Saturday, October 29, 2011

Weekend Worship

 We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. II Corinthians 4:7

May we worship God this weekend through service.  Oh, that we would be his vessels of love to pour out upon the desperate, the broken, the needy, the poor, the blind, and the hungry.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Looking Intently!

The scripture below comes from James 1:22-27.  I am focusing my thoughts and prayer time on the book of James this week.  It is full of exactly what I need to get my spiritual life back on track.  Hopefully, I will be able to share some of the great truths of this book with you so that you also are encouraged.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 
 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. 

That scripture is pretty plain and simple--very straightforward--my take is this: Read what the Bible says and do it on a regular basis and you will be blessed.

So it is very interesting to note that the very next scriptures say this:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
So there we have three things that we can start working on right away.

1. The tongue

2. Taking care of widows and orphans

3. Keeping oneself from being polluted by the world.

 Now you know as well as I do that we all have to work out our on salvation with fear and trembling. We are not puppets masterminded and controlled by some puppeteer in place over us.

 I think we all know ways that we can start taking control over our tongues. I had the perfect opportunity not even five minutes ago when my husband and I had opportunity to be disagreeable with one another.

 There are many ways of taking care of widows and orphans but one such way is through Compassion--selecting a child to help support--not all of these children are orphans, but some of their parents make so little money a year that they might as well be, as far as having provisions to sustain them.

Won't you consider sponsoring a child from Compassion or some other well-organized and run non-profit Christian organization?  I say Christian because these usually give the child a chance to come to know the Creator of the Universe, to become a child to the perfect Father.

And keeping oneself unpolluted by the world--I will have numerous choices to make today that have potential to pollute my soul--I must be wise--I must be on guard against the one who seeks to steal, kill and destroy.

Praying that your day is lovely, is filled with endless possibilities to give back to God, and full of spiritual growth.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Seen or the Unseen

This morning as I was reading in James, I came across the scripture below which I had read many, many times before. I am especially referring to the part about the waves of the sea being tossed about by the wind.

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.  from James 1

It struck a new chord in me which was this:  How many times do we let the waves of life, the circumstances around us overwhelm us just because we can SEE how big and bad they are.

The waves of the sea can seem incomparable in their natural strength but just think--the wind (which we cannot see and no one knows where it comes from or where it goes)
"The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."  John 3:8
has control over these big, bad waves even at times making them appear even more big and bad than they could ever be in their own strength.

Of course, that energy and power from water can also be used for good.  Harnessing the energy from water is how some of our country is provided electricity.  And we know that for the most part, electricity is a very good thing.

Trying to glean what I can from this passage of scripture, when I pray do I send my prayers on their way so that they float with every passing breeze? Or do I send them on their way with a bolt of lightning-like faith.

The book of James has much to say about faith and the "trying" of our faith.  It will be my "go to" book for the next few days because my strength and perseverance have wavered in the past few months.  I have become weakened and not done my part to stay strong in the Lord.  I let the circumstances of life overtake me and now I am trying to regroup and do what I know is right once again.

I can say that my faith in God has NOT wavered in the past few months but my actions have proven that wrong.  I have sinned against God by my faithlessness.  BUT. . . . and this is where the good news comes into play. . . . . . . .

The beautiful scripture from Mark 9:24--

The father instantly cried out, "I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!"

There are so many things going on in my life and in the lives of those around me, I want to be equipped to pray the most effective prayers I can pray.  I want God to help me overcome my unbelief.  When I do not trust Him, I sin and my unbelief takes over.  God forgive me.  I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunflower Bounty

I painted a picture yesterday--the first one I have painted in a long, long time.

It felt good--really, really good emotionally.
It hurt physically but it was so worth it and helped me get my mind
off a foreign object--


A new knee--a steel and plastic gliding thingie that is an engineering marvel--


These are close ups of my picture--only portions of the whole thing--
But I like them and think I will paint some huge canvases just like the
ones above--


And here is the whole canvas--it makes me happy, makes me smile
to look at it.  For years to come or as long as God gives me on this earth,
when I look at this painting, it will take me back to a time of extreme growth and


I will be able to look back and realize how God brought all the desolate parts of my
soul back together after some tragic losses and hard changes--

God's blessings and bounty are just overwhelming, aren't they? I pray that you and I will have eyes to see and spirits to receive today all that He has planned for us.  To me the sunflower is one of His most exquisite engineering marvels.

"You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance."  Psalm 65:11

Monday, October 24, 2011

Breaking the Chrysalis

Last week I wrote a post about having wings as a dove and flying away with Him--just to be alone with Him--removing myself from all the cares of the world and basking in His love.

 On one such occasion when I chose to closet myself with God on an extended basis, this is what I wrote: (And no, I did not literally "closet myself"--I was teaching school and I was interacting with 100 students and many colleagues every day BUT it was a decision I made--a very real one--every waking moment not spent with others was spent in His presence--and oh, was it glorious--yes, very hard at times but oh so beneficial.)

What I have noticed is the Holy Spirit almost instantaneously convicting me of sin, not with any condemnation but with such great compassionate love that it just makes me never want to commit that sin again, this has been especially true for me in certain areas such as ............................... 
and I went on to list the areas in which God was dealing with me. 
And this praise followed:   
Father, I adore your simplicity, the fact that You said what You meant, meant what You said.  I never have to wonder about You.  I adore You because Your mercies begin afresh every morning.  I adore You because You are worthy of all adoration, just because You are You.
I adore You because You meet every need of my life, You are simply there at every turn, every experience every emotion, every thought, every action--You are there for Me--I adore You because You do not sleep--You are always on guard. 

The words above were written in 2002 and I know that we cannot and should not substitute yesterday's experiences with God for today's. But I also know that we are to look out over the ramparts of our lives and behold the hand of God--we should build altars at times--we should have memory markers--and that is what journaling and blogging are for me.

On remembering yesterday's experiences with God: 
They jog my lethargic faith back to life, they gently dissolve the chrysalis of emotions so that I turn Godward and not inward, so that I can break free of the hardness of unbelief and fly once again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wings of a Dove

any times during the past several weeks I have thought of this verse and longed to fly away and be at rest. I felt as though I knew the longing of the psalmist's heart and his desire to just instantly be away from painful surroundings.

The irony of all this is: With the Spirit of God I do have this ability--I can fly away with my God and be at peace with Him--leaving the world and all its earthly sorrow behind--I can snatch sweet moments alone with Him throughout my day and cherish the wonder love that He constantly bestows upon me.

I can soar to heights where my soul flies free. It is my choice--do I choose to remain in the depths or do I choose to fly away with Him?

If you are sinking in any way today, dear friend, I pray that your spirit will be lifted to new heights.

Sometimes it is hard to make what we know is the very best choice for us, but once we do, it is easier the next time.

A few weeks ago, I noticed these doves outside my bedroom window--it reminded me of flying away with my Savior. I pray you soar to new heights today.

 said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
   I would fly away and be at rest—Psalm 55:6

Monday, October 17, 2011

What You're Doing Is Not Working!

Written last Friday--We have company coming tonight.  We are out of wash cloths.  My husband went to Sam's to pick up a few things.  I called him while there and asked him if he could pick up some wash cloths.

First of all I called him right about the time I knew he would have walked in Sam's.  I started to call him on the way there but it takes him so long to get his phone out of his shorts' pocket and is such an ordeal, I'm always afraid he's going to wreck. 

As soon as I got him and asked him about the wash cloths, he said, "Sorry, I am already in the checkout line."  Well, I knew that was not the truth so I proceeded to tell him what all I needed and all the while he kept saying, "Sorry--in the checkout line." 

Finally, I knew he wasn't going to let go of that one until I acknowledged it so I just said, "Okay, fine, will get them later--don't want you to get out of the checkout line."  Then comes what I expected.  "No, no, I was just kidding.  I just got here--yada, yada, yada--"
Back to original conversation--"Will you pick up some wash cloths?"

"They are called dish cloths, not wash cloths." 
"I don't want dish cloths, I want wash cloths." 
Well, he thought I was kidding back and arguing for the sake of arguing (like he likes to have fun with) and just wanted to call dish cloths, wash cloths--I didn't!  I wanted wash cloths.
He said, "Well, I can't find anything but one package of dish cloths.   
Where else would they be?" 
I said, "You know where they sell pillows, etc.--try over there--they just might have them over there--he said, "Oh, I see a section called domestics, I will try that.
When he came home empty-handed with no CLOTHS of any kind, he explained that they just had wash cloths, not any dish cloths.  I said, "Well, that was what I wanted."
Of course, the expected conversation ensued with references to all that had happened above--
He never once even sheepishly admitted to any wrong doing, fault, forgetfulness etc. or being more concerned with pointless kidding (smile).
After I finally said, "Well, I don't know what else to say.  I told you I wanted wash cloths," he said,
"Well, what you're doing is not working."
Is this where I say 
I give up?
        Happy Monday everyone!!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Good Morning!

ood morning dear friends, Just wanted to check in with you. I went to the doctor yesterday and got a really good report. I had been in Tulsa for a few days with my son and daughter-in-law and two of my granddaughters until yesterday morning.
Off and on for two months (mostly on) I had seemed to have a spirit of despair, hopelessness and depression.  The death of my nephew, Matt and my knee replacement surgery seemingly the triggers for the symptoms--
My daughter-in-law and granddaughters prayed over me on Wednesday and it seemed from that moment on, I started getting better--not only my mental outlook but my physical symptoms as well. 
  I have had many problems in my lifetime but for the most part I am a very happy, upbeat person. Going through the last two months and all that they have held for me have given me a new understanding for people who face life on a regular basis like this. And I understand so much more than ever Paul's words from Roman's--

I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate.  Romans 7:15
I do feel the need to reassess a lot of things in my life--number one that concerns you I guess is whether I am supposed to continue with my blog--if I do, I have no inclination of what direction it will take--I am at a loss at the moment as to know what to do with it. 
The one thing I do know is this--God is faithful and He has not let me down.  He was always there--in the middle of the many nights of tossing and turning in extreme pain and seemingly slipping further and further in to that black hole of despair, He was there. 
One of the things that led me through this dark valley was Michael W. Smith's very first Christmas album.  If you have never heard it, I hope you will give it a try.  It is the most beautiful, uplifting, worshipful collection of God-honoring music I have ever heard.  It played continuously--every night for many nights all night long--on my I-Pod. 
My favorite song from the album is All is Well.  When the DIL mentioned above married my son, it played as I walked down the aisle to place our family's candle by the Unity candle.
For those of you who have faithfully held me in your thoughts and prayers, I am eternally grateful.  I hope to make it back to your blogs on a regular basis to keep in touch and grow our friendship ever stronger.
p.s. and yes I know my blog header still says "September" and you will know I am really on my way to recovery when I get that rectified.  smile

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Second Mom

Just wanted my close online friends to know that I lost my second mom night before last--my best friend's mom--I spent many, many weekends at their home during my growing up years.

 She will be missed so much.

 We really expected her to live for many more years--she had been in overall really good health.

 What is so ironic is this: This past summer my granddaughter's summer job did not work out and I called my best friend to see if they might need any more caregivers for Ms. Margaret. They did and my granddaughter got to spend a summer getting to know the woman who had touched and influenced my life so deeply through the years. Isn't that just like God??

Please pray for the Ballard family and for me that God will give me physical strength (knee) to make it through this difficult time.