Living Life With Jesus

In July of this year, 2022 I went to a Christian writers’ conference at Montrose, PA. Every year, I hear the suggestion, get your own website. So, I got a new blog, connieabuckley.com. I forwarded many of the previous posts to the new account. Some I will add later.

            I’ve written a few blogs since July, but I haven’t posted them because I wasn’t satisfied with the writing. For close to three weeks in August, my husband and I hosted family and friends. He said, “You know you’ll have to put your writing aside this month.”

            And so, I did. Cleaning house, playing board games, hide ‘n seek with the grandchildren, hiking at state parks, going to local museums I’ve never seen before, plus attending a high school reunion, the time just flew.

https://parks.ny.gov/parks/letchworth

            Then, the list of names of those at the reunion who passed away was sobering. Last night, I went to a meeting I’d missed for three weeks in a row. This morning, I woke up thinking about a guy from my hometown’s stomping grounds. I wrote a letter to this stranger about salvation through Jesus Christ because a friend asked a group of us ladies to pray for her nephew-in-law. He came down with a bad case of cancer, having to do with exposure to a contaminant, usually asbestos. It’s called mesothelioma.

He’s in comfort care, so I hope he gets the letter and my friend’s card before he passes away. I always pray for salvation and for healing. Sometimes, the answer is yes. Sometimes, it’s wait. Other times, it’s a resounding no; this is the appointed time of death.

Frankly, I pray more that God will soften the person’s heart and reach them because eternal life is so much more important than the renewed well-being of our body. The Holy Bible has so many promises and instructions for physical and spiritual life. My friend’s card has a Scripture written out: “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,’” (John 14:6, HCSB).

In John, chapter 14 Jesus tells the disciples that He is going ahead of them to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house, in heaven. Believers in Jesus Christ, God the Son, are told in (Galatians 5:22-26, HCSB): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

A born-again Christian, a Messianic Jew, while living on earth is called the righteousness of Christ. Yet, many reminders abound in the Word of God that until perfected in heaven, we need to walk worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ.

So, when temptations come our way, calling on Jesus for help and remembering 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13 will keep us from falling away from our Savior. God bless you and protect you from evil.

We All Married Idiots – A Book

Elaine is a friend of mine, so I went to her website: “Splashes of Serenity” and found this YouTube presentation. I really enjoyed the wisdom from her and her husband! Laughter and insights and shared emotions, I’m grateful I took the time to watch and listen to it. I felt uplifted. God bless your day!

We All Married Idiots - "For Better or For Worse" Episode 3 - May 8th, 2022

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_v7eRX55UIs

youtube.com

We All Married Idiots – “For Better or For Worse” Episode 3 – May 8th, 2022

Dan and Elaine Miller join Pastor Dave for a conversation about marriag

Don’t Boast About Tomorrow

            A few weeks ago, I read (Proverbs 27:1, HCSB): “Don’t boast about tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day might bring.”

I had started to write this blog, “One never knows what a day will bring.”

            Then, I happened to read Proverbs 27. A couple of weeks prior, when I had started to write this blog, I got a sharp pain. In what seemed like a miracle to me, I called the doctor and they got me in within a few short hours. Someone had cancelled their appointment that day. I followed the physicians’ instructions and then began to heal up.

            So, flash forward to this week. My husband tells me that my daughter is planning to come visit. My routine just got some additional chores added on. I took a large sheet of paper, put days available to clean or de-clutter as the need may be. Stood in the room to choose the most important spot to begin at. I chose three activities for each day amounting to 15 minutes or more. I put rows under each heading with the tasks listed. I thought, why haven’t I done this before?

            It made a neat little chart. Priorities easy to see. If I do one from another day, it doesn’t matter. Just so they get done by the estimated day of arrival.

            God has been helping me with the everyday stuff and the gardening. I felt as if God told me to give my mess to Him when I stood in a spare room that got taken over by piles of paper and books. Feeling overwhelmed, I sensed His still, small voice. “Okay, Lord, I give my mess to you,” I prayed.

            Somehow, I’m noticing what needs to be picked up or put away. Then, I’m just doing it. Not perfectly, but there is improvement. I took a few books to the library last week to donate. I started to put some clean clothes in a drawer. It felt crowded. So, I pulled them all out, refolded the items, put like colors together, and put a few in the give away bin. Easy peasy. Praise God! I’ve learned once again, I never know what a day will bring.

            I hope you are well. May God bless you!

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!