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. 🙂
When COVID-19 hit the news in March of 2020, the predictions of two million or more people dying from the disease staggered my imagination. Scary thought. The idea of healthy folks quarantining felt surreal. Acquiring masks became a reality I didn’t look forward to. Some individuals refuse to wear them for their health’s sake or because they don’t want their children to think mask-wearing is the norm.
I remember going into a grocery store early on, and I didn’t have a mask on since it wasn’t required by the governor of NYS yet. Another man didn’t have a mask on either and he looked at me and smiled and then pointed his finger at me as if he were shooting an imaginary gun. We both nodded our heads. Mask wearers usually connotate someone ready to rob a store or a bank. After he smiled again and then left, I felt a little uneasy.
As COVID-19 continues to impact our lives, I wonder if our former reality will return quickly or are we as lambs being led to the slaughter? I remember as a young girl reading a comic square in the back of the newspaper, entitled “Pogo.” In my memory, it repeated itself often and I developed the habit of looking for it. The caption said, “We have met the enemy and he is us,” written by Walt Kelly, a former Disney cartoonist.
I pondered it with my young mind. Does that mean that someday people in our country will turn on each other?
I wonder if I had the beginnings of the gift of prophecy, because I’ve never seen so much division in our country over all of my years. I’ve never seen a president blamed for so many things outside of any human being’s control.
All I can do is pray and try and take care of myself and others in my immediate circle of influence where it’s appropriate to my role in life. I’ve been reading the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations in my daily Bible reading lately. Not uplifting books, but they do show a side of God when He finally gets fed up with the lifestyle of His chosen people. He sends judgment with the promise of future redemption, because He loves His children. Their actions and God’s responses are eerily familiar.
God warns the nation of Israel through the prophets and they resist the message and keep acting in ways that upset their Maker. Burning their babies in the fire to false gods. Lots of flagrant sin. Finally, Babylon comes along, as prophesied and captures them, kills some, robs them, blinds the king, etc. Awful stuff. And at the end, God promises that after 70 years, the nation will come back to Israel and He will be their God and they will be His people.
God is not a respecter of persons. He loves to bless people, especially those that commit their lives to Him. With all the unrest in America, I’m doing fairly well, only because I hold on to the promises of God in His Word. And I’m praying and seeing answers to prayer!
In the confusion of life, I’ve lost some of my zest for writing and talking on the telephone until just lately because I’ve been spending more time in the Word of God in the last week or so. Holding on to the promises in Psalm 91.
May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His loving and protective right hand, despite the odds.
I read a Christian book by prolific writer, Gilbert Morris called Charade last week. It was copyrighted in 2005, published by Zondervan Publishing, Grand Rapids, MI. Once I started, it seemed this wasn’t the first time I perused this fictional tome.
Maybe because it wasn’t new to me, I found myself getting into the mindset of the morbidly obese main character, Ollie Benson. He weighed over 400 pounds and most people treated him like a freak. An intelligent, sensitive man about to become a millionaire.
I don’t want to spoil the story, but I began to notice some health tips interspersed where it made sense to the plot. With COVID 19, I’ve heard many individuals gained 35 pounds as the norm.
I’ve not put on much, but after finishing a diet competition ending in July of this year, my weight’s set point went up a few pounds a month or so afterwards. I’m trying to find my way back to a previous lower weight where I felt better.
I liked Charade because of the interesting characters and because I know Gilbert Morris researches the factional information. The twists in the action kept me turning the pages.
Gilbert Morris doesn’t usually write this kind of book. It’s more suspenseful than his historical novels with sweet romance included.
If you’re reading more than usual during this pandemic and in America, during the political processes going on, perhaps you’ll discover Charade, and enter a world outside of the ordinary.
My husband and I got married many years ago. Sometimes, I’ll hear couples say, “We never fight.”
I always wonder about that statement. Do they avoid areas where they might disagree? Is one partner so compliant they never voice their opinion? Are they afraid to hear what the other might say?
After all these years, at times I know what my husband is going to say, so it might be tempting to speak for him.
Which I’ve done, but I decided quickly to cut it out. That’s a surefire way to stifle communication.
Before we got married, the man set to perform the ceremony said we’d need pre-marital counseling sessions with him.
I remember the advice, “Don’t hit below the belt.” In other words, be kind.
Also, “Stay on the topic you’re fighting about. Don’t drag up offenses from months or years ago, which fuels the fire.”
The Bible says to not let the sun go down on your wrath. Get things resolved.
The Bible also says to speak the truth in love. If something is bothering me and my husband comes home looking tired and he tells me he’s had a rough day, I wait for a better time to bring up a complaint. I try not to blame.
We talk things out, respecting each other.
If we have an argument, we don’t pout for days. We don’t punish the other person for speaking up. We discuss things. If an apology is needed, we say we’re sorry. We try to stop doing what’s disturbing the other spouse. We’re not perfect!
We offer grace when the other person is struggling with something that is hard to live with, within limits. If something is dangerous, demeaning, illegal, immoral it’s not allowed in our family. Each of us has the right and responsibility to say, “No. This is a safe place for us and our guests.”
We agree. That’s why we are still married after all these years. We don’t fight as often as we used to, and neither of us like to get into disagreements.
Sometimes, it’s unavoidable and pandemics don’t help. We talk, we say we’re sorry for our part in it, we hug and we move on.
I’ve had some trouble with my computer freezing up and every time it did, I’d do a hard shut down. I learned that is bad for the computer. I had to get some work done on it and it took me a while to find someone to help.
In (Galatians 5:22, 23 NKJV), it says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Longsuffering can be translated to patience. God is working on me to develop some better characteristics. Over this last month, patience is one of them. Between the computer and wearing a mask in public, etc., etc., ….
My mom used to say, “This too, shall pass,” when things were difficult. I agree.
I know how it feels to give care and to receive help. I got blessed to go to Montrose Christian Writers Conference the week of July 12-17, 2020. On July 11, we drove a number of hours to go to a wedding. I love hearing the vows and the reminders from the pastor to be kind to one another and to be quick to forgive. I always commit to treat my husband better at these celebrations.
We went to the wedding in the evening, and then to the reception. A lot of sitting in one day. We stayed at a hotel and then joined the family at church in the morning. We found a pew and the service lasted about 90 minutes.
Then we drove to Montrose, PA a few hours away. When we stopped at a deli for lunch, we ate in the car because of COVID 19.
After getting settled in to my room, and then eating supper, I headed to an introductory lecture by one of the faculty members-more sitting.
Monday came and went with many classes, and three meals. With this pandemic, practicing social distancing in the dining area, we did not stand and interact as usual. We got our temperature taken first thing in the morning, wore masks and quickly found a seat.
When I awoke on Tuesday, after a quick shower, I began to get dressed when my back sent a jab of pain. I needed help to finish up, and being alone, I hobbled to an adjacent door. I knocked and when an instructor, Tiffany Amber Stockton answered, I thanked God!
After she maneuvered the clothes and my leg, she asked if I was okay. She offered to stay with me, but I knew she had responsibilities, so she left.
The day proceeded as the day before, but I sat and rose from my chair for the various events carefully. That night, just about ready for bed my back spasmed. Pain like I’ve never experienced hit.
I opened the door and the lady across the hall empathized. She had gone through the same thing one week at Montrose and needed to pull herself up the stairs by means of the hefty railings. She gave me a natural muscle relaxant from her chiropractor and I borrowed ibuprofen. I’m not much for medicines and their side effects, but I didn’t ask any questions except for the amount to take.
The contractions hit every three to five minutes and I froze like a statue as the waves of pain overwhelmed me. My neighbor asked if I’d like to go down stairs and speak to the director. She helped me get there. Some women visited in the lobby. The choices offered: go to the hospital or go home. On Tuesday night! Neither seemed right.
Another conferee offered to sleep in the spare bed in my room because I was warned the back stiffens overnight and the pain gets worse! Dear God. I told her no but I did say I’d call her if I needed to get up.
She helped me twice and once, at 2:30 a.m. I didn’t want to bother her. To arise from bed without her arm for leverage made me realize I didn’t choose wisely.
I didn’t hesitate to call around 7:00 a.m. and she praised me for calling and allowing her to help the night before. The next day I admitted the 2:30 a.m. blunder and she scolded me! I haven’t been reprimanded like that since I was a child. She said, “No wonder you were so much worse in the morning.”
I missed Wednesday morning breakfast and the morning worship, plus the faculty presenter before our class began. Jeanette Levellie promised to throw chocolate candies to the audience and she gave lively talks earlier on. I stayed in bed under the comfy covers trying to find a position that didn’t hurt. The Executive Director’s wife stopped in and then brought me tea and buttered toast with jam and crackers. I didn’t want more.
The pastor’s wife asking me to call her for assistance and her gentle care-even the talking to-from a relative stranger blew me away. What a demonstration of love!
Then, around 9:30 a.m. I called my friend. She has the gift of faith, which, in my pain I had forgotten. As I prayed, I thought God was telling me to stay. So, I phoned her and said, “I hurt my back. I don’t know what to do, stay or go home, would you pray about it?”
“Of course, you’re staying. We’re praying!”
Isn’t it weird when pain overwhelms? I prayed and others prayed for peace and relief, but when I picked up the phone it didn’t occur to me to ask for God to heal me. That’s unusual.
She asked me if I remembered the “Happy Hunter’s” from years ago. I did. When we held our hands on our hips and asked God to heal us, our body moved this way and that. They said God showed them. I wasn’t sure I wanted to move at all. My friend told me to put my hands on my shoulders and she prayed my muscles, ligaments, etc. would relax so we could pray the “Happy Hunter’s” prayer.
I was willing, but I admit a little concerned. Then, my hips moved a fraction of an inch to either side and I felt something twinge gently in my back. The pain was about 95% gone! I changed clothes and went bopping down the stairs. I told myself to be careful!
When I reached the lobby, some of the ladies from Tuesday night saw me. They came rushing over. “What happened?”
“God healed me!”
At the end of the week, one lady said, “Connie, I can’t believe the difference. Do you realize you looked gray with the pain? Now your face is a healthy color!”
When I first got home, after sleeping, my back stiffened some. Each day it’s better when I wake. Thank You, Jesus. I sat in a recliner with no pain today for the first time.
This last Tuesday night, a friend’s daughter called to see if I could free up my Wednesday so I could visit her mom. Her mother had surgery on Monday and she didn’t want her to be alone. It worked out and I was able to visit and bend to pick up her phone charger when it fell. Scrambled a few eggs and made toast for our breakfast. I started this blog post because I’ve had company over pretty steadily lately. She slept in her recliner on and off, so I took the time to write.
We talked and talked. She showed me video clips, and Scriptures that inspired her. What a wonderful day!
Then, I went home to see my grandson and my husband. The next week my other grandson came over before school starts in September!
My husband said, “I think the greatest miracle ever is when someone receives the Gospel of Jesus Christ and gets saved.”
I had to ask, “What do you mean?”
“For a person to turn from their normal way of doing things, repenting of sins they enjoy and trusting God with their lives and their eternity, I think it’s a miracle.”
In (John 6:26-29, NKJV) it says:
Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”
Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”
Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”
Jesus is speaking of Himself as the One whom God sent. Not only did Jesus tell the people that He was God the Son, for which they tried to kill Him as a blasphemer, but read what it says in (Matthew 4:17, NKJV): From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus’ Second Coming is after wars and rumors of wars, when there are famines, pestilences, the love of many growing cold, people going to and fro over the earth, the increase of knowledge, and many will be persecuted because of the name of Jesus. There will be false prophets and false messiahs or christs. I found most of this in Matthew 24.
And references for Signs of the End of the Age were noted in the NRSV Bible as (Mark 13:3-8; Luke 21:7-11).
Are these uncertain times causing you to look to God? In Isaiah 1:18-20, God said, “Come, let us reason together. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall become as wool.”
In (Isaiah 1:19, NRSV): “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
If you are not born again, as Jesus exhorted Nicodemus about in John, chapter 3, I pray you’ll consider it, even if life on this side of heaven is difficult at times following Jesus. There are many pluses, too while alive. God’s love surpasses anything on earth.
After that song played, a medley of songs by Mercy Me and other artists came up, one after another. I remember “Holy Water” by We The Kingdom and Tasha Cobbs started and that is a praise and worship song. I must have pressed the +50 button. Some of those spiritual warfare songs rising up got me dancing. The next one was Mercy Me’s “Even If”.
In the Bible in the Psalms somewhere close to Psalm 150, it mentions fighting the adversary of our soul. I believe I learned that singing to Jesus and dancing for Him makes the enemy flee. Lisa Bevere taught many years ago at a Ladies’ Retreat offered by Bethel Full Gospel Church on East Avenue in Rochester, NY. The ladies traveled to Watson Homestead in Coopers Plains, west of Corning, NY. Maybe that’s when I learned it.
The next song may have been “Raise a Hallelujah” by Bethel Music. I remember “Chain Breaker” performed by Zach Williams and “Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave and “Eye of the Storm” by Ryan Stevenson and “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” by Michael W. Smith.
Earlier, I was asking God, “What’s the matter with me?”
Were tears brought on by being overtired, not getting the right nutrition, because after all this alone time-meetings starting three to four a week, what was it? Or maybe a combination of it all? Company staying over for days on end, as much as I love the people involved? Reading the book of Job in my daily devotions?
Heart breaking from my country attacking itself from within. Disbanding police is the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard of. Dear God.
After a few songs, a few worshipful dances I began to realize whatever was bothering me was completely gone! Lifted! As long as I’ve been a Christian, there are still times when I don’t recognize spiritual attacks. The enemy of my soul threw salt into wounds. Looking to God, Who is in control-even if I can’t see the way things will work out for people, gives me back my peace and my joy. Repentance and then prayer moves the hand of God!
Do you ever buy a book and then take some time to get to it? Like I did with Lisa Bevere’s book, Lionness Arising? But when the timing was right, suddenly I read it and passed it quickly to my youngest daughter.
The second book, a novel by Barbara Sutryn entitled Amanda and That Boy, copyrighted in 2019 and published by Outskirts Press, Parker, CO, graced a shelf for months. Then, I felt an urgency to read it a couple of weeks ago, just before the race riots. I consumed that tome and ignored chores, social media, and most everything in my life to find out what happened next.
When I closed the back cover, a quiet thought came to me. Give it to your youngest daughter.
She looked into foster care, but the way did not open. She works with teens so parents can have a respite from their care.
This book, Amanda and That Boy is about a youngster from the projects. An inexperienced woman steps in to care for a grown child. My daughter became an instant mother when she married a man with children.
I asked her how she liked the book. She really liked it, but she got frustrated with the main character. I may not react like Amanda in this book and my daughter certainly wouldn’t respond as this believable character did, but the story got us thinking.
I asked God what He wanted me to do with the stories I’ve been seeing and hearing about that touch my heart. It’s too much, I can’t do everything. He might have said, “Write.”