Full Focus

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I ordered Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. When I made the purchase there was a special offer of free training videos, which I appreciated. I went through the training and filled out a couple of goal sheets which have similarities and differences from others I’ve used over the years.

Something I’ll find helpful is the limit of 7-10 goals for the whole year, 2-3 goals for the quarter of the year. I chose work around the house for one and writing for number two. My third goal will be holiday preparations and I’m delighted to break the whole into small steps.

I got invited to a seaside home and requested the last part of September before the cold weather hits. We’ve had extraordinarily warm weather this Fall, although yesterday the temperature dipped down to our ordinary cooler days and nights. Today stayed the same, and I wore a couple of jackets when we went out. Tonight, in our heated home, I left one of the jackets on and put on a knit cap with ear flaps and tie strings for under the chin. My husband suggested I take a selfie and put it out on the blog. I looked in the mirror and decided it didn’t look too bad. He glanced up and smiled big time. Well, laughed really. I had already told him I’m not putting a picture of me in this warm cap online. I mean, why would I? 😊

So, at the end of September, near the lake, we boarded a pontoon boat, with a wide sturdy dock which suited this grandma perfectly. I wore a raincoat even though it was significantly warmer than today because I know I get chilled on the water unless it’s around 75 degrees F or higher. A breeze kicked up from the lake and we turned around to stay on the smaller waterways leading to the bigger body of water. I’ve been wanting to get on a boat, but I didn’t tell anyone. I thought of the verse that says if we’ll delight ourselves in the Lord, He’ll give us the desires of our heart. I’m not perfect at delighting myself in the Lord because I get my mind on self or responsibilities, but I do appreciate God for Who He is and how He blesses me. I thanked my friends personally, but I’ve been writing on my planner for days now, send a thank you note. They said it’s not necessary, but my mom always stressed sending a handwritten thanks to someone who did something nice for you. And the folks I went to visit provided a pleasant place for a sleep over, pleasant company, pleasant food, a pleasant dog and a pleasant cat who purred while sitting cozily next to me.

The only downside was going home to reality. Not only did we eat at a delightful soup and sandwich shop, which my co-visitor treated us at on our last day, but we stopped at some local stores with friendly workers with low costs compared to my neck of the woods. After I got home, it was my turn to cook, clean, do laundry, figure out the menu, etc. So spoiled. But, as has been said many a time, “home is home and it’s always wonderful to be in your own bed,” and with people you’ve grown fond of and see regularly.

I’m still reading Isaiah, going through the book, and it has harsh warnings and wonderful promises. A friend said today that true Christianity is a religion that embraces questions and thinking and reasoning, which is based on a verse in Isaiah: (Isa 1:18, CEV) “I, the LORD, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool.”

I hope you are well. May God bless you.

 

 

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Changes Discussed

 

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In our Ladies Bible study yesterday, we were on Chapter 12 in How Many Lightbulbs Does It Take to Change a Person? with the subtitle: Bright Ideas for Delightful Transformation. It’s written by Rhonda Rhea, published by New Hope Publishers, Birmingham, AL and copyrighted in 2011.

The title of the Chapter is “Sometimes the Key to Change is…Change”. I almost anticipated her talking about pennies and dimes throughout the whole section, but I guessed wrong.

One of her favorite things is chocolate and it made the pages once again. She mentions candy bars and the various sizes available nowadays, but she got to the point of the title. We can’t change unless we’re willing to change. We have to shift gears and think differently, she tells us at one spot. God helps us with that, if we’re willing.

Then she quotes Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I love that Scripture. There are days when I need lots of hope, maybe more for others than myself, when I hear of losses and diseases from friends and on the news. Not that I don’t have stuff rear its ugly head, but I’m blessed with support from my family, our church, and friends. Scripture gives incredible comfort and prayer does, too.

I know some folks that sell or own essential oils and they’ll offer me a chance to inhale whatever fragrance that might help my mood to improve. I’m not against that, but today I anticipated someone saying, “Oh, you’re stressed. Let’s pray.”

They didn’t. They kindly opened first one bottle of diluted oil mixture and then another, suggesting I give it a try. I did feel better, but I think it was more because the person listened to me and the stressing agent wasn’t nearby. The aromas probably helped some, but it wasn’t a scientifically proven result.

Now I’m home, ready to continue my day. I haven’t written much lately because of housework and working on a story for children and babysitting grandchildren and practicing guitar for Sunday’s service with a pianist friend, etc., etc.

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

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!

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.

God’s Reactions

There are times when I’m quiet before the Lord in the morning that I feel certain He’s telling me something. Other times, not so much.

I read Numbers 11 last weekend. The Israelite’s were in the desert complaining over manna from heaven. They missed meat, fish, garlic, leeks, and melons. Moses quoted them telling the Lord, “For it was well with us in Egypt,” in Numbers 11:18.

They came under slavery in Egypt for the Pharaoh, who did not remember Joseph and how God spared their country from starvation during a famine. As slaves, in Exodus 1:11, it tells us that they built supply cities, Pithom and Raamses under taskmasters who afflicted them. They remained slaves for hundreds of years, possibly close to four hundred years according to Ex. 12:40.

In Exodus 3, God tells Moses that He’s heard the crying of the Hebrew people and seen their afflictions. How soon they seemed to forget the whippings, the heavy burdens, the murder of their babies when Pharaoh worried they’d overtake the Egyptians by sheer numbers.

God heard the moans and groans of His people, so He sent them a deliverer. Moses showed the power of God over and over again until Pharaoh cast them out.

In Numbers 11, after the Lord decided to send them meat for a month, in verse 23 (NASB) it says: And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power limited? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

In Numbers 11:31, (NKJV), it says: Now a wind went out from the Lord, and it brought quail from the sea and left them fluttering near the camp, …about two cubits above the surface of the ground.”

That’s about three feet deep of quail surrounding the camp.

I felt as though God said for me to remember this: God’s provision and possibly His anger over complaining over perfectly good supplies already at hand.

I am encouraged to know that God’s power is unlimited, that He is our provider and that He is in control.

If you are struggling, I have found comfort when I needed it in Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

May God bless you!

Done Preparing, Here We GO!

Over a year ago, my husband and I attended a meeting with the pastor and his wife from a different denomination, and a couple whom had left our church many months before.  After trying a couple of churches they found one that fit them and since they cared for us, they wanted to include us in a ministry opportunity.

They knew our heart for the cause and the location of our church helped, too.  So, in March we began learning the ways of Celebrate Recovery so we could present a program having found weaknesses in ourselves to work on.  We are going through the twelve steps and leadership training, as well.

Soon, we open our doors to the public with lots of prayer and Scripture under girding our efforts.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I know God has a heart for the hurting.  So, I expect He’ll do a work in many hearts through the many volunteers.

In the Word

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I’m in the book of Ezekiel this week. Ezekiel follows Lamentations, and frankly I dreaded reading it. That’s where Jeremiah cries because of the pain of seeing God’s judgment on Israel. Lamentations turned out to be small, so I carried on to Ezekiel in just a little time.

It’s so hard to understand, and I tried to picture the wheel within a wheel, filled with eyes. Disconcerting, actually.

What always comes through is that God has standards and when evil prevails, He finally sends judgment. One of the sayings that kept coming up was, “That you may know that I am the Lord.”

Another verse: Ezekiel 11:5, (ESV), And the Spirit of the LORD fell upon me, and he said to me, “Say, Thus says the LORD: So you think, O house of Israel. For I know the things that come into your mind.”

Now, I’m fully aware that God knows all things, but tonight the idea that He knows every thought that comes into my mind felt intimidating because I’m not perfect. In Proverbs 1:7, (NKJV), it says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

I definitely felt fear or awe of God when I realized He knows my every thought. On the other hand, tonight I was thinking that when I’m struggling, only God knows what kind of spiritual attack I might be under that is causing me to feel discouraged or sick or lonely or whatever malady may come my way.

He knows when I willfully disobey Him and choose to rebel. He knows when I make a mistake. He knows when I get deceived. He knows when I take credit for giftings that He placed within me. He knows everything. It’s a comfort and it’s a reason to consider what my attitude and my actions are going to be.

He sets things out so clearly in Deuteronomy 8:11-20, (ESV), “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today,

Deu 8:12  lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them,

Deu 8:13  and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied,

Deu 8:14  then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery,

Deu 8:15  who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock,

Deu 8:16  who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end.

Deu 8:17  Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’

Deu 8:18  You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

Deu 8:19  And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.

Deu 8:20  Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

God is loving but He’s also tough. He’s not wishy-washy.

Well, in this time of joy and shopping and visiting with many others, as I read along in the Word of God, my thoughts get carried away to what I think God is concerned about.

I hope you’re taking time to ask God what He would have you read and pursue. You may be surprised what He has in mind for you.

One of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 29:11, (ESV), “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This was written to the Jewish people when they were being warned about the length of their captivity by the Babylonians. At this point, some of them were already taken to that far away land.

These verses remind me that God is a fair judge, yet He’s got the welfare of the people He loves in mind, even when disciplining them. He tells us that He is the same yesterday, today and forever. That gives me hope.

May God bless you.

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Wishes

Hi! If you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you were able to enjoy family and/or friends, food, and able to give at least one blessing you’re grateful for this November.

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As we sat around a large rectangular table borrowed from the church, I looked at each individual adult and child and love filled my heart and mind.

 

As our middle grandson said our Thanksgiving prayer, I savored his quick acceptance to the question, “Who wants to pray before the meal?”

 

The adults and other children quickly agreed to his response and bowed their heads. It was short and to the point and it moved this grandmother’s heart.

 

Psalm 37:3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.

Psa 37:4  Delight yourself also in the LORD, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psa 37:25  I have been young, and now am old; Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, Nor his descendants begging bread. (NKJV)

 

May God bless you!

 

 

Are We All Connected?

Sunday was my day to play guitar and worship the Lord at morning service, at a nursing home church meeting at 2:00 p.m., and again at night for the gathering of the saints.

One of our pastors has a great grandchild two years old. She has grandchildren in their teens and one who just turned twenty or twenty-one. When she came into our building in the evening, she told us about the shooting in East Texas at a small church. We cried for the victims and their families and for the man wielding the weapon who is no longer alive.

I had chosen a song about the goodness of the Father. God is good even when evil spouts its ugliness unexpectedly.

We sang, “I’ll Fly Away,” written by Albert Brumley in 1929 and recorded by Johnny Cash in 2003 according to this YouTube link to the song sung by Johnny Cash: https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Ash+June+Carter+%26+Johnny+Cash+I%27ll+Fly+Away&&view=detail&mid=3ADF54C81EE47C9FC9E73ADF54C81EE47C9FC9E7&rvsmid=BFA57F1FFF1EF618A692BFA57F1FFF1EF618A692&FORM=VDRVRV. That was near the end of our song service and I think it brought comfort.

I spoke to the crowd about God knowing all and having a plan for our lives. He alone can turn a tragedy into something good, but it may take years for the good to manifest or months. Right now, it causes tears and questions and anger and all the different steps that people go through when they’re grieving.

So, we prayed for the families of everyone involved.

Our hearts are heavy. One of the ladies at our church got into such a slump she had to grab hold of her emotions this morning and force herself outside of the house. So, she came to our church and started working the garden and pulling weeds. She got to express her emotions to my husband and then later to me.

It wasn’t part of my agenda to stop and listen, I had an appointment elsewhere. I don’t know how to say to someone, “Not now,” when it’s of that magnitude.

I listened and then texted the person I was about to see that I got detained. They didn’t get the message and greeted me with an exasperated tone, “I was just about to call you!”
The minute I explained, they softened and they felt bad for the folks in Texas as well.

We humans have a capacity for compassion and the ability to “walk in another’s moccasins,” if we so choose. I used to hear a quote my parents told me was wisdom from the American Indian nations about not really knowing someone until you’ve walked in their moccasins.

I think anyone who has lost a loved one, and especially as a result of violence, will be able to empathize with the people in that small Texas town. “Holy Spirit, Comforter, please be with all mourning the lost lives of the people, especially for the deceased members’ families and for their friends and acquaintances. We need your help to cope and to heal and to forgive. I ask in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”

God of All Comfort is the heading in this section of the New King James Version of the Bible:
2Corinthians 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
2Co 1:4  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

In my opinion, we share a connection with people all over the world. May God bless us all.