Versatile Blogger Award

At the end of January, just before my youngest daughter got married, I received my first award ever for writing, the Versatile Blogger Award, sent to me by therealliferealtalk.com blogger, Chanel. Thank you, I really enjoy your blog!

I’d like to nominate fifteen others. I hope they’ll be blessed as I was. 🙂

  1. Beautybeyondbones
  2. gracemusing.wordpress.com
  3. cherrydropprincess.com
  4. JeffreyHKing.wordpress.com
  5. tworiversblog.com
  6. middleme.net
  7. ashleyhearod.com
  8. lauraecpaul.wordpress.com
  9. fargaregardsanna.wordpress.com
  10. literarymoose.wordpress.com
  11. moylomenterprises.com
  12. photo-art.me
  13. chantericaware.wordpress.com
  14. raulconde001.com
  15. cafebookbean.com

Now, I’m supposed to write seven things about myself.

  1. I don’t know how to make the above sites listed into links. Sigh.
  2. I heard about Jesus Christ and God wanting to be in relationship with me and I didn’t get it for many weeks, although a high school class mate had something to say about it Monday through Friday.
  3. I’m married to a wonderful guy.
  4. I’ve worked at two libraries over the years.
  5.  I finished a novel but its lacking what it takes to get published now. So I’m thinking.
  6. I’m blogging almost six days a week, consistently. That’s amazing to me.
  7. I’m blessed to have children and grandchildren and friends.

I don’t write to win awards, but I have to say, it warmed my heart. I write because I have to write, it’s become a small part of me. Enjoy your day.

Seek God and He Will Be Found

               I’ve been reading Karen Kingsbury’s and Gary Smalley’s books about the Baxter family. Good things happen, bad stuff, emotional outbursts, love, jealousy, patience, impatience-slices of life fill the pages. These are great books if you like novels.

            In the real world, our ladies’ Bible study is reading the book of James and talking about what the verses mean and how they apply to our lives. We may bring up other topics. More people show up for this freer environment. We don’t have to worry about getting back to a topic that’s in a study book, when the interest has gone elsewhere. I always ask God for wisdom to handle questions before we start.

            One night a few weeks ago, I asked God for a Bible verse before I went to bed. I felt led to Colossians. (Colossians 1: 1-2, HCSB) tells the reader, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother:

            “To the saints in Christ at Colossae, who are faithful brothers.

            “Grace to you and peace from God our Father.”

            I loved that! Grace to you. Peace from God our Father. I need God’s grace. I need God’s peace in these days when my husband faces another surgery for the squamous cell cancer on his face I wrote about last time.

            Good verses follow, but what struck me as important again were verses 9b-14:

            “We are asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the saints’ inheritance in the light. He has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son He loves. We have redemption, the forgiveness of sins in Him.

            He is the image of the invisible God,

            the firstborn over all creation.

            For everything was created by Him,

            in heaven and on earth,

            the visible and the invisible,

            whether thrones or dominions

            or rulers or authorities-

            all things have been created

            through Him and for Him.

            He is before all things,

            and by Him all things hold together.”

            Powerful revelation of God and His relationship with us. God amazes me. I had an opportunity to go to a ladies’ Spring Event last Saturday. When I prayed with one of the speakers, a missionary I’m acquainted with, I felt such a strong sense of God’s presence. Tremendous peace. I didn’t want to stop praying, but I knew others were waiting their turn. I looked and sure enough, probably six people in line. So, I left to find the others from my group and the lunch provided.

            God says to seek Him, and He will be found. If you haven’t sought God the Father, Jesus Christ, His Son; and the Holy Spirit from the Holy Bible, you might want to give it a try. It’s the best decision I ever made, despite the warnings of persecution of God’s followers. This life is short and true believers are promised a second life of eternity after our mortal body passes away. The book of James is a practical book of wisdom, showing what a true disciple of Jesus lives like. Imperfect people obey and love God, ask for forgiveness and help when they mess up. They repent, God forgives, and life goes on with growth in relationship with our supernatural parent. This may be simplistic sounding, but how can a mere human explain the wonders of God’s majesty and insight to humans He created and loves?

https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/book/james/

May God bless you!

Strong Marriages

                   If a person wants to strengthen their marriage, they can work on the areas that God speaks about, and authors then wrote about. In Ephesians 5, Christians are told to walk in love right at the start of the chapter. In (Ephesians 5:22-33, NKJV), the Apostle Paul, being led by the inspiration of the Spirit of God writes:

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 

Eph 5:23  For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 

Eph 5:24  Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 

Eph 5:26  that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 

Eph 5:27  that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 

Eph 5:28  So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 

Eph 5:29  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 

Eph 5:30  For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 

Eph 5:31  “FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 

Eph 5:33  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

focusonthefamily.com

                  

I have a friend that got frustrated with her husband because he didn’t do the things she wanted him to do in the way she wanted him to do them. I can understand that. I remember asking a ladies’ group leader why my husband wouldn’t listen to me when I had good advice to give him. Somehow, I got the idea that I was being prideful, so I repented to the Lord. I tried not to take it personally when he went in a direction that was contrary to my leading. How many times did he give me perfectly good guidance and I went my own way? Then, a year or two later I’d tell him something I read in a book that solved a problem I was wrestling with, and he’d quietly tell me that he advised me the same way a year ago, or five months ago, etc. Lots of times. I’m so glad he’s a patient man that doesn’t hold grudges!

                   My friend spoke to her mentor, an older lady that she admired regarding faith and wisdom. When my friend asked how she could change her husband, she said, “Do you do the same thing you want your husband to stop doing?”

                   My friend got thinking. Yes, I’ve been known to do the same thing. But, I don’t want to hear about me. I want her to tell me what to do about him.

                   Her mentor said, “I want you to ignore the fact that he struggles in this area. I want you to work on this struggle in your own life. I want you to think about how blessed he’s going to be when you take care of your own responsibility in this same situation.”

                   So, she went after it with gusto. When her husband came home from work, he could sense things were different. They got talking and she told him she’d been applying herself to get rid of a habit that stressed him out. Then she invited him to see the changes she’d made. He smiled like a Cheshire cat. They had a great evening. She didn’t nag him once.

                   About three days later, she noticed he, too started working on the issue they shared. She called her mentor and thanked her for the valuable advice. My friend said that happened years ago. Now, if she goes out of her way to be nice to him, he says, “What did I do now?”

                   “Nothing,” she says with a grin.

She means it, she just felt like blessing him. They get a good laugh about it now.

                

                  To get back to our conversation, I can’t say that I’ve stopped giving my husband advice. Now, I try to ask him questions. If he says, “I know you want to tell me how to handle this situation. This is what I want to do about it,” I listen.

                   Oftentimes, I’ll tell him that’s a great idea, and then I’m relieved he’s thinking about it. If I disagree, I’ll ask him if I can tell him some thoughts I have about the subject. If he’s tired, I don’t even think about bringing anything up. If he’s had a really stressful day, I don’t discuss anything that might start an argument. If we’re not communicating, I’ll wait a while, for me it may be only five minutes. Then, I say, “I’m trying to understand how you’re processing this.”

                   Then he may say, “I don’t have an opinion right now. I’ll get back to you when I’ve had time to consider the options.”

 So, then I’ll back off. The other day, something medical came up. I tried to approach in a way that wasn’t harsh. I wanted to know why he didn’t go to the doctor sooner. I have been known to ask him to get his name on a cancellation list, so he can get in earlier, but he always says “no, I don’t want to bother people.”

 Plus, he doesn’t like to talk on the phone. He doesn’t want to be treated like a son by his wife. So, I don’t offer to call. I may tell him I was tempted to call, and then he just looks at me. Message received. After all these years, I know my husband. Sometimes, it may be tempting not to even talk to him, because I know what he’s going to say. I care for him too much to do that. So, I’ll force myself to open up. Once in a while, he surprises me. When two people follow Jesus, who likes change, and works on our character, I’ll see that I didn’t know what my husband’s response was going to be.

So, about this medical event. He’s finally going to see a plastic surgeon in the morning to have a small area of a skin cancer removed. It was teeny, tiny in July. I mentioned that it wasn’t good that the spot wasn’t healing, back in the summer. Then I let it go. His body is his body. Even though we are one flesh. Over the last two months it has gotten my attention. His, too. So now he’s going. We both know it’s going to be painful. When I asked him why he waited, I’m just trying to understand, he said he didn’t really understand himself, so how could he explain it to me.

Enough said, right?

He doesn’t really like me writing about him, but he gave me his permission a while ago to bring him up if I felt a need to. How can I write about marriage if I don’t mention my husband?

Now, I’m asking people in our church to come out once a month for some kind of marriage get together. A dish to pass, a small teaching, fellowship with other couples. I’m hoping it’ll bless marriages. I believe families are under attack. God made the family unit because it’s not only good for the people involved, but it’s good for society. I think we’ll have fun, too and God likes healthy fun. In Proverbs it tells us that laughter works like medicine. Yay!

May God bless you!

Family Days

(Note: I wrote this blog on February 25.)

            We have company this weekend. The kids want to stay one more day and it may work out that way. 😊

            It’s been unusual weather in Upstate New York. Days in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. Then, in the 20’s. A week or so of cold and then a day or two of warm temperatures. Flood warnings after huge quantities of snow melted away. Ice jams in the river from the sudden thaw caused the most concern this winter.

            So, since it seemed safe for driving, our guests arrived. With the cold weather and icy walkways, we’ve mostly stayed indoors. Board games, television shows–some Christian, card games, baking cookies, and talking filled the hours. I read chapters in Genesis when the little ones weren’t calling for Grandma.

            We were given a thawed turkey, so my husband made Gordon Ramsey’s recipe. Mmm mmm good!

            Many hands made for lighter work because there were lots of chores to keep up with. My one daughter made Turkey Ala King from the leftovers. My other daughter saw I had de-cluttered some of the bathroom shelves. She asked if I’d like her to continue getting rid of things that I haven’t used. Some items came with the house when the last folks moved out. So, I told her yes and that she could ask me what goes if she wasn’t sure.

            Three of us girls made chocolate chip cookies for dessert, and to give to neighbors and to Celebrate Recovery attendees. Chocolate chip cookies are my husband’s favorites. We’re eating healthier, but we chose to eat typical American feast-food for a few days. I’m glad to be back on track with our whole plant food eating except for one last cookie and a small glass of ginger ale.

            A couple of our visitors had tummy troubles from the rich food. They stayed an extra day to recover. They skipped church just in case it wasn’t food-related distress. They found a service on the tv. Today, they’re back home and on schedule.  

           

https://pixabay.com/images/search/family%20fun/?pagi=5&

I hoisted a two-year-old grandchild on my hip when we delivered cookies to a family. Then, last night after they left, I felt a small back spasm. In July of 2020, I experienced severe back spasms which God healed after prayer about 24 hours after they began.

            So, last night I started to panic. Before the panic grew, I asked my husband for help getting boots off. Then, I asked him to pray. I sat very still and read a book. The pain disappeared. I love it when God intervenes!

            Note to self–don’t pick up grandchildren above my weight limit for lifting that the doctor ordered!

            I hoe this finds you well! May God bless you!

Risking It All

           https://www.amazon.com/Risking-All-Womans-Adventure-Giving/dp/1700499653

I bought a book entitled Risking It All: One Woman’s Adventure Giving Away Her Income last July at Montrose Christian Writers Conference. She copyrighted it in 2019 and independently published the tome. I thought I’d read a page a day and blog about it. I read five-ten pages per day. There’s so much food for thought, as the saying goes. It’s not all about money and needy people either.

            She may write about a Scripture that reached her in a way that failed to move her in the past. I understand. I read in (1 Peter 2:24-25, HCSB) that I have been healed by Jesus’ wounds.

“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree,

so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness;

you have been healed by His wounds. For you were like sheep

going astray, but you have now returned

to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.”

            Many years ago, I took antibiotics from November through February without much of a break in between. I was trying to get over a sinus infection. Finally, I realized I hadn’t prayed about it.  After apologizing to God, I asked Him to heal me or to let the antibiotics work. Within days, I felt completely better.

            Just lately, I’ve been on antibiotics for an ear infection. Three different times over the past month or so. Last Friday, back at the doctors I found out the ear infection remained uncured, and the other ear looked worse than the first. I’m relearning the lesson from years ago-when taking an antibiotic, apply prayer to the situation.

            On another thought here, Lord willing, I’ll get back on a regular blogging schedule. I’ve been amazed at the rate time has left me behind.

May God bless you!

Jesus Said, “I Am…”

(Joh 14:5, GNB)  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; so how can we know the way to get there?”

(6)  Jesus answered him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.”

I’ve been reading quite a few Christian books lately-a coping mechanism I developed years ago. Besides the fact that I love to read about people and places outside of my norm.

#1: Daughter of Cana   -     By: Angela Hunt
https://g.christianbook.com/dg/product/web/f400/233845.jpg

A current read is Daughter of Cana by Angela Hunt, copyrighted in 2020, published by Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN. The story revolves around Jesus as He comes into the public eye. The Apostle Thomas’ twin sister Tasmin and Jesus’ brother Jude tell the story through their perceptions. I’m two-thirds of the way through their journey. At this point, Jude thinks his brother is insane and performing miracles through the dark side maybe?

Tasmin is finally wondering if the miracles are not tricks after all. They’ve both decided to stop following Jesus to return home to their businesses. Before leaving, Jude asked his brother to come home to help with a profitable carpentry job. Jesus answered him with one section of my helpful life verses during uncertain economic times, (Matthew 6: 25-33, NKJV), verse 33.

(Mat 6:25)  “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?

(Mat 6:26)  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?

(Mat 6:27)  Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

(Mat 6:28)  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;

(Mat 6:29)  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

(Mat 6:30)  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

(Mat 6:31)  “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’

(Mat 6:32)  For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

(Mat 6:33)  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

I pondered why Jude, and James, Jesus’ other brother seemed unable to believe in Jesus’ deity early on. Then, in my morning Bible reading, the answer became apparent. In (2 Corinthians 4: 4, NKJV), Paul writes: whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

The devil deceives people into thinking there is no devil and mankind doesn’t need a god. They’re too intelligent, too evolved, too self-sufficient, etc., etc. Jesus said in (John 10:10, NKJV): “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

I hope you’ll consider asking Jesus to prove Himself real if you have doubts.

May God bless you!

The Wisdom of James

My husband preached on James 4:11-17 today. I love the book of James. Just like I enjoy Proverbs. The writings that touch on the practicalities of life help me to turn around if I need to.

So, he got talking about speaking positively to others. And he quoted someone, whose name he couldn’t remember, that asked three questions. When speaking, when interacting, when I’m upset:

  • What good does it do your brother or sister?
  • What good does it do yourself?
  • What glory for God is in it?

He also spoke about a critical spirit, that if one person starts complaining and judging others harshly, that can spread among the people that person interacts with. I remember watching a “Touched by an Angel” television show. https://www.google.com/search?channel=nus5&client=firefox-b-1-d&q=cast+of+%22Touched+by+an+Angel%22

The more experienced angel, called Tess played by actress Della Reese, warned the less experienced angel, Monica played by Roma Downey not to lose her temper and act out. She didn’t listen. When she reacted in anger, it escalated to one person after another. Kind of like a domino effect.

If you want to learn some great life lessons read from the book of James. I like hearing it in small doses because there’s a lot to think about. I hope you are well! My health is better now than in the late Spring. Covid visited my husband and I and we recovered-praise God! I know a couple of folks that went home to be with Jesus. We’ll miss them and I grieve for their families. They are in a wonderful place, according to Jesus in the Gospel of John.

May God bless you!

Facing Reality

            One of the problems of writing blogs in my head—I feel like they’re typed and posted! Not so!

            And when I first started going to Celebrate Recovery to lead groups, going through the training and the 12 steps, the word denial came up. (John 8:36, HCSB) says: “Therefore, if the Son sets you free, you really will be free.”

            A way to freedom from hurts, habits and hang ups is to become aware, according to Celebrate Recovery’s advice. To come out of denial means to be open to wisdom that God gives those who ask, as stated in James 1:5.

            I’ve been researching for a book I’m writing. So, I looked into Lose It For Life: The Total Solution—Spiritual, Emotional, Physical—For Permanent Weight Loss by Stephen Arterburn, M. Ed. and Dr. Linda Mintle.  The tome is published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN and copyrighted in 2004, 2011.

Front Cover - Lose It for Life: The Total Solution--Spiritual, Emotional, Physical--for Permanent Weight Loss

https://www.christianbook.com/solution-spiritual-emotional-physical-permanent-weight/stephen-arterburn/9780849947261/pd/947260

On page 71, the author(s) tell us, “In order to lose weight for life, we have to face reality or we end up lying to ourselves and to others.”

            On vacation last February, my husband and I ate more, plus chose rich foods. He decided he wanted to follow the McDougall eating plan, which we did about 20 years ago.

            Dr. John McDougall and his wife, Mary McDougall have dedicated decades of their lives studying the health effects of whole plant food eating to help people. We tried it back then, but the pressure to continue to eat dairy and meat and sugar from family and friends got to be hard to handle.

It can be difficult to eat at restaurants sometimes. Vegan selections without butter and oils are challenging to find in our small-town eateries. Sometimes, I get tired of a salad. So, we eat out less now. We both feel much better having made the change. Just lately, with the stresses of continued social upheaval, I find myself reading books for escapism, and eating more fatty foods/sweets for comfort. Both things aren’t great for health. Reading is not moving around much. Rich foods make me tired and bother my digestion. I needed four antacids today. And sweets trigger cravings for more sugar laden foods.

            Someone left birthday cake and pizza at my house. After eating a piece of cake for three days in a row, I threw away half of a cake. The one piece seemed to be begging me to have another and then probably another. No Thank You!

The pizza upset my stomach and the cheese on it made me sneeze. Two days of indulging in the salt-laden pizza was all I wanted. I threw the last piece away because my husband only ate one slice and then he resisted. An almond milk yogurt curbed my cravings.

            The Bible tells us to do all acceptable things with moderation. I agree. I feel more energetic and think clearer when I’ve limited sugar, white flour, meats, and dairy. I get protein from rice, beans, nuts, and vegetables. Are you making changes to improve your health?

I hope you are well. May God bless you!

Wisdom

(James 1:5, GNB)

Jas 1:5  But if any of you lack wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all. 

(James 3:13-3:18, GNB)

Jas 3:13  Are there any of you who are wise and understanding? You are to prove it by your good life, by your good deeds performed with humility and wisdom. 

Jas 3:14  But if in your heart you are jealous, bitter, and selfish, don’t sin against the truth by boasting of your wisdom. 

Jas 3:15  Such wisdom does not come down from heaven; it belongs to the world, it is unspiritual and demonic. 

Jas 3:16  Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is also disorder and every kind of evil. 

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom from above is pure first of all; it is also peaceful, gentle, and friendly; it is full of compassion and produces a harvest of good deeds; it is free from prejudice and hypocrisy. 

Jas 3:18  And goodness is the harvest that is produced from the seeds the peacemakers plant in peace. 

In the beginning, God created the universe by speaking it into existence over six days. It says so in Genesis chapter one and tells more of God’s creative work in Genesis 2. It takes faith to believe such a thing.

It takes faith to believe in the religion of macro-Evolution. Both take faith to believe how everything got started. In one religion, there is love and compassion and listening to others and humbling ourselves before God and trusting that He has everything under control. In the other, the fittest, smartest species survive; and the weak dies out, and what is our purpose? Not a lot of hope there.

And no mention of an incredible eternity that is so beyond our comprehension, God doesn’t spend tons of time on it in the Bible, maybe because we’d be so homesick, we couldn’t stand being here. There’s also experience with God that macro-Evolution cannot manufacture. Relationship with God that’s hard to describe if you’re not willing to give God a chance, because He’s not a supreme Magician, performing tricks for the insincere.

He promises peace that passes all understanding. I’ve been enveloped in a cloud of well-being feelings in the midst of turmoil because years ago, not really understanding what I was doing, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Jewish Messiah.

When I’m about ready to ream somebody out for an offense, I’ll get a little nudge inside, almost like a look from Mom or Dad as a kid warning me not to act out. A gentle reminder: don’t go there. Then, I’ll hold back the angry retort and wait. Maybe the person will look back and realize they cut me off and give an apologetic glance. Or they’ll notice that the object they bounced off of was a person and not an inanimate something, and say, “I’m sorry, are you okay?”

Then, I’m happy I didn’t overreact. If someone hurts me on purpose, God gives me the grace to forgive them. They will suffer consequences usually, but not bitterness, nagging, and continual reminders; because of God. Once I process the event.

One man in the library I worked at never learned socially acceptable behavior growing up. I asked God to help me to see him as God saw him. I sensed a sister-brother kind of love inside me then. He could tell something was different in me when we had to interact. Suddenly, he relaxed and didn’t say or do things he shouldn’t.

I’d like to say that feeling stayed with me forever, but one day I realized I’d lost that insight. So, now when I see him, I am friendly to him and ask God to help me to be loving and kind in a way that he’ll interpret correctly. I set definite boundaries and pray for God’s wisdom when he approaches my car in a parking spot.

In (James 1:5, CEV), I read: “If any of you need wisdom, you should ask God, and it will be given to you. God is generous and won’t correct you for asking.”

Other versions say God gives wisdom generously. In these confusing and changing times, I need all the wisdom I can get. I’ve experienced God’s love and protection and compassion and provision and forgiveness over the decades. Jesus promised to never leave us or forsake us. I am grateful that somehow, I found out about God at a young age. My life has never been perfect. I am not perfect. This earth is not a perfect place. But God! He is my help.

May God bless you!

How Will You Live in These Times?

            I don’t know how many more days I’ll live, just like everyone else in the world. I know people healthy and active in their mid-90’s.

            Although, one lady only goes to the grocery store, maybe to her church on occasion. So, I decided to write a “Before I Kick the Bucket” list of things I want to do before I die. One thing I wrote, I want to see my granddaughter and her family. Our great grandchild arrived many months ago in FL. When I told my daughter-in-law, she started brainstorming. I loved that!

            I watched a Kent Christmas Wednesday night blog on YouTube the other day. He quoted C.S. Lewis, who wrote when all were concerned about dying from the atomic bomb. C.S. Lewis told people to get together to play games. Gather in church to praise God, hear the Word, and fellowship. I am not quoting exactly; this is the gist of his message: live while you can.

            What is the point of reaching 98 if you stayed away from relatives, friends, and church family from age 95 due to COVID? I’m not saying, “Don’t be careful.”

            What I am saying is look to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. He told us not to be afraid over 360 times in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.

            Although, prophets warned of dire consequences when sin prevailed. Then, God said to draw close to Him and repent. “The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.”

            To go back to Jesus’ sayings, He also told all believers that we are to be in the world, but not of the world. We can’t be in the world if we’re in our homes. How can people see how we handle the COVID crisis if we stay in front of our entertainment screens, hibernating?

            We are to be in the world, not of the world. We should be loving God, loving others, loving ourselves so we can function with sound minds and a sound heart-not filled with fear. Then, when we’re in the world, people who don’t know Jesus should not see us self-medicating with alcohol or drugs or other addictions. They should see some joy. I’m talking to myself here. I need to live like Jesus. Not react to life as if I don’t have hope or as if I don’t have God, Who promises to be my fortress and my strength in Psalm 91.

            Christians are affected by COVID, for sure. One of my friends said to another Christian, “You have faith not to get vaccinated. I have faith to get the shot(s). I want to go to Europe by airplane to minister to an oppressed and poor people group.”

            So far, she’s fine and so is her unvaccinated friend. I have two close friends that feel strongly that everyone should get vaccinated. I know others against the shots and against being pressured to get inoculated.

            How can Christians be so diametrically opposed? I don’t live near these friends anymore. I told one, “It’s a shame people get so divided in our country,” and we both got quiet and agreed.

            On the second phone call, I said immediately, “I don’t want to talk about the COVID vaccines because I almost got into a heated argument with a close friend about it.”

            She agreed. But when the subject came up a few minutes later, I noticed we spoke for a fraction of the time we usually conversed.

            In the Old Testament and the New Testament, God says to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. The second greatest commandment is to love others as we love ourselves.

            Love others, love ourselves. I know of young and old people who received the shot and died within a day or two. I know of many that got the vaccine and after a minor illness, felt great. They’re sure it’s kept them alive, and they didn’t catch the virus.

            We love God, we love others, we love ourselves. We do what we think is best within those parameters.

            I trust God, Who has numbered my days, to the best of my ability. I ask Him for wisdom. He tells me to live in peace with others as much as I can. That’s what I need to remember. Let others choose for themselves. I’ll choose for myself. People can avoid me if they don’t like my choice. I can keep away from them if I’m concerned about their actions. At some time, these days will pass.

            May God bless you!

Is This a Word From the Lord? You Decide.

            There are so many things I can choose to write about, and Lord willing, I shall. One is the first chapter of Ephesians, chock full of great promises from God for believers.

            I’ve been going through the HCSB version of the Bible: Reading God’s Story: A Chronological Daily Bible, compiled by George H. Guthrie and copyrighted in 2011 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, TN.

Reading God's Story-HCSB: A Chronological Reading Bible
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            Sometimes, I get a little behind. So, today I caught up by reading Isaiah 63-66, then onto 2 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 33, Nahum 1-3 and then snuck ahead to the next day’s reading. I chose to do a chapter only—Zephaniah, Chapter One.

            The Old Testament tells the relationship of God to His chosen people, the Israelites. In the New Testament, we are told the Old Testament is an example for us today. It also foretells the future.

            Some of the prophesies have been fulfilled—for example, the suffering Messiah in Isaiah 53, Jesus Christ. He will return as the Warrior to defend Israel, also prophesied in Isaiah.

            I digress. To return to the stories of Israel in Isaiah and the other books: God entreats His children to seek Him and to follow His commandments. The promises: He will pour out blessings and protect His people from the evil one. If they serve demonic gods—casting their children in the fire, seeking fortune tellers or in our day, psychics; worship the hosts of heaven; love idols: power, money, possessions, food, sex outside of marriage, status, etc.; God promises judgment.

            Yesterday, when I watched a television commercial for medicine to help with HIV/AIDS in the middle of a hot summer day when children may be influenced, men kissed each other full on the mouth. Women held hands and looked with longing at each other. God says homosexuality is an abomination to Him.

            As I sat quietly this morning, trying to hear from God after reading warnings and seeing redemptions from God our Father, this is what I believe He downloaded to my spirit:

            “Feed My sheep, the good and the bad. For bad is coming to the United States for polluting her ways. She was a bride and I was her bridegroom, but she has become a great harlot, polluting the world. Unless the people rise up and cry out against the wickedness and repent and turn from their wicked ways and seek My face, I will destroy the United States as I destroyed Nineveh and that great city, Babylon.”

            As I pondered this and hesitated, I sensed God’s impression, “Feed My sheep.”

            At the bottom of my journal where I wrote this prophetic statement out, I underlined Ephesians 1:7: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

            God longs to shower His love upon us, but as a Father, He also brings discipline.

            I told my husband, “I am not watching television anymore. “Lord, help me to follow through with that declaration, I ask in the mighty name of Jesus! Amen.”

            May God bless you.