Saturday, June 25, 2016

Giving up is not an option

Today was a small town patriotic parade in which we were part of the Color Guard.  It has been on the calendar to months.   We knew the time to be there to meet and prepare, and we knew the time the parade would step off.  All the info we thought we needed we had.

When we arrived on time we couldn’t find the Color Guard, and the line of parade was moving up.  We only thought they were getting organized.  We parked and walked towards the beginning of the line, but the line of the parade just kept moving.  Finally we asked one participant who said the parade began at the time we were told to meet up and prepare!

What happened next is that the Piper marched fast alongside the moving parade line thinking he would catch up to the Color Guard. The Piper’s Wife walked farther and farther behind, took allies trying to catch up to at least get one picture, and then watch the rest of the parade.

As it turned out the Piper caught up to the Color Guard right when they were ending!  

What did we learn?

In life we can be told what to do and what to expect.  (Like our parade time line)

We can make our plans and follow them through.  (Like getting there on time and then trying to catch up with the Color Guard)

Often life isn’t as easy as it has been planned for us, or what we have planned, or what we expect to happen.  We can discover times, dates, situations, people, etc. do not turn out like expected.  We can run after the “front of the parade” to catch up, but find we never do so.

As a Christian when life throws an unexpected turn into our paths, we need to assess and keep living for the LORD.  If we find ourselves just chasing after and never catching up, then we need to assess the situation and figure out what would be best to do next. 

Giving up is not an option.

14 "press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 3:1-21

Perhaps we are struggling with our faith.  The world is “screaming” falsehoods, and maybe they make us stumble and doubt. We know God’s truth, it is in our hearts, but what about that “screaming”? ~ that sounds pretty good, huh? 

We have to preach to ourselves! Don’t “throw God away"!  Giving up is not an option!  We know the truth already! Why do we so easily faint?  

Trust in God.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me."
John 14:1

Preaching to ourselves should be a daily thing, especially when we struggle with anything!  The world is always “screaming” and always has.  Nothing is new under the sun.

"That which has been is that which will be,
And that which has been done is that which will be done.
So there is nothing new under the sun."

Ecclesiastes 1:9

Continue to the good fight.  The LORD is our strength and our shield.  This world may seem like it has it all together ~ but that is one falsehood among a myriad of falsehoods.

Seek Him!

25-26 "Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 73


She must be jealous of me.

I have known her for over 40 years.  She is just about the most bitter person I have ever known - only, unfortunately, I know three other women who top this one’s ugly bitterness.

Bitterness is an ugly, gross thing when seen in played out in a person. Avoid it. 

Fight becoming bitter.

"These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice."
Ephesians 4:31

Precious Sisters in Jesus, whatever you do, whatever you are going through, however you must handle your circumstances, control yourself! Because you do NOT want to become bitter.  It is an abhorrent trait.

"I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 3:14-19

"He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion."

Proverbs 28:13

But, with this certain bitter person, I know of her childhood, and I know how she was dealt with when she was grown up, so I have always had pity for her, prayed for her, and “given her a pass” so many times when she has been cruel to me or others.

I think she was trying to be friendly with me once when she showed me a treasured picture in her wallet.  It was of herself and her prom date at their senior prom.  The man  was NOT who she had been married to for 15 years.  I was shocked, said nothing,  and I felt sad for her to live in the past this way. Plus, I wondered how this made her husband feel.

She is a wee bit older than me so she has always felt like she could tell me what to do.  I, on the other hand, even when I was spiritually immature have tried to love her as I would want to be loved, and I love her like a sister.  I have been there for her in her agonies, and befriended her when no one else would.   As far as I have seen, though, I do not think my kindness and love has affected any change in her at all.

One solution was for me to distance myself from her. But her manipulation and cruelty towards me has reached out and has affected me greatly over these years.  One consolation, if I should call it this, is that she has chosen to pretend I do not exist any longer.  When communication was paramount, I was ignored and vilified.  When she was held accountable by those in authority she was able to continue her cruelty in secret to this day.

I have spent all these years wondering why she did not like me, and why she even hated me.  I have had to explain her behavior and choices in polite terms to those people who I have had to deal with (friends, medical professionals, social workers, nurses, etc) because she has blocked my freedoms.

I know how she has behaved as a wife and how she has parented her own children. I marvel at how God’s grace and mercy has been showered on her with her family is still intact when other precious, godly families have been torn apart by the world.  These loving families have cherished their spouses and children and have lost everything because the world captured their families. Why does it seem like the "good guys" lose?

No matter how she has hurt me, angered me, ignored me ~ I still pity her, because I know where she came from.  Strangely, just today, I realized that what may have spurred her on in her quest to destroy me was her jealously of me.  Perhaps it is because I have had parents who loved me, a husband who adores me, and children I loved and spent my quality time on. I have loved God as long as I have known her, but when my faith shown, she disliked me even more.  Jealousy, I suppose, can be ugly in itself. How pitiful to see played out.

What can we learn from our relationships?  We can not make anyone hear us, believe us, or change them.  This is not our job.  We can only do our job which is to live our lives for the LORD no matter what others do to us, or how others behave. 

Let us remove all bitterness, etc. out of our inner most beings even if it means a daily inner fight.  We are not fighting alone, for we have the LORD! 

"bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you."
Colossians 3:13

"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. 
Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. 
He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. 
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 
Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you."

Ephesians 4:25-32






Types of cat fur


Friday, June 24, 2016

The one you love

“Pleasure is captured 
in the soft smile 
and gentle eyes 
of the one you love.”

Joni, Diamonds in the Dust, June 13

I Trust Thee!

“ I will not doubt, 
though all my ships at sea come drifting home with broken masts and sails;  
I shall believe the hand which never fails, 
from seeming evil worketh good to me.  
And, though I weep because those sails are battered, 
still will I cry, while my best hopes lie shattered, ‘ I trust Thee!’”

---Ella Wheeler Wilcox
*


“A furious squall came up…

…‘Teacher, don’t You care if we drown?’

And He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’  

Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
Mark 4:37-39
*


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THERE IS A REDEEMER

From "Hymns that Preach"

THERE IS A REDEEMER

If you’re 45 years or older, you will probably remember the Jesus movement that was spawned in the Southern California hippie drug culture of the 1970s.  And if you remember that, you will probably remember the controversial Christian singer and songwriter who rose to prominence from out of that culture.

Keith Green was born in 1953.   At a very young age, it seemed that he would become a musician.   Music was his passion; he wanted to be a pop-star and he was exceptionally talented. At age eight, he began to perform in stage musicals. At age 12, he published his first song and became the youngest member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers. That same year he signed a five-year recording contract with Decca Records.

He had a secular Jewish background but, as a child, he was fascinated with reading the New Testament.  The first time Keith ran away from home, he was 15 years old. Even though he was on a fast track to becoming a teenage idol, he never quite achieved that success and by the late 1960s, he began experimenting with drugs and dabbling in various Eastern religions.

He met the woman he would marry, Melody Steiner, another songwriter, in the early 1970s.  That is when his life began to turn around.  She was also of Jewish heritage and had been exploring the teachings of mysticism and Eastern religions.   After they met, they began to explore the Christian faith together.  

At the age of 21, Keith and Melody heard the Truth of the Gospel at a church in the San Fernando Valley, and the Lord saved them.

They never turned back from the Christian faith.  Not only did his life take a radical turn, so did his music.  He was no longer interested in stardom. His songs began to reflect the Joy of knowing Jesus and experiencing His love.   From that time, Keith focused his work, on a series of Christian music projects, including working with the band, Good News.

Keith developed some strong convictions that left him feeling inadequate and undeserving of God’s grace.  And his convictions affected and irritated many of his friends and separated him from most of the others in his industry.  He started holding concerts for free and he questioned how other Christian musicians could, in good conscience, charge for their concerts or make profits from their record sales.

But in the final years of his life, Keith Green, the Firebrand, was tempered by the grace of a loving God.  He met John Dawson, of YWAM, and through that relationship, he began to re-discover the love of Christ.  After striving for years to measure up to God's holiness, and sometimes questioning his own salvation, Keith came to a deeper understanding of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross―both to forgive his sins and to clothe him in His own righteousness.

Keith grew in grace without compromising his beliefs; he reconciled and restored all his relationships, and began to experienced real peace.   He wrote personal letters of apology to those he had offended with this admission:
“I hope you can understand that I am a man of principle, and yet, like a pendulum, I have a tendency to go too far to make a point.  I fear that in the past I have done just that.”  

In 1982 he released his final, and most worship-oriented album of all, Songs for the Shepherd.

One of the songs on that album is There is a Redeemer.  It was written by his wife, Melody, in the late 1970s during the time she and Keith were starting Last Days Ministry (LDM), an outreach to the drug culture and to unwed teenage mothers; a ministry that is still continuing today.  The song had been set aside, unpublished until she presented it during the production of this last album.

Keith loved the song but wanted to make it longer so, within a few minutes, he penned this prophetic third and final verse:

When I stand in Glory, 
I will see His face,
And there, I’ll serve my King forever, 
In that holy place.

Just a few months later, at the young age of only 28 years, Keith Green was killed in a small plane crash.  He was standing in Glory, seeing his Father face-to-face.
  

There is a Redeemer,
Jesus, God's own Son,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Holy One,

Jesus my Redeemer,
Name above all names,
Precious Lamb of God, Messiah,
Oh, for sinners slain.

When I stand in Glory,
I will see His face,
And there I'll serve my King forever,
In that Holy Place.

(chorus)
Thank you oh my Father,
For giving us Your Son,
And leaving Your Spirit,

'Til the work on Earth is done.
*





Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Discernment


He Giveth More Grace

He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.
To added affliction He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials, His multiplied peace.

His love has no limit;
His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources,
Our Father's full giving is only begun.

His love has no limit;
His grace has no measure.
His power has no boundary known unto men.
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again!

Annie Johnson Flint

Troubles are momentary

“For our light and momentary  troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:17

Someone once prayed,

“LORD, help us to strip off like cobwebs the troubles that we have allowed to cling to us like chains.” 

Oh, how often we feel chained to our problems.  Wouldn’t it be glorious if we could consider all our trials to be as light and momentary as cobwebs? 

We can! Whatever troubles are weighing us down -- doubt or anxiety, insecurity or fears --  are not chains  They are featherweight when compared to the glory yet to come.  With a sweep of a prayer and the praise of a child’s heart, God can strip away any cobweb.

From Joni, Diamonds in the Dust, June 9

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Brokenness lived out for the LORD

I am so very broken, hurt, and traumatized by my agonies.  

The LORD holds me.  He has held me from before when life was simple, and certainly, He holds me now, in all the agonies.  I am so very blessed even in my brokenness. 

Glory to God!

I often find myself thinking, “when will this brokenness be over?”  I just want to “feel” better, “feel” normal, “feel” like other people who, at least, seem fine.

I forget that “this” is not about me.  It is NOT all about me!  

I am here, a child of the LORD God!  My life is His, and He has allowed this long-standing trauma into my life.  My brokenness, although so very uncomfortable, has been refining me in ways nothing else could have done. He has drawn me closer to Himself, and how very precious this has been! 

Life, no matter how difficult, is about glorifying the LORD.

What joy it is when I am thinking rightly. This is when I can easily remember the joy of the LORD no matter what is happening my life. He is with me.  He has never left me.  He was there before the perniciousness of the trauma was brought into the light, and also all those terrible days, months, years of heartaches which became like chaos. He has held me tightly, showed me His joy, and I have lived one day at a time, waiting for resolution here on earth or in glory.  

Living one day at a time in His joy has given me a whole different perspective.  I barely look ahead.  This is a strange thing. Seasons pass and I wonder where the time flies.  I am living, and truly living fully for Him each day, I just do not grasp the time factor as I had before all the trauma.

It has been a choice of mine because the LORD has not forced me to be joyful in Him. I have many times through these years chosen to be sad, grumpy, angry… but thankfully I have remembered Him, and come back to Him in humbleness. 

Praising Him for His gentleness in drawing me back to Himself!

Meanwhile, the World sees me.  I do not what to be seen. I do not want to talk and share because this often means I will later suffer emotionally at home. I just want to live, and not stand out. 

Sometimes I do not want to be "happy" and smile.  But most of the time I just live, and I live for Him, and so His joy comes out of me no matter what I am doing. Smiling and happiness is like a by-product of His joy in me. 

It doesn't seem very important, but I know and understand how people can be affected. Just acknowledging another person’s existence, or doing menial tasks for others, being kind, or having an open demeanor to others has the LORD shining through me.  It is a marvel, and I can't really explain it, or even teach it, I only know you just have to do it with Him being the most important One in your life.

I am nobody special.  Anyone can choose to live in His joy no matter what their circumstances.  It is up to each of us to choose rightly for Him.  It is our personal response to whatever comes into our lives which matters.  And so I encourage others to respond rightly for the LORD.
  
When we choose to respond rightly in our circumstances to glorify God with our lives, people notice us.  We stand out from the crowd, and sadly, even in Christian crowds we stand out. 

I can expect certain people to think I am only living this way, and doing these things to make myself look good.  --Hogwash-- I can't help what they think, so I just smile, and move on. I do not have time for their foolishness when I am living for Him.

Other people will notice and be touched by the kindness, the politeness, or perhaps just my demeanor.  Thankful they have been blessed through me, I pray that these people may be so touched that they seek the Creator, the Savior in His truth.

My dear friends know of my agonies, and notice how I choose to live fully for the LORD.
They marvel at how I can carry on in life, not necessarily understanding how I can do this -- until they go through their own traumas, and so learn how the LORD truly does carry each of us, if we allow it. 

This topic is in my head.  I live every day choosing to do rightly for Him. I can not get away from my agonies which seem to hang on me like moisture on a muggy day. It is a reality of my life, like a missing limb, or one of my senses taken from me. 

How I survive is the LORD seemingly holds me above the storms so that, most of time, the pain is "managed" even though my circumstances do not change. I can "see" the agonies, but I am with Him, and so I am okay in those moments. It is an awesome, precious time to feel so loved by Him. 

In those times when the agonies are raw and so very real, I still know He is with me. Perhaps He is allowing me to remember from what He is protecting me. Even these raw times are precious with Him.  I know whom has redeemed me!

"I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day."  2 Timothy 1:12

This week when I was cleaning the house, and dusting I came across the gift from a precious young sister in Christ.  She has her own agonies and she chooses to live for the LORD also.  Years ago I had gotten to know her simply, and then always touched base with her, then sometimes going out of my way to encourage her, care for her in her sadnesses, and to just love her.

"We love, because He first loved us."   1 John 4:19 

I did these things because the LORD is in me, He loves me, He cares for me, He encourages me.  I just do, it is just normal for me.  So I did not realize how I had touched her so tenderly until she showed up for Mother's Day one year. 

Her gift was herself, but along with her hugs and tears of love she gave me a token.  It was a girl holding a huge bouquet of pink roses, and a card which said:

For a Phenomenal Woman

She has a smile that lights up any room

and a giving, loving heart...
She knows just how to make you laugh --
she's gentle, kind and smart...
She loves completely
and unconditionally --
she cares for others' needs..
She is an inspiration
to all who know her --
She is a phenomenal woman, indeed!

I praise God! but I do not think of myself this way. I only live in the moment. And I keep my eyes on the One who never leaves me.  The One whose character I trust with my life. He is my One and Only.

"The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." 
 John 1:14, NIV

May we be found faithful!



A Wise Old Owl


























































A wise old owl lived in an oak;
The more he saw the less he spoke;
The less he spoke the more he heard:
Why can’t we all be like that bird?

Edward Hersey Richards

God's Beauty


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Horse Sense

A horse can’t pull while kicking.
This fact I merely mention.
And he can’t kick while pulling,
Which is my chief contention.

Let’s imitate the good old horse
And lead a life that’s fitting;
Just pull an honest load, and then
There’ll be no time for kicking.

Unknown