Friday, April 28, 2017

FREE RIDE

Dr SIL has an electric bicycle I have shown you before.



Since I wrecked his brand new expensive road bicycle a few years ago--before he ever rode it---I did not ask could I take a spin.  It is best to not invite rejection!




The girls, who are kind enough to let me tag along on on their fun trips, decided it was a good idea for us all to go on an electric bike guided tour while in The Bahamas.  I must admit it sounded much better than trying to keep up with these three experienced bikers on a you propel it bicycle.    






The other three experienced riders pedaled quite a bit.  At the back of the pack, I sat back, turned up the throttle and raced along with no effort what so ever.  They certainly got some exercise, but we all reached the same beaches at the same time -saw the same views-heard the same history-ate the same lunch-and sat on the same beach.



The power of the electric motor allowed us all to enjoy a beautiful day with very little effort.  Even though they turned their pedals, they were getting no more power than I did by using the throttle.  You might say we enjoyed a free ride-courtesy of an electric motor.

So it seems is our guarantee to eternity--a free ride.  Jesus did the work.  We can or can't do works---but good works are not a requirement to enjoy the blessing of eternal life in His presence.  Grace is the power behind the free ride.  All we have to do is plug in to the Source of All Power and enjoy the ride into the beauty of Eternal Life.  What a blessing!




For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith
and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—
 not by works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

Thursday, April 27, 2017

DANGEROUS CURRENTS

I am back from my hiatus, and it should not surprise you I have stories to tell.




One of the days we were gone, was spent snorkeling at Deadman's  Reef at Paradise Cove.  Am I the only one who thinks perhaps there is a slight disparity in these two being one and the same place?  

It was a beautiful day-but the wind blew 15-20 MPH the entire time we were in The Bahamas.  This leads to high waves and strong currents.  NOT to be deterred, we chose the option of being boated out to the reef and signaling for a ride back when finished.  The one catch is there is one place and only one place to get out of the boat and back in again due to the coral reef fragility.  Having snorkeled at the same reef last year, we chose to go it alone---without a guide.  We listened to the safety and information lecture before shipping out, and perhaps we did not pay as much attention as we should have.  In our defense, the instructor was difficult to understand and who wants to continue to ask for a repeat only to not understand again.  AND perhaps we were a little over-confident!

We all slipped out of the raft, adjusted our equipment, and decided upon a path.  Having been warned to stay together, and since some unnamed party did not follow these instructions last year, we did a great job of keeping track of each other.  We were heads down, snorkels up, and fins flapping off to enjoy the sights.



You can get a good perspective of how far we were from the shore by the snorkeler in the middle right of this picture.  The big reef in the middle of the picture is where we were left.  We somehow missed the message to go to our left and headed off to the right to another protruding reef out of the picture.  The trip out was wonderful---OH GUESS WHAT---we were going with the current.  Fish swam up to our masks and were close enough to reach out and touch (we didn't) and the bottom is covered in coral.  Wonderful sight seeing!  The goal was to reach the buoy at the last protruding reef and rest before heading back.



Unfortunately--there was NO buoy when we got there.  Later we were told they had picked up all the buoys since the conditions were so rough.  We turned back to head to the drop off spot.  The trouble began immediately!  We had to swim back against the current and with waves breaking over our heads.  Add to this the leaky masks which need clearing occasionally by pulling your head up and the fun began.  Every time you surfaced, there was a rolling wave slapping you in the face.  We finally learned to turn on our backs to rest or clear those masks.  Even this did not always work, since some of the waves were so large they would crash over your head.  As I swam I would spot a mark to swim toward in front of me to keep going in a straight line in the strong surf.  It became quickly evident progress was incredibly slow.  We all swallowed an gut full of salt water and struggled as we continued toward the mark.

The raft driver finally came out to check on us and informed us we had to make it all the way back.  There was no way to get us in the raft until we were in the shallows around the reef.  IT WAS A STRUGGLE!  All because we missed the part in the instructions about going the other direction.  Had we followed those directions, we would have been swimming with the current when we headed back to the pick up spot.  We missed seeing the sea turtles--they were in the direction we were told to go.  We were totally exhausted--because we headed the wrong way.  

We made it--thankfully--but it could have been so much easier--so much more scenic--not nearly as dangerous---if we had followed the instructions!

So it is with life---we have the Book of Instructions---it tells us the way--it gives us the rules--it is the map to guide us on this terrestrial ball.  We DO HAVE to read it and heed what it says!  And yet, we all get over-confident--think we have this under control--only to discover we are in WAY OVER our heads and struggling to keep going.  It all could be so much more simple---not nearly the struggle--a pleasant trek--if we only followed the instructions.


Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture,
 to exhortation and teaching.
I Timothy 4:13

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD

EASTER HAS COME AGAIN

THE GRANDS WENT 

TO THEIR HOOD

EGG HUNT


THE FOUR YEAR OLD

WHO IS QUITE THE CHARACTER

GAVE THE EASTER BUNNY 

A PIECE OF CANDY

AND PROMPTLY KICKED HIM IN THE SHIN


AND THEN

THE SIX YEAR OLD

WORE A POOP HAT

FOR THE SCHOOL

EASTER PARADE

THINKING THESE PEOPLE

MAY GET BANNED

FROM ALL FUTURE

EASTER FESTIVITIES


WHILE I SNOOZED THE NIGHT AWAY

THE POLICE SWARMED

MY STREET

 TEENAGERS HAD BROKEN INTO 

A VACANT HOUSE

THEY THOUGHT IT WAS THE PARTY HOUSE

NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT A PARTY!!


MAY YOUR WEEKEND

BE FILLED

WITH REMINDERS

OF THE BLESSING

OF THE EMPTY TOMB

HAPPY EASTER FROM HERE IN THE HOOD!




Friday, April 14, 2017

FIRST CAME FRIDAY




As we anticipate the celebration of Easter Sunday, may we be reminded -


FIRST CAME FRIDAY

The beauty and splendor of the most important day in the Christian Calendar can only be celebrated after the horror of Friday.  Jesus was beaten, humiliated, forced to drag his instrument of death up a hill, nailed to that Cross, mocked, scorned, and pierced before he died---All For Us.  He conquered it all when the stone was rolled away--when the grave was found bare--when he overcame death once and for all.



What a glorious day of celebration as we remember Why the world pauses in remembrance of this day.  The day when the price was paid to redeem the sin of all mankind.  A day like no other which dawned with a promise of an eternity filled with His love.  This day--this holiest of days which signaled the birth of the sure hope and certain promise of a better tomorrow.  The birds sang in praise and even the rocks bowed in humble adoration that first Easter morning.  

BUT FIRST FRIDAY HAD TO COME---never forget the prelude to the celebration--the price paid to guarantee the glorious dawning of a new day.  Before the first glimmer of that New Day--before the first glimpse of the light from Heaven--
Friday had to come.

May we all stop and reflect today on the reason we celebrate on Sunday--the horror that was visited on Friday---leading up to the glory revealed on Sunday.

MAY THE LORD BLESS YOU & YOURS
THIS EASTER,
MY FRIENDS.


3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. 
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. 
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
Isaiah 53:3-9

Thursday, April 13, 2017

BEHIND THE VEIL OF SECRECY


Recently a long kept secret was revealed to me--by a series of occurrences which played out over a number of years.  I am still in disbelief.  I have spent a great deal of time thinking over the truth and trying to decide what to do with it.  It was a huge game changer in my life and now what do I do with this truth?  Is there any benefit to revealing this information to anyone beyond the extremely small circle of those knowledgeable?  This long kept secret--has thrown a big kink into the truth I thought I knew and the actual  facts.  Why would anyone keep a secret for decades?  I was spared the truth hoping to protect me and perhaps in a sense of shame.  Truth will not be denied its day to shine.

What I have learned from this entire story is there are never really any secrets.  We are told in The Word--all will be revealed and we also know God is all knowing so our desperate attempts to live behind a cloud of secrecy is futile at best.  The most disturbing fact is the far reaching repercussions are often devastating for those in the sphere of influence of the one hiding behind the bush of deceit.  I stand in testimony, though it took six decades for the truth to catch up---the truth all came bubbling to the surface with one innocent question that I never imagined would have  an answer.  I had asked the question quite a few times to a number of people--with no answer.  A brief conversation with one I never dreamed would have the answer was the pivotal point in the revelation of truth.  The truth ALWAYS comes out!

This mini-drama of life has reminded me of one lesson that should be a rule for living-

If you can not do it in the light of day, if you can not say it on a stage before the world, if there is a need for hiding behind the veil of secrecy--DO NOT DO IT!  Live the truth in the full light of day--with a crowd of witnesses as your backup.



Anything done with the fear of exposure is not worth doing and will rain destruction upon those involved.  The cover of darkness is always temporary and the light of truth will always shine.  Live the truth!


“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:26-28



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

ORDER IN THE DISORDER

I recently read Dear Bob and Sue.  An entertaining and often hilarious story of a couple who dropped out of the Rat Race to visit all of the National Parks.  There is no need to give you a blow by blow book review, but instead I came away with one important truth--I have OC--but NOT the D.  I am NOT suffering from a disorder---in fact I am quite satisfied with the order which results from the OC!  I am obsessed with my compulsions!



BECAUSE I am slightly obsessive about things having their place and needing to be in that place--I can find what I need--OK most of the time.  The multiple moves have played havoc with my knowing what I tossed and what I kept and sometimes where I put it.  The beauty of living in a small space--there are lots fewer places to stuff things.  It becomes necessary to pear down--and stay lean and mean.  This does not reek of disorder to me--why I think it sounds quite sane.

Doesn't this make you smile---all in a row by color!

Getting up in the morning and going to bed at night are done in a certain order.  There is a time to brush your teeth, wash your face, and all the other necessary functions to get up or go down.  By doing things in an orderly fashion, it becomes second nature and I can think of the important things in life.  Having done all of this in the same routine for most of my life, even when I am in the throws of deep forgetfulness of old age---I will be able to engage automatic pilot and still get up in the morning and go to bed at night--without someone telling me how to do it.


Perhaps eating a peanut butter sandwich for lunch almost everyday of my entire life might be on the edge of a disorder.  HEY, if I am home, I do not have to think about what I am having for lunch---BESIDES---I LOVE peanut butter!  The silly doctor nipping my peanut butter addiction in the bud has caused a lot of disorder in my otherwise orderly life.  


Hero, The Wonder Dog, has his walks three times a day--first thing in the morning, after lunch, and just before bedtime.  Following this walk, he gets a treat--for performing all of his bodily functions on said walks.  He is fed after the morning walk and given his joint supplement.  Hero lives a well ordered life on a definite time schedule-all dependent upon me following the schedule.

I have managed to forego many of my obsessive compulsive behaviors with a little effort.  My hip has required rest--and I gleefully threw exercise out the window and became obsessed with sloth.  After careful consideration of my time and energies, deep cleaning the house--well in fact most cleaning of the house has become a redundant waste of time--for you see it always gets dirty again.  Planting bed upon bed of flowers in a vain effort for beauty in the midst of boiling hot Texas summers has taken far too much time and the watering is a huge problem when I am flitting around.  I have discovered metal flowers are quite nice and require NO care!  So you see, though I love order and am obsessed with doing things in the correct manner, I have no problem--as long as it is all done correctly.



I love to laugh over my obsession with rituals in life.  As funny as it all is, I do wonder why I cannot apply these same principles of order and ritual to those things of greatest importance.  Why is it my time with The Father does not take greatest importance?  Why it is any little distraction--I  allow to come between me and time with The Father.  Why am I not as obsessed with Him and my time with Him as I am about the daily rituals of little importance?  Why do I allow The World to pull me away from an obsession to know Him better, a compulsion to seek Him in all things?  I am seeking--seeking to be obsessed with Him.

And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord,
have not forsaken those who seek you.
Psalm 9:10

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

WILL YOU PRAY WITH ME?

My sweet tenant walked to my door with a simple request today--


"Will you pray with me?"


We sat and shared what was on her heart and agreed to each pray as The Spirit lead.  It was a warm time of sharing--acknowledging-pleading with The Master.  After she left, I came away thinking about praying with others.   Not the Pharisaical prayer on the stage of life, but the one with one call to The Father--corporate prayer in the smallest unit of community--two.


What is the benefit of praying with another?  Is there any reason to seek another to pray with us?  If Jesus tells us to enter our closet to seek The Father, is there ever a necessity of seeking others to petition God?  Why pray with another?

"When two or more are gathered"  The Word promises us when we are gathered together--even two---He will be in our midst.  There is strength in numbers and power in a united front.  And best yet--when  we are in agreement with each other and His Word--He honors our petitions.  Honoring our petitions does not promise the answer we desire--it does ensure He is listening--He hears us and His Will will be done.


There is no more intimate act than praying with another.  It deepens a marriage, bolsters a friendship, and becomes the bond that unites.  The desire to pray with another is strongest when we have a deep and intimate relationship with our fellow petitioner.   They know our heart--they understand where we are coming from--they have our back-they know the real us.   As we sit as one and acknowledge the omnipotence of God Almighty, we grow in faith and trust.  Iron sharpens iron and faith begets faith.


Finally--we pray with others to experience a greater knowledge and growing intimacy with God.  I am limited by the confines of my experience and knowledge as to how I see God.  I have learned much and grown great leaps and bounds from hearing what others know about Him.  My Fellow Believers have stretched me--caused me to ponder--alerted me to facets of our complex God I  never would have considered without hearing them speaking with Him in intimate conversation.

It is so easy to promise to pray for you.  It is an entirely different commitment to pray with you--physically--out loud--in person.  Will you pray with me?

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for 
one another, that you may be healed.
 The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James 5:16

Monday, April 10, 2017

PAY BACK!

There seems to be a direct correlation between retribution and justice--but is there?  




The desire for retribution perhaps comes from a darker place than the need for justice.  As I thought over the horror of the events in Syria this past week, it would seem our missile attack came in retribution for the heinous chemical attack upon the innocents.  A retaliation -no - for retaliating involves a counter attack by those who were attacked.  These innocents have no force of strength and no means of attack.  Retribution is punishment inflicted upon another for a wrong, and my question becomes were we punishing Syria to get even for the lives lost?  Those missile strikes did not bring back the innocents who died--their loved ones will forever mourn their loss--with or without a missile strike.

  Justice has several definitions, but the one that seems pertinent            

the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moralrightness:

This blog is not a political forum and I am not weighing in on the political hot potato of this scenario, but instead using it as a means to illustrate today's post.

We all have suffered wrongs in life---Living Life 101 clearly states you will not always be treated fairly as you stroll down the path of life.  The question of character then becomes do you seek retribution or justice?  I am human---I have cried out for God to smote the head of those who have wronged me--rain down pestilence--send the plague of boils--at a minimum grow a L A R G E wart on their nose!



I WANT PAYBACK!!  The truth of the matter is--even if that huge wart did grow on their nose---my circumstances would not change.  The deed cannot be undone--the harm has been done--there is no going back.  Would I feel better?  Perhaps for the short term--but probably not.

Is there ever justice?  If justice is equitableness, then it would appear another being inflicted with the same pain and suffering they inflicted is just.  Would another suffering as we have diminish our pain and suffering?  Would our circumstance change?  Is there ever righteousness in administering justice?  A convicted murderer is sentenced to die---does his death bring back the loved one lost?  Will his death diminish the pain associated with the loss which must be endured every day?  

Our hearts cry out for justice and we tell ourselves retribution will make it all better--but will it?  There certainly seems to be a legion of cases for retribution and justice is sought by us all, but neither of these will ever ease the burden of the wrong.  There is certainly a need for laws--as we see from The Word--and consequences when these laws are disobeyed, no one wants to live in a lawless society.  We are speaking of the effects of justice and retribution-and if they make a difference in the consequences of the wrong.



There was an innocent man beaten, scorned, and hung upon a cross long ago.  He died in the most gruesome of circumstances--never having committed a wrong.  They stood around and watched him slowly die an agonizing death-with a spear to the side the final death blow.  As his life force spilled on the dirt, did God seek retribution for this wrong?  Was their justice in letting those who killed him off--seemingly Scot free?  Where was the justice!!  God deserved retribution-justice was His for the taking!

It all happened accordingly to God's perfect plan--a plan of grace.  The plan is not ours to question--it is instead a free gift of infinite holy mystery.  Where was the justice--why no retribution---not our plan, but His.  We forget those involved--they were merely tools in God's grand plan to give us a plan of grace.  Yes, they did the deed, but NOT without God's willingness.

God is a just God--though we may never be allowed to see His justice rule the day--His attribute of being just is non-alterable.  Now HERE, My Friends, is where faith comes in---we must have faith that God IS just.  His will--not mine-His plan--not mine---TRUST HIM!  


Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, "I will take revenge; I will pay them back," says the LORD.
Romans 12:19

Sunday, April 9, 2017

AND SO IT ALL BEGAN


THANK GOD

THE MORNING

CAME




MAY YOUR

HOLY WEEK

BE FILLED

WITH REMINDERS

OF JESUS

BLESSED PALM SUNDAY,

DEAR FRIENDS!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

MEANWHILE HERE IN THE HOOD



I met my cousin in Grapevine for lunch this week.

This suburb has been restored 
to the splendor
of my youth.

Including the movie theater
Exactly like one where I 
spent many a 
Saturday Afternoon
During those long ago
carefree days.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

AND then there was the neighborhood email stream-

Concerning---this lost chicken
found wandering the alley.

"Has anyone lost a chicken?"



Many hours later-
another email in the stream-

That's my wife's chicken. 

With a contact number

AND THEN

This morning--the last email in the stream-


The chicken has been captured and secured.  I thank you all for your help.  

When I left East Texas over 20 years ago I swore I would never again live on a dirt road chasing farm animals too stupid to live.  

I will spend the day in self-reflection and try to formulate a better strategy for the next 20 years.

ALWAYS-
Entertaining
Here in the Hood!

Friday, April 7, 2017

TODAY'S PLAN

In many ways, my life was really much more simple, in a complex manner, before I retired.  When I was working long and hard days, there was little if no free time to fill.  In the midst of raising children, keeping a house functioning with a semblance of cleanliness and food on the table, working at a demanding job, and giving a brief but meaningful nod at maintaining important relationships, there was rarely time to think beyond the myriad of tasks in front of me.  It was necessary to stay focused and not waste time and pray for no kinks in the day to survive.  I was never at a loss, nor evenly rarely thought about the Big Picture and what is next.  Instead I fought with all my might to keep my head above water and the wheels between the ditches.


I was on task--on a mission--nose to the grind stone with my primary focus the well being of my family.  There was never a question in my mind as to my primary mission field--it was the Home Mission Field.  My sage words of wisdom to all young parents is they need to serve the local--Family mission first and foremost.  It is an all consuming job!



Now my life looks quite different---there is no longer anyone to take care of-to consume my focus, I no longer work and finding my purpose can be a frustrating unanswerable task.  My daily prayer is for God to reveal His perfect purpose in my life, and yet many days there seems to be no reply.  



Recently I read a John Piper sermon on collecting sea shells in retirement.  The gist of his message was we never retire from God's work.  The frivolity of the mundane consuming our days is a waste of our precious resources.  The beautiful garden, long list of trips, perfect golf scores, and huge collection of seashells is not wrong--unless we become consumed with them.  Yet, I find myself moving from project to project, pulling always growing weeds from the garden of life instead of planting beautiful flowers.  The days become filled with the minutiae of what do I prepare for the next meal, when am I going to mow the lawn, planning the walk I badly need to take--on and on with the day to day tasks involved in living.  



And then there are the unnecessary projects I take on to fill the hours of an unplanned day.  Washing the windows--which will surely begin to get dirty again before I even walk away, wondering if I should paint the interior of the house, painting the cellar door--and why not all the doors while I am at it.  My mind is constantly in overdrive scheming and planning the next project--the next task--the next thing on a long list that could be left undone forever without dire consequence.  I am fluttering my life away on the inconsequential while the most important stares me straight in the face. 

What am I doing with the time left--these final chapters?  What am I doing to further The Kingdom?  Where are my hours spent?  What do I have to show for my 24-7's?  When I stand before Him--as we all will---am I to hear--"Well Done" or "What were you thinking?"  Deep thoughts leading up to the Holiest of Weeks--Deep Thoughts~

But my life is worth nothing to me 
unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me
by the Lord Jesus-
the work of telling others
the Good News about
the wonderful grace of God.
Acts 20:24

Thursday, April 6, 2017

COMMON BOND

This year's tutoring at the Homeless Shelter has proven, once again, to bless me more than I could ever bless those I strive to serve.  Most of the time, when we stop to observe and think over what God has placed in our paths, we begin to realize the grand scheme of things is an intricate tapestry which when viewed from the eyes of simplicity is a weave of the greatest beauty.   I am reminded of the passage from The Shack which describes the fluid beauty of the Holy Spirit when looking from a distance instead of examining the individual components through a magnifying glass.  A moving - changing kaleidoscope of rare complexity filling us with wonder when we dare to search for the Big Picture.


When I walk into the large room used for tutoring the children, it is normally devoid of anyone under the age of 21.  The tutors slowly trickle in the door, but the children will all come bursting forth after their supper.  We go from a scene of relative calm organization to the energy packed chaos of a room full of children in moments.  As they stream through the door, their is a multi-colored parade of all sizes and shapes rushing to find "Their Place" for the evening.  The children from Pre-K to middle school are strategically arranged by table by age.  Ideally one on one tutoring is the goal,  Realistically, with the shelter over-flowing with families currently, that is not possible.  This week I had three first graders sitting at a square table with me.  Two of these had the same teacher--WONDERFUL--and then there is the other child whose teacher assigns completely different homework--SIGH!  It is organized bedlam while being pulled three different directions and all expecting my undivided attention.  At this age, independent work for a long stretch of homework is living in a fantasy world.  



The three girls have three very different styles of completing their homework.   The first one to sit at the table is on task the minute she sits downs and works through her assigned sheets in methodical order.  My kind of girl---OCD serves us well!  The second child saunters in late, demands attention, complains, whines, and requires assistance with each and every line and item.  Getting those two sheets, which required Student Number One- 25 minutes, is worse than pulling teeth.  I finally resort to the threat of missing computer time if your homework is not complete.  THEN--in strolls Student Number 3--45 minutes late---WHERE has she been?  All I get is a silly grin and shrug of the shoulders,when I demand to know the answer to that mystery.  I look at her and tell her she will not be able to have computer time since all homework has to be finished to use the educational computer games, and she only has 15 minutes.  She bows her head and quickly goes to work, fifteen minutes later she is finished.

Three girls, three different approaches to their work, three different colors and a drastic difference in their abilities.  Yet somehow we finish our work and are on task at the end of the time.  The amazing thing--they are all good friends.  In fact, I have noted all the children from the youngest to the oldest have developed a wonderful comradery and seem to love each other.  Oh, sure, there is a little fussing, but they also are quick to give each other hugs and play together amazingly well.



WHY?  Under what the world would consider dire circumstances of being homeless, how do these children manage to get along so well and develop community in such a short period?  Shared circumstances, in my opinion, has drawn them together.  No one in the shelter has a home---that is not the way of the world---it has to be tough to go to school and everyone in your class understand your family is for all practical purposes destitute.  In the rules of society--you have nothing if you don't even have a home of some sort or fashion.


I saw the same thing when sitting in the ICU waiting room for days on end while Momma was terminally ill.  The room was full of family members and friends from all walks of life, and yet we all had one huge thing in common--the desperation which comes from not knowing if we would share another day with our loved one.  It was amazing how we pulled together and shared in one another's ups and downs in this microcosm of waiting.


Those who have suffered with cancer have drawn together to support each other.  When my sister in law had breast cancer, other survivors supported her and guided her along the way.  The sharing of common scars, the debilitating suffering through chemo and radiation, and the agonizing wait for the five year mark was their common bond.



There is a club of sort which none of us desire to join, but I have seen sweet friends draw strength and courage from---those who have lost children.  This bond is a mighty magnet of shared suffering and loss.  No one could possibly understand their grief except another who has stood in their place.

The wonder I have experienced in working with these children and observing all those others---they are not concerned with race, success, size, or any other outward physical presentation.  They pull together, support each other and find commonality in their sufferings and hardship.  Through circumstances which none of us ever want to experience, they have learned the importance of viewing things above the minutiae of the day.  They rise above the dailiness of the stress and pain of their circumstance by reaching out to others in the very same place.  

When those children pour through that door, instead of agonizing over how I am going to be able to help them, they have taught me to accept them for who they are.  Some will be having great days and others will be in tears, that does not diminish their importance in my eyes.  As they accept each other, I strive to accept them for who they are--God's greatly loved precious children--the least of these who all have a common bond of homelessness.

But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position;
and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation,
because like flowering grass he will pass away.
James !:9-10

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

WHAT I WANT-

My Friends, my true confession to you is what I REALLY WANT is for all this to be easy!!  My lazy self--does not want to work hard---I want it to come naturally--with NO effort.  I am unmotivated to get in the trenches, to fight the good fight, to endure pain so that I might gain, to reap what I have sown,--and on and on with all the cliches to inspire hard work.



What I want is to walk by the gym door and immediately be transformed into the greatest physical shape possible.  I want to pick up the book, hold it by my head, and PRESTO---the knowledge makes the leap into my vacant brain space.  I want to have the mountain top experience without dragging my butt up the trail.  I want to wave my magic wand and alkazam my home and yard look like House Beautiful.  I merely want it all to happen as I visualize without paying any price for that to happen.  REALLY--is that asking a lot?




At some point in our lives, most of us have been told, we will not appreciate those things which are handed to us on a silver platter.  I for one wish someone would pass the silver platter and let me be the judge of my appreciation factor.  What really sounds great is living the good life--large--and never breaking a sweat.  OR DOES IT?



When I think back to the best of the best in my life---I realize it all came with a price of hard work, effort, time, and energy at a minimum.



My three children did not merely appear upon wishing on the genie's bottle.  We come from a long line of "BIG HEADS".  It was no easy task carrying around 8-9 pound babies and then birthing those big heads.  But LOOK at the reward for all the pain!



Being a good friend has a price tag--lots of time, lots of living life together, and willingness to sacrifice for one another.  The rewards speak volumes in the day to day  joy of living  life together.  What would I do without all the dear friends God has placed in my life?



In most cases, there seems to be a direct correlation between the energy, time, and work we put in to the benefits derived.  Be it so simple as cooking or home and hearth to the most complex relationships in our lives, there is surely a scientific law playing out on what goes in affecting the long term results.

I have circled around--back to Beth Moore--the time, effort, and energy we expend in seeking Him has a exponential return of peace, joy, and love.  You walk out of her conferences wanting more, only to find when you dig into one of her Bible Studies--it is WORK!  He is so pleased when we look for Him that He reveals Himself in real and tangible ways as we grow in His grace and live in His shadow.  You can NEVER out give God!

There is no easy way---as we seek Him---so our relationship grows.  He has placed the ball in our court and is waiting for us to give it our best.  All for His good glory and our great joy.


See the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually.
II Chronicles 16:11