Softball in the Spring

What a glorious day in Upstate, NY. I’m at my granddaughter’s softball game which is lasting longer than I anticipated.
Some of the parents are freezing in their shorts and t-shirts, wearing flip-flops on their feet. The breezes are picking up and I notice the cheers accelerating. “Come on, you can hit,” while some nearby mutter sincerely under their breath, “Please, Lord, help them get a homerun so we can get going!”

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Suddenly, diving sea gulls attacked a blanket for some chips or popcorn. A tall, husky dad walked over to the offending fowl and off it flew with a couple of others, to boot.
The coach’s wife removed the tempting foods and folded the blanket within seconds.
The low-flying birds reminded me of a time when I went to Florida to visit my uncle and aunt. Our family went on a picnic to the beach and as I brought a sandwich toward my mouth, a sea gull swooped down and hefted it skyward.
As I related the story, a white-winged fowl glided about two feet above my head and I let out a shriek in perfect timing with the telling of the theft of my lunch, and my kids and I laughed.
In the meanwhile, the game warmed up and two fine hits got the players on the bases and a third brought some of the runners home. The other team got last-ups and they quickly struck out.
“Thank You, Jesus.”
My oldest daughter’s goose bumps had grown proportionately to the amount of time we sat and from the brisker breezes. Then, as soon as she could, she made her way to the car.
Sports in the fresh air for families and friends is one of the marks that winter is far behind us!
“Thank You, Jesus for making a beautiful world and amazing birds-even close flying sea gulls.”

May God bless you,  friends.

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If I Get to Heaven

Sisters Summer Child Girls Childhood Cute(photo from: https://pixabay.com/en/sisters-summer-child-girls-931151/)

 

One of the nice things about my sister living near me is that sometimes we get alone time to talk about things. On Saturday, on our way to one of her favorite stores, she asked me about by last blog. “Why did you write, ‘if I get to heaven’? Do you think you’re not going to heaven when you die?”

I told her I should have explained what I was thinking.

I believe that God keeps those believers in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who asked Him to be their Lord and Savior, and repented of their sins. In Ephesians 1 it tells us that God seals His followers forever and calls them heirs of His kingdom.

So, realistically, all born again Christians sincerely loving God and obeying His commands are secure in their relationship with Jesus. Colossians 1 tells us we are already seated in heavenly places. The Gospel of John shows us Jesus’ words about belief in Him.

I’ve read the Old Testament time and again. Believers in God, including Solomon, got off track and began worshiping other gods. In Ecclesiastes, it appears that Solomon got through the depression of leaving God and returned to the faith of his father, King David.

So, even though I’m secure in Christ, I’m also aware of letters from the Apostle Paul in the Epistles of the New Testament. He told disciples of Christ to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He warned the believers in 1 Corinthians 6:9,10 not to be deceived. Neither covetous people, neither those having sex outside of the marriage of a male to a female, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, nor men behaving like women will inherit the kingdom of heaven. I would imagine women acting masculine fall into the same category.

Paul, speaking to Christians warns them if they’re living in the aforementioned manner, they will not go to heaven.

I believe Christians have free will to walk away from God, because one of the prophecies of end times is that a multitude of people will come to Christ and a great number of believers will find their love growing cold and will walk away.

The only reason I said, “if I get to heaven,” is because if I get persecuted, I don’t know if I would wimp out and reject Jesus.

I don’t think I’d do that because of God’s promises to keep His own and because I backslid once and I was miserable without God and I promised Him I’d never turn away from Him again. I understand the consequences better now-hell is worse than anything that I’d suffer on earth. Also, I’ve experienced ups and downs in life, and going through many experiences with Jesus makes the joy sweeter and the sorrow bearable.

I shouldn’t have said, “if I get to heaven,” I suppose, but my dad used to say, “only God knows who’s going to heaven.”

He said that because he saw some phonies in his lifetime. I don’t trust myself, but I do trust Jesus. If I get weak I call out to Jesus and that’s not going to change.

“I hope this helps,” my sister.

May God bless each reader!

How a Reclaimed Cedar Chest Reflects God’s Grace

I met Jill about a year ago at a writers’ critique group. I love her writing. She’s been published by “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and elsewhere.

Anecdotes from Along Life's Road

cedar chest 03

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

by Jill Printzenhoff

Reclaiming Memaw’s beat up cedar chest was tedious and dirty work. However, I was determined to redeem its battered condition.

I poured hours into removing several coats of old paint, sanding the distressed wood, and applying varnish. Solvent turned layers of faded paint to goo, which clung to my paint scraper or landed in wrinkled piles on heaps of newspaper. The hand sander kicked sawdust in the air, and the dust particles covered everything in the garage including myself. The sticky varnish claimed multiple brushes and rags.

messed up trunkNeedless to say, by the time I finished with the outside process, I had accumulated several bags of debris.

Once the outside was complete I turned my focus to the inside. After vacuuming the felt layer, the finished product was ready for use and display. I filled the cedar chest with blankets, and gave…

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Peace

https://www.iloveny.com/listing/letchworth-state-park/4625/

The first time I went to Letchworth State Park was as a child with my family.

Happy Memorial Day to those who celebrate this holiday. I got thinking about peace today, not really pondering peace among nations, but peace in the hearts of ordinary people. My husband has been preaching out of Matthew 24 about end times. Some day there will be peace for 1,000 years when Jesus reigns on this earth. Then Satan will be loosed from the prison he was in and the people will choose-God or the devil, as we have freedom to choose now. God must really value free choice or He wouldn’t have set up the world the way He did.

Here are a couple of sections of Scripture I turn to when I want comfort and/or instruction:

Wisdom from Above

 

James 3:13, (ASV):  Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

Jas 3:15  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

Jas 3:16  For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Jas 3:18  And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

 

These Scriptures are from e-sword.com:

Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

Psa 34:1  Of David, when he changed his behavior before Abimelech, so that he drove him out, and he went away. I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.

Psa 34:2  My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the humble hear and be glad.

Psa 34:3  Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

Psa 34:4  I sought the LORD, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

Psa 34:5  Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

Psa 34:6  This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.

Psa 34:7  The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Psa 34:8  Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!

Psa 34:9  Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!

Psa 34:10  The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.

Psa 34:11  Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD.

Psa 34:12  What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good?

Psa 34:13  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.

Psa 34:14  Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.

Psa 34:15  The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry.

Psa 34:16  The face of the LORD is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.

Psa 34:17  When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

Psa 34:18  The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

Psa 34:19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.

Psa 34:20  He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken.

Psa 34:21  Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.

Psa 34:22  The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

 

And finally: God Is Our Fortress

Psalm 46:1  To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psa 46:2  Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

Psa 46:3  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

Psa 46:4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.

Psa 46:5  God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.

Psa 46:6  The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.

Psa 46:7  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Psa 46:8  Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.

Psa 46:9  He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.

Psa 46:10  “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

Psa 46:11  The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

 

I hope you are well! May God bless you!

An Eventful Day

Barley Field Sunrise Morning Solar Cloud L (This was on a Shutter-stock free photo page that I found with Google, but I lost the source. It may be a USDA picture according to one site I clicked on.)

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This month, one of the days started with an early agenda.

My husband and I went to our local Gideon’s breakfast for pastors and their spouse, if married. The Gideon’s auxiliary, wives of the Gideon membership, made a small box for all the attendees and put rock chocolate in the gift container, which was really good. It looked like stones, but they were soft candy.

The Gideons want to thank the pastors and their spouses for their care and compassion for the folks that attend the local churches. They want them to know that the Gideons are praying for them and also, as the Gideons lead people to Christ, they will refer new converts to a local church.

I enjoy going so we can see folks from other denominations and one couple from our fellowship. We get to see a testimony of a believer who came to faith in Jesus Christ because someone gave them a Gideon New Testament.

The man we listened to received a Gideon Bible while in elementary school, but never opened it. Then, as a soldier, possibly a Marine, someone gave him a small Gideon Bible he could keep with him. Just before going on a life-threatening mission, he opened the Scriptures and couldn’t stop reading in the book of John. When he read about Nicodemus speaking with Jesus in John, chapter 3 where Jesus told the Pharisee, “You must be born again,” to enter heaven, it grabbed his heart.

He prayed to Jesus and told Him he wanted to be “born again,” a disciple of Jesus Christ. That young serviceman repented of his sins and kept reading the Bible, and that step of faith turned his life around. We watched as this same man, many years later, spoke to a large crowd of Gideons. With tears in his eyes, he said, “I now pastor a church and if it wasn’t for that little Gideon Bible that I carried in my pocket, my life would have been much different.”

Every testimony moves me to tears, as do the testimonies I hear of people being delivered from hurts, habits and hang-ups at the Celebrate Recovery meetings. God is faithful to help people, no matter their age, whether they are rich or poor or in-between, no matter their culture or their skin tone. He helps all folks that call on His name and humble themselves before Him.

Later that morning, my husband and my sister and I drove almost two hours to go to a funeral of a man near and dear to family members of mine. I only saw him a handful of times in my life, but he graciously invited my husband and me to his home that he shared with his wife if we found ourselves in their vicinity. Unfortunately, it never worked out. They made it our way a time or two, and we enjoyed visiting with him and the rest of his family.

He served our country, so the military gave him a 21-gun salute at the graveside. When one of the men played “Taps,” I almost burst out crying. It hit me that I won’t see him this side of heaven any more. He also volunteered for the fire department for many years. He didn’t talk about himself. All I knew was that he was a quiet man who loved his family and worked hard to provide for them.

When I spoke to my dad about salvation when I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins and for Jesus to be my Lord and Savior, it didn’t go over well. When I told him that Jesus said many things about heaven in the Gospel of John, my dad told me that no one knows who goes to heaven except for God. I got mad at him for that. As an adult, as so often happens, I began to see that my dad may have known more about life and God than I did at the ripe old age of seventeen years old. So, IF I make it to heaven, I hope to see my dad and my mom and this man whose life we celebrated, and many others who have proclaimed themselves to be Christians. Only God knows our innermost being. I mean no disrespect to any of the aforementioned people, truly I don’t.

In the prayer we call “The Our Father,” which Jesus taught, He said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors….”

I’ve always taken that to mean that if I harbor unforgiveness in my heart, that I won’t be forgiven when I stand before God after I’ve died. The Apostle Paul told us to examine our hearts. My husband tells us to examine our hearts and to keep short accounts with God. I read in a newspaper today about a 48-year-old woman who was out walking her dog, when a parked town truck—the big, highway kind—rolled down the hill without anyone in it and it killed the lady and her pet. They’re going to look into what caused the accident. We never know our last day on earth, either.

I’m never quite sure where these blogs are going when I start. I just feel like time is slipping away before Jesus comes back for His disciples and after that, this world is going to implode with evil and famines and plagues and lots of things foretold in the book of Revelation, a scary book of the Bible.

God says to seek Him while He may be found. I hope if you’ve never done that before in your life, that you will make a point to do it now. Last week or so, I kept thinking God wanted me to seek Him. When I read the Bible lately, I’m thinking it gives me more joy than ever before. I hope this finds you well.

May God bless you!!!

 

 

“I Can Only Imagine”

 

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Last week, my husband and I went to see the movie, “I Can Only Imagine”.

I didn’t read any reviews and when I heard people speaking of the film I asked them not to spoil it for me.

I didn’t know what to expect, but as a music lover, it satisfied my soul.

I love seeing people making choices in their relationships, their jobs, their education, and how they react to others.

If you have the opportunity to see the film in your area, you might want to check it out.

May God bless you!

From Creation to Confusion

 

My husband is teaching Genesis Chapter One to Chapter Eleven and he’s entitled it: “Creation to Confusion”.

Tonight, we went through Chapter Two verse by verse. This is where Adam gets put to sleep by God and Eve is fashioned from a rib or part of Adam’s side.

After Adam named all the animals, perhaps he noticed they were created male and female and as of yet, he didn’t have a female counterpart.

In Chapter Two, God speaks prophetically about man leaving his father and mother to unite with his wife as “one flesh”.

Adam and Eve didn’t have earthly parents, which is why leaving parents and cleaving together is for future couples.

The first man and woman at the end of Chapter Two were “naked and not ashamed”.

They were alone with God; they knew nothing of evil.

Next week, we’ll study Chapter Three in Genesis, when sin entered the world. The difference in Adam and Eve’s life must have astounded them and brought great regrets.

I like going to Bible studies because the leader digs into other resources. In our case, commentaries; dictionaries; experts; and of course, a thorough reading of the Bible and prayer for guidance are employed.

We decided Adam must have been more intelligent than we are now because he named every animal and bird. “How many could you name?”

One of the classmates said maybe thirty.

We guessed there must have been a huge multitude of animals and birds represented. It occurred to me, not only did the names need to be created, but remembered so he didn’t repeat himself. Yowza!

Adam lived to be eight hundred years old, so the children, grandchildren, and on and on, his following generations could have asked, “What was the garden of Eden like?”

In Genesis 2, it says God formed trees before Adam’s eyes.

So, for eight hundred years, he could tell of his personal experience with the Creator to anyone willing to listen.

I’ve read Genesis over the years. Tonight’s conversation brought some insights I’d never considered before.

That’s what’s so amazing about the Bible. There’s always more to learn.

My husband asked, “As God brought forth the animals living on land and the birds of the air to Adam, to be named, how would this newly formed man relate to God?”

I said, “He would have been in awe of God and His amazing creativity.”

When we considered that Adam hadn’t been around for more than a matter of hours, this was an opportunity for Adam to get to know God in a way we’ll never experience this side of heaven.

My husband and I believe Creation occurred over six twenty-four-hour periods of time. Adam, Eve and all animals, (with trees and herbs for food), came into being fully grown so they could function and then eat the produce immediately.

Genesis is an extremely important book in the Bible. If I don’t believe Genesis is God’s Word, inspired and given to men, then what else in the Bible can I pick and choose to believe or disregard?

May God bless you!

 

 

 

 

Seeking God

 

I went to a ladies’ meeting this morning at a church thirty minutes away and just before leaving the house, I felt as if the Lord said, “Seek Me.”

So, it got me pondering, what does that really mean?

I decided it means don’t just cruise through the Bible when I’m reading it. Ask God for help in understanding what He’s saying.

My husband says, “God is interested in two things, our relationship with Him and our relationship with others.”

Then, I figured that Jesus went away from everyone and spent time alone with His Father. That certainly helps a person to seek God.

Later in the day it seemed good to ask God to help me to seek Him.

In Matthew 6 when Jesus is telling His followers not to worry about food and clothing and needs of life, He says in Matthew 6:33 for us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.

May God bless you!

Hindered from Blogging

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I’m beginning to wonder if God wanted me to take a break from blogging. Every time I thought I’d take time to blog, my computer acted up. And I almost quit tonight when Word stopped responding.

 

I got a new computer in August and soon after setting it up, it malfunctioned. My son, an IT guy, told me to erase everything and set it up with the CD that came with it. Scrub it clean and start over. Months later, I read on the internet that the manufacturer warned new owners that they may have to empty the new computer and imprint it again with the enclosed disc. I was not impressed.

 

For the last four days, every time I started this computer, it froze. So, I closed it up and walked away. I’m using patience on real life events and the computer was low on my list of priorities. Until tonight.

 

My life is moving along without a lot of hitches, although everybody and their brother has been sick in one way or another. My husband and I have battled low grade fevers, and then coughs, etc. for at least three weeks. We’re at the end of it and my schedule allows for rest easier than his.

 

I know some folks fighting Stage 4 cancer and God is answering prayer on their behalf, others battling debilitating diseases and people are praying for them as well.

 

So, I can’t complain and I’m learning more and more that God doesn’t like bitterness and complaining. It hurts our soul and it’s telling God He’s not helping us. Yowza!

 

In Numbers 21: 4-6, the people told Moses their soul loathed the manna God provided and that they didn’t have water and food. Then God sent fiery serpents to kill off the murmurers until they cried out for forgiveness in verse 7. Sometimes I think we’re the same today. We take God’s blessings for granted and when things don’t go our way, we start carrying on – at least, I do at times. Then I wonder why I’m suffering some direct results of the negative conversation. It may be unanswered prayer, or some previous blessings melt away.

 

Then I, like the Israelis, get on my face and tell God I’m sorry and He turns things around. Praise God for His mercy!

 

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

Easter

 

Image result for family friendly pictures of people eating togetherphoto from https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eatingtogether.com%2FImages%2FABOUT.jpg&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eatingtogether.com%2FAbout.aspx&docid=1k9lLoAiFwYlRM&tbnid=fdCCcxVQdqKdUM%3A&vet=10ahUKEwjdxNKZ267aAhUq1oMKHXkGCAcQMwh-KDowOg..i&w=540&h=360&bih=637&biw=1366&q=family%20friendly%20pictures%20of%20people%20eating%20together&ved=0ahUKEwjdxNKZ267aAhUq1oMKHXkGCAcQMwh-KDowOg&iact=mrc&uact=8

 

A month ago, after dinner, a devotional on the cross and Resurrection taught by a lady brought tears to her eyes. “I never get tired of hearing of Jesus’ sacrifice and all He went through-the awful beatings, His beard plucked from His face and ultimately, one of the cruelest forms of execution. He took the punishment for my sins and multitudes of others, some of whom end up rejecting Him.”

 

Tonight, we attended the dinner in a different locale and it was my turn to present the devotional. I left my statements and Scripture references early with an open-ended question because the ages of the Christians vary and their years in the faith vary. To say they are mature Christians would be an accurate statement. Completely perfect, impossible. Only Jesus is perfect, back when He walked the earth and now, alive in heaven. They are a group of believers that try to keep their eyes on Jesus and they repent when they mess up, but they sincerely try to follow God’s commands.

 

My text was James 1:5 and then James 1:6-8. God promises us wisdom from Him if we ask with faith. Then I went to James 3:13-18 which tells us in the ASV, (which I downloaded from e-Sword.net):

Wisdom from Above 

Jas 3:13  Who is wise and understanding among you? let him show by his good life his works in meekness of wisdom.

Jas 3:14  But if ye have bitter jealousy and faction in your heart, glory not and lie not against the truth.

Jas 3:15  This wisdom is not a wisdom that cometh down from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

Jas 3:16  For where jealousy and faction are, there is confusion and every vile deed.

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy.

Jas 3:18  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for them that make peace.

 

Even when God tells me I’ve done something wrong, the idea may be firm but it’s not condemning, nasty, and/or contradictory to Scripture.

 

So, when I ask God questions like, “Father, what should I do in this situation? Is anything hindering Your will?”

 

I can expect Him to give me the wisdom I’m seeking. In the past, when I needed answers, I’ve asked God what something meant and then I’d hear teachings from pastors or teachers on Christian radio. Sometimes, I’d sense a Scripture pop into my brain and there would be the answer.

Other times, I’d ask my husband or if we were at a different church sitting under a pastor, I’d ask the pastor. God always showed me what I needed to know.

 

What about you?

 

One of the ladies said that she hears from God when she spends quiet time reading the Word and praying and listening for Him and often times it’s such a silent little nudge in her thinking that is outside of her normal way but well within the precepts of Scripture. Once she felt she should share of her bounty with a fellow-believer, but she wanted to be sure and so she prayed for six weeks. She kept sensing the same direction, give to your friend. When she gave her the money she offered an apology for waiting so long. The friend said the income came at just the right time. Our associate said, “Isn’t that just like God? He knew it would take me six weeks to get to the place of obedience, so He started trying to get through six weeks before the need arose. He knew when she would need it. He knew how long it would take me to act. He is incredible and He is gracious.”

 

Many participated, although some did not. One person said he mostly gets what God wants Him to do by reading the Word and as he sees a need before him, he’ll help if he has the means and he’ll pray that he errs on the side of grace. There are times when he doesn’t give because he can tell the person is totally scamming him and is capable of working but chooses not to. Then he spoke about people losing the fear of the Lord, how God is a just Judge, but not completely forgiving and kind and willing to slip-slide around when it comes to His commands. That brought up more discussion. God does forgive when someone truly is sorry and truly starts to turn from their sin. He knows our hearts, our thoughts, every intent, every word we’re about to speak.

 

That’s why He tells us in Proverbs 21:23, (NKJV), “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue Keeps his soul from troubles.”

 

That’s a good word for me.

 

May God bless you.