Tuesday, January 31, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO- PART CUATRO

Hero----BLESS HIS HEART---is a Runner!



Hero first came to live with the grands after he ran from his former home.  A friend of #1 Daughter called and asked would she mind keeping this cute little dog she had found roaming around while she looked for the owner.  It would be a couple of days at most.  RIGHT!  Once the boys had Hero in their grip there was no turning him over to the pound.

Time slipped by and Hero got wise to the fact he was surrounded by a bevy of little boys.  Hero began sitting in wait for the opportunity to make a run for it.  He finally succeeded.  They put posters up and called all the neighbors--but NO Hero.  After a couple of days ---in the freezing January temperatures---he was given up for lost.  AND THEN---they were driving to school one day and running down the side of the road was Hero---WHO KNOWS where he was headed--but he was running!



He slipped out of prison the gate one other time and was found by animal control that time.  The resulting reprimand by the animal police was the necessity of putting a chip in and having a little surgery to prevent an entire brigade of Hero's from appearing as he made new friends.  This surgery did nothing to do away with the Wander Lust Hero seems to be inflicted with.  


Fast forward and the family moves close to me, but there is a gate across the drive that allows Hero to slip through and continue his adventure seeking.  As I have explained before, the people in these two hoods take their dogs seriously.  Hero not only finds himself in the clink again, but Hero's master has to appear at Doggie Court.  THEN they get an invisible fence.  Hero is no dummy---he quickly figures out his days of wandering around are over.  He stays in the yard and away from the invisible line.  The only problem, when he acts like he is going to attack the dogs who are being walked, they can come up into his yard.  He quickly learns the duck and roll to save his cowardly hide.

Hero has now come to live with me.  I have him on a leash at all times when we are outside, for their is no invisible fence in my yard.  He has quickly figured that out.  Twice the grands have held the door open a minute too long and he has bolted---HEADED FOR THE WILD BLUE YONDER!

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS SILLY DOG????  He has it made here at the Puppy Spa, and YET---he is apt to run.  Running to what I might ask?  It doesn't get any better than this!

There you go---the story of humanity.  We are always running---running away---running to---but always running.  Never satisfied---mal-contented--ungrateful bunch that we are---we want whatever is on the other side of the hill---the greener grass---the milk and honey---whatever it is we do not currently have---WE WANT IT!  IT MUST BE BETTER!  We seldom stop long enough to realize just how good we have it.  We are too busy seeking what we think we want.  Thankfully God does not weary of our humanness and loves us in spite of our running--why even running from Him at times.  He must be thinking--


Be STILL and KNOW
That I AM GOD!
Psalm 46:10

One more lesson from Hero tomorrow and we are done!


Monday, January 30, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO-PART TRES

Hero and I begin and end our days with a walk and have a couple in between.  I suppose those could be called lunch and tea time strolls.  As his spine has improved, the bow in his back has straightened out.  He is not in as much pain, and no longer compensating by dragging his rear, and now struts around like a banty rooster on our walks.  



As long as Hero was in pain, we had no problems on our walks.  He was compliant with my directions, took care of his business, and waited for me to pick him up and carry him back inside.  I called and he answered--politely, respectfully, and immediately.  

Hero is free from pain, and our walks have become tugs of war.  I have in my head where we should go and he has another plan in that doggy sized brain.  He will actually stand with his tail tucked and his head pointed in the direction he wants to go and not budge.  He knows I am not going to jerk that leash and he takes full advantage of trying to assert his will over mine.  



When he sees another dog, he takes off running (a BIG NO-NO) and will literally choke himself trying to attack while I am loudly repeating NO, HERO, NO!  Keeping him away from the potential of danger is a full time job.  He feels good and stares danger in it's face.  Danger in the form of a 100 pound pit bull can be a formidable foe.

I am his master and thus charged with his well being.  My actions are all designed to protect him and give him a good life.  When he is hurting he understands this, but when the good times return, obedience flies out the door.

Look in the mirror, do you see Hero staring back at you?  We all quickly run to God when we are in pain, when things are not good seeking His protection.   Obedience and dependence become our middle names when times are tough.  OH--but let those good times roll and we are pulling on the leash--resisting his lead and asserting our independence.  Not unlike Hero, we point our heads in the direction we want to go with no thought of the potential of danger or consequences of a bad choice.  God allows us to run off the leash as we trek through life and at times we make really bad decisions.  Thankfully He always welcomes us back home and loves us in spite of our disobedience.  What a wonderful Master we have!




I said to the LORD, "You are my Master! Every good thing I have comes from you."
Psalm 16:2

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Saturday, January 28, 2017

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

I made a little local trip and met my first cousin who lives in the metro-plex for lunch this week.  Such a great time visiting.  Praying I have some of these genes-



Identical twins--Faye and Kaye have lived many miles apart most of their adult lives--and still look exactly alike.  A few years my senior, they both are balls of energy who are always active.   I stayed with Faye when I went to my High School Reunion this past Fall and she gave me the grand tour of my hometown. We have plans to all get together in the Spring.  There is nothing like family!




I can't show you their picture, but I am working with twin sisters at the shelter when I tutor each week.  Their names, like the cousin's have only one letter difference.  They take turns getting my goat by being dramatic.  I told them this week, there better be blood, death, or vomit before they shed one more tear over doing their homework.  I got a roll of the eyes in response---DRAMA!



For the first time in all of my volunteering, my efforts helped one of the Grand's teachers.  I was rewarded by two sweet hugs when I was spotted by the big boys.




The REALLY BIG news this week is the annual stock show & rodeo.  The boys and their parents took it in this week while Lucy and I stayed home and played.  Two year olds and big crowds do not mix well.


STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE
HERE IN THE HOOD






Friday, January 27, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO-PART DOS


Hero, the lap dog, and I take our walks during the daylight hours in the park and some undeveloped lots around the railroad.  Due to his back injury he needs to walk on the grass as much as possible and stay clear of the concrete sidewalks except at night.

Hero seems to greatly enjoy these outings and dances in circles when I pick up the leash.  As soon as we near the grassy area, he is nose to the ground.  Doing a great imitation of a hoover sucking up all the smells as we go along.  He is a proverbial bloodhound disguised as a canine runt.


 Forward motion completely stops when he picks up a scent.  He sniffs and sniffs as if he is inhaling the aroma of the nectar of the gods.  Along the way I have learned what he finds so enticing is the stinkiest of the stinky.  At first he just starts with the sniffing, but soon that is not enough .  We go from sniffing to the acrobatic move of rolling in the yuck.  Stinky and dead things are his catnip--he can not seem to get enough. Our trips to the puppy spa are all for nought after one of these rolls.  Tugging on his collar does not work---I have to physically pick him up and redirect his journey.

So it goes with us two legged mammals.  We are trekking along the path and BAM we see something which catches our eye-a wolf in sheep's clothing or sin disguised as pleasure.  Beginning by watching from the sidelines, we slowly become desensitized to the stink and eventually find ourselves immersed in the decay and rolling around to get even more stink on us.  We can't seem to get enough.  We loose the ability to know how stinky we have become and cannot get enough of that which is causing us to begin to rot.  The only answer is to allow God to pick us up and redirect our path. He will take us away from the stink to the sweet smell of living water and green pastures.  The choice though is always in our hands.



1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? 
2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. 
3 He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; 
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 
5 The LORD watches over you— the LORD is your shade at your right hand; 
6 the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. 
7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— he will watch over your life; 
8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
Psalm 121


Thursday, January 26, 2017

LESSONS FROM HERO

If you are a regular reader, you know that Hero the Wonder Dog has come to live with Lulu.




Why would I be amazed that God can use this little nine pound ball of hair to teach me?  The truth of the matter is He has used almost everything in my path to teach me--when I had my eyes and ears opens to notice.

Hero and I go for a walk four times a day.  What you need to realize about Fort Worth is- it is filled to capacity with animal lovers!  There is more commotion over an escaped pet than even their beloved Rangers and Cowboys.  These people are dog lovers extraordinaire.

Hero seems to have a distorted body image.  He thinks he is a one hundred pound mastiff, not the large rat sized chihuahua papillon cross- street mutt.  Hero is a rescue dog--of questionable origin.  He came to live with the grands when a friend asked #1 Daughter to keep him a couple of nights while she searched for his owner.  We ALL know how that story ends.  

Hero has NEVER met another dog he did not go after with all his pint sized fierceness.  As long as he is behind the glass storm door or on the leash I am holding, he is all spit and fire.



OH YES---his hair is standing on end---he is growling and barking and kicking up dust and dirt and acting as if he will attack if he is only released for the kill.  He thinks he is the reincarnation of Cojo when in fact he is much closer akin to Odie of Garfield fame.  



Hero seems to forget his manners when the neighbors dogs are around and is  ready to rumble anytime we near one on our walks.  When I don't bother to pick him up and save his hide, the truth becomes startling evident.  This little pint sized four legged ball of indignation is looking for trouble-until Trouble turns around and stands his ground.  Hero then rolls over and whines with all four feet in the air, while Trouble gives him a disdainful sniff .   All that posturing and threatening--it was all for show and when his bluff is called, he becomes a shivering pussy cat.

So goes social media---we all like to hide behind the little screens and growl and yell and protest over all our causes, philosophies, and disagreements.  Even to the point of rudeness.  We are all spit and fire hiding behind the keyboards and we definitely seem to loose any sign of good manners.  Now would we roll over into a sniveling heap if we were confronted, I am not sure.  Something does tell me we would hopefully remember our good manners and not go for the jugular if we were face to face.  So perhaps, when we are posting we should couch our words as if we were face to face with a real human being and remember rudeness will never sway anyone to our side of the argument.  And it really is no harm in agreeing to disagree peacefully.


But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law
Galatians's 5:22-23

Saturday, January 21, 2017

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

It really is amazing how the little people in our life can observe and pick up on who we are as well as where we are emotionally.




This little man announced--unprompted--he was going to come live with me and be my son since I didn't have a son at my house.  AWWWW!  Gosh as enticing as it sounds to have a four year old living with me, I am not sure I am up to the challenge!  He is a great buddy---BUT--he is at the age where he can be hugely inappropriate when it comes to what comes out of his mouth.  Bodily functions and body parts are among his favorite topics.  Add that to his propensity for the dangerous and resulting injuries and you have a handful--in the sweetest possible way.  



Looking at this crew--perhaps he sees living with me as a way to get undivided attention and an endless pass to visit the snack cabinet at Lulu's house with no competition!  Something tells me after a few hours of the quiet at Lulu's house, he would be begging to get back to Crazyville.  





SO--instead of bringing a child home---HEAVEN HELP ME---I have brought their dog, Hero, home with me.  Hero has suffered a back injury and needs rest--there seems to be a broken link between rest and living at Crazyville.  That and the stairs he has to run down to escape  get outside have necessitated his relocation to Lulu's house.  NOW--he does not talk so no fear of shocking the neighbors with a discussion of our latest trip to the bathroom and there is little way for him to injure himself at Lulu's.  He has settled in nicely.  EXCEPT he must be walked every four hours--rain, shine, sleet, or snow during the waking hours.  Since you never know from one second to the next what the temperature will be when you walk outside the door here in Texas, this has necessitated having the entire spectrum of wardrobe choices from Arctic Freeze to Beach Wear by the door.

I am now getting my exercise in short bursts.

We are back in the 70's here in TX with a beautiful sunshine filled day.  We keep those coats handy--it could be 20 tomorrow morning.  We do winter in short bursts also!



STILL LIVING LIFE LARGE
HERE IN THE HOOD!



Friday, January 20, 2017

TODAY

In this great democracy we are blessed to live in, we will once again have a peaceful change of the office of the presidency today.  The turmoil that has surrounded the change by the simple recitation of an oath has escalated to the point of pandemonium during my lifetime.  It deeply saddens me that we have lost the ability to disagree peacefully about what is best for our country.  The growing phenomena of social media and the powerful influence of the news conglomerates have successfully stirred us into a frenzy of name calling, hatred, and total loss of civility.  The concept of peacefully disagreeing seems to be a thing of the past.  We have lost sight of the fact that we form our opinions based upon the eyes we gaze through.  Our environment, our heritage, and our current economic situations greatly influence who we are politically.  We loose sight of the reasons we are different that causes a difference in our philosophies.  



I am praying for our great country.  I fear for my children and my grandchildren.  We seem to be headed for the slippery slope of decline of another great civilization.  Unless we manage to break the cycle of decline, there is no stopping the escalation.  Read your history books---remember-history repeats itself--UNLESS God redeems it.




It does not matter what side of the political spectrum I am on.  What matters--and matters greatly is how I react and how I use the limited influence I have to bring a renewed sense of patriotism and love for our country.

NO matter WHO is in office, we are all Americans.  There are times we need to put aside our differences and agree to look for our similarities.  When we talked about our families this week, we were glancing at a microcosm  of our nation.  We need to back up and remember the price that was paid to allow us to live in this great nation.  We need to focus on those things we agree on and work to compromise on those we disagree.  We need to remember the love we have for our great country and renew the sense of patriotism which is a core necessity for success.



Pray for our country and our leaders--no matter what side of the equation you sit on---commit to pray and love your fellow Americans as you love your family members--not looking at our differences, but focusing on our mutual love for our country.  God Bless the USA!

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
I John 4:7-8

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

WHEN THE CIRCLE IS BROKEN

We spoke yesterday of the importance of family.  As some of you have commented, there are times the circle is broken--sadly--and seemingly beyond repair.  Hard feelings, misunderstandings, grudges from long ago can break the sacred circle with no apparent hope of repair.  I have heard stories of things that happened fifty plus years ago that forever broke the circle.

Divorce, death, disagreement, and distance can break the strong bonds of the family circle.  Life occurrences can forever alter the size and shape of the circle.  A link is removed and there is a permanent alteration of the family and its dynamics.  When my brothers and I are together-our parents--especially our mother- are always hovering in the room.  The impact she had on our lives, after being with us for such a long time, leaves a void in the room.  

When my children, grands, and I are together, there is always the void caused by the absence of their father.  After a lifetime of living life as a family, his absence has created a missing link in the circle.  The family unit is no longer a whole and complete picture.  We have formed a different circle with his absence.

What is to be done?  How do we deal with the altered circle?

As I stated in a reply to one of yesterday's comments, we must know we have done all we can do to repair the break.  At different times in my life, I have asked myself- Did I do all required of me and beyond?  When I put my head on the pillow, can I know I gave it my all?  Am I able to sleep the sleep of ease by knowing I tried to repair the rift?  Did I extend mercy--even when it was thrown back in my face?  Was I obedient to God's Word?

I have a piece of jewelry which has a missing link--thanks to one of the sweet grands.  It can still be clasped, but it will not stay on because the circle is broken.  There is an answer---pull the remaining links together and make a new circle.  In many cases the circle will be stronger than ever--depending upon how it is repaired.  I love the saying



I am not a fan of Nietzche, but this has rung true in my life.

The circle may never look the same, but it can be repaired and whole again.  It will be a different circle, but different is not always bad--it's just different.  We cannot stay in the past, but instead must move forward into the future by accepting the present.  One amazing thing I have learned about God is His faithfulness and continuous presence.  He is not surprised when we have a broken circle and He will fill in the gap!

It is a sad thing when the circle is broken, but a new circle can be formed by closing ranks and holding tightly to each other.  God can redeem it all---in His time and in His fashion. The circle can be reformed by drawing together.  The amazing thing about circles--sometimes the smaller circles are the strongest.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 147:3




Tuesday, January 17, 2017

FOREVER - FAMILY AND GOD

I cannot count the times I have had a conversation involving strife, dysfunction, and even alienation in families.  As I visited with my brothers this past weekend, I said a prayer of thanksgiving that we have maintained a close relationship all these years.  I am thankful we have never allowed the stress and troubles of this world to come between us.  My brothers are both great men of integrity and I count their love and support as one of life's most wonderful blessings.  



With that said, I must also tell you we do not always agree on things.  We are at different ends of the political spectrum.  We laugh and joke about it, but we do not allow those differences in philosophy to cloud our relationship.  I do not think they are raving maniacs because we don't agree politically.  We see things through different eyes and with different perspectives.  

As we sat and talked of serious life altering events, I listened to their advice and opinions.  We all agreed our childhood and the events of life have left profound marks on our personalities.  Our shared childhood traumas have drawn us closer-not driven us apart.  I laughingly told my older brother the poor choices of my life had nothing to do with him--even though he worries as I suffer the consequences.  It is almost impossible to shake the responsibility for us that was thrust upon him when daddy died. 

Through it all--we have stuck together---we are family--and thankfully our family has never had anything occur which split us apart.  With each year, I realize how important family is---bottom line---we have family--we have God--and not anything else of lasting consequence.




It breaks my heart to hear of a brother who went to sleep and did not wake up the next morning and his birth family is splintered at best.  When you need each other most--there is tension and strife over the past clouding supporting each other.

When I hear of a child who has turned their back on family, and chosen to walk away without the benefit of even discussing the problem, my heart is broken for the parents.  Search The Word---it is ALWAYS redeemable.  Redemption will lead  to reconciliation.  Reconciliation can only come with talking it out and someone or everyone admitting their part in the problem and asking for forgiveness.

Pride---stands in our way---and pride always leads to the fall.  I know there are circumstances in families which will never be fixed---I am deeply grieved and profoundly sorry.  I pray---if there is anyway to try and talk it out---come to a mutual understanding of what is most important--you will seek reconciliation.  Cling to the eternal--remember what is of greatest importance and always seek His will.

Family and God---all we have of eternal consequence.


13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
Colossians 3:13

Monday, January 16, 2017

NO SUBSTITUTES

All good cooks will tell you the secret to the dish is ALWAYS in the seasoning!  The seasoning can turn good into great--delicious into mouth watering decadence!  Recently while working on a new dish, I discovered I was missing one of the seasonings--thyme


Not to worry--Chef Goggle--gave me a list of thyme substitutes-

basil, marjoram, oregano, or savory

The culinary day was saved.  The dish was wonderful--BUT
the new dish while delectable was not the same as it would have been with thyme.  The substitutes created a delicious meal-- since they are not the same the dish is not as planned, but they do compliment the main ingredients in a similar manner and the result is still good.




Substitutes come in many different forms--sugar substitutes, salt substitutes, why even sports substitutes.  A substitute is meant to fill in for a missing ingredient- by closely resembling the original.  

Substitutes work well in the culinary world and even in the wide world of sports.  Occasionally a star is discovered when a sub takes the field.  Until we give something different a chance, we have no idea if it will work or not--and different is not always bad.

 Special moments in time can not be relived and there are no substitutes for precious moments.  There can be other good, perhaps even better moments in time, but there is no replaying the past.  With our relationships--there are no substitutes.  We can not recreate a relationship by substituting another personality in the vain hope of recreating the past.    We might realize though that different is not necessarily bad--it is just---DIFFERENT and difference often allows us to broaden our repertoire.  

God desires for us to savor the past and embrace the present with the assurance He is always present---and the plans He has for us--always give us a hope and a future.

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




Monday, January 9, 2017

ORDINARY BECOMES EXTRAORDINARY

We live in a world which worships all things it considers special.   Those who are able to shine as examples of beyond the ordinary are placed upon a pedestal and held in high esteem.   We all dream of being special in some regard.  Our egos crave the notoriety of being known for some special talent--be it in sports, the arts, business, intelligence, or any field which shines a spotlight upon us and our uniqueness. The world would have us to believe we count for less if we stand in the shadows instead of in the glow of the light. 



Will my life count for less if I never publish the great American novel?  Are my posts pointless if I never go viral?  If all my labors for the least of these never produces a ground swell of action, has it all been for nought?  Is my success contingent upon my prosperity?  



Is there anything wrong with being ordinary?  Is prosperity measured by means other than the bottom line?  Can an ordinary person leave an extra-ordinary legacy?



I point you to The Word and all those examples of ordinary men and women who God used to produce extra-ordinary events.  Yesterday's post about Mary, here, is a prime example.  God took a young innocent- uneducated teenager and allowed her to birth His own son.  Her legacy is eternal.  I remind you Mary had NO idea her legacy would live eternally.  She was obedient, she did her part all while living an ordinary life.  

The disciples were ordinary men from ordinary means--and they were used for eternal purposes of being the first to begin the world wide spread of the message.  Ordinary men who never knew the impact of their labors would last for all eternity.

The next time you are feeling ordinary---do not despair-but remember how God uses the most ordinary for His eternal purpose.   In your obedience and doing your best in the ordinary of the day to day---God's fame is loudly proclaimed with eternal consequence.  God's greatness shines brightest when He takes the ordinary and makes it the extraordinary.  


20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20-21


Sunday, January 8, 2017

LABOR OF LOVE

As we celebrate Epiphany this week---lest we forget it was a labor of love-








Blessed Sabbath, Dear Friends

Thursday, January 5, 2017

BOUNDARY LINES

One more try after yesterday's blank post!

There has been much talk and political rhetoric about building a wall along the southern border of our great nation.




This seems to me to be about as effective as placing your hand across the bath drain in hopes the water will not drain out.  That water--- will find a way out--around the hand so ineffectively placed in hopes of keeping the water in the tub.  Trying to keep the desperate out with a wall might be just as futile.   In my opinion, the legislation concerning the banning of guns is also a doomed attempt at keeping arms out of the hands of the bad guys.  The bad guys will always have options of where to get guns.  Controversial as this may be, I remind you how ineffective the laws against marijuana have been.  We are all adapt at crossing boundaries--legal, moral, or spiritual--when we find a way to justify what we believe is our right.




I have physical boundaries as well as imaginary lines creating boundaries in my life.  There is a fence around my back lot--it is supposed to be a deterrent for unwanted trespassers in my back yard.  There is a way around it!  The doors and windows in my house are boundaries to keep me safe and for added protection there is an alarm system.  Something tells me if someone wants in bad enough--it can be done.






I am guilty of placing boundaries around my heart.  I have suffered enough pain--and am careful to not place myself in situations which might lead down that primrose path to suffering.  I am also very careful to maintain boundaries so there is no question about inappropriate relationships.  I had rather keep some at arm's length than give the appearance of impropriety.  The truth of the matter is I can live in isolation and the mere slip of a tongue can call into question my very character even when hidden behind self imposed boundaries.   All the boundaries in the world can not keep the delight of a vicious gossiper at bay.  For all my boundary building, there is no guarantee I will not suffer pain again.  In fact, it is safe to say, I will suffer pain---if you allow yourself to love--it comes with the risk of pain.  All these boundaries are man-made boundaries--some imaginary lines and other real lines drawn in the sand.




God also places boundaries in our lives.  Do you ever stop to wonder why after 40 years of wandering around, the great nation of Israel could not find one single boundary to cross to get them out of that wilderness.  Evangelicals love to speak of the freedom we have from the law because of the price paid by Jesus.  Yes, I agree, totally.  BUT the question then becomes why do we have the law and why did Jesus spend his ministry years giving us instruction?  SO THAT WE COULD LIVE A BETTER LIFE!  God's laws---are not suggestions--they are boundaries to live within for a better life.  We seem to have little problem with not crossing the boundary and killing someone, but we have NO problem crossing the line of bearing false witness against our neighbor-even when it may be killing his reputation and standing in the community.  We espouse freedom and God's desire for our happiness in a vain attempt to nullify the very words HE spoke. 

Boundaries can be a good thing-a very good thing.  Those lines we draw to create those boundaries are easily crossed.  The truth of the matter is the boundaries are only as good as our ability to not cross the line of de-embarkation into the wilderness of bad choices.  Our willingness to acknowledge and observe the boundaries in life is a test of our obedience.  Our obedience is an acknowledgement of who God is and our love for Him.  Staying within the boundaries He has set for us, acknowledges He knows what is best for us.  John says it best-



If you love me, keep my commands.
John 14:15






Tuesday, January 3, 2017

INVISIBLE LINES

I spoke here of crossing the invisible line which took us from 2016 to 2017.  A point in time--made by man which marks the passing from one rotation around the sun to the next.  Our lives are filled with invisible lines-many of which are associated with the calendar.



There is always a clear invisible line drawn when we begin writing a new year on our checks, when we date our signatures, and even on this blog.  We add one as we note the day of the year.  I am always amazed when I realize I graduated from high school fifty years ago---1966 was NOT that long ago!



Those invisible lines when I have passed from one decade to the next in age are usually not that big of a deal.  Until I realize all the self help projects I have taken on with the higher number in the decade category looming on the near horizon.  I laughingly tell all my little buddies when they turn 10---you are in to the double digits now!!



Other invisible lines which come with age are high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, parenting, careers, and now I find myself having crossed into the retirement or senior citizen line.  I proudly claim all senior citizen discounts and all other age related perks.  I have lived a long time to get this!  There definitely should be SOME discount for being willing to eat at 5:00 PM!



Age is said to be relevant---relevant to what I am not certain.  My head still thinks it can do all those daring and exciting things I could 40 years ago.  My body tells me I may be biting off more than I can chew.  Suffering with a bad cold during Christmas, I told my kids, "I actually feel my age."  I suppose that means my mind is telling me I should feel rotten at the ripe old age of 68.  On this side of better health, I might have been feeling slightly sorry for myself.

In a nutshell, life is filled with crossing those man made invisible lines that come with time.  The good news is we crossed that line!  The truth of the matter is in most cases, we have no choice but to cross those lines.

As I pondered all those invisible lines crossed, I remembered how thankful I am for the most important invisible line.  For you see, when I asked Jesus to rule my heart, I crossed the line into eternity.  Eternity begins for us all not when we leave this terrestrial ball, but when we make that statement.  My question today is-----"How are you spending your eternity while here on earth?"  Can anyone tell by looking you have crossed that line?  Does your life reflect crossing over that most important invisible line?

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.
John 5:24

Monday, January 2, 2017

SHOW ME FAVOR

I posted this wonderful poster with my final 2016 blog-



One little word can start the unending turning of the wheels of contemplation!

I was reminded of those once used words of etiquette-


Favor Us With Your Presence

And the school girl plea of another "Doing me a favor."  Which of course led me to the sibling argument over who was Momma's favorite.  In my growing up family, it was the baby, Noel.  He could do NO wrong!  

What does favor mean?  Mr. Webster tells us-

an attitude of approval or liking

an act of kindness beyond what is due or usual.

If we attend a party, especially as a child, we are often sent home with a favor.  An act of kindness beyond what is due or usual would seem to be the interpretation of this little gift.


The fact I tend to favor the grand who is behaving the best is undeniable.  Good manners and listening to Lulu creates favor---as you might get the first bowl of ice cream I dish out in response to my favor.


When I wish you a year of God's Favor, what am I blessing you with?  What does God's favor look like?  We CERTAINLY have found God's favor through His grace extended to all of us who are completely undeserving.  Jesus provided us with the Get Out Of Jail card of a lifetime when He paid the price.  We are guaranteed eternity when we accept His "KINDNESS BEYOND WHAT IS DUE".  God shows favor on us when He answers our prayers.  He shows favor upon us by loving us in spite of us. 

 God grants us favor in many forms and fashions and sometimes that favor comes at a cost.  I am reminded of the passage when the angel, Gabriel visited Mary, and told her God had found favor in her.  God's favor allowed Mary to birth God's Own Son.  What a honor--what a privilege--to call The Son of God your own biological son.  The favor though came with a heavy price---the earthly loss of your first born in  a horrible fashion.  God's favor gained you a son and an earthly reputation for all the ages of your part in God's fulfillment of His promises---BUT the price was huge.  

I pray for you to know God's favor in a great way this year, but realize His favor may come with consequences.  Favor can come with a cost, BUT God's favor comes with eternal fame beyond any earthly consequence.  May God favor you indeed in this New Year---and with His favor may you be reminded of His unending love.

For he who finds me finds life And obtains favor from the LORD.
Proverbs 8:35