Am I Not Enough?

I have a friend at our church who has said to me, “I thought when my children grew up I would stop worrying about them.”

I tell her it’s because she’s a mom. She tries not to worry and prays for them often.

Sometimes I pray about things and other times I picture events happening. I anticipate how I’ll react and at that point I forget to pray. Occasionally I’ll think God is saying, “Am I not enough?”

I tell Him He is more than enough.

I was in one of these, if this happens, then I’ll do that, frames of mind when my oldest daughter called.

The last time I headed north to help out two weeks in a row with six days at home in-between, I got thinking something had to change.

As I left her house I asked if she knew of anyone in her vicinity that might babysit for her children when they got sick and she had to work. With both adults working, it makes it hard.

Our ladies’ Bible study group even prayed with me for her benefit. Yesterday she called me to say a youngish grandmother from her church told her she’d be glad to babysit when the kids are sick. “I rarely catch anything, it’s no problem,” she said.

She also offered to help when she gets overwhelmed and told her to let her know.

I felt tears prickle my eyes as she shared her good news. I couldn’t help think of the kindness of God to answer our prayers. Then I immediately thought, why do I worry about her? God is so good to her.

This relieved my mind and enabled me to quit figuring out plans for future events that may never come to pass.

I know there are kind and compassionate people around, but not everyone has the flexible schedule and the ability to act on their desire to help others. I appreciate her and I don’t even know her. 🙂

I realize that God doesn’t want us to worry. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6, (KJV):  do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Php 4:7  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Php 4:8  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Php 4:9  What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Jesus said in John 14: 1, (KJV): “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.”

I also love Matthew, chapter six. Near the end of the chapter Jesus says to seek God and His righteousness first and all these things will be added to you. He’d been talking about food and clothing and how God provides for the birds of the air and the lilies of the field and that we are much more precious to God than those.    Make Ree's Barbecue Meatballs ahead of time for the perfect stress-free, game-day dish.

(photo from https://www.pinterest.com/explore/church-picnic-games/ )

 

My dad worried that my mom would spend or give away any money he’d saved for their retirement when he died. Then she died first and he was totally shocked and unprepared.

My mom knew blindness ran in her family so she learned to read braille and typed on a special braille machine to make books for those without vision. She never lost her sight even into old age.

So I learned that worrying doesn’t do any good and it’s harmful to our health. Also, it’s a lack of faith in God which is insulting to the great “I Am.”

So when I worry, I stop and tell God I’m sorry. Then I pray about the situation.

Jesus spoke about making plans in Luke 14:28-32, (KJV):

Luke 14:28: “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

Luk 14:29  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him,

Luk 14:30  saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’

Luk 14:31  Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand?

Luk 14:32  And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace.”

What He’s saying here as He continues to speak in the following verses is that if you decide to become His disciple, there is a cost. You’ll have to give things up that you used to find pleasurable. You may be called to give up your life or your goods.

God wants us to use our minds and think and plan. He wants us to rest in His care for us and He doesn’t want us fretting. I hope He’ll never have to ask me again, “Am I not enough?”

May God be your strength and your portion in whatever comes your way. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Investigator

My husband and I watched the DVD movie, “Investigator” tonight. We decided we’d seen it before, some years ago. It’s copyrighted in 2013 by Gabriel’s Messenger Film and in 2014 by Screen Media Films.

It’s pretty good. A police sergeant gets fired so he gets a job as a baseball coach and a criminal justice teacher. He absolutely loves baseball. So even though he never taught before, he gave it his all. He teaches more by example than by talking all the time. He encourages his students to think and investigate, telling them it’ll serve them well all the days of their lives.

I thought of a verse that reminded me of that same concept from God’s point of view, which I’ve quoted before in this blog: Isa_1:18, (KJV): Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

I love that verse. What a promise from God. Our sins can be forgiven and washed away by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. He took on all the sins of the world. He took the punishment for every sin so we could be pronounced not guilty before His Father.

We need to receive the free gift of salvation and then show our love and respect for God by choosing to follow Him and His commandments. Easy if we let Him lead, difficult if we take the lead and don’t know the way.

Those are my deep thoughts for tonight.

May God bless you! He loves you and watches over you. Maybe you can investigate His love for you. He wants us to reason together with Him. What a privilege.

 

 

 

Body and Mind

I’ve mentioned in the past that our Ladies’ Bible Study is doing Joyce Meyer’s The Mind Connection. Faith Words, New York, NY published this book and the accompanying Study Guide in 2015 and it was copyrighted in the same year.

Today we worked through chapter 15 – The Mind Body Connection. Psalm 139:14 (KJV) says: “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”

Joyce Meyer makes some tremendous points about how the body and the mind are connected and impact each other.

The other day when I was de-cluttering a room where I write, I found a small note. I thought someday I may want to write on how to lose weight. My insight for the day: set your mind to choose healthy foods at the grocery store before you shop. It will help you to be healthier and possibly to lose weight – only if you need to.

The Bible says in Romans 12:1, (KJV): “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

God implores people to think in many places in His Word. For one,  Isaiah 1:18, (KJV) Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

Jesus said,  “What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David,” in Matthew 22:42 (KJV).

I don’t know what you’re thinking of, but I hope they’re good thoughts.

Php_4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (KJV)

God bless!

Read Then Write

I read two books on writing today. The first, by Sol Stein, How to Grow A Novel, which I’ve mentioned in an earlier post, needed to be returned to the library. It was published in 1999 by St. Martin’s Press and copyrighted then as well.

Sol Stein has great insight into writing with experience in editing, publishing, and writing.

The second, also a library book, is The Best Writing on Writing, edited by Jack Hefron. Story Press of Cincinnati, OH published it and it was copyrighted in 1994.

Sol Stein rightly said that first draft writing should not be sent out to readers which include editors, even in e-mail query letters. That is my quandary when it comes to blogging almost every day. He also mentioned the marketing departments look at finished works differently than a senior editor whom absolutely loves a certain new title.
They are worlds apart in perspective. You’ll have to read his book to get the complete story.

Anyhow, I got thinking that it was writer’s, editors, and author’s advocates that pushed me into thinking I should blog every day. I believe they were thinking shorter pieces than I end up sending out. Yet all three camps feel if you’re not known in the world, you could be the best wordsmith in the world, your work will not sell.

I like to write for various venues. As an author, I’m in a vulnerable spot, sending out first drafts with no “cooling down” period so I can re-read the words and destroy or edit before launching them on an unsuspecting public.

What pushed me over the edge is the thought that I made a commitment to do so and I thought in my quiet time with the Lord, that He may have wanted me to do so. If I’m wrong, well, it’s too late.

I firmly believe that most folks make the best decision at the time of decision. Having come to a conclusion with whatever they know about the situation, they act and then it’s over. Might as well accept the consequences and hopefully consider anything they’ve learned and then move on. Repent to people and God if they’ve hurt others and try not to do that again. Wallowing in guilt doesn’t help a long time after the case.

That’s what I tell myself after I’ve totally goofed up.

Setting a new course after wrong choices always makes sense. The Apostle Paul wrote: Php 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Php 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
Php 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Php 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
Php 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Php 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
Php 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Php 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

If we think, how will this affect my friends, my family, the people involved, maybe we’ll hold back and decide to do something else instead.

Later, in Philippians, Paul tells us to put the former things behind us. If we blundered, let it go and reach for better goals.

Then in the last chapter, Paul reminds us:
Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Php 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Php 4:9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

So, years ago, I gave my writing to Jesus and said, “It’s all Yours, Lord.”

I go to writers conferences when I can. I read books on writing and I take classes when possible. My husband, the non-writer tells me to sit in the chair and write. Be it with a notepad and pen or pencil, or on an electronic devise, writing does not improve if it’s not practiced.

Almost every article or book on writing tells the reader to read what they want to write. So with those admonishments, I will close. God bless!

Savoring the Magic

Today started like any day might, but it turned into a day of joyful encounters with unexpected friends at a family reunion picnic. My sister invited a good friend and her daughter to the event but didn’t let me know. What a delight!

Then within a half hour or so, my daughter and her four children arrived. She drove her brother, my second son, to the picnic as well. More joy. Seeing extended family and family-like friends, plus my sister, Barb, made my day.

My husband and I drove on a newly paved highway through the valleys of upstate New York. My youngest daughter and her boyfriend accompanied us and we discussed the hilly terrain. Are they small mountains or high hills? I tried to find out on the internet, but it was inconclusive, in my opinion. So, I’ll do more research. That’s what writers do. We care about details that others may find boring or a waste of time. Then we ponder the wonder of it all. Give it our perspective and possibly turn it into a poem or a children’s story or consider it for a setting in a novel. Sometimes I have to remember to live in the moment because my mind starts fashioning new worlds and pretend people and I realize I missed what someone was saying, or I didn’t glance at the stars when I went from the car to the house.

If I live in a fantasy land, the important can be neglected. I remembered saying I was going to read the book I bought at Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference, entitled, “The ABC’s of Who God Says I Am,” by Kolleen Lucariello. So, I read chapter one this week. I thought of the vulnerability she displayed as she described an incident in her high school years. Marlene Bagnull taught at a writers’ conference in Rochester, NY, possibly in 1991. My first writers’ conference. She told us that vulnerability in an author is a key component in good writing.

I look forward to reading more of Kolleen Lucariello’s book. It made me think. I left its pages feeling encouraged.

If you get a chance to spend time with family and friends, savoring their smiles and the sunshine on a creek, hoisting little ones to view the seaweed and the black and jade-colored dragonflies, do it. Live in the present, and if you’re a writer, capture the magic of life.

When the reality of life gets hard, a story can catapult me into another time and place. I return with renewed vigor and hopefully some nugget of truth I never appreciated or understood before. Life needs balance.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to go to church and sing songs that remind me of the goodness of God. I expect it’ll be as most of the Sundays that have come and gone, but one never knows what God may orchestrate. 🙂

Power Releasers?

As I lay in bed this morning, I got thinking about God. I got thinking about God and mankind.

In recent sermons, my husband, the man who likes Science and Math and Business and People, has been preaching on the book of Genesis. In the beginning, God created. When He created man and then woman, it was the only time He said, “It was very good.”

After God created the heavens, the earth, the plants, the sun, moon and stars, the animals, He said, “It was good.”

We believe in a six day creation; one of the reasons is because God made the plants on one day and the next day He made the sun. He made mankind in God’s image, “Our image,” He said: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. He spoke the world into being.

So, if God is all powerful, why does He ask us to pray? Why does He include us in the running of this world? Be fruitful and multiply. Take dominion over the animals and the planet. In other words, be good stewards over the animals and over the earth. Treat them kindly.

In the Scriptures, it says, “Ask and you shall receive,”(John 16:24). “If two or more agree as touching anything on this earth, it shall be done of them by the Father,” (Matthew 18:19).”If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land,” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Are we power releasers? Why does God want to include us in helping to determine the condition of this world?

I wrote my ten year old grandson a letter about this idea of prayer releasing God’s power in a fashion that a ten year old would understand. He is a deep thinker. He loves super heroes. He doesn’t like bullies. Well, who does want to be bullied? 🙂

God is a creative God and we are made in His image. Maybe that’s why I feel more alive when I write. I’m looking at prayer in a much deeper way this day, because of His written word.