Sunday, October 14, 2018

Sunday afternoon thoughts...

Afternoon coffee (decaf as always) on the back porch...

 "Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits..." Psalms 103:1-2

 GRATEFUL = A. appreciative of benefits received B : expressing gratitude (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

 I am truly grateful how the Lord has kept me all these years. I would have given up a very long time ago, but He has been so faithful to keep me going forward.

 I remember reading a book by a widow many years ago and the most important thing that she could have written were these simple words "You will not always feel this way." The words leaped off the page and into my heavy heart and I could almost feel it becoming lighter.

 The grieving process is a long journey, but the important thing is that somehow, some way... God gradually exchanges the bruised and broken heart for a newer stronger one.

 You will never be the same after a loss, whether it be through death, divorce, loss of a relationship or even a good job, BUT if you allow God to escort you through the process, you will come out better, wiser, stronger.

 When the wounds of brokenness are fresh, it is so hard to believe that you will feel any other way; but just as it is with a fresh wound on your body, the pain can be unbearable for a time, but gradually the healing comes and one day there is a scab, then the scab falls off. A scar may remain , but it is only a reminder of what was...you remember the pain but it is no longer physically there.

 We will always remember our losses...but the choice is ours...will we allow our losses to keep us from going forward, or will we be GRATEFUL for having come through the pain, the fire, the brokenness in to a new day to celebrate God's faithfulness? The choice is ours.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Breaking up the Fallow Ground...

“Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns..." Jeremiah 4:3

 Fallow ground, for those "city" folks that may not know much about farming or gardening, is ground that has been left untilled, unplowed or as the dictionary states, dormant or inactive. Such was the case of the little raised garden bed that my son and grandson built over the summer. The project was sincere and exciting, but between the summer heat, and the busy-ness of life, finishing the summer planting got put on the bottom of the list.

 We started off with a bang; had a meeting with an expert home gardener (thanks Geannine) bought the suggested books, resources and materials. We even added extra protection against the moles, voles and groundhogs; but our energy seemed to fizzle as the season went on and the summer planting season was soon over.

 Every time I would look out the back door to the garden with its one Blackberry bush that my son did manage to plant, I knew that I had to get out there, even though the planting season for the vegetables that we wanted to grow was over, I had to breathe some life into what seemed a failed project. But...before I could plant anything, I saw that the ground, that had sat for so long with no activity or use, had to be tilled and raked. The process was a tedious one, making sure the clumps were broken up, the dead leaves and debris were removed and making the soil pliable for planting took time and energy; but was so worth while after seeing the end results.

 While "breaking up the fallow ground" I was reminded of what the prophet Jeremiah said to the nation of Israel. He was conveying a message from God to them that they could always return to Him (God) but they must first put away their abominations and sins. Sins that had become such a part of them that they must deeply search their hearts and repent.

Speaking personally, I have to take inventory time to time, because sometimes it is so easy to become "comfortable" doing and saying things that at one time you knew that it was not pleasing to God. That is when our lives... our hearts have developed "fallow ground." Those sins have been allowed to sit in our hearts for so long that we really have to ask the Holy Spirit to stir us up and search us so that we can become not only aware but repentant. It takes time but the clumps of stubbornness and willfulness must be broken up, the debris of sins must be removed so that God can plant newness in our hearts so that He can use us for His Glory.

 Fallow ground is 1) Unused and 2) Un-usable. The ground becomes fallow because it has been unused , left in its state and if it remains that way, it is un-usable...useless. We can't let that happen to us. Submit to allow God's Holy Spirit to search our hearts and do the work so that we can have a fresh start for a new season of HIS planting into our lives!

Peace, Peace, wonderful Peace...

PEACE...something that everyone is seeking, something that you can not tangibly hold in your hand and yet... many have fought wars, lost lives and some have chosen to give up and have taken their own lives because of its absence.

 Where do we get this precious sought after gift? Certainly not from man... Some of my most loneliest and un-peaceful times can be when I am surrounded by people, good people...and then some of my most peaceful, comforting times have been when I am alone and in the presence of God's Holy Spirit. Having inner peace is not dependent upon the presence of man, but totally on the presence of God.

 King David knew that having peace is a treasured commodity when he wrote this in Psalms 51:10-11 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me." He knew that God's presence brought Peace and he did not want to lose that.

 Have you lost your peace today? Do you feel empty, lost and restless? It's an awful feeling...been there, done that, contributed to the movie AND bought Tee SHIRTS ! We all have those times...BUT we can not stay there!

 Make a determination today, no please do it NOW, that you WILL get things right with God. Confess your sins, your hurts, whatever is troubling you, make it clear, make it plain. God knows it anyway, but I believe it is good to hear yourself say it out loud (works for me); and King David found that it worked for him too. :-)

 Peace, peace wonderful peace is yours for the asking. Don't live a moment longer tormented, but willingly submit to God who IS OUR PEACE

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Older and better!

Love this scripture, it tells me that if I live a godly life, even in old age I will flourish and still
produce fruit! Now living a godly life is not a perfect life, we all fall and make mistakes, even very serious ones; but if we have a heart like King David, who was a man who made many mistakes but he ALWAYS had a repentant attitude, always willing to submit to God, THEN we can be the”material” God can work with to eventually perfect. We will still be able to produce fruit in our old age! Does that mean still have babies? God forbid! At this age I would probably be more harm to a baby than good...an excellent grandma, but a momma not so much. No, producing “fruit “ all around us, wherever and whenever our presence and influence is operative, we can make things happen for the good in our families, work places, social circles and even in this crazy world.

 We may be getting older, takes us longer to get up and going , may hold up a few checkout lines at the store counting your change and reviewing your receipt, may even cause someone to honk their car horn behind you because you’re driving too slow...but while you’re standing in a room trying to remember what you came in there for...think on this...God has promised that if we follow him, We WILL flourish and be productive even at this ripe old age! So ! Enjoy your day and FLOURISH baby! 💃🏽 Oh! If you’re ever looking for your eyeglasses, check your face first, just sayin’ 😂

Friday, September 14, 2018

Comfort the way I have been comforted...

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Happy Friday everyone! Though I do realize that it may not be a Happy Friday for everyone. While some are rejoicing that its the end of a work week and have great plans for the weekend, there are others that are having a not so good day...it may be their health, a family or financial issue or in the case of some precious people that I know, they are in mourning while preparing to celebrate the life of a passing loved one.

 If you find yourself in one of those situations, I just want you to know that in the midst of all the chaos, heart break and even grief, God sees you. I remember the days following my husband's passing, how I felt so alone in my grief. There were others all around me but to me it seemed as if the world was going on its normal, merry little way as if nothing had happened. "Don't they see what I'm going through right now?" was my silent scream. In the cocoon of my grief, the world seemed to ignore my suffering and go on, business as usual.

 It was not until I finally was able to get to myself in a quiet place and pick up my Bible. I honestly did not know what to read, I felt so lost...but out of my childhood memories came Psalms 23 " The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want..." and as I turned to it and read all the verses, comfort began to pour into my soul and I no longer felt alone.

 Can I encourage you today? You are NOT alone in your suffering. God. sees. you. In the millions of people on this planet, He can spot you among them all, holding you in His tender, Holy gaze. I pray that you feel that today, His Eyes of love surrounding and enveloping you.

 I can honestly say that there is so much comfort in reading the Bible. Even if you don't have one, you can easily go online and there are so many translations to choose from. God's Word is True and will bless your heart. If you need comfort, start with the Psalms, and I pray that you will be comforted the way that I was and am.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Get Wisdom...

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

 Yesterday was the perfect day to sit out on the back porch with a cup of Apple Cinnamon Spice tea that I picked up at Big Lots and it is DELICIOUS by the way (commercial) lol The cool pre-Autumn breeze and the softly falling rain made it just the right atmosphere to sit from the busy and take a gander at life. (Does anyone still say "take a gander"? , interpretation: "Take a look") 🤓

 For just a few minutes as I sipped my tea, in a Fall themed cup (Summer lovers don't hate, I'm trying to hold back as best I can but pumpkins and colorful leaves keep leaking out 🍁🍁🍁🍁 SEE whadda I tell ya !) 🤣 Anyway... I thought about what's really important and I came up with "Getting wisdom". King Solomon of the Bible knew this secret, when asked in a dream what did he want, he requested wisdom and understanding in discerning justice, because he knew that if he had those 2 things, they would encompass the totality of answers to life. God was pleased that though Solomon could have asked for anything, he chose Wisdom. (I Kings 3:1-15)

 Some of the words in the dictionary that describe wisdom are "Insight", "Judgement", "Knowledge" and " the ability to discern issues and relationships." Sure sounds like something I want! In fact, can I get a double portion please (hand raised 🙋🏾‍♀️

 So here's the question...why don't we ask God for more wisdom instead of trying to rely on our own abilities? I mean let's face it, we all, well I'll speak for myself...I.sometimes am a "Know it All" and instead of waiting for God to give me the WISE thing to do, I just jump right in and try to take care of it myself! Yep I've done that, when really all it takes is to just take some time, ask God for WISDOM and UNDERSTANDING in the matter; and most times the solution is totally opposite of what I initially intended to do.

 So basically... (those are the words of my then 2 year old granddaughter when she was explaining why she was in trouble, in fact she would draw the words out like this) "Sooooo Baaaasicalllyyyy" ...we need to ask God for more wisdom. Let me make that personal...I need to get more wisdom, in fact we can never have enough. It makes life so much easier. Let's stop trying to always take matters in our own hands while dealing with only a minimal amount of wisdom and understanding. Let's go for the gold and ask like King Solomon did and have God's answers to life.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Being Still...

"...And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” Exodus 14:13-14

 Most of you reading this know the story or have at least seen the scene in the movie "The Ten Commandments when Moses and the Hebrew children have fled the slavery of Egypt and are now at the Red Sea, trapped and impossible to go forward with Pharaoh and his army in pursuit. It is here smack in the middle of impossibilities and no hope that God gives Moses the faith and assurance to speak to the people to not be afraid, to not panic, but stand still and see the awesomeness of God!

 He HAD to tell them to "stand still" because , I am sure that being in a position with your front facing the expansion of the Sea and your back to an oncoming ferocious army, the natural human instinct is to run but since there was no where to go, they probably were running into and trampling one another, sounds about right, right? Well isn't that what we do? When faced with a situation that have our front facing an enormous seemingly unsolvable problem and our backs are against the wall, you feel like you want to panic, hyperventilate, anxiety comes, you run around trying to find someone, anyone... even with just a temporary answer, pulling our hair out trying to figure it all out...THAT my friend is the time to STAND STILL and see the salvation of the Lord.

 God has graciously given us the ability to work some things out for ourselves...but some things...well...it ain't happening until you take your hands off, stop running in place, calm down and trust that God will make a way that seems impossible. Impossible to us, but oh so possible to Him; but like the Hebrew people, we will not see our miracle until we stand still and "see" the salvation of the Lord.

 Well... they must of settled down long enough to see Moses raise that staff ( I LOVE this scene) and the Red Sea opened up and they were able to walk through on dry land to escape and to top it all off, their enemies were drowned! So...Calm down, relax, do not fret but believe that in your stillness, He IS working in His power.

 "Be still, and know that I am God II will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" Psalms 46:10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m2R_iFq3uo

Friday, August 31, 2018

Effectual, fervent prayer...

Prayer...how important is it? Here's the answer...it is VERY important.

I am sure that all of us at one time or the other have doubted if our prayers have accomplished anything, especially when we don't see the results that we had excepted to see in the anticipated time slot, however let me assure you that God hears every prayer. Prayer is powerful and I believe that it can extend over time and generations. I think our problem is that when we submit our petitions to God, we also try to tell Him when and how to answer it. (I'm guilty too, my hand is raised 🙋🏾‍♀️ 

When I think about the prayers that I know my parents prayed for me, they may not have lived to see all the results, but their prayers were answered. How do I know? because as I have matured, there have been so many times that I have said, "Da, Ma, now I see and understand what you meant." 

When I think of my late husband's prayers, I know that they are being answered even though he has been gone over 16 years. My neighbor recently told me that back when my husband was home on disability, she could hear him praying in the morning after I had gone to work. He was indeed a praying man. To this day, when I am feeling forsaken and missing his unfailing support, I can go into his favorite place to read his Bible and pray, the dining room, and sure enough the essence of all those prayers that were prayed there still hover in God's presence and it comforts and encourages me to go forward.

 So here's my point, don't stop praying folks. Don't give up because you haven't seen the results yet, your prayers are not in vain. I can remember an experience I had when many years ago I was praying for someone and I questioned and doubted if God was doing his "job" and was really on the case. Well He spoke gently to my heart "I AM always working" Now you may ask what does that mean; well it means that God is I AM, He ALWAYS will be and He is constantly interacting in the lives of people because He is not willing that any should perish. (II Peter 3:9) He will ALWAYS do His part, in HIS timing, His way...now the question is are we doing our part? Are we trusting, praying and releasing those people and circumstance in His TOTAL care or are we still trying to finagle our 2 cents in the answer.

 I have said many, many times before, some things we may never understand, some answers we may never see in our lifetime, but we must never give up. We must pray, trust, believe and know that God hears, He sees and HIS timing is perfect for the benefit of ALL that are involved. Do don't give up, hold fast and keep on praying. In His timing those prayers WILL accomplish much

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Giving thanks...

" In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." I Thessalonians 5:18

 Want to hear something funny this Tuesday morning? Well it wasn't funny to me while it was happening but...anyway I have been up all night with a sick dog. My 10 pounder had diarrhea...at both ends...don't know how or why but yep...he had it... bad. Needless to say I never got to bed because I had to be on call for his out door runs (no pun intended) and for clean up for the ones he missed. ugh.

 I went on the internet to find out the causes and home remedies and actually it is safe to give dogs Pepto Bismol (as long as you give doses in conjunction with their weight) and also Pedialyte for dehydration. By then it was only about 4:30 AM and the closest store did not open until 6:00AM! So I had to take him and the little one to sit on the back porch with the backdoor partially opened to give him access to outdoors in case of his sudden attacks until the store opened.

 Ok...since I had to be out at 6AM I decided that with all I had been through I was going to at least get a treat out of it, so I swung by a fast food drive thru for a large decaf coffee. I had it all planned, get back home medicate the dog, we all go back upstairs to bed and I sip my luscious, fragrant hot coffee...

 Well after I get upstairs in my bedroom with the dogs, I go to put my coffee on the nightstand and you all know what happened right? I tend to try to carry too many things at once and the very thing that I wanted the most toppled over and spilled every ounce down... down...down on my carpet...it went bye bye in seconds. My treat, that luscious coffee was GONE! I wanted to cry, even started making the ugly face, but figured it would be a waste of energy, which I didn't have anyway from being up all night. So I just went to work cleaning it up. Several minutes later I turned around and saw (see picture) the sick one resting peacefully , apparently feeling better already... and me...even more tired and coffee less.

 Now decision time: do I get frustrated and complain to myself about being up all night and then not getting MY treat? I mean "Come on God! all I wanted was a nice hot cup of coffee that I didn't have to make for myself!" OR do I be thankful that I had the strength to do it all without any sleep AND my pup is already feeling better and hopefully no more poop and throw up clean ups! Easy answer right? I give thanks!

 Some of you have much more serious things to contend with than this, but the answer is really just the same. Even when you don't feel like it...yep...give thanks.

Friday, August 24, 2018

For those in pain...

I am speaking to the brokenhearted and hurting this morning...whether it be physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Pain is pain and can be found in all those areas. There is one thing to be sure, no one knows YOUR pain like you do. If this does not relate to you, I doubt if it would make sense, but I feel led to speak to those that are experiencing pain during this season of life.

 Have you ever tried to explain a headache or any other pain in your body to a doctor or anyone for that matter...you may say something like this: "Well the pain sort of starts in the middle and radiates to the back." or " Well the pain sort of throbs in intervals." All while the person that you are trying to describe it to just looks at you , or at best a Doctor gives several explanations and then a prescription and says "Try this, it MAY help." Well my point is, no one knows and feels that pain like you do. Your pain is personal...

 Good and well meaning people can sympathize and even understand to a certain degree having had similar experiences...but we truly cannot KNOW the pain of another. I will further go on to say that it is very unfair to expect others to fully understand our pain. I know that for myself in some of my most painful times, I have become frustrated and even angry that others, sometimes those closest could not comprehend my pain, my grief, my sadness. Over the years though I have come to understand that pain is very personal... but we are not without HOPE...

 There IS someone that KNOWS your pain and that is God Himself. There is nothing that we can experience that He does not know and understands. You may ask, "Well if He understands, why would He allow me to go through it?" The answer to that is: He has never promised that we would not have trials and tribulations in this world, BUT He HAS promised that He WILL be with us ALWAYS. (John 16:33)

 Some things we may never know or understand on this earth, but as a good friend once said, "Trust in the things that you DO know." One of them is God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. How do I KNOW this? I KNOW because He has done it so many times for me and for you too when you really think about it. Remember those things that you thought you would NEVER get through? The times you were so hurt, you thought you would NEVER feel any better...well things may not be perfect now, but if He did it before , He surely can and desire to do again for you today. Be encourage my friends, trust Him to not only KNOW and understand your pain, but if you allow Him, He will heal your brokenness and make you whole.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Confess your faults...

For yesterday's (Sunday) dinner, I decided to make some comfort food; Fried chicken, mash potatoes and gravy for my grandchildren. They along with their parents usually eat very healthy...but when the 'rents are away, the Grandma does play 🙂 So I pulled out my frying pan and before long had the house smelling so good, I think that it would have made even Colonel Sanders want to sit at the table! 🍗🍗🍗

 I noticed something though while I was cooking ...I cleaned as I cooked. Let me explain...my Mom trained me and my siblings well and that is why I do not like a dirty, cluttered kitchen. So I have this technique that I've learned from her, that if you clean as you cook, when you are done you won't have a large pile of dirty pots, pans and utensils to wash and put away . I also wipe the counters and stove top as soon as there is a spill, so I won't have any mess or stains to deal with after cooking the meal. I know... it may sound redundant and even a little OCD, but when I am done making a meal, I can just sit down and enjoy without a mountain of mess to contend with afterwards. Works for me...

 Now you know I get a "lesson" out of just about everything...so here goes... I believe that it is so important to quickly confess to any sin and wrong doing. I have found personally that it is very liberating to get it all out so that I can move on. I could give you some examples but it may make you laugh at its absurdity/stupidity, but trust me when I say once I get it out, I feel free! If you take care of these things as quickly as possible you won't have to be concerned about being "found out" at an embarrassing or inconvenient moment and most importantly you can deal with it and handle any consequences that may follow more easily.

 This scripture says that we should confess our faults to each other. First of all I confess it to God (Of course He already knows), but I give Him the respect of being honest and confessing that the sin and wrong doing that I have committed is first and foremost against Him. I mean, after all it is He that has given me this life on earth and it certainly is not to go around doing things that I KNOW are not pleasing to Him. Then I believe that is important to talk to someone that you can trust, someone that has your best interest and will pray with and for you to overcome whatever may be negatively challenging you.

 So...what did cooking fried chicken show me..."Clean up your mess quickly and thoroughly, so you won't be stuck with a BIG mess afterwards." I think y'all get it right? 😉

 ...with that being said have a blessed day

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Be Thankful!

I know we shouldn't say "hate", but I. hate. bugs! Now add to that humidity and heat and you have a formula that brings out the Charlie Brown cry of "ARRRRGGGGGGGHHHH" in me! I uttered this sentiment several times a few days ago as I ventured out into a hot and humid August morning to do some much needed yard work.

 Costumed to look like a beekeeper sans the full Beekeeper's hat (though I wish I had one, that screen covering over the face would have been much appreciated), I bravely went out to tackle the task. For all you bug lovers out there, I'm sorry to say that I did annihilate a few that decided to come into my face space...or was it I that came into THEIR space?... Whatever, they did prematurely leave their bug life, but it was a quick transition, especially the one that I took out with the hedge clippers...sorry, but I felt like I was being attacked for just doing my job...

Enough of that, my point is, I was hot, sweat dripping beneath my clothes, bugs swarming AND the possibly of ANOTHER bout with Poison Ivy when I got a revelation! TA DA !!!!!!!!! "BE THANKFUL"...simple and yet so profound! That revelation, if you've noticed has been the theme of a lot of my life lessons, you think God is trying to tell me something? 🤔

Yep, instead of complaining about the heat , the sweat and the bugs, just BE THANKFUL! Thankful that I have the ability to do the work, thankful that I can feel the heat, thankful that I can see to do the work and how about even thankful that the bugs are around to fulfill their unique purpose, though I can't imagine what for, ( and don't give me that "Spiders help by eating other bugs"...really? it doesn't excuse having 8 LEGS 😲 ) but that's something I will ask God about...oh! and also apologize for the ones that met their demise from my hand...or hedge clippers...or foot...well you get the picture.

 Let's be THANKFUL, let's start today! Yes, we can complain, but really? Doesn't being thankful make you feel so much better? Try it, you WILL like it!