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

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pity party

We all have days where we would rather stay in our pjs and hide under the covers in bed. 
Maybe we are sick for the fourteenth day in a row.
Maybe we are tired of added pressure of work.
Maybe someone has taken us for granted or has taken advantage of us.
Maybe we felt a mean streak and exploded in front of someone we care about and don't know how to apologize.
Maybe we are lonely.
Who knows? But we have all wanted to throw ourselves a big ole pity party at one time or another right?
I had a friend once who was so good for me when I felt that way. He would tell me, "Bring out the cake. Let's get this party started. But then we are getting over it and we are going to choose joy."

Yes, joy is a choice. Wallowing in self pity is a choice. And which person would you rather spend time with?

If you're going to say, "yeah, but, what about depression?"
I know depression. I spent way too much time in that black pit of desperation. But if you have depression, real clinical depression, there is amazing clinical help for that. There are medications, and therapists that are wonderful tools.

But I am talking about the, "No, thank you. I just want you to feel my pain with me" kind of pain.
Choose joy!
Do you want joy or misery? 
I will come to your pity party but I won't stay long. I will bring a gift, joy. Will you accept it?
Joy comes from the Lord.
Misery comes from Satan.
You choose.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

“ And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.””
Nehemiah 8:10b ESV

Friday, April 29, 2016


Some of my favorite memories of my mom are from discussions during car rides. I don't always remember where we were headed but we were always going somewhere and the travel time in the car is when we talked and laughed and solved world problems. 
I miss my mom. I miss just having random conversations. 
I keep thinking about the last six years traveling all over with my husband. We have made many memories in all these miles together. From day to day we didn't know where we would go next, but we knew we would go together.
I am going to miss working everyday, all day with him.

I was reading this morning in Genesis chapter 12 about God telling Abraham to "Go."
Abraham packed up all his family, workers, animals and belongings and "went."
He did not question.
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. (Genesis 12:1 ESV)
I am sure that his wife probably had many questions. I can just imagine if this had been between me and Bill. I would have so many questions.
But they went, the whole lot, including Lot. Lol
I just love that kind of obedience. I love this display of faith. 
I would like to think that I have even a fraction of that. 
Where does a faith like that come from?

Thank You, Lord, for these wonderful examples of faith and action. Lord, I pray that even if my curiosity makes me question that I will still trust and act in my faith.
 And Lord, thank You so much for those you give me to help me get through this journey. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Have you ever started to prepare a recipe and then realize that you were missing one of the key ingredients? Ugh, it's so frustrating. 
Now you have two options:
Continue without it which leaves you with an unsatisfactory version, that may or may not resemble the real thing or stop what you're doing and wait until you can get that one ingredient.
If you're like me neither option is a good one. 
Recipes should be followed exactly for best results. And once I decide to try it, I want to do it right and do it right way.

It almost seems the "modern" church practices "tolerating" certain behaviors.
We don't want to offend anyone or have anyone stop coming. So certain topics are avoided or danced around. 
Whatever happened to 
“preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
2 Timothy 4:2-5 ESV?

It may not be popular for people to hear what they need to hear. Maybe they will stop coming. 
I, myself, would rather lose people after telling them the truth than for them to go to hell because they never heard the truth. 

It would be fantastic if everyone readily accepted the word of God, and followed God's plan of salvation.
But most would rather pretend to know Jesus, without the true repentance and confession needed.
Repentance is an ingredient to salvation. Being full of sorrow for your sinful self, so much so that you know you must change. 
The early church knew what repentance meant.
And then they came together and divulged their practices. Wow, how humbling that would be! But they were so repentant that they felt compelled to divulge their shameful behavior through the confessing of their sins to one another. 
This is another ingredient of faith that some leave out today. 
We don't really want anyone to know just how awful and black that we were/are.

Maybe in today's churches people wouldn't run from the truth if they knew that ALL Of US came out of shame. 
Lord, help me to be bold in speaking Your truth. But Lord, help me to be gentle and loving, always remembering how very black my heart was before You. Teach me ways of speaking, teaching and sharing Your grace and mercy without pushing people away because of self righteousness. Lord, it may not be easy or popular, but help me to speak You wherever I go.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Against the flow

Just go with the flow.
Have you ever heard that said? It usually refers to following the crowd, not making waves, not rocking the boat.
But let me ask you, have you ever gone against the flow?
I'll bet you have. If you have ever faced and fought problems of any sort you know what it feels like to paddle up the stream.
And you have more than likely have felt, at one time or another, been up the creek without a paddle.
If you are paddling up the stream, you must make waves with your paddling to get anywhere. The moment you stop paddling, you begin to drift backward with the current.
It is good to be in the same boat as others. They will help paddle when you get tired.
Once while fishing we drifted into the weeds and our motor got tangled in the weeds. Only by rocking the boat were we able to get free from the tangles.
Now listen, 
If life you have got to keep paddling upstream. Don't stop. We are going against the flow, as Christians and if we stop or even just rest a bit, the current (world) will carry us backward.
Rock your boat to get free of what tangles you. 
Keep moving, keep going in the right direction. Don't give up. 
Get on board with others (Christians) that will give you strength when you get weak.
“Then Jesus commanded His disciples to get into the boat...
Matthew 14:22 a MEV

Saturday, April 23, 2016

DEBT- Don't Even Buy That

We are retiring from driving truck within the next few weeks. It was our goal to be debt free by the time of us coming off the road. However we ran into a huge medical expense along the way that cost us almost $30,000. So needless to say, we are that far behind in our plan.
I believe that most people live with some kind of debt. Many live with enormous amounts hanging over their heads.
I think that God does not want us living in debt because it causes us to be bound. We become slaves to our debt. Well, unless you deny it and try to run from it. But I think God wouldn't like that either.
So I have been reading a very good book on personal finances. It is written by a church of Christ minister from Grand Prairie, TX. His name is Barry Cameron and the book is, The ABC's of Financial Success.
It is a good book and a good plan.
We know Barry and he is a very down to earth man. He is humble and absolutely has devoted his life to serve God.
My husband and I are working hard to reduce our debt and plan to be debt free within a few years, even on retirement income.
But there is one debt that God does want us to have. It is found in the Book of Romans. God says to owe no one anything except to love them. 
We owe our love to others! That is a debt that we will never be free of. 
Now, sometimes it isn't easy to love others. I think that is what makes it a debt. We are bound to it. We have to try to meet that debt.
Jesus gave His life for me (and you) so the least I can do is love others for Him.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

My tent

Do you like camping? 
A few years ago my husband and I went camping. It was at a spiritual family camp setting. There were many there camping.  
We stayed in a tent...with an air mattress. It was comfortable enough, for all the more we were in it. It was just for 2 nights!
Many that were there had campers, with beds, and air conditioners and BBQ grills. 
It was a little hard to not be envious. 

Now imagine that God gave each of us a tent. And he asks us to take care of it, however when it wears out and is destroyed he promises us a camper that is so amazing that we can't even imagine how nice it will be. 
Would you panic if your tent got a small tear?
Would you cry if it began to leak?
What if the zippers wouldn't work anymore? Or you broke some of the poles?
Would you drive all over looking for replacement parts? Would you invite people over to help mend the tent?
How far would you go to hold onto your tent?
It is my opinion that you would only run after and hold onto your tent if you did not fully believe that God would give you the camper.

God has much better for us.

His word compares our earthly bodies to tents. They are temporary. They are sufficient, until they aren't anymore.
I wonder if sometimes we wear ourselves out trying to hold on to the temporary. I can't help but think that we can lose our real focus by trying to repair our "tents."
Don't misunderstand me, I ask for prayers for physical issues, but I pray that the condition of my "tent" never takes away from my honoring of God. I pray that my desire to hang onto the thoughts of repairing and restoring my body that I won't lose sight of the camper.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.”
2 Corinthians 5:1-5 ESV

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


We all know good people, those with a true heart of gold. They will go out of their way to help someone. Maybe give someone a ride to the store. Maybe they will babysit the kids when a mother is sick. Perhaps they will cook a meal for an elderly neighbor. Sometimes they will mow grass or shovel snow for others.
And these people read bible verses. They always "like" the religious stuff on Facebook. 

I would like you to take a few moments to read this account from the Bible.

And David and all the house of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals. And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and God struck him down there because of his error, and he died there beside the ark of God. And David was angry because the Lord had broken out against Uzzah. And that place is called Perez-uzzah to this day. And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the Lord come to me?” So David was not willing to take the ark of the Lord into the city of David. But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the Lord remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the Lord blessed Obed-edom and all his household. And it was told King David, “The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with rejoicing. And when those who bore the ark of the Lord had gone six steps, he sacrificed an ox and a fattened animal. And David danced before the Lord with all his might. And David was wearing a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the horn. (2 Samuel 6:5-15 ESV)
What did the ark contain?
1. A golden urn holding some of the manna that God produced for the wandering Israelites. 
2. The staff of Aaron that had budded
3. The two tablets of God's commandments
Hebrews 9:4

The ark was important. God wanted it treated with respect and reverence. It was never to be touched. 
While carrying it with poles and oxen, the oxen stumbled, Uzzah touched the ark. Apparently he saw that God's precious item was about to topple and reached to steady it. He touched it. And he died instantly.
Uzzah had good intentions. He understood how precious the ark was. He did not want it to fall to the ground. 
He disobeyed God.

You can do all the right things for the wrong reasons. Or you can do wrong things with right reasons. 
Good intentions will not save you. Understanding the precious gifts of God will do you no good without careful obedience.