Words Easily Spoken

I called my introvert daughter by accident today and she called me back. I got talking to her about writing to build up marriages and mentioned a friend, Elaine Miller who writes for that purpose and she got asked to speak in Russia where the divorce rate at that time was 90%. What a shame.

Then talked about some people I know that are battling sicknesses. She sounded upbeat when I first called and then she got quiet.

I got thinking that what I’ve heard about and prayed about is news to others and they may leave the conversation feeling down when we’re done. Rats! I know that introverts process things deeply.

Wednesday morning at our Ladies’ Bible Study a woman spoke up about hearing some teachers on television admonishing people to be careful of their words. Don’t speak negatively about others and about yourself. Don’t gossip. Don’t put other people down as you’re talking to them.

I agreed with her wholeheartedly, yet I did caution her that if a person is kind of obsessive-compulsive, they may get so wrapped up in being careful that it could play with their brain. “Is this okay, is that okay? Did I speak something that is calling a negative consequence into being?”

My husband had to remind me that I don’t have to carry it to extremes. God has more power than I do and if I say something that He doesn’t want to happen it won’t happen. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Tonight I went to a writers’ group for critiquing and I decided to be careful as I exchanged ideas. I hoped to be helpful and not too critical. I was blessed by the feedback I got back. The hostess thanked me for coming.

After all, King Solomon wrote in Eccl 3:7, (KJV) that there is “A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;”

When my daughter called me later, she sounded like her day went well. Phew. 🙂

May God bless your day!

 

Revenge Handed to God

I went to the library this afternoon and expected to do about five different things there, but only finished a few. When I got reading the Bible to catch up on a “read the Bible in a year” plan I got so intrigued with the content I kept going. When I got home I realized I didn’t read the list right, so I’m still two chapters short. I’ll catch up tomorrow.

I’ve read 1 and 2 Samuel before, but I kept noticing how often David left revenge for God. David’s followers wanted to kill King Saul for him or urged him to kill the king so they could quit hiding from Saul in caves and forests and in the wilderness.

Once David cut off the corner of King Saul’s outer garment and then he showed it as he told King Saul that he could have killed him.

Over and over again David explained, “I will not touch God’s anointed.”

I have a friend who owns a business. When other associates steal her fees that she’s due to collect she doesn’t sue them. I asked her once why she doesn’t try and get her money from them. Many years ago she told me, “God watches over me. I leave it up to Him.”

Not that I’ve ever needed to sue anyone, for which I thank God. But I remember the first time she told me that, I was flabbergasted.

Her business puts her into shark-infested waters, so to speak. She’s experienced others grabbing her commission at least once.

God takes care of her. She’s thinking of writing a book and I’ve encouraged her to do so. I’ve seen tremendous answers to prayer which came about from big trials in her life and in those close to her.

A Christian cliche is, “You can’t have a testimony without the test.”

I’ve heard it said that the Bible continues to be a best-selling book year after year in many parts of the world.

It’s filled with human interest stories, battle plans, history, geography, genealogies, insight into God’s character and His opinion of us, the keys to God’s kingdom, poetry, love, death, common sense, financial advice and more.

It must be because it’s God-inspired as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16, (KJV), “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” that I keep gleaning more and more from it even though I’ve read it almost daily for decades now.

May God bless you!

Health and Well-being

When I wrote about http//:www.soapboxsoap.com ’s Black Soap yesterday I neglected to mention that the box identified the product as detoxifying. I’m all for that.

I go to a dermatologist twice a year for a checkup since I overexposed my skin to the strongest sunshine over the years. I remember as a teenager soaking up the sun’s rays with an iodine/baby oil solution slathered on. A younger teen with the whitest skin I ever saw suggested the combination to enhance tanning.

I had my doubts and sure enough, I remember her in her bathing suit with blisters on her chest from the hours she spent in vain trying to darken her lily-white complexion.

I never stayed that long. Even as a young person I somehow knew that too much sun, too many cookies, long hours of reading with no exercise harmed health. Not that my friends or siblings listened to me. 🙂

In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul said in 1Timothy 4:8, (KJV):  “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

Climbing Stairs photo from: http://www.freeimages.com/search/man-exercising

I don’t believe he means that we should neglect taking care of our body. I think he means we can get carried away with the outward appearance and our health, when God is more concerned with our inner person, our heart and soul and spirit.

I hope this finds you well!

May God bless you.

Remember Who You Are

Our Wednesday morning Bible study had a lady attending who belonged to another church. She used to be a member at our church many years ago and then left. Part of her heart is still with us, so she attended Wednesday mornings for years. This year near the end of the year she backed out because her sister got a life threatening disease and she’s spending more time with her. I miss her because she’s a likable person and she added to the group.

Unfortunately, as Christians we may be well aware of our sins and shortcomings and spend more time on them than God may want us to. In the psalms, we are told that God loves us and forgives us.

Psalm 103:11, (ESV):  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;

Psa 103:12  as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Psa 103:13  As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.

Once we truly repent, He does not expect us to continually beat ourselves up. He expects us to love ourselves in a healthy way, not a narcissistic way. These verses show God’s high regard for us loving Him and loving ourselves and loving others.

Mark 12:28, (ESV)  And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”

Mar 12:29  Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.

Mar 12:30  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Mar 12:31  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Mar 12:32  And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him.

Mar 12:33  And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Mar 12:34  And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

So, as I was saying, this lady attended our group and if we got down on ourselves, she would nicely tell us to remember who we are in Christ. We are forgiven. God calls us righteous in His sight because of the shed blood of Jesus for our sins. He took on the payment of our sins so when we stand before God at judgment day, we can claim that Jesus covered our debt or He wiped our slate clean so there’s no mark against us.

We must continue to seek God, despite distractions, despite our flesh crying out for entertainment or more money or whatever it is that keeps us from opening the Word of God. Thursday and today I intended to read the Word early in the day. Today it was almost one thirty in the afternoon. I’d done laundry, finished a writer’s magazine, did dishes, got myself ready for the day, called people, etc. My husband and I needed to be somewhere around four and I had to prepare some things before getting there. Plus, I needed to go to the store.

I made myself sit down and focus on the Lord. I remember doing that when the children were little. Putting all else aside for a short period of time and concentrating on the Lord. I told them to behave and to be quiet while I spent time with God and they did. When I don’t give time to the Lord the cares of this world press down on me, I feel lonely inside, I may become fearful over things. All those things are alleviated by spending time in God’s Word.

Hebrews 4:12, (ESV)  For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Heb 4:13  And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Heb 4:14  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

Heb 4:15  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Heb 4:16  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When the lady at Bible study reminds us that we belong to God by our own choosing, and that He makes us righteous, it always brings a smile to my face and to the others. She hasn’t had to say it a lot, but more than once.

We’re praying for her sister to recover and be perfectly whole.

May God bless you and yours.

Music Heals the Heart

I went to a sing along gathering tonight to accompany a friend and my husband didn’t mind having some alone time.

She’s grieving so at the end of the night, she told me the music lifted her up and the words soothed her. I’m paraphrasing, but I had to agree with her.

My husband and I went to another friend’s church for a viewing earlier today. She lost her husband this week to lung cancer. So when I got home, we had two large flower arrangements on our kitchen table to put into our church for Sunday.

I’m so glad I got to sing worship songs to God, some new and some old. The hymn, “It is Well With My Soul” was written after a man lost part of his family on an ocean voyage while he stayed in his country to attend to duties. I went to Wikipedia for information which is not always reliable, and this is a quote from their site: ““It Is Well With My Soul” is a hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss.”

Such a beautiful song written in the 1870’s, it’s a timeless reminder of trusting God.

We were asked to pray for a young man outside of us with a couple of friends. My son-in-law prayed a heartfelt prayer for this young man. Those of us inside agreed with him in prayer. Shortly thereafter, the people came inside and this young man decided to receive Jesus as his Lord and Savior. We rejoiced, and from what I understand angels rejoice in heaven when a person receives Jesus!

I hope it is well with your soul tonight. May God bless you.

 

 

An Unusual Day

Today we usually have a Ladies’ Bible study, but I suggested we get together for fellowship and a craft day. I invited a recent widow who attends another church via voicemail on her cell phone and didn’t hear from her.

As I entered our church, there she sat with a few other ladies. I brought sewing supplies and books and Bible and tea, etc. Later, I read Psalm 34 and spied her wiping away a few quiet tears. Then when most people were leaving a gal arrived who hadn’t slept much the night before. So I decided to camp there in the kitchen and visit for a few moments before cutting out a pillow cover with a sports motif on it for a Christmas gift.

She had received a cute fleece scarf from one of the ladies and decided that would make great gifts for her grandchildren, so she wanted to go to a somewhat local fabric store. If we have any stores within a half hour drive, most are quilting stores with 100 % cotton material only. I want to make my grandson a pillow with the super hero The Flash on it. I thought possibly the Lord was saying to go with her, so I did. We ended up going further to a Walmart because two fabric stores were closed today. So I bought an extension cord and two boxes of Christmas cards.

I am quite the optimist. It’s already December 21, 2016 and last night I realized that when my computer got cleaned up earlier this year or late last year, my Christmas addresses got deleted. So, last night, as exhausted as I was, I promised myself a half hour transposing the addresses from my paper-bearing planner to the computer. I don’t know if I used an electronic planner if it would be transferable to my computer. I don’t want to know at the moment. Lol

So off we went to the fabric department and while she chose fabric I texted my son in another state and asked if a check for his little guy would work. I kept looking for The Flash fabric and just couldn’t find it anywhere. He has a birthday after Christmas, so I’m going to get online to see if I can find some within reason. I bought a pillow form at the big box store, so I’m a third of the way there.

I cut out a purse for my granddaughter, but lent the sewing machine to the other lady and I took the time to type for my client. I believe his project will be done by Saturday and I even texted him to see if he can meet to pick it up.

So here I am at our church typing this blog at 11:00 p.m. Very unusual – in fact I’ve never done this before in my life. So, now I’m ready to pack up the computer and head for home. Then I’ll send it out and set a small goal for further addresses. I mailed three Christmas cards out today to out of state family and one cousin’s in Canada. There’s no way she’ll receive hers before the twenty-fifth. I try to give hers more time to make it, but if I don’t write it down for late November, it doesn’t get done.

I can’t wait to get started on our dis-organized support group. I’ll write more about that at another time. Right now, I need to hit the road.

May God bless you. 🙂

 

In Plain Sight

“Upon hearing the simple message of salvation through Christ, an individual must choose to ignore it, accept, or reject it. There is nothing intolerant in this because it respects the rights and free will of every member of our pluralistic society.”

I think this is a quote from Gary Bergl, 30 Ways to Pray for All in Authority, 2002, first published by Intercessors for America, wwwifapray.org. Reprinted with permission.

It’s a list of prayers I received in the mail within the last week from a pastor we know, I think. Or is it from the denomination we serve under? Anyway, I blogged about getting online to find this quote and days later as I made a sandwich for supper, I noted a folded piece of paper standing upright with a picture of a man bowed over his hands folded in prayer. There’s a red stop sign symbol with the above quote written on it. I thought, here it is in plain sight and what else have I been missing that’s right in front of me?

We went to our friend’s funeral service yesterday and I knew him better than I knew his wife because we both served on the worship team at church. Occasionally she’d invite me somewhere and once in a while I’d go, and she’s a very gracious person. She’s quiet so I wasn’t sure if she liked me all that much, and isn’t that silly because she’s always been very nice to me.

Yesterday at the funeral, I told the crowd that I loved that man, in a brotherly way. I sang a song he wrote with two others from the worship team and later, I sang the song she really wanted me to sing with one guy accompanying me. The first words of the song are, “Blessed be Your name in a land that is plentiful…” by Matt Redman, which adds “Blessed be Your name on a road marked with suffering…” in later stanzas. His song won the Dove Award in 2005.

This photo is copied from Amazon.com’s site: 

 

Anyway, I heard her say softly sometime in the day about me, “I love that lady.”

I rode back to church from the cemetery with another friend and she had given me a compliment. I felt those words deep in my innermost being.

Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been aware of the number of times I put myself down. I think God wants me to listen to what I’m saying and to cut it out. When I hear others put themselves down, I remind them that they are a child of the King. What makes those of us that do such things not give ourselves the grace we so freely give others?

So, even though I cried at the funeral a little, I got to meet some of his and her family, and as people recommended we cherish our family and friends, I left built up. We got reminded that this is not our home and that God loves us and He knows what he’s doing.

I hope you’re able to read the Word and pray as you prepare for any celebrations of Christmas or holidays you may participate in. I was chilling along until a couple of U-turns came my way. So, I’ve done my best to cast my cares upon God, as it says to do in 1Peter_5:7, (KJV):  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

May God bless you!

 

 

Jewish Messiah

 

Our ladies’ Bible study had a Christmas brunch today. We invited all the ladies of the church, but only one non-regular attendee showed up.

Her mom used to attend our church years back. She decided to return and people welcomed her with lots of hugs.

After many months, her daughter came to our church a few weeks back. I didn’t expect her this morning, but it was good to see her.

This afternoon I read in Romans 9-12. The Apostle Paul writes of his beloved people, his nation, Israel and how God called them to Himself. Not all wanted God and in the book of Isaiah God laments that they would rather worship idols made of the same wood that they baked their food over:

Isa 44:13, (KJV):  The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.

Isa 44:14  He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.

Isa 44:15  Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

Isa 44:16  He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:

Isa 44:17  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

Isa 44:18  They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

Isa 44:19  And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?

Isa 44:20  He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Isa 44:21  Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.

Isa 44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Isa 44:23  Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Isa 44:24  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isa 44:25  That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;

Isa 44:26  That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: …

The Apostle Paul continued speaking of his brothers, the Jewish people and said that God sent him to the Gentiles in order to make the Jewish people jealous. He said that the time of the Gentiles will come to an end and that the Jewish people would begin to recognize that Jesus Christ, (Yeshua) is and was and will be the Jewish Messiah, first and foremost. That the Jewish people will come to understand the Lord Our God is One; is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

My mom used to say that something was as clear as mud. I hope this is as clear as crystal seas.

May God bless you!

Dining with Friends

Once a month my husband and I dine with friends and catch up on what’s been happening in their lives and sometimes in the political arena. So we did that tonight. I brought the main meal this month. We switch off. I told them I’d bring the devotional in February. I don’t do that very often. It’s nice to talk to Christians from all different churches and some varying kind of worship services. We differ, yet we’re in solid agreement on the basics of belief. One is a retired pharmacist married to a retired nurse, another couple is a retired art teacher married to a retired nurse, and my husband and I are not retired. We have fun together and sing to guitar music and then delve into the Word of God.

Yesterday after our morning service, a lady from church and I decorated the Christmas tree after some others helped by setting it up and a young couple got the supplies up and down a bunch of stairs. Her grandson held the string of lights for me as I placed them around the tree and her son-in-law’s parents gave us the tree from their tree farm, freshly cut that morning.

Afterwards, we were tired and hungry, and she offered to treat me. We chose an out of the way seat by the restaurant’s brightly decorated artificial tree and got to know each other better. I’ve always thought she might make a good friend. We chose that seat because that’s where she sits when she comes in alone to eat. She said it was nice to have someone to eat with for a change.

I live in my own world, as we all do. She’s got a large loving family; she works a few different jobs. She has grown children living with her and other family members living nearby. I had never thought about her eating in a restaurant alone as a widow.

I think because our good friend died this week and I’m very aware that his wife, my friend is now a widow, it has opened my eyes to the world of a widow more lately.

I take dining with my children or my husband for granted. Very rarely do I eat by myself in a restaurant. It says in James_1:27, (KJV): “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, ‘To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.’ ”

I’m asking God to help me to be a better friend to the widows God places in my path.

May God bless you this week.

Strange Beginnings

My husband had to go somewhere this morning and I needed to be somewhere else a couple of hours later. Just as he headed for the door, he received a text. A close friend of his and mine with diabetes woke up with clammy skin, a sign of low blood sugar. His wife gave him a cookie to eat and prepared other food that he ate. She began a chore as he sat down to recover, told her he didn’t feel well and then he left his body for a walk into eternity with Jesus.

Yesterday, I looked through the obituaries because someone that used to work for my husband had passed away and I found two others that I knew, one my next door neighbor, who moved closer to family, and the other more of an acquaintance from my time working at the library.

That’s a lot of deaths in a couple of weeks’ time.

A lady came to the door looking to get into the building I had the key for, and I gave her the secretary’s office key instead of the church key. Thank goodness I came to my senses quickly and called out to her before she drove away.

I’ve been calling people at different times of the day to let them know, so that they don’t hear of it early in their day tomorrow in church. I’ve also asked people on the prayer chain to pray for the recently bereaved lady. She too is a friend of ours.

She will have lots of support, of that I’m sure. It’s true what God’s word says, Gal 6:7, (KJV):  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Gal 6:8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Gal 6:9  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Many say, “What goes around comes around,” which is a paraphrase of God’s Word saying you reap what you sow.

She and her husband went out of their way to help others when they felt that they should. Probably many more than I’m aware of had reason to thank them for their help and for their generosity. I had an elective surgery early this year and of all the people I know, she was the only one to visit me besides my husband. People often asked her husband to help cart this or that in his pickup truck, and he did.

So, I’m sure she’ll have people help her figure out what to do. She lives in a snowier area than we do, and he took care of snow removal. In the summer, he took care of cutting the lawn. She may have to figure out how to use the mower or hire someone when the warm weather hits. I feel sure folks will visit often and give her a helping hand.

Tomorrow, our church celebrates Christmas and the birth of the King as a little bundle of joy. In the upcoming services I’ve been asked to play and sing Christmas music since the Christmas carols are a lot more challenging on the piano than they are on the guitar. I have a few in mind and I need to choose some more. Others will sing with me, and I am grateful for that!

Snow is heading to New York State. I’m hoping tomorrow will have a normal beginning, middle and end. If we get too much snow, we may have to cancel our services. We’ll have to wait and see what the day brings. One never knows.

May God bless you!