Sunday, November 24, 2013

Giving Thanks


Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.   I Chronicles 16:34

The roots of the fallen tree
Looking out of my dining room window I can see the clear blue sky, so lovely.  Before October of last year I did not have this view…my neighbor’s 40 foot tree stood in all its glory, branches reaching to the sky.  But during Hurricane Sandy of 2012 that mighty tree became a casualty of the storm.  That tree that had been there for decades was lifted roots and all and pushed to its side on the ground!  When we surveyed the damages after the storm, I looked in amazement that if the tree had fallen to the left, it would have landed on my house and 2 of the upstairs bedrooms, along with the dining and living room would have been destroyed.  Instead the tree looked as if something pushed it backwards and into the lot of a temporarily vacant home.  All I could say was “Thank You Lord” for your protection!  That even through the storm, with winds blowing over 50 miles an hour and the house sounding like it would fall apart, and I did not know what was going on outside, you kept me safe from harm!
And isn’t that how it is, when we go through a “storm”? We may not know the outcome, the situation may consume our thoughts, the tempest may roar and there is frustration, confusion and even anger BUT God wants us to trust Him that He will keep us safe and will surely work it all out.

I have so much to be thankful for, this is just one instance when I KNOW that it was Him that kept me safe.  When I look over my life, and I trace my steps through many things that maybe some would have crumbled, had a nervous breakdown, lost their mind and even just plain old given up, I can see how He has kept  me.  It is by no means a testament to my strength, because I KNOW that without Him I would not be here today.

 Many years ago when I sat on the steps of our Philadelphia row home and looked into the sky and said “God if you’re real and you hear me, show me You.”  This came from a heart that was searching for real peace, and even though I had “things”, it did not satisfy.  Having grown up in the church I knew about God, but didn’t really KNOW Him.  But after that night He made Himself known to me through a neighbor that would come to talk to me about her experience with Jesus.  I don’t even remember her full name, but I thank God for her and her faithfulness, because it started me on a road to get to know God better.
The journey has not always been easy, but this I know, God is faithful and has never left my side since I invited Him to come into my heart. I have so much to be thankful for! Through the sun, the rain, the good times, the bad times God has remained consistent, you see He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  Some people disagree that God is not good, because of something that has happened tragic in their lives.  I don’t profess to know everything, but why not ask Him?  Invite Him into your life and then ask Him, give Him the chance to love you.

Thank You Father God for Your loving kindness that endures forever, thank you Jesus for dying for my sins, for paying the penalty that I could not  pay, and thank you Holy Spirit for being my teacher, guide and comforter.  You are all three in One and I thank You! May I always keep my hand in Yours, my eyes on You and most importantly, keep my heart as Yours.  Thank You!

 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Time flies!

I cannot believe that November is already half over!  And really the Christmas season is in full swing!  I don't do much decorating like I used to, but I still like to add some gaiety to the house after all we are celebrating Christ's Birthday! 

I still have the Fall deco up and it will stay up until the last day of November (don't ask me why, but that's the day I always do it).  But here are some things I've done in previous years:

Love this teapot, got it from Ross a few years ago along with some platters and creamer, all with scriptures on them.
 

My favorite Snowman that gets a place of honor in the living room  :-)


Outdoor Apple topiary, I have 2 that I got a few years go from Target, they are by Smith & Hawken, love their stuff!

The "Hope" ornament is one of my favorites, first thing to see when you enter the house.


One year (2011) I used the colors green and gold, so I used all my green glass.
 
 
Can't forget a snack for Santa ("Santa" meaning any hungry person that gets this first!)  lol


I hope that you enjoy your time of decorating for the Christmas season! Treasure and savor every moment, whether you are alone or with family!  Jesus IS the Reason for the Season!
 


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Does God care about our tears?

“Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother."  Luke 7:11-15

I suppose that most of my writings some say are about suffering and sad stuff…but I write what I am learning at the time.  I remember praying and asking God what was my purpose and I believe that the answer came back with a question. “What moves you the most?”  With that I realized that as far back as I can remember I was always so moved and touched by anyone or anything that was hurting.  Rather it was the lost little kitten or the schoolmate that was being abuse by her relatives; I took this hurt deep into my heart and wanted to fix them.  As the years have passed and I’ve experienced some pain myself, it has given me more compassion for those that are suffering and I want to fix it.  If I see someone cry, rather happy or sad tears, I cry. It’s hard to listen to the news or read a newspaper without feeling a very deep sadness. Or to hear someone describe a painful injury or surgery without what I call a twerking in my extremities, we laugh about this at work, but it is so real. J
I know that I am not the only one that has compassion for hurting people, there are many and I believe that God wants to use us in this world.

Does God care about our tears? Yes, He stopped a funeral procession and saw the pain of this woman, who had already lost her husband and now her only son.  He was moved with compassion and told her “Don’t cry.”  He saw her tears, better yet He felt her tears and He did something about it.
So many times when we go through trials we wonder “Does anyone care?” “Does God even care?” I remember that not long after my husband passed and I was walking in a store and everyone around me were laughing and talking and acting as if business as usual.  I wanted to cry out and say “Don’t you see that I’m hurting?”  Don’t you feel what I feel?” “Don’t you see that my life has been turned upside down and I can’t fix it!”  But the answer is No, they can’t see and they can’t feel what you are going through, but there is One Who does and His Name is Jesus.  His whole reason to coming to this earth was to be “Emmanuel” God with us.  To show us that yes, I know what it’s like to be hurt, rejected, misunderstood and abused. Hebrews 4 says it best:

“ For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16
He not only sees our tears, but He cares. And when we ask Him to comfort us He will. I heard evangelist Christine Caine say “What we do does not change God.” Her meaning was, no matter
how we may fail, fall short, disappoint, hurt, suffer, etc.  It does not change God…God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He IS the same loving, merciful God with arms always open to receive us.  It is US that have to learn how to humbly come to Him and accept His mercy, goodness, comfort and whatever else we need…He IS our all in all.  We must allow Him to console us when we cry.  We may not understand all in this life, but we can have the assurance that we can trust the One who knows our future.  Let Him touch your broken and hurting places…let Him dry your tears.

 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

November ! sweet November!

Well I made it through October and I thank God!  I feel a little lighter now!  This was my morning Bible reading:

Psalms 13

 How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?
 How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
  and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
  How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, Lord my God.
  Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,
  and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love;
  my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the Lord’s praise,
   for he has been good to me.
 
"Give light to my eyes..." stood out to me in these scriptures.  When you go through grief sometimes it feels like the light has gone out of your eyes.  I look in the mirror sometimes and feel that my eyes are not the same...they have seen great sadness.  But there is hope my friends!  God IS the Light and as we call on Him, He will fill us to overflowing with His love!   King David of the Bible, who wrote most of the Psalms, went through every emotion I believe that I have and am going through and He always ended them with HOPE!  And that is what I feel...HOPE!  Life can sometimes deliver a punch it seems below the belt...seems so not fair...but our Referee Jesus is ALWAYS on call to hear our cry and deliver us.
 
The key for me is learning how to ALLOW God to intervene in my situations.  So many times I try to work it out by myself, and though I may think I am so strong, I can never be as strong and mighty as my Father God.  He will never interfere and MAKE us do anything, but as we hand over our burdens to Him He will faithfully take them and give us Peace and the knowledge that He will and is continually working things out.
 
I admit it unashamedly I need Him!

 
I LOVE this old  hymn :                   
 
I need thee every hour, most gracious Lord;
no tender voice like thine can peace afford.
Refrain:
I need thee, O I need thee;
every hour I need thee;
O bless me now, my Savior, I come to thee.

I need thee every hour, in joy or pain;
come quickly and abide, or life is vain.
(Refrain)

I need thee every hour; teach me thy will;
and thy rich promises in me fulfill.
(Refrain)

I need thee every hour, most Holy One;
O make me thine indeed, thou blessed Son.
 
Listen to the group Selah's version:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-LkUTjYSUs