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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

NO NEED FOR PRACTICE

Recently I woke up in the early hours of the pre-dawn (I seem to have forgotten how to sleep all night in my old age) thinking "Practice the Presence of God".  NOW when the first thought that pops in my head, without any previous coaxing or thought, is unexpected, I usually pay attention to it.  


During the day that played out before me, I kept thinking of how with practice we could become conscious of the presence of God continuously throughout the day.  By keeping my eyes open and my ears tuned, I can become more acutely aware of God being by my side.



Later the same day, our small group gathered to continue to discuss chapter one of Ephesians.  Our group discussion leader reminded us of something which set off the bells and whistles~we are repeatedly told we are "In Christ" in the first chapter of Paul's book.  

Look over in Paul's letter to Corinthians~

Therefore, if anyone is IN CHRIST,
he is a new creation, the old has gone,
the new has come.
II Corinthians 5:17

We are reminded over and over that we are IN CHRIST.  One of the group members beautifully explained it by comparing it to being in the womb.  You are warm, provided for, protected, and always present with the mother.  So it is when we proclaim Christ as our Lord, we are In Him.  If Christ is part of the Trinity Godhead, it stands to reason, we are constantly in His presence by being In Christ.  

OH~What a beautiful and reassuring thought.  We are constantly in God's presence by being in Christ.  No need to practice~just remember who you are.


And you were also included in Christ
when you heard the Word of truth.
Having believed,
you were marked in Him with a seal,
the promised Holy Spirit
Ephesians 1:12

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

SINNERS AND SAINTS

Most of you know I saw "Hamilton" this past weekend.

I bit of advice before proceeding with the blog subject---read the book Hamilton or have a good friend read it and give you the history of Hamilton before seeing the play.  If you attend cold turkey, you will miss much of the message behind the play.  Our friend Margarita not only acquired tickets for us, but also gave us the history lesson~THANKFULLY!  I must admit I thought I was doing enough to listen to the music before attending--NOT enough!

There is one of the songs, "Wait For It" which was sung by the actor playing Aaron Burr.  When I read history, I usually stop at the facts and never consider the people behind the facts. {SIDE NOTE~ I have been inspired to leave behind the genre of "Historical Fiction" and begin a reading plan of "Biographies".  What made those who made history tick?  What were the personalities behind the faces in the history books. } "Hamilton" does an excellent job of giving a small glimpse behind some of those who were instrumental in forming our great country.  One small tidbit to whet your appetite~Hamilton's widow helped form the first orphanage in New York that was instrumental in raising many orphans BECAUSE her husband was an orphan. 

Back to the song "Wait for It", the chorus is this~

Death don't discriminate
Between the sinners and the saints
It takes and it takes and it takes
Yeah, we keep living anyway
We rise and we fall and we break
And we make our mistakes
And if there's a reason I'm still alive
When everyone who loves me has died
I'm willing to wait for it
Then I'm willing to wait for it, wait for it, wait for it

WOW~did this every immediately hit me as profound!  The message---YES, death is coming, but don't sit around waiting for death, but instead, continue living until it arrives.  We make mistakes, but we also only succeed when we continue to try.  Another day I will write about shrinking worlds, but for now, the word is keep on living.  Don't get stuck in the past, don't fret over tomorrow, but look at today and live your best.  There is a reason we are alive, there is a path to walk down, grasp every opportunity and live out today.  The words love and life are substituted for death in the first line in the refrain of this song.  The message---live to the fullest while you still have the gift of life.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24


Sunday, July 14, 2019

ENDLESS MERCIES

AFTER AN EXHAUSTIVE STUDY

OF PSALM 23

THIS FEEDS MY SOUL



BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

THE VEIL OVER TOMORROW


NO, this is not a book report.  I recently finished this book and it was a great book, but the blog is not a blow by blow retelling of this World War II historical fiction story.  Instead one small fraction of this tale inspired this post.  It is a mystery why one isolated incident will cause the wheels to start spinning.  I am thankful for the lessons I am shown in almost every aspect of life.


This story revolved around a circus in Germany during the War.  The two main characters are a trapeze artist who was divorced by her Nazi officer husband because she was Jewish and a young aspiring trapeze artist who ended up with the circus after a series of life changing events.  An amazing accident of fate that they become teacher and student in the art of flying.


Another side car of the story was the Gypsy fortune teller who traveled with the circus.  She gave a glimpse of the future to one of the main characters.   The future began to unfold exactly as she predicted and it was not a pretty prophecy.  The next time the fortune teller tried to give her another glimpse she walked away with a NO, thank you.

How many times have I wondered, "If I had only known what the future held."  When I began to think about the possibility of having the means to know what the future held, it occurred to me we are better off not knowing.  Had I known some of the things that were to come, would I have spent all my time trying to prevent the inevitable?  Would I have lived in dread instead of hope?

God in His infinite wisdom, wants us to live in hope.  He assures us He will be with us, sustain us, and hold us in the darkest of times.  If we knew what the tomorrows held, we would begin to think we were the masters of our future.  God uses each and every thing in our lives for our good and His glory.  If we looked in the magic glass and knew what the future held, would we run for the exit or work feverishly to change what is coming around the bend?  Our unawareness of even the next moment, encourages our dependence on God.  Our hope is built on nothing less than His perfect plan for our time here on this terrestrial ball.  "Don't be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.'


Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow.
 You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.
James 4:14

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

WHAT WILL THEY SAY?

I attended a funeral this weekend celebrating the life of a great woman. How often do we attend a celebration of life and come away inspired?  As person after person testified how this wonderful woman had impacted their relationship with God, I was amazed.  Her son told us she wore the trappings of this world loosely.  She was the epitome of living in the Heavenly realms while still on this earth.  She shared that with a wide variety of people and prodded and encouraged them to seek a deeper relationship with Christ.  She described her deep relationship with these words, "I am His favorite."  


I have heard several stories over the years of a favorite grandmother telling each grandchild, "You are my favorite."  They do not realize until she is gone, she told each one that.  So it is with Christ, we can all believe we are His favorite because He loves us so deeply that no one of this earth will ever compare.  We can become convinced we must be His favorite because of the deep love we experience as we seek to know Him better.


As I left that funeral, I wondered, "What will they say about me someday when my life is celebrated?"  Will anyone report their relationship with The Father was deepened because of my urging?  What a sweet legacy to leave!  I must say I am very doubtful I am living up to this challenge.  As I discussed this with a friend, she told me to not be stressed with trying to be that person, but instead be content with who I am.  As I thought this over, I realized she is right.  What we all should strive to be is the best at what God has called us to be.



We are all not called to be an encourager.  God has a unique calling for each of us.  We are His splendid and varied creations with gifts showered upon us with an individual formula for each and every one of us. We should be striving to live the best life possible based upon our uniqueness.  Also we are charged to interact differently with different people.  Our relationships with others is based upon unique personalities and needs.  While we might be an encourager with one friend, we might be called to only be a listener with another.

So hopefully when the day comes, the reports will be varied when others speak of our relationships.  I am praying, based upon the leading of the Spirit, I fulfill a variety of roles with each unique individual.  At the end of the day, I pray others see me as a gift from The Father.  If He gifted me with life upon this earth, I should reflect who He intended me to be.   I am striving to be who God wants me to be in each and every situation He places me.  

What will they say?  Most importantly, they will say, she loved The Lord and He loved her.  I was His favorite.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:10  

Sunday, July 7, 2019

CRY OUT

THERE IS HOPE FOR THE HOPELESS

AND REST FOR THE WEARY

HE WILL MEET YOU,

WHERE EVER YOU ARE



BLESSED SABBATH,

DEAR FRIENDS

Friday, July 5, 2019

THE SIMPLE THINGS


As we continue our summer series on selected Psalms, we recently studied the 23rd Psalm.  For certain the best known Psalm, it also was the first Psalm I memorized as a young child.  Beautiful~poetic imagery of Who God is and how He cares for us, this beloved Psalm is often quoted.  Our teacher used this book to highlight exactly what the Psalmist was telling us and I came away intrigued and immediately ordered the book. 



In the introduction to the author, this book above was also mentioned and I decided to order it also.  Having raised sheep as a 4-H project during my young years, I am very familiar with sheep and have always been fascinated by sheep dogs.  We had a half border collie long ago and the combination of the collie and a poodle was a really smart dog.  When traveling in Ireland almost 20 years ago, we saw a demonstration of a sheep herder and his dog with a herd of sheep.  Absolutely spell binding, I walked away knowing these dogs were bred to herd sheep by obeying their master's commands.  This sweet book did not disappoint, I sat and devoured it in one reading.  What great lessons about our relationship with God were gleamed by the author.  Fundamentally spot on!

GUESS WHAT!  This post is NOT about sheep, sheepherders, nor dogs.  Although I could go on and on about that, I came away with another impression I wanted to share.  God uses the simple things, the things we are familiar with to teach us daily.  I am often asked how I come up with the analogies I write about from day to day life.  I told someone this very morning, "Unless you are listening for the song, you won't hear the birds singing."  I am always looking for what God is teaching me throughout my day.  NOW, every moment is not teachable, but there are always lessons to be had in almost every day.

The Word is filled with Jesus using the day to day to teach us how to live.  The widow's mite, the potter's clay, wine skins, children, and the planted seed are only a few examples.  Why read over The Beatitudes again and remember the times you were wearing the shoes of the poor in spirit, the mourner, the persecuted, the merciful.  Jesus was an expert in the use of analogy.  The Word is filled with examples of day to day life when teaching us how to live.  It is not necessarily a profound, deep philosophical concept, but instead something from day to day life such as a shepherd keeping his flock that God uses to instruct us.
The simple parts of life are great tools for discovering God and deepening our relationship with Him.  



God knows most of us are not philosophical giants, but He also wants us to have a deepening relationship with Him.  What better way to draw us, teach us, and remind us of Who He is, but in the simple things of day to day life?  

14 “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father,
and I lay down my life for the sheep.
John 10:14-15

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

SAINTHOOD

I heard on the news last night that the Founder of Instagram is considering doing away with the "Likes" button.  I predict the popularity of Instagram will immediately go down the toilet.  We ALL want those "Likes".  Why else would we spend time posting anything on social media.  We identify the "Likes" with how we are regarded by those bothering to read.  OH, and speaking of readers~if they do away with the Followers, they might as well commit social program suicide.  Let's face it, we are all guilty of basing our self worth and esteem on our followers and likes.  Facebook goes so far as to give you a count once a year of how many likes and loves you have had.  We have a need to be held in high esteem and regard, and somehow social media seems to have become our Regard Barometer.


All businesses and non-profits know they must have a presence on Social Media these days to thrive.  The very essence of who we are, for many, has become wrapped around our social media presence.


One thing is for certain, when we die, there is no social media in Eternity~at least I don't think there is.  So after we leave this terrestrial ball, the essence of who we were while here becomes totally wrapped up in the memories of those we have left behind.  In my observation, there are usually two extremes in how our loved ones remember us--they either villianize us or sanctify us.  SO if you want to be sanctified--just go ahead and die and have immediate elevation to sainthood. 



We all have had the conversation with a loved one left behind by the dearly departed.  As they relay the sainthood of their loved one, those who are more objective are shaking their heads and wondering who in the world you are talking about.   I must admit to being slightly relieved that perhaps my loved ones will remember the good things about me and have amnesia about my bad.The fact is we are ALL fallen and we live in a fallen world.  We are NOT saints in our actions.  I, myself, leave a lot to be desired in the sainthood department.  My halo is tarnished and my sainthood mantle is tattered.  I get myself all tripped up in the fallen world and the next thing you know the thing I am doing is exactly what I know I should not be doing.  (Slight paraphrase from Paul)  There is no perfect man, except for One.  

Because of that One, we can claim the title of Saint.  It has nothing to do with us and our behavior, but everything to do with Him and what He did for us.  Our sainthood begins the moment we become Believers.  What a glorious gift~what a blessing and NOT because of what we have done, but totally a gift from Him.  So polish your halo and put on the mantle of sainthood, His priceless precious gift to those who believe.

  To the church of God that is in Corinth,
 to those sanctified in Christ Jesus,
 called to be saints
 together with all those who in every place
 call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
 both their Lord and ours:
I Corinthians 1:2

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

GREAT POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY

In case you can't tell from this "selfie", this grand is a mess!  He keeps me laughing.  Often I have to turn my face so he won't see, because at times he is a little naughty.  He DEFINITELY enjoys the spotlight!

He and the big brothers attended day camp last week.  At the end of the week, his mother asked him, "What was the Bible Verse for the week?"  Without hesitation, he quoted directly from "Spiderman".



I will give him credit for quoting a Super Hero, but NOT the right one. (Originally this is a quote from Voltaire, the famous French philosopher) What is amazing is he said it so convincingly, that you might think he was quoting The Word.  When we don't know the answer to a question, giving an answer quickly and with authority can often convince those listening we know what we are talking about.

As I thought this over, after my initial fit of giggles, I began to recognize the truth in it.  We are told in The Word~


11 God will strengthen you with his own great power 
so that you will not give up when troubles come, 
but you will be patient
Colossians 1:11

SO, the little man is correct, God strengthens us with HIS own great power.  The power does not come from us, but instead God is the source of all power.  We are weak and mortal without His great power.


Searching for our responsibilities as Believers can lead to a long list.  Paul once again puts its all in a nutshell in the same letter to the Colossians~

23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart,
 as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 
24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance
 from the Lord as a reward.
 It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Colossians 3:23-24

So perhaps the little man is on to something.  He might have instinctively known these words from one of his favorite super heroes could well apply to our lives as Believers.  With the great power which we are gifted from God, Himself, indeed we have a great responsibility.

Monday, July 1, 2019

CRACKING THE EGG

I recently heard someone comparing a performer to an egg.  Of course we all know that famous egg~ Humpty Dumpty



This nursery rhyme would have you believe once Humpty had his great fall, he was of no use.  I am not sure I agree.  Even in his cracked state, he serves to entertain, teach,  and amuse us.

While thinking about eggs, I thought of one of my first cooking feats, scrambling eggs.  Believe it or not, I taught myself how to cook.  As a young girl, I developed a fondness for scrambled eggs, and there were always eggs around to scramble.  My mother worked, so it became necessary to learn to cook or eat bologna sandwiches.  Thankfully I was extremely picky as a child (DEFINITELY got over that!) and so the things I would eat were very limited.  Long story short, it was a very short list of the things I needed to learn to cook.

Somehow I had to figure out how to get what was on the inside of that shell into the pan without also having a pan full of shell.  It took a few eggs to finally figure out the trick to cracking those eggs.  Today I am an expert, but the learning curve involved digging through the yolk to remove shell fragments inadvertently dropped plenty of times.  The good part of the egg, the part that was edible and of use was the soft inside, not the shell.  You can certainly find uses for the shells, but when it comes to cooking we only want what is inside the shell.  A firm crack and a well placed finger were the answer to dropping the yolk into the frying pan.  BUT what a fix we would be in if the egg did not have the protective covering of the shell.  Have you ever seen frog or fish eggs floating in the pond?  Try collecting them with no shell around them.  It is like separating water from oil---NOT an easy task.

So the lesson is to get to the good stuff, we have to be willing to crack the egg.

As I thought over the egg, I began to circle back and compare all of us to eggs.  How many of us have a protective shell around us?  Does the shell get thicker with life or are we vulnerable enough to allow ourselves to be cracked and expose the soft inside~the very heart.  I recently came across this quote, "You gotta love like there's no such thing as a broken heart."  That my friends can be a tall order.  BUT if I am not willing to take a chance, even risk heart break, what am I missing out on?  Hero loves to have his soft underbelly rubbed, but he is reluctant to turn over on his back for fear of being at risk.  When he finally trusts me enough to allow me to turn him over and give him a good scratching, he is so happy.  But first, he had to trust me and be willing to take the risk.


We studied Psalm 23 yesterday in Sunday School.  I was struck by the promise of the shepherd's care once again.  I came away remembering that God has promised His goodness and love.  SO fear not, be willing to expose the soft inner side ~the heart~ and KNOW His rod and staff protect you. 

I know that your goodness and love
will be with me all my life;
and your house 
will be my home as long as I live.
Psalm 23:6

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

NEEDY







You ALL know Hero, The Wonder Dog.  I haven't talked about him in a while, but rest assured he is a daily part of my life.  Ruston life revolves around three times a day walks, treats for doing your business on the walks, feeding, and lots of naps in between.  You see, Hero is an old man now~ a needy old man.

My dear friend and former veterinarian, for my animals before Hero came along, Dr. Edwin Davis, once told me our pets act like their owners.  WELL NOW! Since the animal at the time tried to bite everyone who dared to enter his house, I might have resented that remark, at the time.  AND I AM NOT NEEDY!


This is the signal I want to go for a walk. 
 He has me well trained.

During the never ending redoing the floors nightmare,  (PLEASE someone slap me if I mention remodeling again) Hero went to Doggy Day Care everyday.  YES-they have day care for dogs now.  With the HUGE mess and furniture all in two rooms, he was more than a little disturbed.  It was down right dis-settling to the old man.  As I have spoken of in the past, he is a runner (or was before he discovered the good life and old age slowed him down) and with the doors open a great deal, I was fearful of him "Hitting the Road, Jack".  

I asked one of the ladies at "Day care" how he did around the other dogs when it is play time.  You do remember Hero is NOT a fan of other dogs and the bigger the dog the more aggressive Hero becomes.  He seems to lack good judgment.  She told me that as long as they left him alone, he was fine,  BUT they best not fool with him or the hackles are raised.  The large and small dogs are divided into fenced yards.  If one of the larger dogs DARES to get too close to the fence, Hero is after him.  Bless his heart, Hero lacks good judgment.  How many times, have I swept him up to keep him out of harms ways.  Thank goodness he only weighs 10 pounds!


I have only seen him grumpy at a human once.  One of my friends tried to take him out of my arms one night at the game table.  He gave her a low growl to warn her he was not interested in leaving his mom's lap.  He loves his mom--a lot.  He follows me from room to room and constantly wants to be where I am.  If he hears the car door slam and is outside, he begins howling.  He thinks he has been left behind.  I take good care of Hero---and Hero has turned into a needy old man.


This picture is first thing in the morning.  He starts at the end of the bed and sometime during the night creeps up to the pillow by my head.  During the winter months, he climbs under the covers (Remember he's part Mexican and does not like the cold).  It's like having my own personal heater under the covers.  I have to turn the heat way down at night--because his little body can generate lots of heat.  Having him under the covers is like sleeping in a sauna some nights.

Hero has begun to have old age aches and pains.  Some days, he might have a limp and is definitely slowing down.  There are days he cannot finish the entire walk and I have to pick him up and carry him home.  He has muscle atrophy from the back injury that led him to becoming my dog.  Those people have gone from this



to this~

They tell me how much they miss Hero.  Going from 10 pounds to 80 pounds is a huge difference.  Going from an old man to a puppy is another story in itself.

As I think it over, perhaps I am needy.  We humans have basic needs and then we have emotional needs.  We don't do well in a vacuum and are looking to others to help fulfill what we consider our needs.  Someone to love us, someone to care for us, someone to provide for us is part of our basic human needs.  Hero is not a fan of being left alone.  I try to provide for him, care for him and love him well.  He is a good pet and I try to be a good master and meet his needs.

I am needy also for God's love.  Nothing has ever fulfilled my wants and desires for faithful love and provision as God has.  There is an empty hole in my soul which can only be filled with the love of God.  I am needy--and my Master is my provider~Jehovah Jireh.  We were created with a need---a need only God can fulfill. I am needy and He is faithful.  

19 And my God will meet all your needs
 according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philipians 4:19

Friday, June 21, 2019

A FIRM FOUNDATION

NOW--I am not referring to the foundations of my mother's generation.  I can assure you no lady left home without a good foundation back in the Good Old Days.  Heaven forbid for everything to not cinched in and held tight.  My mother never jiggled, but NOT because she EVER did ANY physical exercise.  Well in fairness to her, she did go to Foxy Lady for a brief period of time.  This consisted of motorized machines they strapped you in to and the machines did all the work.  I am not certain WHAT that was supposed to do for you, but she was quite proud of herself.  At any rate with the help of the right foundation, she certainly never jiggled a day in her life.



Today the trainer had me doing a new weight lifting exercise.  Using a Smith Machine, he has me doing the motion of picking up a suitcase repeatedly.

I TOLD HIM---I pack light!  With all these trips and dragging suitcases around, I have become an expert on minimalist packing.  He was NOT impressed and just kept piling weight on with each set.  After the past few weeks of moving furniture around, I must admit I am delighted to be strong enough to scoot almost anything around.  A good foundation consists of a well developed core and limb muscles.  As I get stronger, my balance improves, my posture is more erect, and my jiggling has lessened.  (NO--I do not even own a undergarment to help with that.)

I met with one of our pastors and an educator yesterday to talk over the coming year's school participation.  We discussed a new program of reading to kindergarten children who are not prepared to learn to read yet.  The research shows there is a need for a child to have had around 500 books read to them before they are ready to tackle the task of putting the steps together to learn to read.  NOW THAT'S A FOUNDATION!  Many children have not had this level of exposure to books and it is fundamental to learning the ABC's of reading.  For a  variety of reasons, not every child has the opportunity for this level of preparation for learning to read.  We are going to work on filling in that gap and creating their foundation for success.




Not my nephew's home 

My nephew's home was hit by the tornado in April.  One of the things the adjuster told them was until you pull all the flooring up, you have no idea if there has been damage done to the home's foundation.  Huge trees falling trough your house can cause the very foundation of the house to break.  This will require extensive work, and might even warrant total demolition of the house.  Every house needs a good foundation.

Most things in our life work better with a firm foundation.  Our small group is doing yet another study on the book of Ephesians.  Ephesians contains the ABC's of The Gospel.  The foundation of what we believe and why.  Mouthing the words, "I am a Believer" holds little merit unless you understand the fundamentals of God's Word.  We must understand the very foundation of Christianity.  The old hymn says is far better than I can~

1
How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?
2
“Fear not, I am with thee, O be not dismayed,
For I am thy God, and will still give thee aid;
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
Upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
3
“When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
4
“When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
5
“E’en down to old age all My people shall prove
My sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn,
Like lambs they shall still in My bosom be borne.”
6
“The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose,
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no, never, no, never forsake!”







Beautiful words of assurance of the firm foundation found in His Excellent Word.

For God has already placed Jesus Christ as the 
one and only foundation,
and no other foundation can be laid.
I Corinthians 3:11

Thursday, June 20, 2019

FRUIT PICKING TIME


It's that magical time of the year ---THE BLUEBERRIES ARE RIPE

Having made my second trip to the local blueberry farm, I may be beginning to turn a nice shade of blue.  With the promise of a couple of more trips to come, I plan to have my storehouse full of this delicious fruit when the season is over.  Blueberry smoothies, blueberry muffins, blueberry pancakes, blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, blueberry fruit salad, blueberry salsa, blueberry chutney~~Bubba move over---I coming for your record!



I have spent almost a year looking forward to the opening of Pop's Blueberry Farm.  There is usually about a month, at the most, when the fruit from the bushes is ripe.  I take full advantage of picking the fruit in anticipation of the long months without barren bushes.  For eleven long months, the bushes are in various stages of preparing to yield fruit once again.  It takes the perfect combination of rain, sun, soil nutrients, and weather to produce the perfect crop.  For almost a year--no fruit--but then when the time is perfect--BONANZA!

We are studying selected Psalms this summer in Sunday School.  The first Psalm spoke of plants yielding their fruit when the season is right. 

He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in seasons
and whose leaf does not wither.
Psalm 1:3

 We are told in The Word that as Believers we will yield fruit.  As we studied the first Psalm we all agreed the fruit we produce is at God's perfect time.  We are supplied, the Son, the nourishment of The Word, Streams of Living Water, and a time of fair weather and foul.  At the perfect time, we are ready to yield the fruit God has ordained.  Perhaps we are like the bush and we do not yield fruit continuously.  One thing is certain, man will know who we are by the fruit we produce.  Praying the harvest is plenty and the fruit is perfect.

 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Matthew 7:20


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

WHY AM I CRYING?

I find myself tearing up quite often.  There was a time in my life, I was very stoic and rarely cried.  It seems I now tear up when I see something really good, really cute, really sweet, really sad, and not just when I am dicing onions. 


 There is a deep well of tears within me and those tears spill over quite often. At times,  I grit my teeth to keep the tears from overflowing and spilling down my cheeks. My heart has softened to the point that the right music, the right word, the perfect sunset or sunrise for that matter, the sound of the breeze in the trees, the look of distress on a friend's face, and the joy of a new born child can all bring me to tears.


Man's suffering and man's joy can both bring on the tears.  Being alone and being surrounded by friends makes no difference when the tears begin.  When I am moved, by whatever the circumstance or occasion, the tears spring to my eyes with amazing ease.


God has used life and all that it holds to soften my heart and break the hard dam which previously held back the flow.  When my soul is touched, the stream begins to flow.  Beautiful~tender rivers of tears run down my cheeks.  My eyes fill and brim over as a consequence of love and grace.  Realizing how greatly I have been blessed, how lavishly God has loved me, and the wonder of this life--I now cry with ease.  Free from embarrassment, and openly weeping-I am thankful for the softening of my heart by His abundant love.   And I stand amazed that He knows every tear that falls and holds them in His hand.  He has softened my heart, He has shown me the joy, He has faithfully held me when in pain, and He has opened my eyes to the mountain tops and valleys of this life.  God sees my tears and understands why.  He has blessed me by softening my heart and allowing the tears to flow.  He has seen my tears.

"I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David,
have heard your prayer
and seen your tears.
2 Kings 20:5 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

ARE YOU LISTENING?

I have diligently prayed since I have been back in Ruston for God to reveal where He desires to use me.  I might be guilty of throwing myself headfirst into every opportunity which came my way in the past.  This time around, I vowed to allow God to do the leading.  UHHH--that requires releasing control.  Are any of us good at giving up control?  I am pretty sure man's quest to be in control can be traced back to the Garden of Eden.


Does God tire of the same prayer over and over?  Does he finally give in and answer just to get us to hush?  I think not.  God is patient and God's timing is always perfect.  In this case, it has been almost two years of bombarding Heaven with the same request over and over.  I have dabbled in volunteering here and there, but was still waiting to hear from God.


How do we hear God's voice?  So far I have not heard His deep voice or His still quiet voice, or even His voice in the wind (ALTHOUGH I would LOVE TO!).  God answers us in His Word and He uses others to answer our prayers, and His Holy Spirit can quicken an answer as we pray.  We have to be attentive and be listening.

I was recently asked to be involved in a new ministry from the grass roots.  This invitation came out of the blue and originated from a conversation I had over a year ago.  When I went to the original meeting, I was asked would I commit to be involved with a group of eager and convicted young adults.  I was flattered and surprised by the invitation.  My response was I had to pray about it.

Beginning to pray about this opportunity, I was hit over the head with a brick bat of "What Does It Take For You To Get It?"  Clearly God had brought my name up to this group and clearly He was answering my prayer by pointing me in this direction.  OH---but I needed to pray about it.  I can be thick headed and a little slow on the uptake at times.  God does answer prayer--in His time--in His will.  All we have to do is be still and listen.  He hears our prayers!

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
 that if we ask anything according to his will,
 he hears us.”
I John 5:14

Monday, June 17, 2019

AFTER WE FALL

HUMPTY DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL

HUMPTY DUMPTY HAD A GREAT FALL

ALL THE KING'S HORSES

AND ALL THE KING'S MEN

COULDN'T PUT HUMPTY 

TOGETHER AGAIN


In today's society of advanced plastic surgery and orthopedic miracles, poor old Humpty might could be put together again.  From the looks of things, he for sure will never look the same again, though he will be in one piece.


The floors are finished, I am almost finished painting baseboards, and phase one has almost drawn to completion on the great floor project.  I spent the weekend man handling furniture and trying to get things close to their final home.  Until they come back and put in the baseshoe, things cannot be placed against the wall, so though close, it is not all back in place.  I am getting close to having my home back in one piece.  It does not look the same.  I am a woman, and OF COURSE, some of the furniture and wall decor was changed with the reassembly.  With change comes change.


The April tornado damage is beginning to be repaired.  There are homes which appear to be total losses, that the insurance company has deemed fixable.  It is a slow process.  My friend who has minor home damage has already had it fixed.  Her yard, deck, and pool are another issue.  Her yard is still filled with downed trees, and the deck is sitting under a huge tree which has to be removed before anything can be done. She is already talking about some changes to the deck when they are finally able to begin work.  Her home will be repaired, but there will be changes and, for certain, things will never look the same again.


My nephew had extensive damage to his house, and still no word from the insurance company.  There is so much damage here in Ruston, that we are in it for the marathon, not a sprint. 

The repairs will eventually be done and the debris removed.  A stranger will someday drive through Ruston and never know there was a huge tornado with multi millions of damage.  Those of us, who have been here most of our lives, will know though when we drive through town.  It will be fixed, but it will not be the same.

There are storms throughout life which leave behind damage.  Life will go on, and the damage will be repaired.  The fact is though that things will not look the same--life will be altered.  In some cases, life may be better, but in all cases life will be different.  How we chose to look at the different is a sure indicator of how our life will look.

The Word is filled with examples of those who underwent life altering incidents.  Loss of home, loss of loved ones, loss of status, and even loss of first born children are only a few of those life changers mentioned.  The question always became How do you go on?  One step at a time---one foot in front of the other---with the sure hope that tomorrow can be good again.  It can only be good if we allow ourselves to recognize the good.  Life is filled with change--but God is present in the midst of all change.  He is never surprised and can use all things for His purpose and our good.  Change is inevitable.  How we deal with change becomes the question.  God is good--even in change---He is good.

Praise be to God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of all compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God.
II Corinthians 1:3-4