Friday, June 24, 2016

He cares...

"O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know my sitting down and my rising up." Psalms 139:1

"Not AGAIN!" I said to myself as I frantically looked for my silver bracelet! My dogs looked at me from a safe distance, because they knew by the volume and tone of my voice, it was not the time for play. I knew for sure I had placed the bracelet in the same spot after taking it off a couple of weeks ago, but where was it?  You see this has happened before, matter of fact for a while seems like I was on a roll for losing things, but was having a reprieve, or so I thought!  

I looked everywhere all day long while doing deep breathing exercises to stay calm. I guess I was frustrated because I could not understand  why that stupid bracelet was not where it should have been. Plus... this commercial about memory loss and what that could mean kept coming on TV. I mean come on now, I only watch special programs on TV and the commercial was showing up on every channel I turned to! I was beginning to think I could hear the music theme from "The Twilight Zone" softly playing, while my dogs looked strangely at me! What in the world?????? Was I losing it? I mean my mind this time! I could have sworn that I put it right where it always goes!  

Finally, I got tired of looking and began to settle in my heart that it was just a bracelet and where ever it the county dump covered in the township's stinking garbage; on the the arm of a stranger or out on the street flat as a silver pancake after being ran over by a UPS truck (I saw all this in my mind in 3-D), it did not matter, there are other things more important and my life certainly did not depend upon it. So right eye STOP TICKING ! 

I prayed about it and began to prepare for bed, then a thought came to mind...a few days ago, I had found a couple of small sequined evening bags in a closet (Don't know why I am keeping them, have not used them in a thousand years!)  Anyway I temporarily laid them on top of the case where I kept the bracelet, afterwards storing them in a drawer. Suddenly I felt impressed to go to that drawer and look at those bags. I felt kind of silly doing that, especially after taking them out of the drawer and not seeing anything, but...wait a minute...just as I was putting them back I looked down in the drawer and there was the bracelet ! I probably would have not looked in that drawer again for a long time, if I had not been given that little "nudge". How often would I have needed to use a sequined evening bag...NEVER ! LOL

I picked up the bracelet and rejoiced! But it was not so much about the fact that I had found it, but that once again it was a reminder that God cares! Seriously I was laughing, crying and praising God at the same time, I deserved the strange looks from my dogs this time!  I was suddenly overwhelmed with the sense of how much He Loves and cares for us!  You may ask how can you get that out of finding a bracelet?  Because I know from experience, He knows all about me and He is concerned about every little detail of my life. Every hurt, every rejection, every misunderstanding, every failure, and also every joy.  He cares and feels what I feel, and He has been there all my life and before. To me it was like He was saying to me "Though you may feel lost and hidden sometimes, I KNOW where you are at all times, nothing and no one is hidden from Me." Isn't that a comforting thought...

I want to encourage you today, no matter what you may be going through, God knows all about it, there is nothing that is hidden from Him. He has not lost you and is frantically searching for you, He KNOWS just where you are and is patiently waiting for you to surrender those things that concern you and yes, even your whole self to Him. By surrendering does not mean you will lose anything, but you will gain everything that really matters.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

He Lifts up my head!

Lord, how they have increased who trouble me! Many are they who rise up against me. 
Many are they who say of me, “There is no help for him in God.” Selah
But You, O Lord, are a shield for me, My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice, And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah  Psalms 3:1-4

The beginning of this week (May 16th)  has brought the sad news of another young woman, wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend to many, has taken her own life. My post on March 12th included the sad news about another precious, young woman, mother and friend to many, that took her own life also. That is two women, one I had met once and heard her speak so beautifully at a breakfast/meeting and the other I only know through her sibling to whom I am well acquainted and admire very much. I can only imagine what the families must be going through.  My heart is heavy for the children, the spouses, the parents, the siblings and all who were close to them. 

Two people who had lost hope and believed that this world would be a better place without them and yet...there are so many that feel this way, these are just the ones that I know about.  I weep for them because as I have shared before, I know what it feels like to have no hope, to feel that you do not matter, to be so depressed that you believe the lies that are bombarding your mind and emotions.

King David of the Bible felt that way many times. He wrote in Psalms 3 just how he felt; his enemies were trying to overtake him, people had lost all faith in him and believed that he would fail. Have you ever felt that way? I have. Downtrodden, defeated, rejected, worthless, just a few words to describe the emotions that are trying to convince you to give up.

I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do know what helped me from making a final decision to take my own life, and that is what David did...he reminded himself that God was his shield, his protector. You see no matter how low we feel, God is still there. No matter how lonely we may feel, He has not left us. No matter how worthless we may feel, He still loves us. We have that choice...believe the lies or with our last ounce of strength, with our last bit of faith (that everyone has been given) accept the Truth that we CAN live and things will get better.

The late Dr. Myles Munroe said "The graveyard is the richest place on the surface of the earth because there you will see the books that were not published, ideas that were not harnessed, songs that were not sung, and drama pieces that were never acted."  To take it on a more basic level, what about the love and nurture that the children that are left behind will miss, the smiles and hugs of encouragement that they will go without from you. The opportunities missed to help make this world a better place for not only your children, but your family and friends that love you. We are all important and have a place and purpose in this world and when we decide to leave before our time, we are greatly missed...believe that.

King David also reminds himself the it is God who lifts up his head. Depression and feelings of worthlessness will make you lower your head, if not physically, inwardly the weight of the negative emotions cause you to lower your confidence, faith and your will to go on. Please listen, God is the only one that can lift your head and give you all you need to get through and overcome the desire to take matters in your own hands.  Look up because when you look up you can see that there is a new day tomorrow, there is hope and a promise that He is with you and will never leave you.  Trust Him today, give Him a chance...give Him your problems, give Him your heart...

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Something to brighten my day!

Just a short post to say that I received a nice surprise today...FLOWERS ! My son, his wife and the grandkids sent me a lovely arrangement and it was just what I needed to brighten my day!  I thank God for simple pleasures!

Love this lovely bouquet!

My "Boys" approve !

My new pillow for the sofa! "Enjoy Today!"

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Being Still...

“...Be still, and know that I am God;  I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalms 46:10

I have a fault...and that is overly concerning myself over the lives of others. Surely the Lord wants us to be involved with mankind and to "cry when they cry and rejoice with them as they rejoice".  But sometimes I really take it to the extreme and that is not good.  It is at times like these that I know I need to "Be still...", take time and meditate on what the Lord would have me do instead of running ahead and getting involved. I am a lot better than I used to be, but every now and then the tendency to be a "fixer" raises its head and tries to take over. I am learning that the Lord wants me to allow Him to handle situations in other people's lives; that even though I care very much and my concern is genuine, it is not for me to try and fix it.  Be still.

So. I am resting in Him and enjoying the many simple pleasures that He has blessed me with. I will not seclude myself, for I know that God did not intend for us to live alone and become recluse from the people around us...He desires for us to have fellowship. However for me being still means taking time to be more conscious of what my role in this journey is. To be salt and light to the world, not a fixer; to be quietly praying for the things that concern me and to allow people to be who they are.

Thank You Lord for showing me that I need to take the time to Be Still and hear Your voice again. To KNOW that You are God and that I can release all concern for others into Your confident Hands. Amen.

Here are some things that I enjoy, among them collecting blue and white ceramics and pottery...being still and learning to enjoy the journey...

Blue, white, yellow my favorite color combo for spring

Antique coffee pot, rose tea cups and Boyd Bears "Tea time"

Some of my collection of vintage pottery

Mini rose bushes on the back porch on a rainy day

More Blue, white and yellow

This "Willow" pattern plate is very olden made in England

Spring arrangement

Blue and White in the foyer

A Tea Set gifted to me by a friend

A Pot of Violas on the back porch

 Just a few of my favorite things... :-)

Friday, April 22, 2016

He watches over me...and you

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. 
He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore. Psalms 121

It has been a while since I have posted anything. I am doing fine and have been learning many "lessons", but did not feel to share...not until this one. Protection, security, assurance, all very comforting words when it pertains to your well being, especially in this day and age. Those words are very important and special to me, and concerns me more times than others. I had never lived on my own until 14 years ago when my husband passed; it was something that I had never planned to do and certainly something that I never wanted to happen...but it did. But this is not a *sob* story, but one of victory, so don't turn me off yet.    :-)

I grew up in a loving family and home, a father, a mother and siblings. I left home to attend college, but had 2 loving roommates (girls, dorms were not co-ed back then thank God!) and then I married and lived in  a wonderful home with my husband and son. I had ALWAYS had someone there for me. I remember thinking back then "if something would ever happen to my husband, I don't know what I would do!"  Then there was the time after he had passed and I said to myself "I hope that I never lose electricity at night in a winter storm!"  Well you guessed it!  It happened! Raging storm, all the electricity went out, dark of night and after I panicked what did I do? I quickly figured out that I had 2 choices; frantically run out into the storm or trust that God was with me and would be my protector...I did the latter and got in bed and went to sleep...

That experience was among many, but I believe that it was a pivotal time for me...I began to learn how my Father God is my protector.  I am sure that many of you can account for times when things that should have happened, somehow didn't and the only way to explain it is that someone bigger than you or I was watching over us. Some people believe that it is their deceased loved ones. I do not see the truth of that in God's Word, however I do see that He, God Himself is our protector and watches over us and He dispatches angels to our aid. (Psalms 91:11)  So how do we explain when adverse things DO actually a nut shell, I don't know, but what I DO know is that God loves us and I praise Him for the times that He has shown me how He has protected me from danger and harm. He loves us and as I have said before, some things we may never understand here on earth, but God is the same yesterday, today and forever and never leaves us.

I posted something on Facebook the other day that I borrowed from someone else about the "Pity Train", it was so funny because I could so relate. In fact I was riding that particular train...more specifically the SELF PITY train just the other day when I began to "see" the light.    :-)

I began to be concerned about getting older and who would care for me in my old age. Where would I live? Who could I call if I needed someone? (those commercials about "I've fallen and can't get up" doesn't help the matter either!) You know, all the questions that make you want to throw in the towel and turn into a blubbering wreck!  Legitimate concerns, but I knew that this was not coming from God because it did not encourage me, only discourage me...sure sign! 

Once I shook myself and realized who the instigator was of those feelings...I felt impressed to read the above Psalms 121 and it was a reminder of WHO is looking out for me; and  there it was right there...God Himself is looking out for me! And honey He doesn't even sleep nor slumber!  So it's 24/7 protection, better than ADT, Guardian or any other alarm system (of which I have one)!  Should I use wisdom? Of course, but ultimately I have to believe and trust that God is in control and is leading and watching over me. Takes a whole lot of pressure off.

No matter how old that I get, I am still learning about this walk of life, and most importantly about my Father God...and I like it that way. I pray that I never become one of those people that think they know it all and if you ever see me being that way, you have my permission to kick me in the tush...gently please. :-)

After my private lesson with the Lord on "Who Is My Protector", I believe that I am finally getting it. God uses people to give us confidence and security...He used my loving parents; my father that was a strong, affectionate provider, my mother who was loving and nurturing; my college roommates that showed me true friendship and camaraderie and then my precious husband that lovingly gave me not only physical protection but also was my godly marital covering. So you see when I needed all those things, God in His faithfulness had them in place. And you know what? He has not skipped a beat, He is graciously allowing me to see that ultimately HE is my all in all,  HE is Whom and all we need. He IS watching over us...

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked. 
Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.  PSALMS 91:1-11

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Hope Springs!

Alexander Pope wrote "An Essay of Man" in 1733 and from it we get that famous saying "Hope springs eternal"... 
In the human breast
Man never Is, but always To be blest: 
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home, 
Rests and expatiates in a life to come." 

To me Mr. Pope wasn't exactly giving us much "hope" when he wrote this, because people usually use this phrase when they feel there is very little hope of what they want to ever happen and it is usually accompanied with a big 'ol sigh.  

So what is Hope... the Bible has lot to say about it.  There are so many scriptures about hope; when you have hope, when you do not, even when hope is delayed.  So I would say that it is right up there with faith. Hebrews 11:1 states "For we know that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...
 So actually you have to have hope to get to faith. I mean, what would there be (substance) to have faith to believe for, if you did not have the desire to to see it come to pass. Basically you can try to conjure up the faith to believe that you are going to have a very productive day at home or work, but you have to at least desire for it to happen right?  Or what about this can try to have the faith to get through a hard trial, but you have to want and desire for it to happen...You have to HOPE and desire to live this life in order to have the faith each day to make it happen...right?

This brings me to the sad part...a few weeks ago a lovely woman whom I had met for the first time, shared before a group of women, myself included, how the Lord was working in her life. She eloquently shared how even though she had some baggage in the past (as we all do), she felt that she was being restored and given another opportunity to get things right. We applauded her and many stood and showered her with sincere love and congratulatory hugs. We were all so blessed by her open and honest testimony and left that day feeling hopeful (there's that word) for a brighter future for not only her, but every woman that was in attendance...less than two weeks later, this same precious young woman took her own life...

It was a shock to all of us...I having just met her saw a bright, bubbly, super-friendly woman. Her friends confirmed that she was just that and more.  She was a generous, loving, kind person...a shining star. What we did not see was the pain she had endured, the pain that convinced her in a moment of despair, in a moment when she had lost hope that she was any worth to her family, her friends, even herself. She lost hope that the pain would one day go away, that this life would ever get any better...

I do not speak disparagingly about this precious woman, because I have been there. I may not have experienced the same pain as she did, but I was at the point that I felt worthless and had no hope that tomorrow would be worth sticking around for. I was a young woman in my early 20's who did not have a relationship with the Lord at the time. I had tons of baggage that I was trying to carry all by myself; the baggage of bad decisions, of bad mistakes, and the baggage of no self worth continually weighed me down; until one night I decided to do what demonic voices were telling me to do and to end it all. Thank God my husband got me to the hospital in time to get help. The counselor that I had to talk to before being released, asked me in a very bored and tired voice "Why did you do it?" She probably had asked that question many times before unfortunately, no wonder she never bothered to look up at me as she wrote on her pad. I answered her in a similar bored and tired voice " I don't know...I just didn't want to go on, I wanted it all to stop."  With that the paper work was completed and I was sent home with a referral to see a counselor in the next few days which I never did. Thanks be to God a short time later I surrendered my heart and life over to the Lord Jesus Christ who gave me the Hope I needed to make a change for the better in my life. When I look at my son, his wife, my grandchildren, I shudder to think that I could have missed all of the joy that I get from just being a part of their lives. The Lord gave me the hope that I needed to have the faith to believe that things CAN get better, that tomorrow is another day, a new beginning, that joy WILL come in the morning.

I recently shared with a friend about a dream I had several years ago and I pray that I never have it again. In the dream, I was allowed to experience the depths of despair, hopelessness far greater than I have ever felt in my life. When this feeling of not having ANY Hope fell on me in the dream, it was like being in a black hole with no way of getting was a very dark place. When I awoke, and after thanking and praising God for a while, I realized that the dream was for a purpose. The purpose being I NEVER want to allow myself to get to that point AND I never want anyone else to feel that way. Since then it has driven me to be an encouragement to people. To let people know in a way the Lord directs me, that they are important and special in God's eyes; that we all have worth to Him and our roles in this life are so important to those all around us. NEVER LOSE HOPE.

This post all came to mind as I was decorating the house for Spring. All the winter stuff is down and put away, things that are light and bright are in their place. The days are sunnier and longer; the birds sing louder. The winter was cold, cloudy and some days almost depressing, but now it is a new season, a new beginning. God is so cool like that, He could have said "Well folks, its going to be winter forever", but He knows that we needed a "spring", we need to refresh our Hope. Thank you Lord for giving us the Hope that we need in order to have the faith to believe for a brighter tomorrow...our HOPE is in You!
My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
 This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
 Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”
 The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.

It is good that one should hope and wait quietly

For the salvation of the Lord.
Lamentation 3:20-26
" the Bible, HOPE is no longer a passion for the possible, but a passion for the Promise."
 -Lewis Smedes, Daily Bread December 19, 1996

Monday, February 1, 2016

Greater Love...

"Know Me...Know Me...Know Me..." Those were the words that I heard over and over in my heart one recent morning as I sat in my room after reading the Psalms and meditating on God's Word. As I closed my eyes, at first I thought that it was my heart's cry to Him...for Him to truly know me, my wants, my desires, my needs; but as the plea continued to echo in my heart I realized that it was Him, the Almighty God, my Father, saying to me..."Know Me...Know Me...Know Me..." It was at that moment that it dawned on me the magnitude of His love for me...His Love for all of us.  He wants us to Know Him, He desires for us to Know Him.  The whole purpose of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus has taken on a more vibrant meaning to me now. The plan of salvation, the miracles, the parables told, the suffering, the death that Jesus was born for, lived for, shared and was recorded, was God's purpose, so that we could KNOW Him.  There is no greater love...

It was a very cold February 14th and two college students were on their way to get married. The subway was packed with folks going into the city, with the Jackson 5's latest hit blasting from somewhere, some laughed and talked, some silently looked out the window and we nervously held hands and pondered on what we were about to do.

I was in an emerald green knit dress and my soon to be husband wore a sport coat, tie and slacks. We were married by a Pastor who was a friend of someone we knew. You see, even though we were both brought up in church with loving parents who taught us the correct way to live, we chose the incorrect way to live. We believed that our way was better,  love was all that mattered.  That if you truly love someone, it was alright to live and pretend like you were married and enjoy all the benefits that comes with it. When I look back now, I am amazed how God STILL loved us and with such patience. Even though we had chosen to turn from Him, go our own way and live the opposite of what His Word says...He was still right there, not condoning us, but speaking to us. I know that there were people praying , because no matter how far we had fallen away from our upbringing, there was something inside of us that knew we had to do what was right.

A few months before our wedding we had welcomed a son into our lives with great joy, but underneath was always that foreboding feeling of shame and the question: When he gets older what will we tell him? Looking into our son's innocent, big brown eyes God spoke to us to do what we knew was right. Even in our sin but with people praying for us (unbeknownst to us), we decided to get married. Yes, love matters, but we knew that it was more needed in order to have have a peaceful life.  God was with us, even in our sin, He was there, gently nudging, speaking and loving.

Time and maturity brought us a comfortable life for our little family. Nice homes, cars, health, but we knew that something was still missing. A neighbor had been praying for us to give our lives to the Lord, our reaction to her was that "She's crazy". But God was there, still being patient and picking up all the broken pieces that fell off, the more we tried to do it our own way.  Soon after having our brand new car stolen, we decided the answer was to move. God was still there with us orchestrating incidents and experiences some pleasant and some not, that finally caused the scales to fall from our eyes and we accepted the Love that He was reaching out to give us all this time.

We both had done things in our lives up to that point that we were ashamed of, that we knew God was not please with, but now as I get to know Him, I realize that He was there all the time. You see God is not like us humans, He does not turn His head away or ignore the ugly, horrendous things of I believe that He looks full face into those things, because He sees someone that He loves underneath.  He never gives up, shakes His head and walk His love endures, even when we have failed Him...and He wants us to know Him. He wants to one day use all those broken pieces that He has picked up along the way, to remind us that He was there with us all the time.

God allowed two foolish and immature young adults who were living in sin, to get married, have a wonderful son and though not perfect (what is, but HIM ) but blessed life. Our lives were filled with 31 years of many happy, joyous memories, but there were also times of sadness and most of all learning and growing in Him. I cherish every moment because it is making me into the woman that God has designed me to be.

Why do I share such intimate details of my life for all to see? Certainly not for fame, for my story could have remained with the stain of shame and rightfully so, but you see this story is not about the love that my husband and I had for each other...this is about HIS love for us. When we accepted the Lord Jesus into our hearts and lives, He removed the stain of shame through His forgiveness and perfect unconditional love. God was with us all the time, through all the bad choices and things not pleasing to Him and He never once looked away. When we experience the joy of human love it is a gift that God has so graciously given us the ability to give and receive, I praise Him for that, but nothing can compare to His love for us.

February is the month of love that will be celebrated world wide with hearts, flowers, sweets and all things lovely and fancy!  My front doors will display hearts and inside you will see touches of "love" all over the place, because I am a great fan of Valentine's day and all that goes with it! You may be the recipient of some of those hearts, flowers and fancy stuff, if so I celebrate with you...but also remember to receive His Love...He wants us to Know Him...Know His Sacrifice for us, Know that He never turns away...Know His Love...

 "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.  For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation."   Romans 5:8-11

Friday, January 8, 2016

This is the day...

"This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!"  Psalms 118:24

We quote that scripture all the time but the whole chapter of Psalms 118 is very encouraging. It is believed to have been written by David who had now finally become King after many trials and battles. He shares how he has overcome through hardships because God's "...mercy endures forever..." As I read each line it is filled with exuberance and gratefulness that only comes with experience.  He had experienced time and time again hardships yes, but he also experienced the merciful hand of God that rescued him through each trial.

There is something about knowing who you really are that puts you in a position to know
God better. On the contrary of what some teach, that we must realize how royal and mighty we are on our own; I believe that we must see how truly unworthy we are, but so loved by a Worthy God.  David knew this...he realized that he was just a shepherd with lots of shortcomings, but because he had a heart to know and worship God, he was " a man after God's own heart" Acts 13:22

So in the middle of David glorifying God for His goodness and mercy, he reminds everyone of the prophesy of the coming Messiah and declares this as the Lord's doing. That this day the Lord has made! So let us rejoice! As if David was saying "God is merciful y'all ! He has delivered me over and over again! He has brought me through my past...He takes care of me day by day...and on top of that He is even sending  a Messiah to give us continued deliverance (Psalms 118:22 Matthew 21:42) ! So rejoice!"

I did something the other night I generally don't do...I listened to the local and world wide news. Now I know some folks LOVE being informed...but me, I guess I'm a softie, because it grieves me. After listening to the bad reports, from the increase in crime to the decrease in the world's finances and everything in between...I could feel myself spiraling under a dark cloud. I had to turn it off. During the whole news report, there was not one good one. The news gave me no hope.

With the New Year going forward, many people make resolutions to make change for the better., and sad to say many of us usually drop the ball somewhere around the 3rd or 4th month of the year. Sometimes it is a struggle to stay positive in such a negative world.  But thanks be to God He never changes! As David said "His mercy endures forever!" As we look back over our lives, think about where He has brought you from, how he has taken care of you and me. He has brought us through trials and tribulations, and we are still here. And most importantly He has promised never to leave us. (Hebrews 13:5) God has already sent the promised Messiah through Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, meaning God with us. He has taken care of us in the past, He cares for us day by day and He promises to be with us always, even till the end (Matthew 28:20) !  This is the Lord's let us REJOICE and be glad!

So in 2016 in spite of all the negative reports, we look forward, for we know through experience, that God's Mercy endures forever! So let us rejoice... and be glad in it!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Unto us a Child is born...GRATEFUL !

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6

My favorite time of the day is very early in the morning, I don't know, just seems like in the quietness in between night and day, I can sense God's presence more. Everyone is different, but for me that is my time to hear what He has to say to me and I can spill my "guts" out to Him.  :-)

It is even more special this morning because it is Christmas...a time when even the world celebrates. All may not acknowledge Him as the "Reason for the Season", but I believe that God in His Love for mankind, the One that can see beyond all the crazy, silly and what some may call "paganistic" ways that some people may celebrate...and He stills yearns for all to understand and receive the true Gift. God searches the heart and offers the Gift. John 3:16 says it perfect :

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

I was looking at a TV show about how celebrities spend so much money on gifts for Christmas, $50,000 for a handpainted Purse (and the painter wasn't even Michael Angelo !) now that is ridiculous! I'm so cheap I find it hard to buy a Coach bag, though I really want one.  Sometimes I have little patience for such nonsense and would throw my hands up and say "That's it! they don't know what Christmas is really all about, I give up on 'em!"  But thanks be to God that He NEVER gives up! They are trying so hard to fill that God shaped vacuum in their lives and it cannot be filled with cars, houses or stupid handpainted purses. Only Jesus can fill it up and make us whole. Thank God He never gives up. Thank God He never gave up on me! 

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9

God sent His promise of salvation, His Gift to us through His Son Jesus. Jesus gave His life to fulfill that promise, so in order to receive the Gift of salvation, we have to receive the Gift of God's Son. God is not willing that anyone should perish and spend eternity away from Him and THAT is why we celebrate the Gift.  I celebrate because I am so very grateful that God looked at me, saw the mess that I was and as a line in composer Dottie Rambo's song

says "He looked beyond my faults and saw my need." His Grace is truly amazing!

I am so grateful that when that Angel came to Mary, that she was strong  enough to receive his message, she knew the ridicule and  shunning that would come, but she humbly obeyed. I am so grateful that Joseph stepped up to be a real man, finally shouldering

God's request and took charge. I am so grateful that the Wise Men allowed God to use their talents and "gifts" (in more ways than one) to pursue the desire to see the newborn King. I am so grateful for the shepherds that overcame their fears and believed the angels and were able to be among the firsts to behold the lamb of God!

I am so very grateful this morning that many years ago at the darkest point in my life, the Gift heard my cry. I was so tired of trying to figure life out, on the outside I had everything that a person could want. Christmas was huge at my house in Philly then, I used to have so many gifts under the tree that we had an overflow area in the dining room. So many gifts...

except the True Gift.

Then one night sitting on the steps of our row home at the time, I looked up at the night sky and said in tears "Lord, I have heard about you all my life, but I don't know you, if you are real please come into my heart, I am so tired of trying to live out this life, there has to be more than this."  That was it...I would love to tell you that things changed overnight and from then on it was all sunshine and roses.  Now I am going to be very honest with has been quite a journey, but you know what? I would not change a thing.  Why? Because God has been so very faithful to me...through thick and thin HE has been there. He has walked with me and proven over and over again that He is not "slack in His promise". He is helping me to become what He created me to be and if it was not for His Gift...I would be nothing!  NOTHING!  So yes I celebrate! I celebrate because I am so very GRATEFUL for God loving us so much that He chose to send a Promise Child to grow up and become the sacrifice for my sins...and yours.

So let us accept the Gift of Jesus this Christmas! He is so very WONDERFUL! He is the best COUNSELOR! He IS a MIGHTY GOD! He is a precious  EVERLASTING FATHER! and most certainly He IS the PRINCE OF PEACE!  

Allow Him to be all those things and more to you today, celebrate this Christmas by accepting the TRUE Gift...Jesus the Christ.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Solid Rock

Jesus said...“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:  and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:24-27

On a recent trip to Georgia , I had the opportunity to visit Stone Mountain. We had reservations to eat at the restaurant in the Stone Mountain Park that overlooked the mountain surrounded by a beautiful lake.  The scenery was awesome and something to behold. I kept thinking as we were driving up to our destination and looking around at the trees, rocks and lake, how beautifully God had made all of this for us to enjoy.

We had a delicious dinner and the service was very accommodating, but every chance that I got I would stare out the multi-windowed view at the mountain. Majestic, solid, ancient, stable are just a view words that came to mind as I looked in admiration of God's creation.  The Lord has afforded me many opportunities of seeing the "natural" wonders of this country, thanks to my adventurous son and his wife: the mountains of San Simeon, California (Hearst Castle), The beautiful ride up to Cambria, California on the Pacific highway to see the Mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other, then there was the Red Rocks of Colorado, The Garden of the gods, Colorado, and a visit to the mountains where the Ute Indians used to inhabit. All beautiful mountains created by the one true God.  All majestic,solid, ancient,and stable. 

This time though I looked at this mountain with a greater vision...perhaps because I am older (no wise cracks lol), maybe a little more wiser and more experienced with this blessing called life. The journey through life will do either of 2 things, make you or break you. Maybe it sounds better to say you can be molded to become what God intended for you to be or you can become your own creation.  The latter gives me the willies...when I think about living all this time and at the end only becoming what I think I should be...sheesh now that's scary! I think we all agree that God certainly has a better plan for us! Much better to at least try living by His Word, than to do our own thing and blow it! Trust me folks, our only true hope is in Him and His plan, His Word.

Looking at Stone Mountain through my eyes at this season of my journey, I saw and understood God's ongoing stability, His never changing dependability if you will. His promise to never leave me nor forsake me...that He would ALWAYS be there.  

After having major brain surgery years ago (no wise cracks please lol), that experience definitely took me to another level of trust. Then watching my husband pass into eternity with his last words being "Thank You Lord" and "Praise You Jesus" on his lips, that certainly gave me a view of God's constancy and reliability. But it has been my day to day walk that has shown me that He can be counted on, that He is stable, that I can rely on Him even when I do not understand it.  He is the Ancient of days, always was, always is and forever will be.  He is solid, unmovable, everlasting.

Listening to recent events in the news can be frightening, if you are not careful one can easily become a recluse, not trusting anyone or plagued with agoraphobia, a fear of going outside. Believe me the thoughts have crossed my mind...but we cannot truly live that way. Instead of allowing fear to grow and take root, we must allow God  to be who He says He is...The Rock. No not Dwayne Johnson, the former wrestler turned actor either...The One and only True Rock is none other than Jesus Christ!

The name that is above any other name, the name that some are ashamed or afraid to mention, the name that some think is politically incorrect to mention in public, the name that some use to profane and swear is STILL the name that is above all others, it is the name that gives me peace in the midst of the storm, it is the name that rocks me to sleep when I am anxious, it is the name that comforts my grieving soul, it is the name that calms me when I am afraid, it is the name that gives me hope when I am weary, it is the name that gives me joy when I am sad, it is the name that encourages me when I want to give up, it is the name that helps me to go on each day...THAT name can be counted is Majestic, it is Solid, it is Ancient, it is Stable and forever will be!

In Him we can have Hope, in Him we can depend upon, He is our Rock!