God’s Wondrous Works

“That I may proclaim and publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” Psalm 26:7 (KJV)

I hear more often from my daughters than my sons, maybe it’s a girl thing. They have more words to give than their brothers. Today I heard from one of my daughters about eight or ten answers to prayer she had over the last week. She is a newlywed in a new neighborhood with lots of kids around. They’ve discovered the hours when she’s home. She has a heart for kids. So, one of her prayer requests is that she could get some extra food without spending more at the grocery store so the kids can have a snack.

Sunday night our church had a worship service and a healing ministry if God wants to bless in that manner. I always invite her and her husband to come out for it if they can. They don’t live nearby, so I’m not sure if they’ll make the effort or not. They made it this last Sunday.

They got treated to dinner by his folks at a restaurant, so after our service when a group of people wanted to attend a local pizzeria, I told them if they weren’t hungry they could join us and just have a drink. She wanted to visit with everyone, so they agreed. When my pizza came without the right crust or the right toppings, I began to eat it, but I did say to one of the ladies that it got all goofed up. She told our waitress that we needed a corrected pizza.

Then I noticed they never delivered the fourth pizza. If we bought two at a time, we saved nine dollars on the price of the fourth pizza. The waitress realized she wrote the order down and never gave it to the cooks. So, she put the order in after we were full and told them to just box it up to go. I offered my daughter and son-in-law the leftover pizza and our friends didn’t want the fourth pizza, so she and he left with a full pizza and at least a half pizza, if not more for no cost to them. That was one of our daughter’s answers to prayer.

She had story after story of God giving them things they needed this week, some just in time.

My other daughter called with a few answers to prayer this week as well. My sons call with praise reports on a less regular basis because I hear from them less anyway. That’s the way it goes sometimes.

I called my son right in the middle of writing this blog because my computer asked if I wanted to slow keystrokes down because it was giving me too many letters at a time. So, I said yes. Then I had no keystroke ability at all. Since I allowed the change, I didn’t think turning off the computer and re-starting it would help. So, I called my son, who knows computers better than I do, and he had no idea how to fix it. He said to Google it, and it worked. Praise God! An easy fix when you can follow instructions. He also said, “Mom, don’t say yes to allow changes on your computer, ever.”

Of course, I said, “Okay.”

So, I’ll stop bragging on my son. 🙂

Then, I got thinking of a verse that brags on Jesus and all that He did while living in His human body. My husband helped me find it in the last book of John. John 21:25, (KJV) says, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

My husband was quick to point out the word suppose in that verse. “This is an exaggeration,” he said.

I know that, but it’s one of my favorite verses. The miracles and teachings Jesus gave in the New Testament provide such food for thought and to imagine that there were so many more we’re not aware of from the Scriptures, it boggles my mind. What a good God we serve.

May God bless you!

 

 

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Just Write!

 

 

Sometimes when I’m not sure what I want to do with my writing time, my husband will say, “Just Write.”

Just Write: Here's How  -     By: Walter Dean Myers

I borrowed a book from another library in our system called Just Write: Here’s How! by Walter Dean Myers with the afterword by a co-author of his in the tome Kick: Ross Workman. Mr. Myers received a National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for this book and he’s a New York Times Bestselling Author of Monster.

Near the end of Just Write: Here’s How!, readers can read of the many writers’ awards which he earned! The writing book was intended for Young Adults and is such a clearly written book on the craft that I’m tempted to buy it.

He wrote on a variety of subjects and historical events over the years. The list of all his books from the very beginning in 1969 until 2012 took seven pages to compile! What a prolific writer.

As I read his book, I felt encouraged to use the gift of writing for the benefit of others. He also mentions that writing helps the author navigate through life as they learn about people and other cultures and other social classes within the same country.

He doesn’t mention his faith but he mentions his values, especially in regards to young people that made bad mistakes as immature, impressionable humans. He definitely feels young criminals should be given a chance to change and get past some wrong decisions. I agree. The human brain is not fully developed in the teen years for great decision making. The following website gave research confirming this idea:

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/teens/letting-go-of-your-teen/why-parents-want-to-control-their-teens#_ga=1.150343606.1028562498.1464103743

“According to Abigail Baird of the Laboratory for Adolescent Stud­ies at Dartmouth, the human brain continues to grow and change into the early 20s.‘We as a society deem an individual at the age of 18 ready for adult responsibility,” she states. “Yet recent evidence suggests that our neuropsychological development is many years from being complete.’”1

When I considered that Jesus told people to repent for the kingdom of God was near, (Matthew 4:17), it seemed clear He knows that young people test their limits, even in unsafe ways sometimes. I don’t think He would tell people to repent if they couldn’t turn from wicked ways to wholesome ways.

If you’re a writer from teen years on up, I think you’ll glean something from this book, even if you’ve written for a long time. Walter Dean Myers tells it like it is in the world of publishing: Hard work and revision and joy and purpose in penning words for readers.

I appreciated the personal examples of the techniques of the craft that he shared as well.

May God bless you!

We Need Each Other

 

Hebrews 11:1-3, (NKJV) says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

My husband preached a little from Hebrews 10 on Sunday with a selection from Genesis 2 where God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone so He made woman from Adam’s rib, a helpmeet for him.

By faith, Christian and Jewish believers accept Genesis’ account of God creating the world by speaking it into being. “…things which are seen were not made of things which are visible,” as referenced above in Hebrews 11:3 and here in Genesis 1: 1-3, (ESV): Gen 1:1  In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Gen 1:2  The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

Gen 1:3  And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God continued to speak the Creation into being in the beginning of the book of Genesis.

I wrote a letter to a man undergoing cancer treatments in Buffalo. In the letter I told him that some decades ago our newborn son contracted a virus that ate 90% of his liver. The head doctor of the infectious diseases department warned us that it could move to his heart or other major organs. When we listened to her we didn’t react much. “Don’t you hear what I’m saying?”

“We hear you, but we are praying,” we responded.

I think she wondered if we’d lost our senses.

I wrote this man with cancer about our experience with sickness to encourage him to hold onto God’s word even in the midst of a bad report.

Now, I’ve never been able to manufacture faith. It is a gift of God’s Spirit as listed in 1 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV), “to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit.”

I think as people exercise their gift of faith and see God’s faithfulness, it helps faith grow. But when our son battled for his life for thirty days, my husband and I believed together some of the time and many times when my faith floundered he felt confident that God would heal our son and when he struggled to believe, my faith in God buoyed him up.

As it turned out, God heard our prayers and those of family and friends. A week before he came home from the pediatric Intensive Care Unit, my husband felt sure God was directing him to tell our church to stop praying for healing, but to thank God for the healing before we saw it happen. Someone else told him they had the same impression from God, which he received as confirmation, before he spoke to the congregation.

God answered all those prayers and chose to restore our son’s liver and destroy the virus’ power.

In Hebrews 10, this Sunday my husband reminded us that we need each other. Here is part of the Scripture in Hebrews that he preached about: Heb 10:21, (ESV), and since we have a great priest over the house of God,

Heb 10:22  let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Heb 10:23  Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

Heb 10:24  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works,

Heb 10:25  not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Believers in Christ are to “meet together” not only for worship and the reading of the Word of God, but also in casual gatherings so they can get to know one another. They need to learn to get along together and to speak the truth in love to one another if someone needs correction. They need each other if some should suffer lack. Then the other believers can learn of their predicament and share from their plenty. There are lots of reasons for believers to assemble. Jesus sent the disciples out in pairs to preach the gospel, to deliver people from demonic influence, to lay hands on the sick so they would recover.

Well, anyway, we need each other, if it’s to keep from being discouraged, or to keep from being lonely, God made mankind to rely on one another, as risky as that may seem if you’ve been hurt. In addition, we need God to direct our paths and to trust Him to take care of us as we develop friendships and relationships.

May God bless you and protect you and lead you in paths of righteousness.

Revenge or Forgiveness?

 

Phil. 2:1-4 (NKJV), says, “Therefore, if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

My husband and I went to see “Ben-Hur,” the new movie produced by spouses Ramona Downey and Mark Burnett, made by Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Paramount Pictures.Ben-Hur

The movie was written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley, based on the book written by Lew Wallace in his 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, now in Public Domain.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben-Hur_%282016_film%29

It stars Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur, Toby Kebbell as his adopted brother, Messala; Morgan Freeman as a sheik/horse trainer who owns chariots for racing and winning bets; Nazinin Boniadi as Ben-Hur’s love interest; Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus Christ; Ayelet Zurer as his mother, Naomi; Sophia Black D’Elia as his sister, Tirzah; and Pilou Asbaek as Pontius Pilate. Timur Bekmambetov directed the epic film.

The movie spoke about family love and loyalty and lots more. An action film filled with conflict and violence and poignant tenderness. Jesus Christ is a minor character in the movie and for once He’s not portrayed as a “pretty” man, weak. In the movie He never speaks of hell, which was a term Jesus didn’t shy away from, and repentance as well. I found the movie stirred my heart. I would have preferred less violence, but I always feel that way when I view action movies.

I expected to write this blog last night, but my computer kept saying there was a problem with the internet. My husband checked our connection on his computer, and it worked perfectly. Sometimes I feel God allows me to face interruptions because the timing isn’t right, or because I’ve made a grammatical error in a query letter, for instance. A no-no for a writer! 🙂 So I gave up and figured I’d type another day.

May God bless you.

Knowing

 

At the end of a vacation to see my son and his family this summer, he said, “We’ll see you again at Thanksgiving.”

Everyone smiled and I tried to, but deep down inside I knew it wouldn’t happen. Last week or so ago, his wife needed to take a day off for a medical reason in the family. She lost a day at work, so now she can’t make the trip in November.

“Go without me,” she said.

“No, I’m not doing that,” he told her.

Good guy.

Have you ever known something was going to happen? When we were young and poor, having moved to Texas years ago to take advantage of a healthy job market, a local radio station offered a cash prize for the twelfth caller, or fifteenth caller. I don’t remember. What I do remember is waiting a moment or two with a solid certainty that I’d be the winner, and I was!

The only furniture we owned was a used inexpensive kitchen set and a baby crib. My husband and I had purchased a foam mattress from a store that sold foam and we slept on that on the floor. My sister-in-law’s family felt bad for us, so they’d provided us with the radio.

I was a Christian at the time, but I had put God aside for the most part. Yet He still blessed us. My husband worked hard and eventually we did get a couch and chair.

One of the gifts of the Spirit is the word of knowledge.

This was mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8 (KJV): “For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;”

Now I’m not saying I had a word of wisdom or a word of knowledge, but I had a knowing, an unshakable knowing.

I spoke to someone about this and they said everyone experiences this occasionally whether they believe in God or not.

That may be true. I enjoyed reading 1 Cor. 12 and seeing the list of gifts from God’s Spirit that He gives to believers as He wishes to do.

May God bless you!

To Clean or Not to Clean

 

I went to the library today because I had three magazines to return. I always take out three and study them in case I want to write for them. It helps to read at least three issues if not more. When I wrote down the name of the editor and checked out the masthead for query information, in the tiniest print it said that particular periodical keeps all rights to the written word so the author can’t sell the same information a few years down the line to another magazine without any chance of an overlap of readers. So I chose another magazine to study instead.

The same corporation published both periodicals, but the second one didn’t say anything about keeping all rights to the material. I checked out some articles about organizing and decorating and cleaning the house. I intended to clean when I got done anyway, so I figured those were good articles to stimulate my thoughts towards order and a pretty home. As soon as I got home, my husband called to say he was on his way to our house and could I please fix him dinner since we both had a class to attend. By the time the meal was ready, we needed to eat quickly and scoot out the door.

We had company last weekend, so I’ve been finding toys under the couch and a plastic alligator with an open mouth by the back door. I also noticed I’d tucked some clutter into an empty laundry basket that I’d intended to get to right away so it didn’t find a permanent home there. Tonight I got working on sorting through the items in the basket and recycled some papers and threw some things away and was just about to put things in their proper place, when my husband looked at the clock. “Are you going to blog tonight?”

My husband reminded me to blog and didn’t suggest I finish my de-cluttering! Wow! Genesis chapter two tells of God creating woman from the rib of Adam so he could have an help meet for him. That’s King James for a suitable companion and one that helps him face life. That’s my thinking from reading lots of stuff and hearing sermons on the Scriptures. He’s strong in his ways, she’s strong in her ways and they complement each other. My husband and I celebrated our forty-first anniversary this summer and in Genesis 2:24 it says in the (KJV) of the Bible, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

My husband encouraging me to write, me enjoying de-cluttering so much that I forgot to write, I’d say it’s happened. 🙂

 

God bless you big time.

Hear Instruction

I was reading Proverbs 8:33-35 about hearing instruction and being wise. So I checked out Proverbs 8 to choose some verses so people would know the above referenced section referred to Wisdom. I couldn’t cut any portion of it, so here it is in full:

Proverbs 8:1, (KJV)  Does not wisdom call? Does not understanding raise her voice?

Pro 8:2  On the heights beside the way, at the crossroads she takes her stand;

Pro 8:3  beside the gates in front of the town, at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:

Pro 8:4  “To you, O men, I call, and my cry is to the children of man.

Pro 8:5  O simple ones, learn prudence; O fools, learn sense.

Pro 8:6  Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right,

Pro 8:7  for my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.

Pro 8:8  All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.

Pro 8:9  They are all straight to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge.

Pro 8:10  Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold,

Pro 8:11  for wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.

Pro 8:12  “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion.

Pro 8:13  The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.

Pro 8:14  I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.

Pro 8:15  By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just;

Pro 8:16  by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.

Pro 8:17  I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Pro 8:18  Riches and honor are with me, enduring wealth and righteousness.

Pro 8:19  My fruit is better than gold, even fine gold, and my yield than choice silver.

Pro 8:20  I walk in the way of righteousness, in the paths of justice,

Pro 8:21  granting an inheritance to those who love me, and filling their treasuries.

Pro 8:22  “The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old.

Pro 8:23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.

Pro 8:24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.

Pro 8:25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth,

Pro 8:26  before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world.

Pro 8:27  When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,

Pro 8:28  when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep,

Pro 8:29  when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth,

Pro 8:30  then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always,

Pro 8:31  rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man.

Pro 8:32  “And now, O sons, listen to me: blessed are those who keep my ways.

Pro 8:33  Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.

Pro 8:34  Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.

Pro 8:35  For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the LORD,

Pro 8:36  but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death.”

I felt certain God was talking to me today about choosing a television show over spending time with Him. I felt bad about that, so I’m not making the same mistake tonight. I decided to grab a rectangular paper off of the fridge with Proverbs 8:33-35 on it. I like posting Scriptures around the house. They remind me of principles I want to follow. Occasionally the Scripture is one I want to memorize.

I love the idea of asking God for wisdom according to His wishes.

James_1:5, (ESV) says, ”If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”

I remember a Bible study teacher I had that asked God for wisdom on a continual basis for a time because she felt a need for it. I thought that was a good idea for me, too.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you!

 

Alone

There are times when people long to be alone. Away from crowds, noise, responsibilities, and even loved ones. When we’re alone and away from the television, computer, electronic devices, radios and phones we may stand a chance of connecting with God. As I’ve written before, Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth,” is one of my favorite verses.

There are times when I was alone and I was lonely. Trying to get over the loneliness, I called friends or family, watched television, buried my nose in a book, ate something whether hungry or not, or went shopping. After none of those things lessened the loneliness one day, I began singing, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” a hymn from 1855, written by Joseph M. Scriven, with a copyright status of Public Domain. The composer of the music was Charles C. Converse in 1868.

As I sang the song it felt like I woke from a dream, “Oh, yeah!”

I’m never alone. Jesus promised to never leave nor forsake us in Heb 13:5, (GNB) Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.”

In the book of John, chapter 15: 1-11, (ESV) it says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.

Joh 15:2  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

Joh 15:3  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.

Joh 15:4  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.

Joh 15:5  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Joh 15:6  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Joh 15:7  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Joh 15:8  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.

Joh 15:9  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

Joh 15:10  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

Joh 15:11  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”

All those years ago, I discovered that I am never alone. It has brought me great joy. Not that I don’t get lonely anymore, but it’s not often and when I do get lonely, I realize I need to read the Bible and talk to Jesus. That’s what I’m really longing for.

May God bless you.

Philippians Three

I was spending some time with the Lord today and I thought He might have been leading me to Phil., chapter three.

Paul starts out reminding us to rejoice in the Lord. When horrible things are happening, it may feel hard to rejoice, yet Paul wrote Philippians while in prison.

One of my favorite sections of Scripture is Phil. 3:12-14.

Php 3:12, (KJV),  Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Php 3:13  Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Php 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

How often I need to let go of the things in the past! Just lately I got thinking of something I wish I hadn’t said, and this Scripture reminded me to let it go. I confessed it to the Lord, it didn’t cause any damage. Sometimes it’s important to leave things alone and consider that we are not perfect yet. When other people lament over their parenting practices from years past, I often tell them, “You did the best you could at the time.”

These are people I know, people that cared about their children.

People that continually try to improve their parenting skills and their own characters may need to cry out to God for help as they interact with their children, but after the fact, if they goofed and they apologized to their child and tried to keep from repeating their wrong behavior, I say, with Paul, leave it in the past.

It does no good to beat ourselves up. If we’re stuck in a mode that is harming our family members, we’d better get help and remove ourselves from the situation if things are escalating.

That’s why I don’t believe in Evolution. Men and women are not animals; we are human beings not subject to instincts. We can make choices. Humans reason and worship God. Animals do not. Humans can control themselves and seek to know God.

Well, if you haven’t read Philippians, it is a great book of the New Testament. The Bible is a book that never grows old. The more I read it, the more I see things I never saw before.

May God bless you.

What to Say

https://youtu.be/6arA6Sdsip4

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman, published by Zondervan, copyrighted in 2015 speaks about Joseph on p. 34.

“’Oh no – it’s all God. Not me. And He is really something!’ Joseph knew where credit was due. God gave the talent. God gave the ability. God arranged the circumstances so he could use his talent and his ability. And so it was God, and God alone, who should get any credit for the good things that resulted.”

I’m looking forward to continuing to read Karen Ehman’s book. She’s interesting and I like Joseph from the book of Genesis. God gave him tremendous talents. He got placed as manager over Potiphar’s belongings. In Genesis 39: 5, (KJV) it says, “And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

Gen 39:6  And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”

As a young man, Joseph might have used some tact when talking about the dreams God gave him about ruling over the other family members one day. Unfortunately, he didn’t. In order to be placed over all of Potiphar’s household and business affairs, he must have learned to curb his tongue. He wasn’t married at the time and we learn later that Egyptians didn’t like to eat at the same table with Hebrews, in Genesis 43:32. So, it doesn’t seem he has any close friends. He certainly got to know God more during those trying times. He never curses God in the book of Genesis for his years of slavery and hardship. He’s an amazing person.

I really enjoy reading of the life and times of those in the Bible, ordinary people serving an extraordinary and only true God, according to God’s Word. Hopefully, I learn from their foibles and their triumphs.

I hope if I ever speak to people about God’s favor over my life that I would give God all the credit, as Karen Ehman mentioned in her book.

May God bless you.