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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

Thursday, June 13, 2019

FRAME IT

The floor project is FINALLY drawing to a close this week.  Remodeling is always NO FUN!  Trying to live in and around your house being updated is a bad dream of chaos!  Once I saw the floor in, it quickly became apparent the baseboards needed painting.  The effect of the nice new floor was quickly diminished when you are staring at nicked and dingy baseboards.  Deciding I could do this myself, I began by painting those baseboard which will have large pieces of furniture in front of them.  Immediately I saw how this accentuated and framed the new floor.



The crown molding and baseboards create a frame for the wall and are the finishing touch to a well built house in my mind.  I always looked at the molding when I was searching for a home.




The baseboards can range from the plain, such as the ones in my house or the elaborate such as the one above.  My crown moldings are much more elaborate which draws the eye up and makes your ceilings look higher.  A creative trick of the eye to provide the finishing detail of a room.



Walls with no moldings are considered to be more contemporary.  The look is supposed to be cleaner and more simple.  The downside is the finishing of the walls and flooring has to be done correctly and errors will be glaringly apparent.

SO--where could I possibly be going with this?  What frames us and what kind of shape is our frame in?  Back to the armor of God~are our shoes of peace and helmet of salvation bright and shiny?  Do we have dents and dings in our helmet and scuffs on our shoes?  Have we bothered to take care of the armor God has given us?  

My mother was always after us to shine our shoes everyday.  You could walk out the door in a brand new outfit and everyone miss the new duds for looking at your scuffed shoes.  If your hat is dirty and your shoes are scuffed, the outfit will be missed.  The frame is an indication of the integrity of the whole.

SO--take care of your armor.  Shine it daily with the truth of the Gospel.  Anything which is important to us, we will care for.  Our shoes and helmet frame our character~so don't walk out the door without tending to your frame--through time in The Word and in prayer.  Frame yourself with the purity of the Gospel and the love of Christ will shine through out the whole.

Do all this in prayer,
asking for God's help.
Pray on every occasion,
as the Spirit leads.
For this reason keep alert 
and never give up.
Ephesians 6:18

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

GOOD AND EVIL

While in Fort Worth, one of the things we did before bedtime was watch a movie or part of a movie.  The kids wanted me to see this~



Their mother has read all these books to them and now they have seen the movies.  I am not much a fan of fantasy literature, but who could say No to those cute things? 

There is a segment of "The Church" who frown upon this literature because of the wizard theme.  Personally, I think as long as you are taking it for what it is~fiction~there is no danger in reading the books or watching the movies.  The danger begins when we begin to dabble in the dark side.



The movies are well made and I have decided to now read the books before watching the remainder of the movies.  The author is an absolute literary genius.  The first billionaire author, J K Rowling, weaves a tale that keeps you turning the page and wondering what is coming next.  The characters are well formed and the relationship between them is the connective tissue of the tale.  The bottom line of the story is the ages old war between good and evil.  At the end of the first two movies, and I assume everything I have yet to read and watch, good triumphs.  I came away intrigued and amazed that we never seem to tire of the good/evil theme.  Does this possibly tell us something about mankind?




What I see is that even those who are not Believers are willing to admit there is good and evil in the world.  What we might not agree upon is how good and evil got its start.  Are we to believe that good and evil just evolved?  If there is no Satan, where did evil come from?  Is man born inherently good or evil?  How do you explain the existence of good and evil without addressing where we came from?  

NOW--before you panic, I did not launch off into a deep theological discussion with the grands.  We did talk about good men and bad and the consequences of being bad.  The whole point of the blog is not ~to watch or not watch Harry Potter.  The point is the existence of good and evil from the beginning of time.  The point is man's fascination with the age old plot and his desire for good to triumph.



I believe it was Solomon who told us "There is nothing new under the sun" and this book is another good example.  As far back as Adam and Eve, man has struggled to do what is good.  Sadly we are easily tempted by the allure of the "Fool's Gold" of evil.  What looks bright and shiny quickly tarnishes to dull and black when we allow ourselves to be drawn to the dark.

"Harry Potter" master wizard and champion for good--the age old story of man's struggle to conquer evil.


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood,
 but against the rulers, against the authorities,
 against the cosmic powers over this present darkness,
 against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Ephesians 6:12

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

BE WHO YOU ARE


One of the things we did while I was in Fort Worth was go to the movie.  They make these seats WAY too comfortable.  Turn down the lights, cool air blowing, feet up and head back often leads to a nap.  The movie kept me wide awake and spell bound, so thankfully no nap after purchasing a ticket.




"Aladdin" has been re-done and the new and improved version did not disappoint.  Will Smith was superb as The Genie.  The age old story has been made and made again with success.  There are new characters this time around, additions to the story, a little touch of feminism, and a new song to name a few of the changes.

As with most stories, the message remains the same.  The story revolves around boy meeting girl and falling in love, boy changing who he is in an effort to get girl, boy losing girl after the truth comes out, and finally boy learns lesson and sacrifices himself for the sake of the girl.  OF COURSE, he wins the girl in the end---IT'S A MOVE---but not without learning a great lesson.  Be true to who you are!

I would dare say I am not the only one who has tried to fit in by morphing into the image of those I am around.  We are created with a need for relationships and this drives us to seek the companionship of others.  Especially for those of us with less self confidence, we have a tendency to strive to please, to adapt to our surroundings, to conform to the norm in an effort to be accepted.  Rejection is a bitter pill to swallow, and we often allow ourselves to be blown by the wind of status quo in an effort to maintain our relationships.  This tendency will almost always jump up and bite us in the rear.  Though we may try our best~our true colors are going to show at some point. (Remember the movie "True Colors"?~LOOSE ASSOCIATION!)

I spent most of my life trying to be the person others wanted me to be.  THAT, My Friends, is an impossibility!  The person others want us to be is a moving target and impossible to hit!  FINALLY I have realized I need to be who I am and be true to that identity.  As Popeye so eloquently put it, "I yam what I yam!"  Poor Aladdin--he almost lost the woman of his dreams by pretending to be someone he was not.  All along she would have loved him--no matter how poor he was and even without being a prince--if he had only had faith in himself.

Here is a bombshell for you--there are spiritual imposters among us.  How do you recognize an imposter?  When what they are saying or doing does not line up with scripture, they are an imposter.  Webster tells us an imposter is 

a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others

Beware of the motivation for deception~it is always for personal gain.  So be careful of what you believe--line up what you are hearing with the golden yardstick~the measure of God's Word.  If it does not line up---flee---and be true to who you are--A Child of God.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit,
but test the spirits to see whether they are from God,
for many false prophets have gone out into the world.
I John 4:1


Monday, June 10, 2019

LOVE LETTERS

If I EVER figure out how my brain works, it will be a miracle.  There is never a direct route from A to B.  Instead I head off in one direction and take detours, pig trails, and wrong turns over and over.   A straight line is for those who enjoy using rulers--I prefer tape measures.  The tape will bend, twist, and turn on the way to the point to be measured--a ruler---a boring straight line!  The ultimate outcome is a blog, but how I manage to get there is a complete a mystery of navigation.




I often listen to sermons while traveling alone.  As I returned from Fort Worth, I found Dr. Robert Jefferies on KLOV.  His topic was one of the seven essentials for being a disciple.  Prayer was number two on the list and the topic of today's message.  HOW did I get from prayer to love letters?  Let me try and explain.



One of the pointers Dr J gave was writing your prayers.  As I began to mull that over, I realized I often write my prayers~after all~obviously I tend to do a lot of thinking when I write.  Somehow I went back in time and thought about the love letters I have written and received over a life time.  From there I began humming this song, from my past~





Stay with me here~ I tend to be a master at loose association.  As I strolled down Memory Lane, I remembered all those notes written in school that were passed to the latest boyfriend.  A precursor to love letters, these are the innocent notes from early childhood.  It is especially humorous to remember those notes passed  for your benefit.  An innocent third party will write a note to the object of your interest~

something like---X likes you--check the box YES o NO o if you like her.  

Sophisticated!  Actually this was the original dating software!  We were ahead of our times!  At any rate, before love letters came notes.

THEN you were older and wiser~more mature!  This led to the simple form of love letters.  Declaring your undying love and promising to follow X to the ends of the earth.  Sadly words were carelessly thrown around and those letters you wished you could get back are now in the hands of the object of your temporary "Like".  I remember letters being returned in one case as a sign of the FINAL breakup!

Finally along comes the person of your dreams.  Those love letters were keepers!  You poured out your heart not only verbally, but also committed it to paper.  You were communicating all your secrets, hopes, desires for your relationship.  Promising eternal love and faithfulness, you gave away a piece of your heart with each and every letter.  With each letter, you revealed more of yourself, and communicated at a deep level who you were and your hopes for the relationship.

NOW, circle back with me to written prayers.  They are the epitome of love letters to the One who loves you best.  The One who is faithful.  As you write letter after letter, you begin to open up and reveal Who you are.  You are lead to compare the fact of who you are with who God wants you to be.  Your heart is softened and slowly molded as you write letter after letter to Your love.

Dr J is absolutely correct, prayer is essential to your relationship with God.  What kind of earthly relationship could you have if you did not communicate?  The more communication~the deeper the relationship is a certainty.  Without open and honest communication, a relationship will become distant and strained.  If you love someone, you relish and desire the two way communication.  When we sit and write our prayers, they become love letters from our deepest soul.  AND He has written us a wonderful, intimate, personal love letter.  It bears reading and rereading over and over as we grow to know Him and learn to love Him deeper and deeper.  "Love letters straight from my heart."

Be persistent and devoted to prayer,
being alert and focused in your prayer life
with an attitude of thanksgiving.
Colossians 4:2 (AMP)

Thursday, June 6, 2019

THE TRAINER

I have given "The Trainer" a rest for a while, but I am still attending the torture
training session faithfully.  In a year's time, I have seen significant muscle increase, and have slowly increased my strength and endurance.  The proof was in the pudding this last hiking trip when I managed to keep up.  I walk away from each session knowing I have worked hard but not hurt or exhausted.  In a year's time, I am a year older, but much stronger.


Chad KNOWS HIS STUFF!  I never do the same workout--even after a year--I am always surprised.  AND he does not listen to my whining, nor my NO'S!  He encourages, prods, pushes, and, most important, makes me believe I can be better!  He speaks truth~ when I stupidly asked how to get the fat off my middle, he told me to cut out the carbs in my diet.  NOW--that ain't gonna happen--I'll just have to deal with a roll--but he gave the the truth.  

I laugh and tell people it takes a team to keep me going these days, Chad is an important member to the team.  Every visit, he stretches my hip~IT ALWAYS helps!  I have decided I could do without other things, but my trainer is a must.  I believe in his abilities so strongly that I talked my brother into going to him too.  If you see me, and ask, I will try to convince you too!

We all need mentors, encouragers, truth tellers, affirmers in our lives.  It is important to surround ourselves with those who will help us be the best we can be.  Just as Chad serves as my physical mentor, I have spiritual mentors in my life.  Those I can look to for wisdom, truth, and direction as I strive for sanctification.  What a gift to have women in my life who take the time to feed me, strengthen me, and encourage me in my spiritual life.

So it goes ~ up and down the line---we are encouraged and we can encourage.  There is always someone who knows more than we do and someone we could teach.  What a gift to be taught and what a blessing to be charged with teaching.  There is no hierarchy more important  What has been poured into us overflows and spills over on those around us. 

The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also
2 Timothy 2:2


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

THE QUESTION

Beware, unsuspecting men when you are asked by anyone of the female persuasion~

Does this dress make my butt look big?

NO MATTER if they need a hand cart to haul that appendage behind them---

DO NOT

admit that perhaps there rear appears a little large in this dress.  That yes will haunt you for the remainder of your days.  AS IN--each and every time you try to compliment the same woman---she will remind you of the three letter colossal mistake when you distractedly said, "Yes."

We should all learn when we ask loaded questions, we need to be prepared for brutally frank answers.  Answers which will perhaps echo in our collective memories for the remainder of our lives.  

"Should I do this?"    NO--you are not prepared to handle the stress.

"How do you like our new house?"   You will NEVER get your money back.

"How about my new shoes?"  You left good taste at home when you bought those.

"What do they have that I don't?"  Where should I start.

Unless you are prepared to hear the truth---even from a flawed human perspective ----DON'T ASK!  Someone is always more than willing to shoot you between the eyes!

The key to asking questions is not the question, but who you are asking for answers.  If you are asking the wrong person, you can expect to get the wrong answer.  The answer you did not want to hear, but will stay indelible printed on your memory.  BUT if you ask a trusted mentor and confident, you can expect to hear truth.  How you handle the truth is crucial.  Did you really want the truth or were you looking for affirmation?  Were you really seeking to improve yourself, to grow, or can you even handle the truth?

SO, when I begin to question God, when I begin to ask what He wants me to do, when I ask why me,  when I ask Thy Will, I need to know that God will answer.  The answer is never according to my will and most of the time is not what I wanted to hear, BUT GOD--He is truth, He is faithful, He is omniscient, and He hears my questions.  Be prepared when you ask, He will answer and let the refinement begin.

"And I will bring the third part through the fire,
 Refine them as silver is refined,
 And test them as gold is tested They will call on My name,
 And I will answer them;
 I will say, 'They are My people,
' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
Zechariah 13:9

Monday, June 3, 2019

MARKERS

Life is filled with markers.  I love those historical markers you see along the highways and byways.  A good friend recently posted a picture of their visit to this historical marker in adjoining Bienville Parish~


Bruther Len and Beautiful Cindi from Indie visited the site the Fearsome Duo of Bonnie and Clyde were killed on the anniversary of their date with destiny.  This site is NOT easy to find.  Hidden on the back roads, you have to be looking for it to find it, and even then it is easy to get lost on the way.

You do remember the adventure trip last year on the Third of June---a dusty delta day~


The bridge over the Tallahatchie River made famous by Bobbie Gentry's ballad about Billy Joe McCallister's swan dive into Southern Country fame.


And then there are those markers which signify someone has gone on before us.   We see cemeteries filled with these markers and sometimes find ourselves silently standing in utter disbelief that our loved one is no longer here.


When Lot's wife turned back, looking with longing for the life she had known in Sodom, she became a marker in the desert.  A reminder of how our hearts can become enamored with things of this world or the life we once had.  Entrusting our present and future to Jesus becomes difficult when we become stuck in the past.  We become a marker denoting the day we stopped moving forward and became stuck in the "If Only".  



What a beautiful gift our past can be.  Remembering with thankfulness all that has been is God honoring.  BUT--He has given us today--and perhaps many more tomorrows.  It is our choice to make the most of the gift of the time we have been given or become a marker denoting What Life Could Have Been---IF ONLY~ we had chosen to continue to trust Jesus.  Refusing to become a marker and continuing down the trek, we are honoring God and trusting His plans for us-a plan of hope.  Our history is important, but what is most important is the present--and how we use the gift of today.

There is surely a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
Proverbs 23:18

  



Sunday, June 2, 2019

TRUST IN YOU

WHAT BETTER WAY

TO BEGIN

THE SABBATH

BUT WITH GOD'S WORD




SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS