Wisdom

(James 1:5, GNB)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May God bless you!

How Will You Live in These Times?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            May God bless you!

Comfort at the Expense of Freedom?

            I got a letter from a ministry concerned about the education of American children. Changing history, skewing the amount of racism prevalent at the founding of our country. I come from Upstate New York-part of the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves. People helping people despite the risks.

            My oldest daughter said, “How can America be racist now and vote in an African American president not that long ago? Just because I’m white doesn’t mean I’m racist.”

            Another thing this ministry letter said, “A majority of college students are for Socialism and Communism.”

            I recently read a book copyrighted in 1992 by T. Davis Bunn, entitled The Amber Room, published by Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN. I’ve read Mr. Bunn’s books for years and met him at a writers’ conference in Montrose, PA where he spoke to prospective authors.  

https://pictures.abebooks.com/isbn/9781556612855-us.jpg

He researches his fiction through historical documents, books, internet, interviewing experts and visiting the locale of the literature’s setting.

            The Amber Room delves into the history of valuable antiques in Europe and Russia. Also, some of the detrimental effects of living under a Communist regime in East Berlin before and after the Wall came down. The lives of the people and their perspectives came through the story startlingly clear.

The Amber Room is the sequel to Florian’s Gate and the second tome begins with romance and an introduction to an antique collector looking for clues professionally and personally.

            When I got done, I thought every college student who thinks Socialism and Communism is better than our American system of government-a Republic-well, they should read this book. I have neighbors who moved here from Russia and I met them a few years back when they purchased their house near us.

            When I mentioned a historical document concerning their leader, Stalin, the father hung his head. “That was not the best time for our country.”

            Last year, I read online that the richest group of immigrants in the United States are from Russia. Perhaps because of their lack of hope in the past. My neighbors put in a vegetable garden, planted fruit trees and then flowers for beauty. They worked hard.

            The Apostle Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 3:10 that those who will not work, neither should they eat. I don’t know if Americans think the government can take better care of themselves than they can. Perhaps they’re not checking out history books and science fiction, like George Orwell’s book, 1984, copyrighted in 1949 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0452262933/ref=rdr_ext_tmb           

Our forefathers fought the American Revolution in bare feet in the winter and had days of starvation because of the lack of supplies. They fought for freedom we seem to be willing to give away.

            I keep praying to God to wake us up and to help us before we find ourselves under dictators who took power because American citizens are fighting each other. Jesus said a house divided against itself cannot stand.

            Communist countries have rich rulers; middle level managers and spies and prison wardens and enforcers, and the lower tier are oppressed people working hard to support the system. If you don’t believe it, ask refugees that stole out of Cuba or find people who made it out of Eastern European countries and Russia once Communism fell. The transition out of Communism isn’t easy, either.

            The Amber Room is a story showing reality and possibilities, and the bad and good in history. As Tiny Tim said in the movie “Scrooge,” “God bless us, every one!”

            “Please!”

            Jesus came to set mankind free, no matter the government over them. I love being a Christian. I also appreciate living in “the land of the free…”.

            As I see America’s freedoms slipping away, my prayer is people will wake up before their choices get stripped away under a totalitarian government.

Charade

Charade by [Gilbert Morris]
(This image is from Amazon.com.)

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.

May God bless you!

“I Know the Plans I Have for You,” Says the Lord

I’m feeling overwhelmed today because my schedule is off and I’m missing friends. I made a list of activities to do on a four-quadrant sheet from 10 time management choices that can change your life by Sandra Felton & Marsha Sims, © 2009. It was originally published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, MI. Spire Edition published a paperback in 2015, and the quadrant paper is described on pages 128 and 129.

Ten Time Management Choices That Can Change Your Life by [Sandra Felton, Marsha Sims]

https://www.amazon.com/Time-Management-Choices-That-Change-ebook/dp/B00MBTYBW6

It helps me when I’m having an overloaded schedule. So, I prayed today, “God, what would You have me to do?”

I decided to finish a quilt today for a baby, which I started months ago. Two of my three attempts at it went wrong. That’s when I got wondering if I chose the wrong thing to put my hand to. Then, “write” came to mind. So, I put the sewing away.

I’ve been reading Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere, copyrighted in 2010, published by Waterbrook, New York, NY.

 Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World   -     By: Lisa Bevere

Lioness Arising: Wake Up and Change Your World   -     By: Lisa Bevere

https://www.christianbook.com/lioness-arising-wake-change-your-world/lisa-bevere/9780307457790/pd/457790

I bought it over a year or more ago in Hobby Lobby, prompted by the Holy Spirit. Then last week, I read a book by Brock and Brodie Thoene, copyrighted in 1997, the first novel in The Galway Chronicles about people’s lives in Ireland, Only the River Runs Free.

Only the River Runs Free (The Galway Chronicles, #1)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30053.Only_the_River_Runs_Free

Between reading the Bible and these two books, I got stirred up! God is a miracle-working God and He has a plan for every person’s life. (Jeremiah 29:11 ASV): For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith Jehovah, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you hope in your latter end.

Why did I choose to write out a four-quadrant list a few days ago? Because I wasn’t sleeping, I got up to talk to God and I felt as if He directed me to do about 10 different things.

At 1:20 a.m. I’m jotting down short sentences. “I want you to go to the store and buy grape juice to have communion with your friend.”

After a few more directions: “Make a list, and keep it before you-work your list. I will help you.”

Which I did and got some things done. Did I do it today? No, and then I felt down after reading Facebook earlier in the day. Maybe that’s why I’m writing, to be reminded of God’s plan for me today.

I know one thing, as I’ve been writing and typing, “Jesse Duplantis Live with Sid Roth” on YouTube has been airing, with two other men at the end of the presentation. I’ve been blessed watching that program, from 2017, I think, for the first time. I feel better when I include God in my plans.

May God bless you!

Why Does God Love Us?

Sometimes I wonder why God loves me. Maybe I see my negative traits instead of the positive ones. Maybe it’s because of the society I was born in. “Why do something if you can’t do it right?” was a statement in our household growing up, or something to that effect.

So, I lost my keys again. I wonder how many times I’ve lost my keys over the years. I don’t like it, but I don’t worry until about day three. I hesitate to ask my husband if he’s seen them, because he really doesn’t like it. I told him I misplaced the keys this morning, and he’s asked me at least five times if I’ve found them yet.

I canceled my trip to the library to really look for them. I called the pizza place he drove us to last night to see if they were there. They have a huge lanyard on them. I used to hang them up religiously, but lately they’ve been cozying up with my gloves in whatever coat I happened to wear that day. I fish them out of the coat and think, next time hang them up. But once I slide down that slippery slope of neglect, it snowballs.

I hurt my shoulder today, really bad. Exercised without warming up or it’s old age or I held it in an awkward position. I could hardly drive with our set of spare keys. I tried to keep it still and steered the car with my less used arm. I texted by voice. So, even though I know my husband is having a really busy day and he was about to leave for another appointment, I stopped at church to ask him to pray for my shoulder. He did, but it was short and to the point and he asked about my keys, again.

So, even though I knew they weren’t there, I looked throughout the church for the missing items. And I tried not to cry. I ran an errand and came right home. I looked for the tenth time and prayed and felt as though the Lord said to blog. I also took time to text my husband to thank him for praying, because the excruciating shoulder pain left. He told me God is good, he is not.

God loves us whether we’re stinkers or selfish or inconsiderate, etc., etc. I thanked God for healing my shoulder and I asked Him why He loves me when I keep struggling with some of the same things. He said, “Because I love you.”

I love my kids even when they’re not perfect, so intellectually, I get it. But to receive unconditional love blows my mind. When I find the two blogs I wrote out and one I really liked, I will plan to post it or maybe them. Why I’m losing track of things outside of the norm is beyond me, but God knows. I am getting lots done in other areas. Maybe I’ll try and be grateful for the progress I’m making and thank God for His help and for His unconditional love and relax in the fact that I’ll find the keys. I always do, even when I left them in VA on my way home to NY.

May God bless you!

A Change in Techniques

I just got back from TN tonight. I went down to attend my granddaughter’s wedding, which was simple and relaxing and great! Our family stayed for a few days before and after, so once again I fell behind in blogging.

I decided with all the holidays and trips here and there being scheduled, that I would publish snippets of favorite things.

Here is a poem on a parchment gift from close friends with a matching Scripture:

The Grace of God

will enable you to be

what He made you to be

and do what He has called you

to do.

Then, there’s a pretty feather for effect.

Then, the Scripture:

“The one

who calls you

is faithful and he will do it.”

1 Thessalonians 5:24

May God bless you!

Old Men and Women Shall Dream Dreams

In the book of Joel there is a Scripture about the elderly dreaming dreams when the Spirit of God pours out His Spirit. It’s in Joel, chapter two, verse twenty-eight.

Today, when I thought about an older spoon I chose to stir my tea, wondering if it’s a cancer risk to use it, felt sure that God’s still small voice said, “Do I not see you and have I not taken care of you?”

I answered Him, “Yes, my God,” which reminded me of a dream from the other morning, a warning. An unsettling series of pictures and reactions.

I dreamt before waking up the other day. A dog-like creature in a cage with black severe eyes. Pointy ears, long pointy snout, and a very long tail, I knew it was Satan.

Before long, I became accustomed to him. He was out of the cage and some of my dread of him was gone.

Later, he’s rolling in the grass and I’m walking along looking at him acting harmless. Then, I woke up!

I felt alarmed that the most evil creature in all of creation whom Jesus said about in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy,” that creature felt so familiar.

Jesus continued to say in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

God is loving, strong, compassionate, and speaks clearly in Joshua 24:15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

In verse 20 of Joshua, chapter 24, God says through Joshua, “If you forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.”

God has blessed America so much over the years, it’s rather incredible. Not that everyone is well off, we have our poor in America. When the Pilgrims came to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean from England via Holland, they were escaping from persecution for their Christian faith. They dedicated this continent to God and found friendship and help to live from the Native Americans that occupied the land before them. Thus, we celebrate Thanksgiving the last Thursday in November as a remembrance of God’s grace in keeping them alive.

Today, when visiting my daughter, she was listening to a report from Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. He described a temple built in New York City dedicated to Baal, one of the gods warned against by Joshua! Baal followers threw their children in the fire to their “god” Baal.

Americans have thrown babies and some of their moms to their death, so to speak, in abortion clinics across the land. God became furious with the Jewish people for leaving Him to follow false gods and for burning up thousands of their children to serve Baal. Imagine how He feels about Americans that have murdered over 63 million babies to the god of convenience, our own Baal.

The Israelis found themselves captured by aggressive, harsh captors and taken an incredible distance to ancient Babylon. Will Americans wake up and repent and return to a gracious, merciful God or will they rebel against God, ignore the enemy of our souls and suffer under the hands of conquerors?

After my dream of the other day, I sought God today as I haven’t for a while. Not that I haven’t been praying and reading Scripture, but today I quieted down to listen and to pray for this grand country that is filled with moral chaos in the minds and hearts of some. I fasted television and blogged according to God’s direction.

May God bless you and yours.

Reading and Planning

Complete Set Series - Lot of 7 Liberty Bell Books - Gilbert Morris (Historical)
Picture found on an e-bay advertisement.
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, Revised and Updated Edition
Picture found on Christianbook.com advertisement.

I’ve been reading lots of books lately. A series by Gilbert Morris—The Liberty Bell tomes, copyrighted in 1995 by Gilbert Morris and published by Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN. Also, two books on writing by James Scott Bell

How to Make a Living as a Writer; NOOK Book (eBook); Author - James Scott Bell
Pictures found at BarnesandNoble.com.

Just Write: Creating Unforgettable Fiction and a Rewarding Writing Life; Paperback; Author - James Scott Bell

and a re-read of Getting Things Done: the Art of Stress-free Productivity by David Allen. This is the second version of Mr. Allen’s book. It was copyrighted in 2001, 2015 by him. Penguin Books published it in 2015, with a foreword written and copyrighted by James Fallows in 2015.

I’ve decided to take David Allen’s methodology to tackle a housekeeping area I’ve struggled with until it’s conquered. Some of his ideas I’ve learned from an organizing, planning company based in Rochester, NY that went out of business when paper planners became less prevalent. I missed Eagle Day Planners when they closed and then I moved on to the Franklin Covey organizing system for many years. This last year, I switched to Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner and I’ll start next year in the same planner as I keep learning the nuances to his helpful life structuring goals.

The Bible says to practice moderation in all things. Overwork does not equate with productivity oftentimes. My dad used to point to his temple and say, “using this will save these,” and then he’d gesture towards his feet. He did think things through and try innovative ways at his job and at home.

David Allen, Michael Hyatt, and others recommend taking time to think, and/or brainstorm with others while you ignore your internal critic at this stage. Although David Allen suggests some analysis might help. I can’t explain it well here. If you’re interested, it will help to read the book. I borrowed it from the public library and then purchased a copy for our family to read. Thus, I’m highlighting significant insights this second time through and feel I’m getting more out of it.

I’ll try to remember to tell you how my organizing project went. I hope you’re well. May God bless you!

Proverbs by the World’s Wisest Man

King Solomon asked God for wisdom to lead the nation of Israel, way back in the day. God was so pleased that Solomon didn’t ask for things for himself that God said, (in 2 Chronicles 1:11-12 NKJV) which I copied from esword.com:
2Ch 1:11 …”Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked riches or wealth or honor or the life of your enemies, nor have you asked long life—but have asked wisdom and knowledge for yourself, that you may judge My people over whom I have made you king—
2Ch 1:12 wisdom and knowledge are granted to you; and I will give you riches and wealth and honor, such as none of the kings have had who were before you, nor shall any after you have the like.”

When Queen Sheba came to Solomon from Africa with tremendous gifts for King Solomon and with questions, she left having received more than she gave him and it says in 2 Chronicles 9:4 that when she saw all that King Solomon had and how things were set up, “there was no more spirit in her.”

She came to him because she heard of his incredible wisdom, but she underestimated him until she listened to his answers and saw the blessings of God firsthand.

Solomon blessed the people and praised God. ‘The Lord has kept his promise to David and I have built the temple for the Name of the Lord,’ he declared. – Slide 13

https://media.freebibleimages.org/stories/FB_Solomon_Temple/overview-thumbnails/013-solomon-temple.jpg?1538658913

I’ve been reading Proverbs lately, and when I got to Proverbs 15 I thought, I’m going to write these down so I can meditate on these verses and possibly memorize some of them.

I’ve been reading Proverbs for years. It amazes me how many times while reading the Bible that I’ll think sometimes, oh, I’ve already read this, nothing new here.

Then, I’ll read and it’s like I’ve never seen this verse or passage before and ideas will formulate that never occurred to me before. It’s definitely a supernatural book, the best selling book ever printed.

One day, at a hospital waiting for my sister to come out of surgery last year, I read a section in the Old Testament that was hard to read because God was mad about sin. On and on it went about sin and the consequences for His people that lived in ways that violated His commandments. They never intended to repent. The nation was going downhill and families were splitting up and women were destitute because they didn’t have the ability to make money, etc.

So, while reading, this older guy came along and he saw my unsmiling face and made a comment about the Bible and my attitude toward it. And without giving it any thought, I told him the Bible was boring. I got so flustered and he got called away, and I thought, why did I say that?

Not to say that when I’m reading long lists of names of people that I don’t know, that I haven’t had to stifle a yawn. But there’s such a richness to the Word of God, when I think back on that conversation, I wish I hadn’t responded that way. I asked God to forgive me and I prayed for the fellow, because I wasn’t prepared to answer him about God’s wrath.

I heard a sermon in a church I visited on Sunday. Part of the message was to pray to God to be prepared to share the glorious news of salvation. The “Good News” includes the bad news that all are sinners and all need an advocate, a redeemer to make it into heaven. So, I’ll pray again for that elderly man in case he doesn’t know Jesus as his Lord and Savior.

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