WELCOME

The sky is always blue beyond the clouds. There is always hope and encouragement here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Money

God tells us to manage what is entrusted to us, not matter how much or how little and to trust Him for the outcome.
How hard is that for you to do?

“I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Moon light

I must admit that I am a moon gazer. I love to see a big full moon. I enjoy trying to photograph the moon and I am amazed when I look at professional photos that some people take of the moon in various settings. 
Last week the full moon was so bright that the night time was illuminated and you could see things that you don't normally see at nighttime. It makes my heart happy. 
But in reality the moon has no light in and of itself. It is the light from the daytime sun reflecting off the earth. 
Jesus is the Light and He tells us that we are the light of the world, but what we really are is reflections of Jesus. 
Do you reflect Him enough to help light the darkness? 
Let your light shine. 

“"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Matthew 5:14 ESV

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lights


Christmas lights, do they make you just so happy?  
My dad used to string lights all across his living room ceiling. And when the Christmas tree came down, he left the lights up. He said he enjoyed them and they made him feel warm.
I understand. I enjoy my lights too. 
Apparently most people do. It seems that the stores sell a lot of lights this time of year. 
White lights can be found in homes almost year round.
Do you like them? Do you like white lights or colored?
Lights are attractive.
Jesus is the Light. He wants us to be light. The world needs to see His light in us. 
Does your light attract people? Do you shine your light all throughout the year? 

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”
Matthew 5:16 ESV

PS: the boy in the picture is my grandson, Mason

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Time is Short

One of the hardest things to understand is when a life is cut short.
The death of a child or young person seems to be completely unfair to our human minds.
We will never understand the mind of God. His ways are different than our ways. Yet He has all wisdom. 
God has given each of us our days. There is nothing that guarantees us a long, healthy life. 
We must use each day as an opportunity to live for Him, to serve Him and to fulfill His plan. 
Lord, help me to not waste my days in selfish indulgence. Show me an opportunity each day to share You with someone.

“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”
Psalms 139:16 NASB

Be Kind

Oh what a hurtful world in which we live.
People get joy from being rude and sarcastic. They seem to compete in their stories of how mean they were to someone. 
"Well you have to get them before they get you." Someone once told me.
Can you imagine Jesus with this attitude? No, neither can I.
He taught kindness and compassion toward others and even to those that many would never think to be kind or compassionate to.
Are you a kind person? Are you compassionate? Do you have a caring heart toward others?
Something to ponder. 

“What is desirable in a man is his kindness Prov. 19:22a

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Count the cost


How many of you have a household budget? 
The concept is to help you keep track of your income and your outgo of your finances. And the purpose is to be balanced or spending less than you bring in.
The problem with budgeting is, there is often more month at the end of the money. This comes from lack of proper planning. 
We tend to fall into temptation of buying more than we need. 
Discipleship and stewardship are closely linked. To be a good steward of our money we have to be very disciplined with our spending.
And sadly, many will not tithe or give offerings when they are undisciplined in their spending. Some even make brash promises to God that IF He does ________________, they will give Him ___________.
Why don't they give God first and trust in His care? As a matter of fact the one and only time we are "invited" to put God to the test is with our giving. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. (Malachi 3:10 ESV)
Stewardship and Discipleship both bring many blessings.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-30 ESV)


Monday, November 14, 2016

Monument to failure



Not far from my home, along interstate 68 in Maryland, a replica of Noah's Ark is being built. It is going to be actual size and house a church and a gymnasium. It should be very impressive when completed. 
However, it was begun in 1976. It is well over 40 years and it is still just the partial framework.
The man building it is confident that he can convince the neighbors to donate the adjacent land that is needed and he is just as sure that all funding will be forthcoming.
However, locally, it is kind of a joke. 
Everyone mocks him just like the biblical Noah was mocked for believing that it would rain and flood the earth.
The steel structure seems to be, a giant monument to his failure to plan.

I do not know the true circumstances of his funding, or lack thereof. I do not know if the land rumors are true or false. But it does seem to me that it may forever just be a shell of what might have been.

Jesus was talking to his disciples and teaching them about, well, discipleship. He used the following verses as part of His teaching:
For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ (Luke 14:28-30 ESV)

Makes me wonder about all the people that come into the faith without considering the cost. How many people want the faith without being willing to give up the world.
Many want God on Sunday and the world every other day. But God wants all of us. 
We all must "give up" certain things to follow Jesus. Is it worth it to you?
What on this earth could be more valuable and cherish able than our salvation? 
It's up to each of us, we must choose. Have you counted the cost, or are you building a giant monument of failure?

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Caregiver

One of the hardest jobs in the world is being a caregiver. 
It is a challenge physically, emotionally as well as mentally and spiritually sometimes.
A caregiver is the least noticed person by most unless you are the one receiving the care. 
In my former job at a nursing home, the residents often would prefer me over their own family members. And that comes from the complete trust that they place with the person who provides their care.
But sadly, many caregivers neglect their own selves. 
They will dole out every ounce of kindness, compassion and energy on others often at the high cost of their own health.
Pray for those with big, beautiful hearts of compassion. It is a spiritual gift that we don't all possess. I pray to God that we did.

“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 affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ESV

Friday, October 28, 2016

Good Intentions


Have you ever thought of doing or saying something nice for someone, then didn't do it right away, and then it never gets done at all?
I have. And it feels rotten.
I have so many good intentions and then something distracts me from getting it done. 
Why is is so hard to keep my focus on what would so obviously bring joy and blessings?
Satan distracts. He will place things in front of me that will seem more important or of a higher priority. And I sometimes choose badly.
Lord, help me to be alert to the prowling lion that seeks to devour the right things that I know to do.

“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.”
James 4:17 ESV

Thanks


It is so easy to say "Thank you." It is one of the first things that children are usually taught once they learn how to speak. 
Showing gratitude toward someone who has been kind to us should be second nature, yet often we don't. And even worse, sometimes we "expect" others to do for and get upset when they don't.
What ever happened to treating people the way that we would like to be treated?
Lord, I pray that I will always be grateful for Your blessings.
“And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." When he saw them he said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus answered, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?”
Luke 17:12-17 ESV

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blessed?

Why does it seem like evil, wicked people have it so good in this life?
Things just line up and go well for them while I/we struggle and endure through everything?
When I/we count our blessings it's hard not to compare our list with people of the world that seem to have it all. 
“For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.”
Psalms 73:3-5 ESV

But think about it,
Would you rather be in their shoes? Would you rather have worldly possessions and no salvation?
Do not envy those that don't know the Lord.
Keep working with all your heart and might. Struggle to possess that which can never be taken away or rot.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

Breaking Up

In the case of a divorce, no one ever wins. A bond of unity is broken and it affects more than just two people. If there are children, their lives will be changed forever and the stability that they always believed in is shattered.
In laws, siblings, and even common friends all have to change the dynamics of their relationships with the two people that are divorcing.
Even if the splitting couple come to amicable agreement in settling things afterward, there will long be ripples in the pond of their lives.

Now compare all of that to a church split. 
It is a very sad event and many people will be affected. Longtime members become very disheartened. New believers will not understand and have a distorted view of spirituality. Church leaders worry and become heavily burdened. But most of all the church becomes a mockery to people of the world.
How on earth do these things happen?

The church is full of people, human beings. The people have been washed in the blood of Jesus and have had their sins washed away. However, they are still human. They will still sin. Christians are not perfect people. (Gasp!)
And anytime people are around each other, there will eventually be problems. 
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3 ESV)

People can be selfish, people can be overly sensitive, people can be blunt, people will disappoint, people lack compassion, people gossip, people manipulate, people expect things from you, people harbor grudges. And the faults go on and on.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. (James 4:1-4 ESV)

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. (Colossians 3:13 ESV)

Our focus should be Christ, His Kingdom and His work. We should be responding to people with love, kindness, inclusiveness, and always forgiveness.

And if, still a church splits, the only way for any involved to ever heal from that is to avoid taking sides, refrain from participating in gossip, work at bringing about peace, seek God's guidance, be very disciplined, re focus on Christ and His Kingdom. Every action, thought and words should come from humility. 
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32 ESV)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Empty Handed

Those who come to worship with empty hands, also come with empty hearts.
Do you come into the Worship Service with empty hands? Have you ever heard the saying, 
"You will only get out of it, what you put into it?"
People come to church because they are hurting or seeking. They are looking for answers and hope. 
The truth is, that describes all of us there. We all need hope and answers. And it can be found there. The answers come from God and His word. 
We are to support and encourage each other in these beliefs. But too often we come as empty vessels expecting to be filled without doing anything to fill someone else.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Matthew 13:15 ESV)
 
When we attend church with open eyes and open ears, we can become equipped to be of help for helping others.
...to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, (Ephesians 4:12-13 ESV)

Are we looking beyond our own brokenness and needs to see that others are broken too? My hope and prayer today is that we really truly will begin to put others ahead of ourselves. I pray that when we come together in worship that we will enter with Thanksgiving in our hearts, and come (and leave) with the mindset of being the hands and feet of our Lord. 
What if God met our needs and came to us empty handed?
And none shall appear before me empty-handed. (Exodus 34:20b ESV)


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Friends

I am becoming more and more aware that the reason why we love Facebook so much is because we can have "friends" without really being one.
We can like people's comments. We can feel like we are included in their happenings, we can enjoy their lives without investing ourselves at all.
We can share our lives, pictures and feelings to anyone who cares to look without really having a real shoulder to lean on.
What is happening to our culture? Are no relationships cherished anymore?
I sometimes wonder if I have any real friends at all.
I am not feeling self pity or trying to be a downer, but I am worried about our self serving society which is infiltrating our churches too.
Are we really too busy to be a friend?
Do you want friends without wanting to be one?
Oh Lord, I pray that I can strengthen someone with my prayers for them because I really care.
I pray that I can be a blessing to the lovely people I call friends.
But mostly Lord, I want to be an encourager. 
In lifting up someone else, I receive many blessings.
And Lord, when I need a friend, bring one to me. 
Thank You for Jesus, a friend that sticks closer than anyone else.
In His name, Amen.

Godliness

Because of a lesson that I am preparing to teach I have been doing a word study on the Greek word, eusebeia.

Eusebeia,
 yoo-seb'-i-ah; from G2152; piety; specially, the gospel scheme:—godliness, holiness. 

When breaking down the word it is like this:
Eu - well
Seb - sacred awe, reverence in ones actions
So it is behaving with piety, respect and honor toward God.
 
Eusebeia in the New Testament is  most often translated as "godliness." 
...seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, (eusebeia) through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3 NASB)

It isn't to be used as " religious." The word goes deep. It isn't just attitude. It is attitude, behavior, actions, being in awe and wonderment and acting accordingly.

With all of that being said, where is our godliness? What has happened to the reverent respect that used to be in our services?
It is hard to tell the honest to goodness Christians in a crowd and even our churches are acting more and more like the world. 
I, for one, would like to see God's people behaving godly. And not just at church but in everyday life. 
Eusebeia - godliness

In continuing on with my study of godliness I came across a few interesting verses on the subject.
First because of the grace of God we can renounce ungodly behaviors and live self controlled, upright and godly. Godly people no longer live or appear worldly.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:11-13 ESV)

Paul equates godliness with knowing God's Word and living faithfully in action and knowledge.
Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, (Titus 1:1 ESV)

Only those that live out holiness and godliness will be spared the destruction of the earth.
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! (2 Peter 3:10-12 ESV)

Godliness can be described as walking with God. Wouldn't it be great to be known as a person that walks with God.
When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:21-24 ESV)
And in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11, Enoch was spared a physical death because his godly life "pleased" God.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.
By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. (Hebrews 11:1-2, 5-6 ESV)

Godliness is not a religious thing. It is not behavior reserved for Sundays. Godliness is a part of one's character. It is similar to knowledge in that it is part of our being. And it should be ever deepening. And it is always sincere.

It is my hope to live and grow in godliness until the day the Lord calls me home.





Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Unstable or steadfast?


Bill and I have been working hard to exercise and lose weight. We have been at it steadily now for 12 weeks. 
Recently we switched up our workout routines to a program that incorporates country music with some exercise moves that mimic line dancing and country dancing. 
There is one move that is called, The box step. It is to a four count. Imagine standing in the center of a clock face. First the left foot steps across in front of the right foot, and lands in the 1 position on a clock face. Then the right foot steps back to the 5 position on a clock face. The left foot then steps onto the 7 position on the clock face. Immediately followed by the right foot stepping onto the 11 position. Remember, 4 count. Then repeat.
Go ahead, get up and try it. I'll wait.
You know you're going to.
Anyway, if done properly, the second count kind of throws you off balance a bit and it begins to feel like a stagger.
Keep trying. It's fun.
But while doing our workout I was reminded of our Sunday sermon. It was from James Chapter 1:5-8
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (James 1:5-8 ESV)
Read it again. 
If you lack wisdom, ask it of God.
He gives generously....to ALL,.......without judgement.
But! But! But!
Ask with faith.
No doubting!!!!
One who doubts is like a wave of the sea. (Picture the waves of a stormy sea. One that doubts is up and down, here and there, no direction or rhythm.)
The person who doubts should not expect anything from God.
That person is double minded. ( I believe, I'm not sure I believe, I believe, but I still don't believe)
That doubter is unstable, a staggerer. Someone who shuffles around unbalanced and off kilter.

Bill says that I am getting pretty good at the country dance workouts. He says I have really mastered the moves.
But as a Christian I don't want to master the stagger. I want to be stable. I want to be just like 1 Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV)
Steadfast and immovable sounds way better than driven and tossed by the wind and unstable in all ways. 

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Here I Am



As a truck dispatcher I spend a big part of my day trying to convince drivers to cover loads that are not always somewhere that they want go. 
In a short time I know who will be willing, who won't, who will do it without complaining and who  grumbles about everything. 
It is so much more pleasant to work with agreeable people.

I've been doing a lot of reading and studying this week about being willing to say yes and step up to the plate whenever God calls out to me.
Very often I will see my faults and inadequacies. And think someone else might be the better choice. 
But when God calls me, I need to be more willing to jump into action. If He finds me acceptable for a task, then who am I to doubt?
God will always be with me. He will never send me and then abandon me. 

What about you? Are you a willing worker for the Lord? Do you see a need and jump in? Do you wait to be asked? Do you makes excuses? Do you hope that no one asks anything of you? 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, (Colossians 3:23 NIV)

Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, (Ephesians 6:7 NIV)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17 NIV)

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, (Philippians 2:14 NIV)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Joyful

I feel like my writings have seemed so negative lately. And I wonder how on this earth I can share joy and be encouraging to others when I am so disheartened in my own life.
But then I look around me and it seems as if almost everyone I know is living lives of dissatisfaction. No one seems to be living the dream anymore. 
Sure there are some happy times. Sure there is a spot of joyfulness  here and there, but for the most part, many of us get by by just getting by.
We are to be joyful. We are to be rejoicing as we go. What does that mean?
Did the first century church have it better than we do? Did Paul, a writer that writes about rejoicing, live a life of peace and contentment?
We know that they didn't. So what is the difference? Why do we struggle so much to live joyfully?
We think of joy in worldly terms. We think joy equates with happiness. We think to be joyful means that we are always cheery and smiley. 
But biblical joy is different. Biblical joy is a contentment that comes from knowing that something far better awaits us. So we can endure for now by holding to the hope of God. 
It's kind of like going to the dentist. We don't like to go. We don't want to go. But go, we will, and endure because we know we will be better off because of it.
Christian joy is not "fake it til you make it" cheerfulness. Christian joy is enduring because we know something far better will be ours.
Some examples of biblical joy are below.
*Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)
*and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. (Acts 5:40-41 ESV)

*But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. (1 Peter 4:13-14 )

*I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. (2 Corinthians 7:4 ESV) and following until verse 16, you will see that Paul might have been joyful, but he for sure wasn't cheerful.

*Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Luke 10:20 ESV)

*Fellowship with Jesus brings continuous joy (John 15-17). 

So, Dear Sisters, carry on. Live your life knowing that this world is not our home. We have joy because of that.

Pray for me. I'm praying for you.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Don't look back

This week I was thinking about so many things. But mostly I was reliving memories. I was thinking about my old job and how lucky I was to be able to travel and see the whole United States with my husband and get paid for it. We really enjoyed that job. 
Before that I spent a year working as a resident assistant in a nursing home. It was a very satisfying and rewarding job. 
Before that job I spent many many years driving and working around school buses. It was a good job that fit my needs at the time my kids were growing up.
While I worked at these jobs, I liked them well enough, but there were days when it was not my favorite places to be.
Then I was thinking about my kids. They are all grown and living their own lives. But I was remembering times when they were younger and we had such good times playing games in the yard, hiking adventures through the woods, and just enjoying being a loving family.
We had such good times then.
But if I am totally honest, there were many times that we played in the yard and had adventures in the woods as ways to distract the kids from realizing that we couldn't afford real vacations like other families.
Memories are funny because as I am remembering the wonderful, traveling adventures with my husband I am forgetting about the traffic jams, the cancelled loads, the sitting around between loads, missing my home and family.
We always tend to hang onto the good memories and let go of the bad ones. I wonder why. And because we do, our past life always seems better than our present life.
It makes my think about Lot's wife in the Bible. She is mostly thought about in a negative light because as she and her family were hastily fleeing from their home, she looked back. She just looked back. And God turned her into a pillar of salt. 
The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.

Then the men said to Lot, “Have you anyone else here? Sons-in-law, sons, daughters, or anyone you have in the city, bring them out of the place. For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the Lord, and the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city.” But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. And as they brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.”

Then the Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord out of heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19:1-3, 12-13, 15-17, 24-26 ESV)

The Hebrew for “looked back” means more than to glance over one’s shoulder. It means “to regard, to consider, to pay attention to.”
I do not want to be looking back at any part of my life and wishing for "the good old days." I have got to be living in the moment and living joyfully as God would have me to.
There is nothing wrong with memories. And there is nothing wrong with enjoying my memories, but when I am fearful of the present, or dissatisfied in my current situations and I get to longing for the past, I am in danger of sinning against God's will and direction for my life.
Life can be hard and/or upsetting sometimes, but if we live a while longer, these days will be looked back on pleasantly. 
Lord, help me to live in and through the now. Teach me to trust you. Help me to be disciplined to live joyfully and be the salt of the earth that is good.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. (Matthew 5:13 ESV)
Salt is a preservative and an enhancer. I want to be a preservative to the world of sin. I would like to help keep others from being spoiled by the rottenness of the world. And I would like to enhance and influence people for Christ.
So memories are ok, but longing for the past isn't.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

A to E


As you know I am at a new job. Last Wednesday, Thursday, Friday I had training with a man from Washington, DC. We spent three days in an atmosphere of distractions. His phone rang constantly. We had other workers in and out the office all day. My drivers still had to be dispatched and kept running, so learning the tedious data entry program seemed to loom large like Goliath over my head.
My job consists of compliance to the laws, keeping trucks compliant, keeping drivers compliant, keeping trailers compliant, providing trucks and drivers to satisfy the buyers and customers, and each of those areas have data entry into the computer, the logistics. 
On the Monday following my training I realized that I had learned very little regarding that aspect. I tried to enter data. I strained my brain trying to figure it out.
I was very frustrated.
I was very upset with myself. I felt stupid. I was discouraged, very discouraged. So much so, that I gave up and began to clean the break room and the bathroom. (Any of you ladies ever acted out your frustration by cleaning?) 
*sidenote: Imagine if you can, a workplace of 21 men, no women, working with scrap metal on a dusty, gravel lot. Now imagine 4 years of that kind of dirt! That is what I tackled instead of the computer entries. 
I did that because I was feeling so unaccomplished that by doing that, I could leave work feeling like I did something worthwhile. It was the only thing I knew how to do that day.
And when the day was over, I cried. I cried the whole way home. I cried all evening. 
On Tuesday I went to work, humbly. I needed to confess to my boss that perhaps I was too old or too dumb to learn the program.
I got to work at 7:30 am. At 7:31 my phone rang. It was the man from DC that had come up to train me. 
He was calling to apologize. He could see from his computer that I had desperately tried to enter the data. He could see that, clearly, I had no idea. He said I was not to blame for not knowing. He said that apparently he was not a good teacher. 
So for these last three days I have worked with a wonderful woman named, Robin, over the phone. She walked me (baby steps) through every entry into the computer. At the end of the first day, it was beginning to click. I was understanding! On day two, I did the entries while she watched from her computer, cheering me on all day. 
On day three,  I worked alone, only calling her when I found some entries that I hadn't performed before.
So, I am not an expert by any means, but I feel so much better now.
And Robin and I speculated about why I understood her training. She said it's because Bob wanted me to learn by starting at A and going straight to E. Robin taught me how to learn by going A, B, C, D, then E. We laughed.
"Yes,  that is how men are wired, I guess." She said. 
"Unless they're in the hardware store." I said, "then they go A, B, C, D, and E, and women just want A to E." We laughed some more.
She agreed. She said that she just asked her dad to hang a picture on her wall. She said he got the level, the tape measure, the stud finder, the exact nails and almost 2 hours later her picture was hung. Hahaha.
Oh well, I learned that people learn in different ways. Different people need different techniques. 
This is why Jesus taught in parables. Paul taught by using analogies. 
We need to be sharing the gospel with others. But we must be teaching them in ways and means that they can relate to and understand. 
Too often people turn away from hearing because someone has gone from A to E with them and they feel stupid, overwhelmed, unaccomplished, discouraged, and like they will never get it. 
Jesus was very gentle and caring in his teaching. He took the time to meet with people. He took the time to see to their needs. He loved beyond measure. He truly cared. 
Jesus met people on the mountain, by the sea, at the well, from a boat, in the tombs, in the gardens, in upper rooms, at a wedding, by the pools, in the crowds, everywhere.
We need to use our every opportunity to share Jesus. But teach and share in a way that they can follow. 
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Baby steps


So in learning all the minute details in my new job I have found that an old dog really can learn new tricks.
But instead of "old dog" talk this past week I have heard a lot of baby analogies. I was AT work all last week but all I did was "observe." And after that it is very clear to me that I cannot learn by osmosis.
On Saturday the whole dispatch was handed off to me while all the "bosses" took the day off. I was the only one in the office and I was expected to set up the dispatch for Monday.
As I sat there struggling and at my wits end about what to do, I remembered a conversation about grandkids from the previous day. My manager was talking to me and said, " sometimes you have to stand a baby up and let go of them. They will fall down but you keep picking them up and trying again and again, until one day, they pick themselves up and take off walking."
It was an aha moment. He was referring to me. So, here I was last Saturday, the baby, standing alone and unsure of how to move my feet.
Well, I made decisions, entered it into the computer and left. I worried about it all weekend.
On Monday when I got to work, a few things had to be changed but it all worked out ok.
I was assured that I would "get it." That I wouldn't learn it in a day or a week and probably not even in a month.

But I had been a dispatcher before, for many years. I dispatched school buses. And if any mistakes were made there, you had kids standing out in the cold. At least in the scrap metal business, I don't have to worry about kids standing in the cold.

So as this week went on, each day I learned more. I was taking baby steps, and often needed to lean on others, but I am learning. I will get it and soon, I will be running.

That's the way of it, we learn in bits, we accept and grasp what we are able, as we are able. But we don't stop learning and growing or we will forever be walking baby steps. Can you imagine wobbling and stumbling your way through life?
Yet many people come into church as "babes in Christ" and never move beyond the milk of the word.
They come on Sunday mornings, sign their kids up for the youth programs, maybe even participate in the "willing workers" group themselves, but never get involved in a deep study of God's word.
It's time to move into the meat. Chew it, digest it. Dig into it. And grow. Don't remain unstable babies. 

Lord, create in us a desire to learn and grow.
Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— (1 Peter 2:2 ESV)
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14 ESV)

God desires for us to learn and grow in His word, yet He will sometimes "stand the baby (us) up and let go of us.
“ God left him to himself, in order to test him and to know all that was in his heart.”
2 Chronicles 32:31 ESV 

Do not be afraid when faced with spiritual challenges and trials of life. Lean on what you know from God's word, trust Him because of His past care for you,  accept the challenge and face it with courage and strength.


Saturday, July 9, 2016

God have mercy


I have been feeling more and more distressed the past few days as no matter where I go or who I am around, all I hear about is killing, rioting, protesting, and rebellion against the government. It is so disturbing to me that I literally sometimes feel sick to my stomach about it.
I fear for the future of our nation. What kind of people are we becoming? 
Hatred and violence are spreading rapidly.
But none of this escapes the notice of God. 
Pray for people to wake up and come to the knowledge of a loving, kind, good Father. Yet one that is also jealous, just, and rebuking. 
He can, has, and maybe will again use captivity to change the minds and wills of His people.






Saturday, July 2, 2016

Buffet


My husband and I have determined to lose weight and feel healthy. By living in a truck for six years we have lost a lot of flexibility and have very weak muscles. Even though we tried to walk between 2-4 miles a day, we rarely moved our bodies much more than that. 
So he researched (his favorite thing) diets and eating plans. 
I told him that I wanted something realistic that did not eliminate any food groups, such as fruits or carbs. Because I want a plan that can work from now on, not just until we reach a goal. 
My goal is lifetime health, however long that might be.
So after a whole month, yes! A whole month! He fixated on a plan that he thought would work for both of us.
So almost three ago now, we began. 
I must say the food part is very easy and very doable for us. We like all the fruits and vegetables, etc.
But the exercise part that accompanies this plan is very hard for us. After the first day, which we could only manage doing about 1/3 of the exercises, we were so very very sore. We awoke during the night with cramps. But we continued. Each day of the week was a different DVD. We struggled, breathed hard, limped, and exhausted ourselves as much as we could manage. 
By week two, we were doing a little better. We could almost keep pace with the girl that does the modified exercises for out of shape people. We are still getting some cramping, and still somewhat sore.
By now, near the end of week three, we are still having some muscle tightening and tiredness but we are getting through the complete workouts each day.
On Sunday we do a yoga workout. There is a position called, corpse pose. You lie flat on your back with your arms down by your side and your legs somewhat spread apart, and you lay very still for 30 seconds. That is our favorite exercise, lol.
I am so glad that we are in this together. It is so much easier for both us. There are days where it would be so much easier to just eat a bowl of cereal. There are many times where I would have just given up the exercising for the day or probably even altogether if it wasn't for him and his encouragement. Really, who likes to push themselves beyond the limits?
At the end of the day, we laugh together at our weaknesses and feel a sense of joy in overcoming them.

This is also the way of our Christian walk. There are struggles daily, throughout each day. We get tired, we get beat up, we get weary. It would be easy to quit or just do part of it. 
Do we research how and what we need to do to be spiritually healthy?
Do we follow the plan even when, no, especially when it gets hard?
Do we seek out others that are on the same plan to help inspire and encourage us? Are we inspiring and encouraging them as well?
Do we continue after being so beat up that it feels like we cannot possibly move?
Do we look back in joy at the obstacles that we got by with God's plan and the help of others?

I am praying that we, together, can push each other on toward that goal, the heavenly prize. Hopefully, the scriptures below will be spiritual encouragement for us.

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:8 ESV)

But [like a boxer] I buffet my body [handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships] and subdue. (1 Corinthians 9:27a AMP)
Note: this is ˈbə-fət\ to drive, force, move, or attack by or as if by repeated blows. NOT  bəˈfā a meal consisting of several dishes from which guests serve themselves. Lol.

For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it [a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God's will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God]. (Hebrews 12:11 AMP)

And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 ESV)

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wholly

Today I was having myself a big ole' mess of anxiety. I was convincing myself that nothing felt good, safe or secure. I even began to conclude that leaving our job to come back home was a horrible mistake. 
I was sure that being home didn't matter  to anyone else anyway and now we were facing all kinds of uncertainties for what?
I carried that mess around all morning and afternoon. 
But then after asking someone to pray for me and doing the same for myself, I began to have a clearer mind.
We are in transition. We are moving from one stage of our lives into another. And what was comfortable and content has evolved into new and different.
So I have a choice. I can resist the process of transition or I can embrace it.
I am reminded of a man in the Bible that I love reading about when I get full of anxiety. That man is Caleb. Here is part of his story.
I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to spy out the land, and I brought him word again as it was in my heart. But my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; yet I wholly followed the Lord my God. And Moses swore on that day, saying, ‘Surely the land on which your foot has trodden shall be an inheritance for you and your children forever, because you have wholly followed the Lord my God.’ And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, just as he said, these forty-five years since the time that the Lord spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. And now, behold, I am this day eighty-five years old. I am still as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me; my strength now is as my strength was then, for war and for going and coming. So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said.” Then Joshua blessed him, and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance. Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day, because he wholly followed the Lord, the God of Israel. (Joshua 14:7-14 ESV)

Caleb was one of the 12 spies that Moses sent to spy out the promised land. Ten of those returned and spread fear and doubt among the people, but Caleb followed the Lord wholly. He did not allow himself to be led by fear or doubt, he trusted in God with ALL OF HIS HEART.
Because of their fear, the people did not get the promised land but were made to wander until they died. 40 years later, Caleb, who was still trusting and full of strength, was blessed to enter and receive land that was promised by God. Because he followed the Lord wholly.

God expects us to be Holy. But He also expects us to be wholly His. This means we are to be trusting, devoted, eager, zealous, without hesitation.

I want to be trusting. I want to live devoted and eagerly for God in this next stage of my life. I do not want to look back. I want to be wholly His. Pray for me. 
And I will pray that you, too, are wholly living for God.


Friday, June 17, 2016

Job fair

Yesterday was a bit hard for me. My husband and I, along with another friend, attended a job fair. We are all in search of work. We are all three hard workers. We are all earnestly wanting to work. 
So we attended the job fair.
There were about 20 companies there to talk to.
We each chose the ones that matched our interests. We gave resumes. We filled out applications. We talked a little with the job recruiters.
And then after that we drove around to some other locations as well seeking to fill out applications.
There are jobs to be had.
There are willing capable workers. 
You just have to find the right fit.
But last evening in a moment of tired weakness, I ask myself: "Why did you quit a job that you loved without having another job first?"
And doubt and worry began to set in.
It is never a good thing to allow these thoughts. When I let my mind go over and over the "what if" and the "if only" thoughts, I lose ground to Satan. 
Rumination sprouts. It grows into doubt, worry and fear. And all of these are enemies of faith.
Did not God say that He cares for me? Did he not say that He would provide for me? Did He not ask me to believe and trust in Him?
Then according to His word I must: destroy speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB)
Those doubts, worries and fears are against my knowledge of God. I have to take those thoughts captive (prisoner) before they imprison me.
Pray for me, my husband and my friend as we continue to look for work. 

Do not say, "Why is it that the former days were better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. (Ecclesiastes 7:10 NASB)