Making Things New

 

I looked at the bulletin board over my desk and saw the Scripture verse, Isaiah 43:18-19, (KJV), which says, “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

I started my computer today to get onto the internet, and the first offering said my Windows license has been corrupted and taken, if I remember correctly and that my computer will shut down every few moments. I need to contact my service provider. The search engine refused to open. My computer expert son told me it may be time to buy a new computer or take it to the computer repair guy in town. “It sounds like it’s a virus.”

I called my husband to give him the bad news. He asked me to close it up and re-start it. I did and it still didn’t work. When he got home, he tried to get online and chose another of the headings to open the search engine company and it wanted his e-mail and other stuff, so he closed out and tried another heading. I asked why he didn’t choose the first one in line, like I did but he didn’t want to. The second time it worked perfectly and I was able to continue using my computer.

In the meanwhile, I was praying, “Dear God, please fix my computer; please let it work.”

I had to go to the library to use their computer because I’m doing some stuff for a client. I’d been in earlier and almost brought my work with me to use theirs at that time. I just figure it’s easier to work at home. If I had, I would have gotten more done.

Anyway, I felt relieved that I didn’t have to hop in the car and drive all that way to the store early in my day. I have a lot to do tomorrow already. Plus, I hope to get a few more years out of this computer.

Why did the verse in Isaiah speak to me tonight? I guess that last part about God making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert fit my thinking about the computer. What I thought was infected or soon to be dead, suddenly came to life and I was able to work for the client. I hope to get an early start tomorrow before the scheduled events of the day. I’m grateful that God watches over me.

I think I’ll avoid the one new site I visited last night that may have caused my computer glitch. I have antivirus stuff and malware protection on this machine, so maybe it’s just a fluke. All I know is that in Romans 8:28, God says He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.

Since the imposed wait came along, I relaxed with my husband for a short amount of time and then got the dishes done.

I hope this finds you well. May God bless you and keep you from harm.

 

Colors

My daughter gave me a bar of black soap for Christmas over a year ago. It has African shea butter and sea salt in it which I found very soothing. It rested on a white soap holder which held fragments from a pink soap bar yesterday. The color contrast struck me with the polar opposite of shades.

When I lathered the black bar, the bubbles spread out gray and eventually turned to a sparkling white.

When I glanced back to the soap holder, streaks of black liquid streaked down the pebbly white surface and I recoiled a little. Then I reminded myself that the black streaks weren’t dirt streaks and I rinsed them right off.

photo from http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-YEAR-Roses-Rose-Flower-Orange-Yellow-Fragrant-Live-Plant-Bush-Bare-Root-/292007492486

I recently transplanted a beautiful grouping of roses with orange blossoms and a plethora of buds. The rose’s perfume was worth every second of my time as I stopped in the kitchen to inhale their aroma. But not too long after I bought them the leaves began to wither. What began slowly escalated.

Every bud shriveled and died, every mature blossom hung onto the brown stalky stems which used to be green. With their sustenance cut off their orange petals paled to a light cantaloupe flesh hue. Paper like with tan edges, the prettiest blossom gave up the fight for life.

The scent faded and then the exquisite smell disappeared.

Three of the tiny rose plants went into a pretty clay pot with stones for drainage and new soil. I watered them after I clipped all the dead wood away and removed every offending curled up and detached leaf.

I placed the most promising rose plant in its own pot, again with stones or broken pottery on the bottom for drainage and new potting soil.

The three plants in the bigger pot only have a few green twigs on one rose. The other two are browner yet. I tried to remove one but it seems entwined with the others.

I didn’t like seeing the dirt on my counter top after the transplant. That’s why the black soap trickling down brought dirt to mind so quickly. Sometimes what we see is not representing actuality.

Later,I tried to tug those “dead” roses apart but I didn’t want to fling potting soil around in the kitchen.

Jesus tells a parable of a farmer planting good wheat seeds into the ground. When his servant comes to him, he reports weeds that look similar to wheat have sprung up in the crop. The farmer says an enemy must have planted bad seeds in the furrows. Then he tells the worker not to pull up the weeds lest the wheat gets yanked out with them. At the end of the harvest they’ll be more distinguishable. The wheat will be set aside for use and the weeds will go into the fire to be destroyed. (Matthew 13:24-30)

That is what I’m doing for a season with the three rose plants. I’m watering them less and leaving them alone to see if any leaves will sprout on the one with the green stems.

The fourth rose plant went home with my daughter and I saw its few branches sprouting at least five forest green leaves today. “Live little plant and bring forth beauty and a sweet smelling aroma in your time.”

The enriching soap is called 100% Natural Black Soap w/ African Shea Butter & Sea Salt. Soapbox makes it and the package says “buy one & we give one to a child in need. Find out how at: soapboxsoap.com.”

My daughter likes to buy products that bless the poor. She knows I appreciate that too, so the gift is a win/win.

May God bless you.

Finding Rest

 

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30, (ESV), “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Mat 11:29  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.

Mat 11:30  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I feel more refreshed today than I have been because I don’t feel as overwhelmed. We started a prayer group this week at church and when we finished it felt jarring to talk to people in the coffee room. The presence of the Lord was so strong, to be smack dab in reality again is what felt unsettling.

I hope you’re finding time to be in the Word and to sit quietly at Jesus’ feet. What a privilege we have to cast all our care upon Him, for He cares for us as noted in 1 Peter 5:7.

I find I need others. When temptation comes my way, I can let an accountability partner know about it and ask for prayer. Christians can remind other Christians that to be tempted is not a sin. To step toward the temptation and to take action is the sin. That’s when we need to repent and ask God’s forgiveness. If we’re tempted and don’t act on it, we pray to be delivered from temptation and then walk away from the temptation and walk away from any condemnation the devil tries to put on us. He’ll do anything to distract us from God and being obedient to God.

Romans 8:34, (ESV)  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Rom 8:35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Rom 8:36  As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Rom 8:37  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

Rom 8:38  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,

Rom 8:39  nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God bless you!

Food Poisoning

Ecc_3:1, (KJV) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Ecc_3:2  A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

I took a break from writing a blog on Tuesday night because I developed symptoms from food poisoning on Monday night shortly after writing and sending a blog out.

The doctor asked if we ate out the night before and we had. My husband didn’t think that was the problem because he ate a small amount of the same food. I don’t know. So, I felt as if the Lord told me early on I’d be going to the hospital.

Later on, I also thought He was telling me I was all done being sick, and I wasn’t.

A few decades ago my husband and I worked with a youth pastor. He said, “I’ve asked God to speak to me in the same voice so I always recognize it.”

I need to do that. I’m not sure why I haven’t done it already. Anyway, after three hours of sickness, I began telling God I wanted to live. My husband said, “I’m going to call the doctor.”

That’s not his norm. The doctor told him I needed to get to the hospital. The problem was, how to manage while, er, busy.

Eventually things settled a little, and off we went. On Monday night I wrote about my sister having trouble breathing and that night I got so sick I was having trouble breathing.

Evelyn Christenson, a favorite author of mine when I was a young mom said she got tested on whatever she wrote about. The first book I read was What Happens When Women Pray. I got the picture of the book from her website where folks can order it. How awesome!

When I reminded my husband of that considering the circumstances, he said, “What are you going to do, stop writing?”

I don’t know if I could stop writing. It’s one of my six top priorities in life. Only if God told me to, and I’d ask Him to confirm it seven times at least.

People say that the number seven is the number of perfection and God used it to set up our week in Genesis, and He wrote to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, etc.

Anyhow, do you have a person that speaks common sense to you when you need to hear it? I really appreciate my husband.

Also, he took every turn in the roads to the hospital with care. Considerate.

May God bless you!

Inclusive

I complained to my husband today that we now own a chipmunk/bird feeder. It may be a 50/50 split.

“Chipmunks are cute.”

“True.”

Just not what I had in mind.

To totally change the subject, which I’ve been known to do in the middle of things, I thought about the opportunity I took to read from the book of Acts this week. The Nazarenes, a Jewish sect of believers that believed in Jesus Christ as their Messiah, became known as Christians in Antioch according to Acts 11:26.

God always intended for Gentiles to be included in the Jewish faith. God chose the Israelites as His people to be an example to all others in the world.

The prophet Isaiah is quoted as saying:
Isa 49:5, (CEV) Even before I was born, the LORD God chose me to serve him and to lead back the people of Israel. So the LORD has honored me and made me strong.
Isa 49:6 Now the LORD says to me, “It isn’t enough for you to be merely my servant. You must do more than lead back survivors from the tribes of Israel. I have placed you here as a light for other nations; you must take my saving power to everyone on earth.”

In the book of Acts, the Apostle Peter struggles with including Gentiles. The Jewish culture considered outsiders unclean and avoided close contact with them.

So God got through to Peter through a vision beginning in Acts 10:10. It was not what Peter had in mind.

God can change our prejudices and wrong thinking if we allow Him to.

I need to ask Him what my wrong thinking is.

What an adventure life is. Not always easy, but there’s zest in the journey.

God bless!

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.

Suicide – the Great Deception

Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

I saw my doctor for a routine check-up and I told her I’d been to the hardest funeral the day before, a suicide of a young person. She said they are altogether too common, and this young doctor dropped her head.

The funeral on Sunday broke my heart. The tightly held tears wracked my body for this precious girl and her family. Jesus said in John 10:10 that “the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come to give life and that abundantly.”

We are in a spiritual battle and God, the creator of the universe, invites us to fight for life and righteousness through prayer and loving Him and others, and witnessing. He gives his children free will to choose Him or to choose Satan’s course, a life rejecting God and going our own way.

From what I’ve read in the Bible, Satan relishes his hatred of mankind and uses his influence to cause havoc around the world. He hates people because we are made in the image and likeness of God, Who kicked Satan out of heaven for wanting to take God’s place, as found in Isaiah 14:12.

I remember thinking of suicide in college because the thought of it kept hitting my brain. When I mentioned it to my boyfriend, now my husband of nearly 40 years, he said, “Why would anyone think of suicide?”

I told him I would never do that. But Satan wants people to kill themselves. He is a liar and a thief. I don’t know how many suicide victims make it to heaven, it depends on their belief in Jesus Christ and their repentant heart. I prayed long and hard that none of the people at that funeral would succumb to the well-meaning phrases of the pastor.

He called her death a tragedy twice in the midst of a long eulogy extolling the wonders of heaven and God’s incredible love. As this beautiful, 28 year old daughter lay in her coffin, her mom and dad poured out memories as they tried to keep their woundedness at bay. The dad did better than the mom. As her mom told us of the ignored text, “Please, please, don’t do it,” her daughter chose to end the gift of life from God above, and her mom bawled as she ended her talk.

Her first-born and only daughter will never text her again, listen to advice or offer her mom insight and hope that young people often impart back to their parents.

I can’t help but cry as I write this because I knew her as a baby, I’ve been close friends with her grandmother for years, I saw her as a college graduate with a degree fashioned so she could help others. I witnessed the pain of her loved ones.

I’m sad. I’m mad. America embraces a culture of death when God’s plans, as stated in Jeremiah 29:11-13, are for a future, a hope, peace, a life filled with a relationship with God.

I shopped for infant wear last month and skipped racks of clothes with skulls on them in a local department store, which I found appalling.

“Dear God, protect our young people from suicide, I pray. May they know Your love and protection and hope and guidance, I ask, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen.”

Positioned with Christ

We had a guest speaker at our church two Sundays ago; Pastor Al Craig and his wife, Sue, visiting from North Carolina. He asked my husband to sit on a chair at the front of the main aisle. If you looked way over his head, you would see a huge wooden cross. Empty of the living Savior.

Pastor Al told us that God is our provider.

One of the most important things God provided us with was the gift of grace. If we will just believe in God the Son, Jesus Christ, repent of our sins and ask Him to be the boss, the Lord of our lives, He promises to be our grace giver, the Savior.

I’ve heard it said, “When the time comes to stand before God, the Father, Jesus says, ‘This is a child of ours, Look at this one through My sacrifice.'”

Jesus died after He took on all the sins of the world. He gave Himself, the perfect god/man as payment for our sins so mankind could be free from judgment. Once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, He tells us that He is in us and we are in Him, a great mystery of the faith. Pastor Al said, “Being in Him places us in heavenly places, according to the letter of Colossians.”

So, as an object lesson, we saw my husband sitting in a chair. As long as he sat in the chair, in Christ, He’s seated at the right hand of the Father. He’s sitting high above evil. If he should get off the chair, walk up the stairs, take the nails off the cross and choose to live in the flesh, he chooses to become lower than the heavenly places. He’s a Christian choosing to not sit in heavenly places and become subject to being in the world and turning his back on God’s provision and protection and power.

“Never mind, God, I’ll handle my life on my own. I don’t want to bother You. I want to live with bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart. I want to get drunk tonight, I want to live with someone outside of marriage for a while, I want to hurt them as bad as they hurt me,” etc., etc.

There’s more to this sermon, and this is a distillation of my notes, which missed some of what Pastor Al preached. But, being alive in Christ feels like a fresh fire to me after service on that Sunday. We need each other, believers, to stir up the gifts that God has given us. Today Is A Fresh Start. Jesus will let people repent and start over again, but He knows our heart. If we’re fooling around, playing at being a Christian, we may harden our hearts against God, and never get back on that heavenly chair. The enemy of our souls wants that to happen, since we remind him of God and he hates God.

We are made in the image and likeness of God and we will never be the holy and perfect God, but He treasures us. If we keep our relationship with God, He gives us position with Him. He promises us many things as joint heirs with Christ, and nothing beats the love of Christ and of the Father and of the Holy Spirit.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: an Unforgettable American

I’m reading a book called, “Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers” by Jean Fritz, copyright 1994 by Jean Fritz, and published by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s always liked to write. So she started as a young girl. Later in life, when her best friend died, she decided to console the grief-stricken husband. His looks didn’t appeal to her, but she thought highly of him. He was a professor of Biblical Literature.

After many months of trying to get him out of his despondency, they began to enjoy each other’s company. Friendship turned to romance and then they got married without much fuss.

I like to read stories of writers and to read of their choices as they become wordsmiths.  She wrote because she felt a compulsion to write. She wrote to become published when her family needed the money to survive. It’s interesting to note that she was an adept marketer. She sent essays to every magazine she could think of, and she found success enough that she hired a housekeeper for three hours a day so she could write.

When her passion for ending slavery arose, she wrote to influence the nation. People accused her of never having seen slavery, but she knew many people because of her famous father, Lyman Beecher. He preached to thousands of people about their need for a Savior to get into heaven and to avoid the torments of hell. So many people sought their family out, and she would listen to conversations from politicians, Southerners, New Englanders, people from Ohio, New York State, preachers and teachers.

When she heard of slaves being mistreated, her compassion stirred up her emotions, which found release in her pen. She met families that opened their homes to the “Underground Railroad.”

She wanted the country to wake up and see that there were no rights for slaves. She felt outrage. Women didn’t have much influence in her life time. So, writing a novel was the only way she could get her point across. She never expected her book to sell like it did.

I sat with a renowned pastor/teacher at a conference I attended one year for our church body. He wrote a book because he looked for one on his topic of interest and there wasn’t one. So he did a ton of research on the subject and wrote it himself. 🙂

It’s amazing how life can turn around with the right incentives, in a way that a person may never anticipate. I’ll bet if anyone told Harriet Beecher Stowe at age sixteen that some day she would write a book that impacted the world, she probably would have marveled at the idea. She was often overlooked at home and bossed around by her older sister. Yet, the fire in her spirit and the joy of writing, combined to create a life beyond her imagination.