold his interest for a few minutes at best---BUT he has never seen a cabinet, drawer, closet, basket, that did not need exploring.  His fascination with plugs-computers-electronics has convinced me he will be an electrical engineer.  He has never seen a button-switch-mouse that did not need his touch.



As I was watching him play in the backyard recently, I laughed out loud when he strolled over to the play house---looked at the door---even made sure it still opened and closed---and then proceeded to crawl into the window--head first.  The easy way is never his way---he prefers to travel the more difficult route.



Why would anyone sit in a chair at the table when he can climb up the same chair and sit in the middle of the top of the table.  How many times has he yelled for help when he becomes aware he is stuck at the top of his latest climb with no way down.

I am firmly convinced this is a genetic personality trait.  Some of us find aversion to EVER taking the easy path--following directions---doing what we have been told is the correct way.  We prefer taking the path less traveled---full of danger--taking much longer--convinced we know best.  Why listen to wisdom---someone is trying to sell us a bill of goods---just get out of my way and let me go.

The Word is filled with examples of those with the same personality trait.  God gave Jonah instructions---he refused to obey and got to enjoy the scenic ride in the belly of the big fish--stomach bile--YUCK!  The Israelites refused to be grateful for God's provision and plan---so they got to wander around in the desert for 40 years and eat the same meal EVERY DAY!   

Some of us seem to be slow learners--destined to follow the more difficult path--I am praying with time and teaching--Grand #5 will become a wise man of God-who listens and obeys.  For now though---we are just keeping a constant eye on him and rescuing him from the danger and peril he seems to be determined to pursue.

For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.
Psalm 48:14

Thursday, June 26, 2014

DENTS AND DINGS

Once upon a time---what sometimes seems a lifetime ago---I wore a wide gold band around my finger.  Being blessed genetically with LONG fingers---fingers which should have played the piano--wide bands nicely fill the space between the palm and knuckle.  

My band took a lot of abuse--because I wore it almost all the time.  In the garden, scrubbing toilets, painting walls, changing diapers, beating eggs, stripping layers of old paint---sanding--scrubbing---it stayed on my finger---and thus suffered the abuse in the day to day of living.  It has dings and dents which seem to mar the perfection of the perfect circle.

My sweet neighbor--a dear Southern belle--one of the last of that dying breed, softly told me one day not to worry.  Her wise words were "Those dents and dings are all part of living and make the band even more special."  I looked at her with amazement for who knew this soft spoken-always gentle icon of the South harbored such wisdom!

The band is gone now--but my body is showing the dents and dings that have come with time and living.  Scars, wrinkles, sun spots, and the less permanent bruises--all resulting from life.  I could wrap myself into a safe cushioned cocoon and stay hidden under the cool cover from the sun---carefully preserving the perfection of youth, but at what cost?   

I believe I prefer to tussle with the boys and wear my bruises with pride.  Those scars all tell a story--a story of birthing three amazing off-spring---a story of failed body parts which had to be removed---a story of adventures and mishaps.  The deep lines at the sides of my eyes---all came after hours of smiles and deep side splitting laughing.  The spots from too much sun would fade--if I were only willing to stay out of my yard, off the beach, away from the pool, and off the trail.  I could look more perfect, but at what cost?

So--here I am---dents and dings---living life to the fullest--with the scars, wrinkles, bumps and bruises to prove it!


You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

NO NEED FOR AMAZEMENT

I had a round table talk with my sister in laws and niece while celebrating my nephew's wedding last week.  Our discussion centered on the reason for our creation.  The Word is loaded with examples of God revealing His purpose for the men and women whose lives are chronicled in those pages.  "For This Very Purpose" is scattered overtly and sublimely throughout those sacred words.  He shows us He has purpose for each of us---and "If we seek Him, we shall find Him".  Along with finding Him---we find His purpose-


FOR HIS GOOD GLORY

I find myself becoming frustrated when the purpose I have deemed I have does not line up with His purpose.  Why would He lavish gifts and talents upon me and not use them in a grand fashion?  Is His purpose for me within the confines of the small circle of world that I touch?  Does He not desire for me to minister to the down trodden, the hungry, the sick, the disenfranchised in far corners of this world?  Telling Him, "Here I Am"  and waiting for His Perfect Will to unfold can be frustrating---for me---  How quickly I forget my creation was for His Good Pleasure and He has a perfect plan for me.  An intricate pattern was formulated before I took my first breath.  The tapestry of my life path when gazing upon one day can appear dull and sometimes pointless----BUT pull back--way back and look at the entire tapestry--the beauty becomes evident when looking from above at the complete woven pattern.

Listening to one of of my daily devotionals, I was struck by these words-

"And that is what the world is looking for--NOT for you to be amazing, but for you to shine God's glory."

NO NEED FOR AMAZEMENT---only a need for obedience and then---


HIS GOOD GLORY

will be woven into the day to day living according to His Good Purpose.

Many plans are in a man's mind,
 but it is the Lord's purpose for him that will stand.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

REJECTION OF JUDGEMENT

The judicial system has struck a hard blow---not only was I rejected---but they never allowed me into the inner sanctum of the court room.  To make the rejection even colder---it came via email.  No opportunity to exercise wise judgement--no need for my call for righteous punishment---no declaration of the rights of the innocent---The on-line questionnaire --the initial step once chosen---caused someone to decide my judgement was not needed.  




As I slowly read the rejection---thank you--but NO THANKS,  I wondered what about my honest answers disqualified me in the eyes of another?  Was it my age, my gender, my education, my address, or some other mundane fact?  Someone else looked at my answers and judged me to not be the one to sit in judgement.  Many would be relieved---I was intrigued ---by the rejection based upon a handful of facts.



I thought through who I would select to be on a jury.  It would entirely depend upon which side of the case I was representing--of course.  Would I want fair treatment based upon the facts?  Perhaps not---I might want bias--I might want lack of sophistication---I might want naivety of the law---I might want youthful innocence of the flawed world.  But then again---I might want the exact opposite too.




When I look at the fallen world around me---when I look at the innocent victims--when I look at the pain and suffering---how do I judge the perpetrators?  Harshly and without mercy---an eye for an eye.  When I see your fallen state--your sinful life---what kind of judgement do I demand?  Accept the consequences of what you have done---pay the price for your sin---as you stand before a righteous judge.




BUT when I stand before the judge---I plead for mercy  ----demand grace ----repeat the promises ---call out to my advocate ---
My sin---it is the lesser sin---I deserve grace and forgiveness--
I forget sin is sin----and though I am forgiven-
the righteous judge allows me to pay the consequences with great love and tender mercy--




Romans 2 

Monday, June 23, 2014

UNSUNG HEROES

While watching my nephew and his bride rehearse for their wedding, I sat with an old friend---who is also a pastor's wife.  Our early relationship began with my friendship with her mother and it has grown over time.  She inherited her mother's gracious and kind spirit and is always a joy to visit.  What a blessing to pick up where you left off  and to know hers as she knows mine when speaking of our children and grands.  I left the conversation thankful for Facebook---which has kept us connected across the miles.

After parting, I began thinking of her and all the pastor's wives I have had the privilege of knowing over the years.  The truly are unsung heroes!  Somehow we congregants get the impression we own the pastor and he has an obligation to be present at each and every family event we deem important.  We forget they have families and lives too--and our needs often supersede any they might have.  We call upon them to be our spiritual mentors, financial advisers, relationship counselors, grief advocate, medical support, travel agent, and trip co-coordinator---to mention only a few.  It is a HUGE job---and back home--who keeps the fires burning, food on the table, clothes clean and pressed, children in line, while also expected to teach SS, sing in the choir, chair the Women's Ministry, provide a venue for all meetings, and cook/clean/babysit for any in need---HIS WIFE!  I have a great deal of respect and admiration for those God has called into the pastorate, but the woman who has his back--his faithful helpmate, his adviser, cheerleader, and companion---SHE is my true hero---she does it all and often without benefit of recognition or praise.

So when talking of spiritual legacies----these women are paving the way---as heroes of the faith---their legacies are far reaching and eternally pleasing to The One who created them for "This very purpose".  Today I am singing the praises of those unsung heroes!


Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
I Thessalonians 5:12-13


Sunday, June 22, 2014

FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING

I have a tendency to forget The Word was written to be applicable this very day.  I read the scriptures as a historical account and do not always look for the lesson which applies today.  What a marvelous wonder that words that were penned LONG AGO can apply to the complex world today.  God inspired words---He knew when they were written--the lesson I would need this very day.  There is no randomness---even in those long stretches of genealogy---there was purpose.  Perhaps the purpose is not for me--but God's redemption story is told in every word --with intent.

Today's devotional told the story of the first recorded martyr, Stephen.  He walked the walk---and talked the talk---and lost his life because of his refusal to turn from The Truth.  Stephen did not know--he would be proclaimed by millions as the first martyr.  He had no idea the legacy he would leave behind of a burning need to spread The Good News.  We forget---Stephen as many others throughout The Word had no clue they would become icons--lessons---role models for the faithful who followed them.  They became our spiritual mentors without volunteering for the job.  God used them---for His Good Purpose---to show us the path--the way---His plan for us.

As I search for God's Good Purpose for me---this is a lesson I will take to heart.  I will leave a legacy---life will leave my body at some point---I will breathe my last breath---but my legacy will live on.  My biological legacy is already set in stone---I have three children---and they have children who will have children. I will not have any more children---those days are past.  My hope for the future now lies in my spiritual legacy.   My spiritual legacy is still a work in progress.  God has intent for me---He has a plan-I am searching--and when He reveals His Good Purpose for me---will I be obedient?  Am I living with intent --the intent of following the examples spread throughout The Word?  

Questions--he is placing in my heart--and on my soul--with the realization---I am His hands, feet, and voice here on this earth today.  What will remain of me from everlasting to everlasting?




This is war and there is no neutral ground.  If you are not on my side, you are the enemy, if you are not helping, you are making things worse.
Matt  12:30

Saturday, June 21, 2014

TRASHY TALK

Garbage is a HUGE ISSUE here in the hood.  The flurry of emails included--

1.  Did anyone else not have their garbage picked up this week or is just me?

2.  They missed me because my lid was not completely closed.  SERIOUSLY--it was up maybe an inch.

3.  I contacted the city and asked why---they have pictures proving I did not put my garbage out the night before.   I HAVE proof I put it out the night before---I was the one pushing the can.

4.  This makes the second week in a row for me---I think they are purposefully making life difficult with all of these rules.

5.  Did you know they hit a parked car last year---tore off a large limb on a big tree---ran into a light pole?

6.  There are MANY rules and regulations when it comes to garbage!

FINALLY---you have to see this neighbor's final email


Great news! I am a liar.  The driver stated that I did not put my cart out the night before despite my hallucination that I did.  Other folks that had their garbage missed on Harrison are hallucinating too.  Their garbage cart was not out either.  This is the second week in a row this has occurred.  

They will not come pick up the garbage mostly because I and others on Harrison are lying.  Good to know.  

The City has assured me that the driver has pictures of my AWOL cart and will provide them to me shortly.  I am certain there is a better chance that the city will provide me the coordinates of Jimmy Hoffa's grave than a picture of a missing cart I put out on Tuesday night and is STILL sitting in front of my house.  

WELL I for one--am SHOCKED---WHO KNEW THE SANITATION WORKERS OF THE WORLD HELD SO MUCH POWER!  

I for one am walking the straight and narrow and NOT rattling ANY cans----I like for my garbage to be picked up!

LIFE IN THE HOOD!

Friday, June 20, 2014

WHERE'D HE GO?

I claim to be patiently waiting for God to give me some direction at the current fork in the path.  If there are any signs---I am missing them---or perhaps they are written in secret code and I lost my code ring (You YOUNG people will not get that---ask someone over 60).  I am walking in the deep fog of What Do I Do Next? and the light is not penetrating the mist and the fog horn seems to be broken.  HEY---HEY YOU---YES, YOU GOD---I AM DOWN HERE---WAITING!

Perhaps He is busy saving the starving-the abused-the down-trodden-----perhaps the number I took as I began tossing up these prayers is way down the line---perhaps my ear buds have a short ---perhaps I am not hearing what think I should hear---YOU THINK?  All I know is I seem to be on hold---and the gospel music playing as I wait is lovely---BUT after 110 verses of Kum By Yah---my nerves are a little frayed.

All you Saintly Saints that have a direct line and never seem to be out of touch need to give me your secret.  Those of you that have the "Red Phone" which never leaves His side and always know exactly what His plan is for you---could you put in a word for me?  My patience is beginning to fray and it is not a pretty sight.

While in the midst of writing this very post


      BAM

He sent down the answer---NOT the answer I was expecting---NOT the plan I had formulated----A TOTAL---COMPLETE---surprise.   Upon digesting and reflecting--a wonderful surprise---a TOTALLY Good Use of the gifts and talents He lavished me with   AND the continued building of my Spiritual Legacy and HIS GOOD PURPOSE will continue.  

WOW---blown away AGAIN!


 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. 3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established. 4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.
Proverbs 16:1-4

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AND THE WINNER IS----

I posted this blog on my Facebook timeline:  Here

It obviously resonated with many from all the FB comments---I did not write it--a famous Christian author, Ann Vos Kamp penned those truths.  AND IMAGINE--it started me to thinking!

Why is it so many have a difficult time aging with grace?  I suspect we look to the world and believe the lie that all fade into the sunset in perfect beauty.  No wrinkles--no sags---no age spots---looking exactly as we did at 21--SO the world tells us.  The magic of the air brush and the trickery of the Photo Shop have us thinking there is  perfection in aging.

I think of my grandparents---both wrinkled--both sagging--- both shriveled with age--and yet--together they were beautiful.  I remember stroking my Mamaw's triceps--they were soft--velvet loose skin.  She was beautiful---and never uttered a word about aging.  They aged well together---loved each other until they both were gone.  She might have had one bottle of some type of lotion--but there were no shelves lined with bottles and tubes of promised miracles.  I could not have loved them anymore---if they had looked 40.

We have become obsessed with staying young.  Do not get me wrong--I want to stay active--- raking my yard when Jesus comes for me, as Mamaw James was, is my dream.  I do not want to be so obsessed with aging that I spend all my time and money trying to chase the elusive fountain of youth.  Guess what--MOTHER NATURE WINS!  

I suspect I will be loved in my very old age---NOT because of how I look--but instead because of who I am.  The way I have loved others will determine how I am loved in the end.  Why is is so difficult for us to understand that truth?  We have listened to the lies of the world the media has sold us ---lock  stock and barrel.  Swallowing the whole lie--we have become convinced it is the surface-not the heart which is important.

Finishing well---is so important---why do we not see this?

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.
Isaiah 40:8


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

LESSONS IN TRUST

When I returned from my trip, I was met with a series of frustrations that had me begging for a break.  After a 3:45 CST wake up in preparation for the flight home, I found myself in tears when parting from my friends in Atlanta.  One of the reasons I have gone home only twice in a year is the difficulty of returning to Fort Worth after being bathed in the fellowship of lifelong friends.  This parting after a week of fun and laughter and constant companionship was extremely difficult.  My plane being delayed in Atlanta did nothing to help alleviate my mood.  Finally touching down at DFW, I had to negotiate finding transportation back to Fort Worth since the train would not run for another two hours.  

It is always amazing to see how God works---my driver was an Ethiopian who had been here in the states for twenty years.  Hearing his story of moving here with the help of a Christian agency was a blessing.  God’s constant provision under very difficult circumstances were evident in each turn and twist as he poured out the tale.  I should have listened better and remembered to apply every sight and sound to God’s ongoing lesson plan for me.

When I arrived home, my car was dead---not even a grind when I turned the key. This story is a long story that I will not put you to sleep with, but suffice it to say the battery was truly dead.  Son #1 tells me take the battery out—have it tested—then replace if it is truly dead.  RIGHT—I am on it!  SIL thankfully comes over and I carefully watch him as he performs this operation—after all---HOW was I going to take a battery to the auto shop—on foot?  He gets the battery replaced and once again I am good to go.

The same day of my home coming I discover my cable and thus-Wi-Fi are disconnected!  After a 45 minute telephone conversation, it is discovered they unhooked it when hooking up my new renter.  It was going to take an act of congress to get it hooked up again and finally in frustration I tell them leave it unhooked and I will return their equipment.  After the car is fixed, I return the equipment and was told---“Oh we can fix this and give you a better deal”  AFTER I announced I am moving to another company.  THANKS—but NO you had your opportunity.  So today—one week after returning from my trip—my new carrier is installing my cable/Wi-Fi.

The last straw that broke my proverbial back---was getting lost when trying to find a funeral home.  My sweet friend lost her son and the service was scheduled for yesterday.  I looked up the directions---it seemed simple enough---but once again I am like the Israelites wandering in the desert—going in circles.  In frustration and tears, I returned home vowing to move back to Louisiana.  Once a small town girl always a small town girl!
 
After the final frustration/annoyance, I went into the blame shifting mode---WHY am I having to tend to all this alone?  Why is there not anyone to even hear the story when I am so frustrated I could scream?  How am I ever going to do this?  Why does my life look like this? 

AH—then the return to the lesson my friend from Ethiopia was trying to teach me----TRUST.  Even in the small things---even in the dailies---Look to Him—Trust In His provision.  Remember how blessed I am---everyone has frustrations (if you do not –please do not tell me) –everyone becomes annoyed and even when you have been in the same place for years and are surrounded by loved ones—you can be alone. 


Back to Square One---and LEANING IN TO HIM!

And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
Isaiah 58:11

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

SWARMS

Hiking is not for sissies!  When we hiked the Cascades and Mt. Baker, we learned about black flies.  Circle back in your memories and pick up a scene from "The Birds"----black flies are only smaller but just as treacherous.  Our introduction to the little pests was not fun---we ran from the point they attacked us until we got back down the mountain.  Hundreds upon hundreds swarm you and for such a small insect their bite has to be a small version of Count Dracula with his sharpest teeth.  They fly in your mouth if you dare to open it--into your eyes--into your ears and bite even when you are wearing DEET.  As we flew off that mountain, I understood why someone might jump off the cliff to escape their evil swarm.




Fast Forward to this year---and information gained on the WWW and hiking books---the treacherous flies reside in Maine and New Hampshire also!  We went prepared---plenty of DEET--bug repelling clothing---and even a net to wear over my hat to keep them out of my face.  No stinking flies would spoil this trip!  We arrived in the North following a long cold spring--and the flies were just beginning to emerge from their secret winter hiding places.  The first three days were cool and we avoided even mosquitoes---but then it warmed up and out they came.  Not to be deterred from our adventure---we sprayed and wiped our arms and legs, and put on the bug repellent clothing.  Those little buggers would not stop these hikers.   Soon we learned they were hungry after a long cold winter and unseasonably cool spring---and out for blood.  They discovered our weak spot---the one thing we had not covered with protection---our scalps---around our hairlines and our ears.  I came home with a head full of whelps from their banquet.  It never occurred to me to put the net on--since the flies were not swarming and not until it was too late did I realize I was providing their feast.




Who/What did this remind me of?  Why S A T A N----of course.  He is crafty and looks for our unprotected underbelly to attack.  He is not going to come after you while you are in worship---he is not going to tempt you when you are wearing your spiritual armor.  He lurks waiting for you to stray from God's protection---he attacks when you are in the worldly.  As long as you are covered with prayer and wearing the protection of the Gospel---he will be kept at bay--but he is sulking around---watching your moves----waiting for the perfect moment to swoop in and attack.  Nothing is sweeter to him than a feast from The Chosen--




A good reminder to keep my spiritual armor on and under the cover of prayer--always vigilant--always prepared--on guard against the bite of the evil.


 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Ephesians 6: 14-18

Monday, June 16, 2014

STEPPING BEYOND MUNDANE

My break from blogging came about for a variety of reasons-

I am seriously searching for God's intentions for me.  Looking to Him and asking for the path to be abundantly clear.  The key lies within recognizing my gifts and talents and determining the correct use of them----all for His Good Glory.

My battery needed recharging.  I become so wrapped up in what I will write next--I forget to appreciate the dailies.  No one is paying me to write---it needs to always be a joy to pen my thoughts--when it becomes a task instead of a privilege--time to rethink where this is going.

I took a hiking trip with my Louisiana buddies.  For a week I was too busy trying to keep up with my Superwomen Friends to blog.  I did write in my journal--which leads me to this--

While writing in my journal during this blogging break--I discovered the emotion has flown out of my words.  My writing, as my responses, have become rote. My words echoed a history lesson---a daily devotion--a hypothetical look at life--a comedy skit---anything but the truth.  

 We are all guilty of, "I'm fine"---my standard response the last few years has become, "I'm Okay"---was not sure fine was a good description of where I was.   We tend to avoid the truth like the bubonic plague when receiving an inquiry of how we are.  Honestly I am not certain we want to know how someone really is---as the movie line states, "You can't handle the truth!"

My new friend recently asked why I was not forth-coming.  I looked at him and asked, "Have you been truthful of what is going on in your life?"  He  then told me that everything was really good.  I am truly happy his life is so good, but I also am not encouraged to share the not so goods about my own life.  When mulling this scene over, I discovered I have only been truthful only to those who would understand  my pain and grief.  Understanding comes from experience and empathy is much more comforting than sympathy.

All this to say---where is the honesty in my writing?  Do I have the capacity to truly bare my soul?  I am no saint--except through His grace and I live in a fallen world.  Would you even want to read it all---the good--the bad--and the ugly?  I am still soul searching--pleading for direction--wandering in the desert of self examination---seeking Him and His Good Purpose for me.

Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.
I Chronicles 16:11

Sunday, June 15, 2014

JUST ONE

LAST YEAR'S POST---PERHAPS IT IS MY AGE---PERHAPS MY EXHAUSTION --
   I fill to the brim with tears just thinking about Daddy today.

As I was hiking this morning, I thought of my Daddy and Father's Day---I lost him FAR too early.  Girls need their daddies----their daddy is their first important relationship with a man----If he does the job as he should--she will not look for another man--until the time is right---I take every opportunity that God places before me to tell Daddies of daughters---just that---You can be the man in her life or she will find another---but she is created with a void that can only be filled with a relationship with a man...

SO all you Dads---it is a precious gift that you have been given---being a dad---you will never do anything any more important---and that will leave a lasting legacy----be the Dad that God teaches us to be---Love and Live Selflessly and the rewards are eternal--and God will richly bless you with the love of your children in return.


I would love to have one more conversation with Daddy---just one.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

DARE NOT JUDGE BASED UPON THE COVER

An honest admission---we Southerners can be quite snobbish! 


We are guilty of judging based upon geography.  The deeper South our Southern roots---the deeper our prejudice.  We head north with the expectation of being cold shouldered, looked down upon, ignored, and subjected to bad manners.  Somehow we have the notion most inhabitants north of the northern Arkansas border must be viewed with suspicion and anyone above Missouri does not stand a prayer of being regarded without a wary eye.




We might be slightly critical of the social skills of the Yankees and certainly consider them aloof and cool.  The problem begins when they are not willing to give their social history within the first five minutes of meeting us.  Why all Southerners have a deep need to tell you at a minimum about their momma and daddy.  If you are willing to stand and listen for longer than ten minutes we also will share all the intricacies and nuances of our entire clan.  Giving even a curt head nod will encourage us to expound upon Aunt Minnie Mae and all six of her husbands--and the successes, failures, and felonies committed by each of her brood of children,

The only thing we enjoy as much as the narration of generations of family history is telling you our complete medical history.  Dare NOT mention any illness, injury, or mental impairment and not expect to listen to our own version of the same malady--only more and worse than your story.  Nothing is sacred---from crossed eyes to fallen arches---we will tell it all. 

 Perhaps this propensity to tell all has lead to those born north of Little Rock to become leery of making eye contact--knowing the tales of incestuous family ties, family feuds as complex as the Hatfield-McCoy debacle, long liturgies of marriages and deaths, and complete colorful descriptions of all medical facts has lead to a cause for alarm when the slow drawl and red neck twang from the south rings close by.

Our trip up north---WAY north for these Southerners -has brought to light -perhaps we have judged too hastily.  We found everyone we encountered cordial and congenial--but being on the giving end of the tip scale perhaps does influence the warmth factor.  Always finding hikers warm and engaging---as the runners have always been, we did not expect any trail snobbery.  We also enjoyed warm chatter with many locals in all manner of meeting.  It was a mind changing trip since we found most to be at a minimum curious as to our home.  Perhaps when one of us asked for  Brrrr  eeeee   aaaaddd-we might have given our southerness secret away.  Why I failed to notice any difference in our accent---with the exception of the Bostonians.

I am HAPPY to report---we only had to tsk and say, "Bless Their Heart" a couple of times.  Why we even find the occasional rudeness here DEEP in the south---but we usually suspect they have Yankee roots or a bad case of hemorrhoids when that occurs.  SO I plead for forgiveness from our Northern neighbors and vow to never again judge them based upon the unfortunate occurrence of living in the Land of the Yankee!