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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

IT'S ME



Recently I was bemoaning to a sweet friend over an incident in which someone had gotten on my last nerve.  I am blessed to have a great group of Godly women friends who are willing to share their wisdom. As I let loose on a tirade about some minute incident, that seemed to be earth shattering at the moment, I had a pearl of wisdom dropped on me which has completely changed my reaction to those little aggravating moments in any relationship.  My friend very softly told me she had found the best way to handle these conflicts was to pray.  OH, YES, always the answer for us Believers!  Pray for God to change them--pray they open their eyes to how they are acting--pray for that poor misguided soul.  THEN she told me, I always pray, "It's me, it's me, Oh, Lord, standing in the need of prayer."  O U C H  She stepped on my toes!



The truth of the matter is we have no ability to change another person.  What we do have the ability to change is our attitude toward that person.   I don't know about you, but I lack that ability without God's help.  My attitude is usually, they need to change, for after all in my perfection, I could not possibly be in the wrong.  The fact is who is in the wrong is beside the point.  The point is the issue would be solved if MY attitude changed.  If I would only look at others through the eyes of Jesus, there would be no problem.  He loves us all--in spite of who we are and how we act. 

This little moment in life happened several weeks ago, it has profoundly changed me.  Thanking God for using others to grow me and woe me closer and closer to Him. " It's me---it's me, Oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer."

Put on your new nature, and be renewed
 as you learn to know your Creator and become like him
Colossians 3:10

Friday, May 25, 2018

TESTING THE FIX


DRATS!

I received notification that Net Work Blogs is discontinuing their services.   This means if you are registered as a follower through this service, it has been discontinued and it will no longer post the link to my Facebook page.

GROAN!  I will have to do some research on how to provide a link for those who like to follow the blog.  SO sorry they have dropped the link with no warning and I am caught unaware!

Working on the problem and will be posting possible solutions.  I do know you can register as a follower below the Net Worked Blog app on the right side of the page and you can register below that to follow via email notification.

The link to my Facebook page is another issue.  

SO sorry to the inconvenience.  It has NOT made my day either!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds
James 1:2

Thursday, May 24, 2018

TRUTH

Occasionally I read a book with a truth which cries out to be shared.  ~

 "When we feel abandoned, alone, and lost, what's left to us?  What do I have, what do you have, what do any of us have left except the overpowering temptation to rail against God and to blame Him for the dark night into which he's led us, to blame Him for our misery, to blame Him and cry out against Him for not caring?  What's left to us when that which we love most has been taken?

I will tell you what's left, three profound blessings.  In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: faith, hope and love.  These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he's given us complete control over them.  Even in the darkest night, it's still within our power to hold to faith.  We can still embrace hope.  And though we may ourselves feel unloved, we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God.  All this is in our control.  God gave us these gifts, and He does not take them back.  It is we who choose to discard them.

In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way.

And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one.  It may not be the miracle you prayed for.  God probably won't undo what's been done.  The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day.

Jesus suffered the dark night and death and on the third day He rose again through the grace of His Loving Father.  For each of us, the sun sets and the sun also rises and through the grace of our Lord we can endure our own dark night and rise to the dawning of a new day and rejoice."

Ordinary Grace

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE BOUNTY OF THE HARVEST


While walking around the local university's track, football, and basketball complex, I noticed in the far distance at the edge of the soccer and intramural fields a garden.  Nestled next to the railroad track embankment and far away from the road, you have to be looking to spot it.  I remember last year spotting the same garden while making the loop.  I am looking forward  to collecting
 my part of the crop.



For you see, I have determined I am due a percentage of the produce.  The garden is clearly on public land and I AM a taxpayer, therefore the gardener is technically a share cropper on public land--and I am the public.  I am certain he is more than willing to give up part of his crop in payment for use of the land.  That is what share cropping is all about.



A system founded to benefit the land owner, share cropping is an institution as old as farming itself.  As the land owner, I provide the land, sell you the seed at an inflated cost, loan you money to live on during the growth period at inflated interest, and all you have to do is pay me an unfair percentage of the crop.  Seems like a good plan---for the landowner.
   


I am not certain the gardener will take kindly to me helping myself to his crop after he has done all the hard work--especially this hot and humid Louisiana summer.  The truth is--I do not even have clear title to the ground where the garden is growing.  I just assume I own the ground since it is on government ground--after all---who is the government, but the people?

I am reminded of a beautiful garden--which we are allowed us to use absolutely free of any charge.  We are not required to share the bounty and are free to take and use any or all of it.  There are no care requirements---take care of it and watch it flourish or ignore it and let it go to ruin.  It is entirely up to us.   With a bountiful harvest, we are free to share or not--keep only what we need or fill our barns with the bounty.  We are provided the land, the water, the sunshine, and the ability to work the crop and given free reign over the disposition of the crop.  How will we tend our gardens?  What will we do with our harvest?  Are we share-croppers or plantation builders? 

Let us not lose heart in doing good,
 for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
Galatians 6:9

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

HEADS UP

There are only two no-no's after having cataract surgery.

Do not lift anything over twenty pounds.



My Dr Pepper/Iced Tea and Hero, which I repeatedly lift throughout the day are both much less than the maximum, so NO PROBLEM!

And~

Keep your head above your heart (Don't bend over for those of your directionally challenged).



This has created somewhat of a problem.  I never walk by the flower bed that I am not bending over jerking weeds.  AND, you all know, the Wonder Dog is needy and requires lifting up numerous times each day.  He's a little fellow and it requires a bend over to reach him.



Within hours of being home following surgery, I was to discover just how much time in a day I spent bent over.  This has required a change in how I approach things.  In a week's time, I have bragging rights for deep knee bends and squats over all the boot camp attendees combined.  Now WHY have my knees  been aching?




 In my world of loose association, this brought to mind how many cliches about body parts I have been subjected to over a lifetime.

WHERE IS YOUR HEAD?

This has nothing to do with the physical location of said head--but might refer to what was I thinking?



GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF THE CLOUDS

Again nothing to do with flying or low hanging clouds--but more likely day dreaming.



YOU HAVE YOUR HEAD BURIED IN THE SAND

One of my favorites which I use quite often--I am never speaking of you physically putting your head in the sand, but rather your failure to see the truth.



WEARING MY HEART ON MY SLEEVE

Now we all know this does not refer to putting your actual heart on your sleeve, but might indicate you are placing yourself in a vulnerable position.


FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART

Again not the ventricles which are responsible for pumping oxygen to our bodies, but rather with our deepest emotion.




HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS

Certainly if you are home your heart is also, but this does not refer to the physical location of your heart, but instead your love for home.




I can't leave this and not give you one of my favorites--one I tend to do quite often.

PUTTING MY FOOT IN MY MOUTH

I've done this so many times, I soak my feet in salt water for seasoning.



Over the ages, we have come up with multitudes of cliches concerning our body parts.  Why body parts?  Because of their importance to us.  Think about it, most of the cliches are about really important parts.  We don't talk about our gall bladder or appendix or even our kidneys.  We do refer to those most important parts quite frequently.  Without our head or heart, we are in deep trouble.  Life cannot go on without them.  So we come up with quips concerning what we all know as vitally important parts.  To function to our fullest--at our very best--all of our parts are required and necessary.  We might be able to still operate without a few of our parts--as I am living proof--but we are designed to operating at our best when we have all our parts.

When Paul taught about our parts, he considered them all vitally and intricately important.  What a wonderful lesson he gives us in Corinthians concerning the church and the importance of each of us to one another within the church.  We all have a job and each job is important.  When we all are doing our tasks and each making a contribution, the glory is given to God for we operate as one body--not as individual parts, but instead as one body in Christ.  What a beautiful image.

12 There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. It is the same with Christ. 13 We were all baptized by one Holy Spirit. And so we are formed into one body. It didn’t matter whether we were Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free people. We were all given the same Spirit to drink. 14 So the body is not made up of just one part. It has many parts.
15 Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 16 And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye. So I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? 18 God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. 19 If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? 20 As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
21 The eye can’t say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 In fact, it is just the opposite. The parts of the body that seem to be weaker are the ones we can’t do without. 23 The parts that we think are less important we treat with special honor. The private parts aren’t shown. But they are treated with special care. 24 The parts that can be shown don’t need special care. But God has put together all the parts of the body. And he has given more honor to the parts that didn’t have any. 25 In that way, the parts of the body will not take sides. All of them will take care of one another. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honored, every part shares in its joy.

27 You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.
I Corinthians 12:12-27

Friday, May 18, 2018

GROW UP YOU PESKY KID

Our Small Group is studying the book Putting Away Childish Things.  Before you run out and try to buy this book, I must warn you it is out of print.   It can be a little disconcerting to have a book underlined before you open the first page, but when you buy a used book you need to expect this.  Their Ah-Ha's are not necessarily mine.   I find myself not always on the same page with the  author's opinions (Pun intended).  The good thing is this causes me to think and seek-always profitable for growth.



A self proclaimed amateur psychologist--introspection has been a great tool in my life.  Behavior always has a root cause and I relish digging around and discovering the root.  Though I am not totally on board with the author, I do agree our experiences as children have lasting and life long repercussions.  The sting of harsh words and experiences are difficult to put behind us as well as any childhood trauma.  Conversely, we may have also have left our childhood with a sense of entitlement or over blown importance.  The problem is when our child driven behavior develops a wedge between us and a deep knowledge of Who God is because we have not been able to move past it.



The first chapter convicted me of my own bad habit of reacting in a childish manner to those nearest and dearest during my life.  Insert Passive Aggressive as my middle name on my birth certificate.  As a child we were taught to repress and keep quiet, no matter what the circumstance.  I learned that lesson well and carried it forward to my adulthood.  When angry, unhappy, frustrated, or any other negative emotion, I clammed up and shut down.  NOT a healthy habit and far from fair to those who had jerked my chain.  With time, I have developed better habits of speaking my piece after my anger had cooled.  We are all human and tend to get on each other's last nerve at times.  Speak the truth and let it go has served me well in the last few years.  Since we all look through different eyes (reference to recent eye surgery), we do not perceive actions in the same light.  So don't stuff it~let it flow, but be prepared and open to hearing what others may have seen through their eyes.  Our past experiences tend to slant our opinion and the same experience can be recounted as two very different stories from two different viewpoints.  It's the old story I told long ago about my bank training concerning robberies.  You were not to discuss anything about the robbery until you were interviewed by the police.  For you see, we all will come up with a different description of the robber and the series of events.  Somewhere in the middle is the truth.




So what have I learned so far, TELL THAT PESKY KID TO HUSH!  Recognize when your inner child is reacting and give him the GROW UP lecture and a swift STUFF IT.   Time to put childish things behind.  A little introspection can go a LONG WAY~time for me to chew on the real meat of God's Word and wean myself from the milk of my childhood.  Learn from the past and look to the future will serve me well.


When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
I Corinthians 13:11

Thursday, May 17, 2018

OPEN MY EYES

One of the pitfalls of aging is diminishing eyesight.  Over two years ago, I crossed the bridge into the Land of Bifocals.


It has not gone well.  After three decades of wearing cheaters (reading glasses) only, I did not quickly adapt to full time eyewear.  I must have had them in the shop a half dozen times.  First I closed them up in a book and then I sat on them and then I dropped them and the list goes on.  About a year ago, my night vision became so bad, I was only able to drive on a road with bright street lights.  Out in the sticks with no lines was out of the question~it all blended together.

With my move to Ruston, I finally went back for a recheck, knowing the doctor in Fort Worth told me two years ago I had the beginning of cataracts.  The beginnings had turned into the full blown vision clouding real deal.  Time to get something done.



Dr Luffey came to the rescue and took the first one off three days ago.  I can already tell this is going to be a really great thing!  The fuzziness has already cleared and I can see clearer now.  (Remember the song?)  I had been blind, but now I see.  OKAY--I am finished singing!

It is truly a modern day miracle.  They take out the cataract and put in a new lens and PRESTO! you can see.  I will probably need cheaters again, but that is doable!

This past Sunday I heard a wonderful message from the High Reverend Chris Hanchey.  A gifted communicator, he left me squirming in my seat and pondering "Am I looking?"  I have been convicted of my failure to see.

As we are studying the Book of Luke, we came to the story of Jesus raising the son of the widow from Nain.  Women had no status in society during these times and a widow was totally dependent upon her male relatives.  A young woman who has lost her husband and now her only son had also died.  The world must have seemed like it had ended with his death.  There are many by-lines and nuances in the story, but what struck me most was the words of Jesus,



And when the Lord SAW  her, he had compassion on her and said to her,
"Do not weep."
Luke 7:13

In order to see, we have to be looking.  Jesus was looking even with the huge crowd with him and the huge funeral procession in front of him, He SAW the woman.  I am praying that as my vision has been corrected, I am truly able to see and that I have compassion.   As that wonderful old hymn says

Open my eyes, that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me;
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
  • Refrain 1:
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit Divine!

Friday, May 11, 2018

TODAY

Valentine's Day can be a difficult day for those who are single.  The media would convince us everyone is part of a couple---everyone but me, that is.  The advertisements begin two weeks before the day arrives and the world becomes a frenzy of romantic activity in the middle of the deep dark of winter.  I usually stay at home with a good movie (NOT A HALLMARK MOVIE) and pretend I don't know the date has arrived until it has come and gone (remember its only 24 hours).  The truth of the matter is there are plenty of single people out there and none of us are affected by Valentine's Day.


Mother's Day is a holiday like no other---we are all affected by Mother's Day.  Unless you are a walking miracle, you have a mother.  There is no getting around the huge impact mothers and motherhood have on our lives.  This is one time you cannot stick your head in the sand and pretend it has nothing to do with you.


Today I am thinking of the multitudes who are missing their mother--or never knew their biological mother--or had a contentious relationship with their mother.  I am remembering the pain and sorrow you are feeling and thinking of you.


Today I am thinking of those who are having to live with the loss of their child--an unimaginable pain.  How devastating to know things somehow happened in this wrong order.  Our children should never leave us--we should always go first, and yet somehow this happens.


Today I am thinking of those with empty arms, dashed hopes, and unfulfilled dreams.  Those who look around at all the moms being honored and wonder, "Why not me?" 

Today I am praying Mother's Day will be filled with love, comfort, and peace for all those who dread this day.  I am praying for God to remind you of His infinite grace, deep love, and boundless mercy.  Today may you know the hope of tomorrow and the strength to face yet another Mother's Day.  The day will pass, night will come, and the sun will indeed come up on Monday morning.

21 
Yet this I call to mind

    and therefore I have hope:
22 
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
23 
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness
Lamentations 3:21-23

Thursday, May 10, 2018

THE MASTER WEAVER


 I spent the past weekend celebrating the graduation of my DIL to be with a masters degree  from the Clinton School of Public Service at the University of AR in Little Rock.  As an added perk I met her fun family.  We toured Little Rock, ate great food, talked wedding plans, and most important began to get to know each other.  Though they all might tower over me, and out talk me, I immediately felt like family.


We have a common bond which unites us and makes us "kin by marriage".  The love of our children and the bond created by marriage, makes us kin in my eyes.  My other two children are already married and I consider their inlaws family also.




We have an instant common bond that creates a kinship like no other.  AND when grands begin to be added to the mix--it only grows stronger.  As we watch them unite and live life together, we share the bond history cannot deny.  We are all players in the grand production of their life together.

Throughtout my life, a beautiful tapestry has been woven over the years of family and family by marriage and friends.  Ever changing--one thing is always constant, the tapestry is a work in progress.


We all have our own unique tapestries.  No two are alike, but all are wonders to behold.  New colors and designs are added over the years--some colors fall from the weave and new ones are added.  NOTHING though can take away from the great beauty of the tapestry and its design.  A design ordained by God Himself--NOT ONE THING could be any more magnificent.

2 I want you woven into a tapestry of love,
 in touch with everything there is to know of God. 
Colossians 2:2


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SHHHHHH!

The "Me Too" movement has created a tidal wave of astounding proportions.  It seems the question is not who has been subjected to inappropriate sexual advances, but is there anyone who has not.  For those who have or are working, it seems to come with the territory.  The avalanche began when a few were brave enough to come forward and reveal the secret they had tried to hold behind closed doors .  Once others saw the support for those who were brave enough to tell the secret, the door swung wide open to a rock slide of the ugly truth.  Woman after woman stepped forward to tell her own painful secret until it became a daily deluge of secrets revealed.

  This post is not a forum on sexual misconduct, but instead the power of secrecy.  When we begin living behind the veil of untold secrets, we become a prisoner behind walls of our own creation.  We live our life behind the locked door called shame or embarrassment in fear of the retribution of humiliation and loss of integrity if we unlock the door and release the demon of our deepest secrets.  It is dungeon we think we can never crawl out of and it affects every part of our life. 



The key to the dungeon is always within our grasp, but we live in fear of opening the doors.  The key is not some huge metal skeleton key, nor is it a secret number code, not even fingerprint recognition .  The doors are only thrown open with voice recognition.  The sound of our own voice uttering the truth throws the heavy doors of secrecy open.  The amazing truth is, once we finally dare to tell the secret, it quickly deflates and loses its power.  The secret we have never dared to tell, turns out to not be the end of the world.  I would dare to say, in today's world, most of our secrets wouldn't create the breeze from the bat of an eye, much less a startled gasp.  Our deep dark secrets became larger than life with each passing year of keeping them locked behind the heavy doors of fear.  And all the while, the key was right behind our lips--the words of the truth fling the door wide open.



Keeping secrets is a drain on our time and energy that keeps us from the important things in life.  Hiding behind the curtain in fear of discovery keeps us from living in the light of who we are~  A Child of the One True King.  As the wonderful children's anthem says, "Hide it behind a bushel, NO--I'm going to let it shine". 


Have any secrets in your life--defuse their power--tell one trusted person and watch the ball of secrecy deflate faster than a birthday balloon in a room full of grands~  And then let your light shine.


For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed
, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open
Mark 4:22