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SELF SERVING

WHY does it amaze me that God continues to teach me?  I strongly believe as long as we take a breathe and continue to seek Him, He will honor us by revealing Himself to us.  



We have all know people who seem to always think about how anything they might do will impact them.  Self serving motivation is their consideration for any act of kindness or benevolence on their part.  How will this benefit me?  Will this serve to heighten my reputation, will I receive more in benefits than what I put out ...on and on.  The age old narcissist question of 



rears its ugly head.


Recently God enlightened me to something I had never considered before.  Even when the narcissist is acting in anticipation of gain, God is still using them to accomplish His purpose.  We all know what man intends for evil God can us for His good.  BUT, take it a step further, God can use even our most self centered moments to remind us of His good plans for us.  That totally changed my attitude about the motivation behind any good deed.  I will never look at it again as "Why did they do that?" and were they motivated because of what they would gain.  I will remember EVERYTHING can be used by God for His Good Plan---even our character flaws.  Once again God has taken me off the judgement seat and reminded me HE is the God of the Universe the Righteous Judge.  It is NOT up to me to question, but instead to accept what it allows to play out.  I am slowly learning---and He is faithfully teaching.

"You shall give to him freely,

and your heart shall not be grudging 

when you give to him,

because for this 

the Lord your God will bless you

in all your work

and in all that you undertake."

Deuteronomy 15:10

LOVE LETTERS

 




At times when a blog topic hits me between the eyes, a song may go with it.  I immediately thought of this song when I was inspired by our small group study to write about love letters.  If you are from my generation, you are welcome for having this song stuck in your head all day.  The original version was written in 1945 and has been recorded by many artists.  Short and to the point, love letters reminds us of the power of the written word--especially when it is a personal letter.

Many of you have a box filled with loved letters stored away somewhere.  I have friends who speak of keeping every letter they have ever received.  What could be more valuable-more cherished than a letter affirming one's love for you?  Is there not a deep seeded need in all of us to be loved?  The letter is the proof--the confirmation of someone's love for us.

The author of our group study is Priscilla Shirer (daughter of Tony Evans).  When I am reading the study, I do not think about the author, I ponder on the truths contained in the book.  Her quote in tonight's video session brought this all home to roost.  "The difference in a book and a letter is the attention you pay to the author." 

If you write me a love letter, I am taking your missive personally and soaking in those words written for me.  I am remembering who wrote those words and that they are intended for me.  Reflecting on our relationship, those words become messages to my very heart.  I do not read the letter as a story --words flat on a page.  The combination of the author and the words give it a special meaning--highly personal.

So it is with God's Word to us--His Love Letter to His Beloved.  As our relationship deepens and grows with The Father, His letter to us becomes not just words on a page, but words sent to us--personally.  It takes on the character of an intimate -personal letter filled with His love for us.  A very special love letter---

"God told them,

'I've never quit loving you and never will.

Expect love, love, and more love!' "

Jeremiah 31:3 (The Message)

ANSWERS

I try NOT to complain much about my aches and pains, but sometimes when they pop their ugly head up they inspire me.  


 As I put my feet on the floor every morning after stretching them, the question is always is it going to hurt--and how bad and where.  Today it was slow going, but I quickly warmed up.  It is a steady rain here today, but the wonder dog has to have his walk.  After putting on all my rain gear, we head out in the steady peppering.  I do not get to the end of my drive before I have an excruciating pain in my bad foot.  I keep going thinking it will work its way out and get better.  It does not get better, in fact I am noticeably limping and practically dragging my foot behind me.  Hero senses my misery and slows down, but he is NOT going home until he has made his round and done his business.  I am beginning to wonder what I am going to do when it occurs to me--PRAY!  Most of us do not want to bother God with the little things.  We feel as if we should save up our points and only lift those prayers for the really biggies.  We like to think "WE" can handle the small stuff.  NEWS FLASH---God is in the minutiae of our lives too.  He is unlimited in His power, in hearing His people calling, and is pleased when we give Him even our smallest of problems.


I started praying.  Within a very few steps, the horrible pain left--completely.  NO MORE PAIN.  NOW--does God give us a Yes in answer to every prayer--NO.  He does like to remind us that He hears even our minor pleas and always answers---yes, no, wait--but He answers.  Had that pain NOT left, there would have been a good reason for it continuing.  Faith comes in trusting that God tells us no or wait for a good reason. 

OVER and over I have seen God answer my prayers in my life.  He has faithfully provided what I needed, He has healed my pains and injuries, He has been by my side---every step of the way.  He is pleased when I talk with Him and even when He has answered "No", I come to understand it was for my own good.  God faithfully hears our prayers---EACH AND EVERY ONE--He is listening for us and delights in our giving Him our burdens.  Our greatest burden is never too great for our loving God to take on.  He is our provider- Jehovah Jireh.

"Therefore I tell you,

whatever you ask in prayer,

believe that you have received it,

and it will be yours."

Mark 11:24

LABEL IT

 I had a comment on today's post (two weeks ago) "Who Am I?".  This sweet friend told me a story about her grief journey when she lost her husband after a long marriage.  She hit a cord with me with this statement

"The first real shock of the reality of it all came 

when I received my first piece of mail addressing me as 'widow'.  "


My reply was, 

 "the world looks upon widows (widowers) with compassion and honor."

There was more to the reply, but this is what prompted today's blog topic.  Addressing her as a widow was not a disparaging label, but instead one filled with compassion and admiration for years of two faithfully living as one.  It is heartbreaking to lose one's life partner, but it also is a thing of great beauty to know the shared past will sustain you in those dark difficult days.


Two days ago I attended the funeral of a dear neighbor.  The common theme throughout the memorial was what a Godly man he was---a man of great integrity.  Everyone who spoke remembered the labels associated with this man.  Father, Grandfather, Friend, Mentor, Disciple, Servant, and on and on.  He was remembered for his life of faithfulness, love, honor, compassion, and so much more.  He was a quiet, gentle, humble man of God who was loved by everyone in his path.

We all wear labels.  Labels identify who we are.  




We have labels which we created and there are labels others have given us.  What labels will others place on you with your eulogy?  When someone stands before those assembled, what will they say about you?

It is NEVER too late to attach another label to our name.  Redeemed is a great one---one who confessed their sin, turned from it and changed their ways.  Faithful comes to mind---one who stands in the gap, lifts others in prayer, serves those in need consistently.  Enduring --stood firm--even when the times are harsh and hard.  I could go on and on.  The point--IT IS NEVER TOO LATE to add a label.  What labels do you desire to be given as you are remembered?

"Brothers and sisters,

 I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.

But one thing I do,

 :Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God

has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 3:13-14


LEADING ME

 THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THESE

TIMELESS HYMNS

THAT TOUCHES MY SOUL



SABBATH BLESSINGS,

DEAR FRIENDS

LULU LOVES

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SANCTUARY

 


We had a sign in Farmerville, where I grew up, as you entered the city limits which recognized us as a bird sanctuary.  A small town, like so many others of the day, which were so like Mayberry.  What a wonderful time and place to grow up!  In all fairness, you might not have recognized the sanctuary if you saw some of the local youths sporting their BB guns or sling shots.  POOR birds were fair game.

My entire adult life I have surrounded myself with a bird sanctuary.  When we lived in the midst of 5 acres of woods, I was in bird heaven!  I had feeders galore--of every type and spent hours observing and enjoying the feathered friends.  If you feed them, they will come!  I still feed the birds, but unfortunately do not have the number and variety I once had due to a lack of trees.  The hood was clear cut before it was developed and I live smack dab in the middle of it.  I have a few trees in my yard, but not near enough.  Those who live on the edge of the hood are more fortunate since we are surrounded by undeveloped land.  I do enjoy those birds who come.

Today in my daily readings, the scripture came up which explains the "sanctuary city".  If you were accused of killing someone and it was accidental, you could flee to designated sanctuary cities and escape the consequences.  There were 6 cities designated as sanctuary cities where the perpetrator could flee and request sanctuary from the ones pursuing him.  The cities would allow him to stay within their walls once they granted the request.  There were a list of rules about how this was to happen, but the bottom line is the one guilty would be allowed the safety of the city gates because he did not intend to inflict harm.  This was all directed by God.

The question might be---Did the guilty party escape justice?  Was he allowed to avoid punishment in this sanctuary city?  My question to you is ~ Do we ever really avoid the consequences of our sin?  Perhaps on the surface it appears the guilty did not get what they deserved, BUT they did suffer consequences.  They were forced to flee their home and loved ones, they were marked by society for their sin and treated accordingly, their life was forever altered.  

There are times we cry out for justice and think justice was never served by those who sin against us.  We should remember we do not know the whole picture.  There are consequences---we might not see.  Sin always has consequences---we are not the judge---we do not know how God acts.  I assure you though, there are consequences.  Do we trust God to be a righteous judge?  Are we willing to turn over judgement to Him?  DEEP THINKING OVER HERE!  If we trust God to work all things for our good and His good purpose, can we not also trust Him to be as just with others as He is with us?

"The Lord is gracious and compassionate;

Slow to anger and great in mercy."

Psalm 145:8