The Serenity Prayer

My mom loved the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr, but she only knew the first four lines.

 

In the Celebrate Recovery Participants Guide published by Zondervan and copyrighted by John Baker in 1998, 2012 it is written in full.

 

Prayer for Serenity

 

God, grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change,

the courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference.

 

Living one day at a time,

enjoying one moment at a time;

accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;

taking as Jesus did,

this sinful world as it is,

not as I would have it;

trusting that You will make all things right

if I surrender to Your will;

so that I may be reasonably happy in this life

and supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

 

Reinhold Niebuhr wrote this prayer in its earliest form in 1937 according to Wikipedia.

Listening Skills, II

Isaiah 26:3 (NKJV) says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

Have you ever noticed that before you say something if you start meditating on God and His ways, you may change your mind and your words? I asked my husband to go to a store 50 minutes away from home because he was going to be nearby.

He agreed but didn’t want to because I needed one and a half yards of 45 inch wide fabric to make a curtain for a door. I wrote out the size needed, cut off a swatch of the remnant and told him he could ask the saleslady. Usually he calls me, but my note told him to ask for advice. My mistake was forgetting she was a SALESlady. They didn’t have 45 inch wide fabric – it was 44 inch wide fabric. I would have said, “Fine.”

She said, “Let’s go to 92 inch wide fabric or somewhere near that width. As she measured for the yard and a half, they came to the end of the bolt. “Would you like the extra yard at the end for half price?”

“Okay,” he said.

When he got home with a large plastic bag with lots of folded fabric inside, my eyebrows lifted. “Here’s your fabric. I don’t like shopping in a store mostly for women.”

“Why didn’t you call me?” I asked after he explained his purchase. He might have said, “Be glad I got it for you.”

I don’t remember.

I told my daughter. From my peripheral vision I saw him standing there, listening. I snuck into another room and called my other daughter. Now I’m telling her that I’ll certainly have enough fabric and there he was to get something and he’s listening.

So, I prayed about it and thought about it. Just because I’m trying to eliminate clutter, it’s not that big of a deal. I did thank him for going out of his way a bit and taking the time on a busy day.

The next day I’m telling a friend at church but now I’m saying, “Maybe there’s a reason for the extra material,” and he comes into the room and this time he joins the conversation and we’re laughing.

I did buy fabric for curtains for another room and I told the young girl I needed more than the bolt held. She assured me that there was plenty. I bought it at a store an hour from home and sure enough, the length was off. I called some fabric stores and got online to find there wasn’t any available. This extra material may allow me to add some length.

The thing I realized is how often my husband listens to me when I’m unaware.

Occasionally I’ve started to relay something and he’ll say, “I know, I heard you on the phone.”

This got me thinking of verses Jesus spoke to the Pharisees in Matthew 12:34, (ESV): “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

Mat 12:35  The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.

Mat 12:36  I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,

Mat 12:37  for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Being an extrovert, words come easily to me at times, and one day I got worried. My spouse said if I spoke in a way that offended God, repented and asked forgiveness, I wouldn’t need to be concerned on judgment day. Big sigh of relief!

Not only have I found out that my husband listens to me when I’m not sure he is, but I realized that he’s good at reading non-verbal communication. If I’m mad about something but I’m not sure if it’s a good time to bring it up, he’ll see me avoiding eye contact, biting my lower lip and being extraordinarily quiet, possibly tapping my foot or doing other restless gestures. Then he’ll ask, “What’s the matter?”

I got online today to see what Focus on the Family’s website had to say about communicating. I read two articles out of many, and here’s the link to one of them: http://www.focusonthefamily.com/marriage/communication-and-conflict/effectively-communicating-with-your-husband

I enjoyed what I read, but it just helped me to springboard to this idea for this blog. Although I couldn’t find the reference, one comment about communicating being hard work struck a chord with me. When I’m tired, I have to force myself to pay attention to the other person and to try and decipher what they mean.

Hope you’re communicating effectively. May God bless you!

Roses and Prayer

My husband and I took a two mile walk tonight. When we pass one house on a corner lot, I always pull a rose forward and inhale deeply. They’re some kind of antique rose with a delicious scent.

We have climbing light red roses that may be fifty years old or more. They smell really nice, too. New York is having a dry summer so far. I keep praying for rain. There are lots of lakes in New York, so I think we’re okay, but I figure it never hurts to pray.

I’ve had many answers to prayer over my life – more than I can remember – although I have lots of journals from over the years.

Then there are prayers where God said, “No.”

Sometimes I could see why He said, “No,” months or years later. I thanked Him, actually.

Other times I accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to go my way, and I didn’t know why.

When I’ve prayed about people’s messes and things got messier, I figured their free will might have hindered the answer.

Sometimes I wondered if I gave up too soon. After all, Jesus is quoted in Luke 11:5-13, (ESV) this way: Luk 11:5  And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves,

Luk 11:6  for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’;

Luk 11:7  and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’?

Luk 11:8  I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.

Luk 11:9  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.

Luk 11:10  For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Luk 11:11  What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent;

Luk 11:12  or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

Luk 11:13  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Only God knows.

May God bless you!

Geometry the Basics of All Design?

“The Story of Maths” came on Netflix as a choice and since my husband really likes math, we started watching it. So we’ve seen Egyptian mathematics, Babylonian math, and then Greek. The show displays the cultures of the mathematicians in our time. The next show headed east and we’ve seen China and now India.

It’s amazing how smart people are all over the world. I told my husband that some of this subject is over my head. He said he wasn’t getting all of it either.

When I spoke to him about different religions being represented in the various countries, he said, “And God loves every person.”

We serve such a big God! How can you love someone unless you know them. He knows every person on this planet and knows their thoughts. The more I get to know God through His word, the more amazed I stand at Him.

One of the Greek mathematicians, I believe, thought the whole universe is made up of geometrical properties. I thought of Mark thirteen that I mentioned this week. Jesus spoke about God being the Creator.

Now,” The Story of Maths” is describing pi. This is fascinating as he uses visuals to portray finding the values found in math.

He can’t help but speak of religions when cultural differences arise. He rebukes the West for not appreciating the countries that became colonized by the westerners.

From his accent, he may be English. I love seeing how people are the same and yet may do things in a different manner than others.

 

Time is Precious

Time is precious. I decided to spend time at home cleaning today, but I needed to deliver a package to a lady who underwent a lumpectomy yesterday. Our ladies Bible study put books and cookies and candy and magnetized tablets with a pen in one, a card, and some other goodies to bless our friend with a basket, gathered it in clear plastic and put a white bow over the twist tie. It was right after I went with a gal to a nursing home Bible study. Then, I dropped off a pretty scarf another friend lent me for my daughter’s wedding.

When I stopped at the church to get the gift basket, I found one of our ladies had left her purse. She was helping one of the women up the stairs and out into the cold and the purse took second place in her mind. I called her and left a message. I got home around one p.m. and made a quick veggie sandwich, mmm good.

I did some laundry and did about an hours worth of cleaning when my husband called to see if I really did want to go to a movie and have dinner. Despite the cold, I drove forty-five minutes to meet him at one of the malls around here, and we enjoyed our meal.

I wish I could say I enjoyed the movie that we waited another forty-five minutes for it to start. The two people behind us left, saying what a dumb movie. Craig fell asleep, as did one of the people behind us. When she woke up, that’s when they left.

Some viewers at the front of the theater laughed and laughed. The rest of the crowd left the place quietly. I wished I could get our money back, but after sitting through the whole thing it doesn’t work that way.

I asked my husband if he thinks the world is getting darker. We met at Barnes and Nobles Bookstore. They have a nice selection of Christian books. I didn’t see a Christian Teen Book section, I think they had one some years back. The regular teen fiction books had so many with vampires and the topic of death, one glamorizing suicide. God made this earth to be a paradise. He never intended for people to die. He wants us to live life abundantly, joyfully, purposefully. He never wants His children to suffer from depression and illness and strife and hatred.

The devil hates mankind because we are made in the image and likeness of God. God made Lucifer one of the most beautiful angels and gave him the gift of music. In his pride he decided all the beings in heaven should worship him and not God. So all-powerful God cast him out of heaven with the angels that followed him. The rest stayed with God.

John 10:10 tells us that Jesus came to give us life abundantly, the devil came to steal, kill and destroy.

Isaiah 14:12, (KJV) says: How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

The apostle Paul warns the early church to beware of pretenders that infiltrate the church. In 2Cor 11:13, he writes, ” For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
2Cor 11:14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

Rev 12:7 tells us: Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back,
Rev 12:8 but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

Unlike Star Wars and one episode of Star Trek that I remember, there is no equal battle of evil and good. In the Bible, good conquers evil. It’s not even close. God is all-powerful. Satan has some power, but it’s limited, especially when there are many Christians living for God and praying for His help. When people reject God and His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that gives the devil room to expand his power, but always with God over all.

So, I came home and put some belongings away and half listened to a television program with people battling each other within their own groups and against other groups and that’s when I asked my husband if the world seemed darker to him and closer to the return of Jesus Christ. I saw a t-shirt in FYE at the mall, an entertainment store. They had a picture of a man resembling the actors that portray Jesus in a pair of dark sunglasses saying, “I’m coming back.”

The world jokes about Jesus, just as the nations joked about Noah and his ark. Yet every people group throughout the world has a verbal story handed down throughout the generations of a worldwide flood. The topography of our world is evidence of ravishing waters having prevailed and geologists have found that oil deposits were made from pressurized deposits of ruined vegetation and animal carcasses in massive quantities.

So I feel as if my time is flying away and the world’s time is moving rapidly toward the fulfillment of biblical end time prophesies. “Keep me mindful of You, Lord I pray.”

Satan loves to distract us with the cares of this life and this life is short. I hope you are treasuring your time and seeking answers to the important questions of life. I’m trying to. God help us all.

That’s Gross!

I remember after moving from a city to a suburb meeting a popular girl who recently began attending public school. Since I was newer than her, she befriended me.

We also attended Catholic school from our earliest years until eighth grade. Over the summer after ninth grade we lost touch, but once back in school we ended up in the same home room and got re-acquainted.

She had changed though. She started talking to me about God. She would tell me something every morning and I would answer her and then I’d ponder it during the  day and sometimes in the evening.

One day she told me that she thought I’d really like it if I could pray with my older sister like she did with hers. I told her that my sister and I would never pray together, she didn’t even like me that much.

She assured me it was an awesome thing, so I agreed that it might be. When she told me I was a sinner in need of a savior, I got really mad at her.

Every Catholic knows they are a sinner, we learned about confession as a young child. I thought, Who does she think she is telling me I’m a sinner?

One day she told me I didn’t need to go to the priest to confess my sins, I could talk directly to God. Another time, Jesus had brothers and sisters. Back in the day the Catholic church made it clear that Mary was a perpetual virgin and never had children other than Jesus. The Scriptures tell of Jesus’ mother and siblings waiting to talk to Him in Matthew 12:46. That’s the kind of stuff that rattled me.

Eventually she gave me a tract that showed a picture of a heart with a crown of thorns around it. The tract told about Jesus wanting to be in my heart, to be my Lord and Savior. Something about the tract and all the thinking clicked for me and I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior that day.

Then she told me to read the Gospel of John. Well, I reasoned, why not start at the beginning. So I ignored her advice and started reading the book of Genesis. All was well and good until Lot left Sodom and Gomorrah with his two daughters, his wife having been turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the command to not turn around and look at the destruction of the two cities.

Image result for "Lot's wife"(photo from pillarofsalt.com)

 

Lot ends up getting drunk and his two daughters take advantage of his drunken state and he’s practically passed out, if I understand it correctly, but his body is functioning well enough to get both of them pregnant. I thought, Gross!

I put the Bible down and the next time I saw her I told her that I wasn’t going to read a disgusting book like that ever again. The girl had persuasive skills. She said, “I told you to start at John. Don’t give up, please! Etc., etc.”

So I acquiesced. I have learned over the years that the Bible tells things as they are. There is another story in there that is my all time hated story, which I won’t go into here. Whenever I choose to read through the Bible from cover to cover, I don’t ignore it, but I read quickly and once again I say Gross!

That’s another reason I believe the Bible is written through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. If men wrote the book, they may not want to make people and God ever look bad or confusing. God is good but He may appear bad to us when He wants people destroyed. I figure He knows way more than I do.

God tells the truth and then says, “Choose this day whom you will serve….” in Joshua 24:15.

Did you ever think about accepting Jesus as your Master, Savior, Lord and King? What did you choose to do?

 

 

Home Safely

We had a great opportunity to visit family for Christmas in another area of New York State. We held our plans loosely because one never knows what a day will bring. After a great Christmas and day after we made our way home. But this is not our home.

In two cases, this is not my home. My home belongs to the church that my husband pastors at. It feels like home, but once he retires, on we’ll go to another dwelling place.

Also, there is a great Christian song that talks about going to the Father’s house that’s fun to listen to: “Big House” by Audio Adrenaline.

Another song I tried to find is kind of a rock and roll song that talks about this world not being home, meaning the planet earth.

I searched for Scriptures to back up this idea that’s not really mine.

1Peter 1:17 (CEV): “You say that God is your Father, but God doesn’t have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth.
1Peter 1:18 You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don’t last forever.
1Peter 1:19 You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb.
1Peter 1:20 Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days.
1Peter 1:21 And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That’s why you have put your faith and hope in God.”

Jesus said in

(John 14:1-3),
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you?
And if I am going away to prepare a place for you, I will come back again and welcome you into my presence, so that you may be where I am.” (ISV)

gerhardy.id.au posted this photo:

 

 

So, I figure God wants us to enjoy our life here on earth, but not to get too attached to it. My paraphrase of Philippians 4:4, 6-8; one of Paul’s epistles. 🙂

 

 

 

 

Wham!

Life surprises me every once in a while. I coast along and then Wham!

My husband and I drove to Rochester, NY for our 40th wedding anniversary. I wanted to drive to Brockport State College to reminisce about our meeting there and falling in love there. 🙂 Which we did.

My sister, Barb asked me to call her on Sunday night. I almost put her off until Monday night since we’d be home then. Now I’m glad I didn’t.

She got ketoacidosis which placed her in ICU on Monday afternoon. Diabetes got out of control with a lack of insulin input so her body looked for fat for nourishment. It poured out of storage and the lack of insulin made it indigestible so her blood got hit with toxins, from what I understand.

Four days later she’s beginning to talk a bit. This is a woman with a verbal flair.

I thank God for the many people praying and for her recovery. She began with a blood sugar count over a thousand when one hundred plus is the preferred range. Her blood pressure dropped to 80/35, way too low.

Thank God for her friend Karen finding her, for medical help in Austin, TX – she’s at Seton – and for all the people praying. God has heard your prayers and she’s on her way. Blood sugar and blood pressure is much, much better. Her kidneys are beginning to improve.

Thank You, Jesus.

Montrose Christian Writers Conference

Montrose Bible Conference hosts Montrose Christian Writers Conference in July. This year I made my way there with the intent to seek God and then concentrate on writing. Last year, it was all about me. Am I a good writer or great writer, or not?

I asked Cec Murphey something about a piece I crafted and he said, “Oh, you’re looking for affirmation,” in an understanding tone. I nodded my head, almost ready to cry. I don’t remember what he said after that. He’s a nice guy. A best seller and a nice guy.

This year, Monday morning, the new director, Marsha Hubler read part of my essay to the assembled throng and told them to listen to this, it’s very good.

Image result for Marsha Hubler, author

I sat there very still and could almost feel the blood rushing through my veins. It’s amazing to me that when people who love God let go of stuff and agendas and people, God gives back more than they expect. I love God because He drew me to Him. 1 John 4:19 (KJV) says, ” We love him, because he first loved us.”

Patti Souder stepped away from the directorship at Montrose so she could have more time to write. She chose the order of the readers for the Thursday night theater presentation. She had me go first. I almost missed it, because I’m usually somewhere in the middle and I arrived less than ten minutes before the start. As my peers clapped after hearing the three hundred word essay on “Equipping Writers for Eternal Significance,” I felt humbled.

I often feel humbled after God blesses me in little ways and big ways. When I sing the lyrics to the song, “I am a Friend of God,” which starts out, “Who am I that You are mindful of me, that You love me, who am I?” I truly mean it. God is all powerful; all knowing; merciful; gracious; our healer; our provider; our protector; our creator; Jesus, God the Son is our intercessor when we’re in trouble, the perfect parent and so much more. He’s just and tells us to leave vengeance up to Him. He gives us peace beyond our comprehension.

I’ve experienced that lately, especially in the car during a severe rain storm with lightning so close, I felt a bit traumatized after the fact. During the drive I was enveloped in a bubble of calm and sat quietly, for me, as my friend drove the car.

If you think God is distant and uncaring, pick up the Word of God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you in all His many facets. I think You’ll stand amazed at God as so many millions have over the centuries.

Christians Need to Fight

Sometimes I’ll tell my husband that I feel like I’m in a spiritual battle. Big sigh.

He’ll tell me, “We’re always in a battle.”

No big deal. That’s life.

Today I pondered the idea of fighting back. Not taking kick boxing classes, (are those for fighting or getting in shape)?

Anyhow, I thought of Christians all over the world being persecuted for their faith. Americans only face a little of that so far, although in the secular media I’ve noticed that the crazy guy with the ax often carries a Bible in the other hand. Right. I know a LOT of Christians and none of them are murderers.

So, to get back to the fighting bit. I think every Christian should pick up their Sword of the Spirit – the word of God, and yield it with all their might, humbly on their knees in prayer.

Can you imagine if every Christian in the world spent an extra five minutes a day repenting of sin and then praying for others, using God’s word to remind Him of His promises, and then listened quietly for another five minutes? I believe the battle in the heavenlies would rock our world like ISIS or that mean person in our lives never dreamed of.

Eph. 6:12  (KJV) states: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

God wants us involved in this life for His glory and for His love to be spread to others through us. How can we love others if we’re not in communication with the Great I Am?

We can only love and pray and serve and exist with the strength God gives us. When we try and do it on our own, we wimp out. We get tired, sick, discouraged, misdirected, maybe even feel manipulated.

Even Jesus took time with the Father every single day. If God the Son needs time with God the Father to be re-charged, how can we go it alone?

I’m just picturing more victory in this world when we all participate, because for some odd reason, God wants to include us in the heavenly realms’ battle, which impacts our sod.

Rather amazing.Praying Handson bible