Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Through My Eyes

The sun is rising over the tops of the houses and it's absolutely inspiring.  I grab my trusty little camera, my iPhone 6S Plus, and try to capture the moment to post and brag about my beautiful world. The picture just doesn't do it justice.  

My lens is not picking up the true glorious pink of the sun as it rises over the mountains in the distance. As it diffuses from vibrant pinks to orange, yellow and dissipates, my lens picks up only the essence of color; a mere print and not the masterpiece painted across the horizon. I adjust the settings on my camera.  The distance, the lighting and even clean the lens a bit striving to improve the results. My efforts are not successful.

I lay my camera down. I wish they could see if from my eyes, I thought; this led me to ponder for a moment.

Is this what Jesus thinks when I cannot see the true beauty of the scene unfolding around me?  

Our world today has access to unbelievable amounts of information.  The internet has opened up a new medium for communication that is unparalleled in any other place or time.  Social media forums have created creative ways to share information and communicate.

Unfortunately, these new avenues of sharing have also created an environment that can lead to very unhealthy habits. Excessive amount of time spent surfing the internet and participating in social media groups to the exclusion of building and maintaining meaningful relationships with the people we live, work and meet in the community.  While I could talk about this point for a while, my true topic is what we are allowing into our minds and hearts and how it affects the lens through which we view our world and shape our values.

I have to remind myself all the time what I strove to teach my children, what you read and watch affect your thoughts.  What you think about builds your belief system; gets into your heart, your DNA.  Your responses, the lens through which you view life, is built out of this storage of information.  Feed it with negativity, you will get negativity.  Feed it with positive, you will become positive.  

How do we fight this breakdown in relationship building?  How do we combat the negativity that is so rampant in our society today?  How do we protect our hearts and minds?  How do we see through the lens more clearly?

It's a heart issue.  You've got to diligently protect and guard what you put in your heart.  There's got to be a balance.  I am not against surfing the internet and social media sites.  I love these mediums of communication and information.  However, this cannot be your constant food for thought and action.  You've got to read the word of God, be in church attendance to hear the preaching of the word of God, you'be got to pray and build that relationship with Jesus Christ.  Neglecting to discipline your time and activities will cause you to develop a sick heart.

Consider these two scriptures from the Bible today.

Proverbs 4:23 "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life."

Luke 6:45 "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

Sitting Bull is known for this famous quote, and I think it fits very well here.  "Inside of me there are two dogs.  One is mean and evil and the other is good and they fight each other all the time.  When asked which one wins I answer, the one I feed the most."

Are you struggling with your lens today; struggling to see things through the eyes of Jesus?  Perhaps you need to balance things out a bit.  Seriously evaluate how you are spending your time.  What are the things you are allowing into your mind and heart?  

Lord, I surrender my heart and my mind to you today.  I pray that you will help me to sort truth from fiction.  Help me to see what you want me to see.  So many are bound to false assumptions and incorrect thoughts about life.  These thoughts limit ourselves and prevent us from growing and maturing into the person you have designed us to be.  Help me to seek your will above all others opinions.  Help me to truthfully examine my life today through your eyes.  Help me to change the things that I need to change.  Give me the strength to make these changes.  I truly want to be the person that you have designed me to be and impact my world for righteousness.  I long to see through your lens of faith.  To trust you in all areas of my life.  In Jesus name, let it be done.  Amen.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Learning to Lean from Tulips

I'm pondering on leaning this morning.....

As I stood brewing my coffee this morning the tulips on the dining room table caught my eye.  When we bought them and set them on the table they were straight and tall.  The flowers were bright buds of promise; their true beauty yet to be revealed.

As I walked towards them I realized they were leaning and that I could do nothing to straighten them.  They were blossoming while turning their beauty towards the sun that comes in the windows.  Seeking the sun was a natural instinct, whether attached to the bulb or cut and set to beautify their new environment.

Leaning, or shifting towards someone or something, is not always a sign of weakness. Just as these tulips lean towards the sunshine that develops them into a beautiful flower, we too should lean towards the Son.  Realizing that our strength, support and ultimate beauty are fed by our relationship with the Son of God is the first step in becoming the person we were meant to be.

Psalm 139 is one of the most famous passages regarding God's purpose for each of us from the moment of conception.  Within this chapter in verses 18-19 you will find this " How precious it is, Lord, to realize that you are thinking about me constantly!  I can't even count how many times a day your thoughts turn toward me.  And I waken in the morning you are still thinking of me!" (The Living Bible)

Do you have this awareness?  God is thinking of us constantly!  How He must love me and care for me to focus his thoughts on me.  I can't help but lean on Him.  He is my source of life, hope and joy.  

The refrain from an old hymn is my song today.  

Leaning, Leaning
Safe and secure
From all alarm
Leaning, Leaning
I'm leaning on the Everlasting Arms!

Leaning.........on the Son!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Should I Know You?

Have you ever met someone and knew that you had  been introduced to them before, maybe even chatted with them a few times, but you can't remember their name?  That can be a bit awkward; especially if they remember your name.  How do you gracefully handle this?  Do you ask "Do I know you?" (Not recommended 😊). Or how about this one, "I am sorry, but I forgot your name."

I am reading a passage in Genesis today, specifically chapters 18-20. In this reading there are two accounts of angels appearing as men.  I've always been intrigued that both Abraham and Lot recognized them as angels sent from God.

As I ponder on this a moment I am reminded again of the message my husband preached on Sunday.  We must have a relationship with Jesus.  Relationships are essential to growth.  Relationships generate the ability to identify someone by their behavior, voice or presence.

When I was a child we lived in a two-story house.  The bedroom I shared with my sisters was right by the stairs.  It was an older home and the stairs would creak as you went up and down.  I can remember knowing who was walking on the stairs by the sound they made.  Isn't that amazing and cool?

Conversely, being recognized as belonging to a group or family by your appearance is pretty powerful as well.  Imagine the angels walking into town and you immediately know they are emissaries sent from God with a message.

I wonder.....would I recognize them?  If this occurred today, would I sense God in them and know who they are?

My heart cries out today to deepen my experience with God.  I want to recognize him, his angels, the Holy Ghost power working in me and through me to fulfill his will on earth. I want my community, my world, to recognize me as a child of God because of my relationship to him and with him.

How about you?  Do you ponder these things? Are you in a relationship with God? Should I know you?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Finding the Awe in Daily Living

A friend of mine wrote a status on Facebook today that got me to pondering..........

Where is God in your everyday life?  I'm not talking about the 30 minutes to hour that you set aside  to read your Bible and greet the Lord in daily prayer.  I'm talking about the blessings and opportunities that come our way on a daily basis that are God ordained but we failed to recognize.

You see, I truly do believe that my steps are ordered by the Lord. Every step.  A couple of people recently said that I over spiritualize my life.  Really?  I'm sad for them.  Being blinded to the love of God and his provisions in every area of our lives is one of the greatest blessings I have and cherish.

Let me see if I can illustrate this for you by recounting some of the 'awe' moments in my last two weeks.

  • Doctors full of compassion and knowledge providing the level of treatment needed to get me on the road to recovery quickly.  Without these doctors and their knowledge, people used to die from bacterial infection.  Where did this knowledge come from......?
  • Nurses who provided encouragement and pain management when the hospital was busy and their work load heavy.  Believe me, there's nothing worse than a nurse who doesn't really care and is just trying to get the job done.  Nurses who take the time to be encouraging and kind are a blessing in this day and age of staffing shortages.
  • Spouse who is selfless and caring.  I see all the negativity about men and husbands so I know the treasure, the blessing God has given me. 
  • Friends who encourage and bring treats.  I can't even imagine life without friends who are 'there' for you.  Did you know there are people that don't have these kinds of relationships?  
  • Unplanned for expenses covered by an unexpected bonus and a rebate check.  Timing is everything they say.  I say God knows our every need and supplies them.
  • Retailers who care about the patient and go above and beyond.  This is becoming more rare as days go by.  I called Walgreens to refill a prescription for my daddy.  Unfortunately the script was supposed to last 4 weeks but had only lasted 2 weeks.  The phone rep said it was rejected with a message indicating we were trying to refill it too soon.  I asked them to see if an override could be obtained and she said no and suggested I call the doctors office for a new prescription with a different dosage or formulary.  Long story short, that wasn't an option. They said we'd just have to pay the 109.00 and be happy it wasn't a higher priced item.  So we bit the bullet and went to pay for the refill.  Upon arriving, the pharmacist was the person trying to help in the very busy drive thru window.  He said, 'The insurance is denying this as a fill too early request.  Let me call and get an override for you."  We cheerfully agreed to let him try and come back later.  I said a short prayer for his success under my breath as we left.  You guessed it....we returned and paid 2.65.  
  • Family, how can we forget our daily blessings of family relationships.  Whether it's a quick text message, a picture posted on Facebook or a call, or that family member who lives with you and provides love and care, these are blessings from above.
I think the problem with us is we are looking for the sensational, the miracles, the Wowsers. We have access to the sensational at our fingertips.  We are desensitized to the daily blessings and provisions we have because of Gods love and care for his people.

I believe his word.  He said in Psalm 37:23 "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way."  I am finding the awe of God in my daily living.  If you take a moment to ponder along with me, I'm positive you can too.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Pondering my Options for 2014

Have you seen all the new 2014 cars?  Oh my word!  There are a plethora of choices and they have numerous options.  Satellite radio, now there’s one I do consider to be a must have on my next vehicle; it’s not optional!  I used to get to car shop weekly when I lived in the Chicago area; Interstate 90 is wonderful for that. 

The classic question many seek to answer the last few days of each year is not what new car model they will purchase. It’s “What are your New Year’s Resolutions?”  My experience in this exercise is not very positive.

According to Google, who, of course, is THE smartest person in the world, based on the statistics compiled by University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology and published on 12/13/2013, only 14% of people over the age of 50 achieve success with making resolutions.  Only 39% of those under the age of 50 achieve success. With percentages like that who wants to make them. 

I want to be honest and say that I often do consider the power I could have if I did make a resolution and keep it, but it doesn’t last very long.  LOL  I will say that this year I pondered my options quite thoroughly. I’ll use an acrostic to share them with you.

O – Opinions – This is a good place to begin because all options are based on someone’s opinion.

OK, so maybe I’ll work this year on changing others opinions of Me.  That won’t work.  Takes way too much time and effort and I’m not giving them any more of my time or effort.

My husband. Ha!  I tried that and failed. AND don’t you dare tell me anything about my husband that’s negative.  I know all kinds of ways to hurt you and if I don’t get the job done, I’ll turn you over to my kids. Believe me, you DON’T want that. 
One knows Taekwondo,
One is an attorney,
One is an artist and can make a caricature out of you and post it on the Internet and you’ll never live it down and
The last One, but certainly, most assuredly not least, she has learned everything from all the rest cause she’s the baby and you’ll be decimated.

Nah, just forget it, this is way too much work and I don’t care what other people think anyway. This is not an option.

P – Portent – One of my new words this year.  Yes!  I LOVE love LOVE words.

First, let me share its meaning. states it like this “an indication of omen of something about to happen, especially something momentous!"  So you see it fits this time of the year. 

Some folks think they are portent.  They attach the ‘IM’ in front of the word and believe they are IMportant.  If you have to add the IM to the word, you’re not; Just sayin’.

There are people who portent; they try to predict what is going to happen next year.  I don’t put too much stock in those things; they are a good read at best.
Where do I get my portents? From the Word of God!  Everything I hear in the world today, I’ve found to be a portent from the Word of God.  Since God is at 100%, all His foretelling’s come true; changing this is not an option.

T – Trade – Oh boy, I love to trade….you have to have something in order to trade…..

Let’s see, husband?  No way!  I’ve had this one for 32 years and besides we are a pretty stunning package deal, so nope, not up for a trade there.

There’s the house.  Ha!  No way!  The Lord gave us that one and what he gives to me is never up for trade.

I don’t think there’s anything I’d trade except for some of my bad habits but no one ever wants those.  Sure wish I could just give them away……Doesn’t look like I have anything I can trade right now, so this is not an option.

I – Invent – Invent a new me; Ha!  That’s not goin’ so good. 
I tried that once.  I had to pretend and hide the real me; I threw away all the masks I purchased; they were all non-refundable and back then we didn’t recycle ANYTHING especially masks.

God’s been working on me for 53 years and you can see how that’s working out.  I heard him talking to the angels the other day and they wanted to know why he keeps trying and he replied I was worth it, so I guess I’ll leave that one alone; that’s not an option.

O – Others – Oh, yeah, baby, I would love the chance to change others. Let’s see…

My parents, no; they put up with me already without any complaints.

My family, no; no one can change them.  God’s having a pretty tough time his-self, so I’ll leave that up to him.

Just about this time in my devotions, yep you got it, me and God are having devotions (they pretty much last all day) AND he made me so good I multi-task while we’re talking…….He told me to leave others to him; my job is just to love them just as they are and he can handle the rest.  So changing others is not an option.

N – Norms – What I consider to be normal

One Man and One Woman makes a marriage…..nope not changing that.

Life begins at conception….nope not changing that.

Everybody ought to go to Sunday School every week…nope not changing that.

A happy wife makes a happy life….nope not changing that. I will be happy no matter what; not changing that. 

Daily Devotions – ah, can’t change that or the witchy woman returns and no one likes her.

Looks like changing norms is not an option.

S – Same – I guess the only option I’m left with is to keep everything the same.  If it’s not broke, don’t change it, right?

I will always go to church more than once a week.  I’ve got to be saved and it takes a lot of church to keep me saved.  My portent says Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.”  (Hebrews 10:25)

I will always be a happy wife so we have a happy life. I set the tone of my household every day through daily devotions and my attitude.

I will always love my family and will cherish our relationships no matter how crazy, stupid or dysfunctional we may be. They are mine and I will not change that.

I will always be a rebel saved by grace. I will cherish my Savior and his grace and forgiveness and daily seek to be more like Him.

I will always be beautiful at every age and at every season of my life!  If you have a problem with that, you can talk to God.  He’s still working on me so perhaps there is hope for your thoughts on that.  Just don’t tell me.  He likes to keep me looking up!!

I will always strive to please everyone around me.  This is one area God has had some success in lately.  I now know the value of no.  Sometimes the one I need to please is me and I need to say no to you in order to say yes to me.

Based on the facts and analysis of my options, I chose ‘S’.  I’m keeping things the same.  That seems to work best anyhow.  

Happy 2014!!  Best of luck in the New Year!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Promises, promises, promises.......

Hey, guys, we won't be going......
But you promised!....(usually accompanied with head hanging down and the stomping of feet as the person walks away from the messenger)...................

I've seen this scenario play out way too many times in my life.  Whether they were promises made to me or promises I made to my children, this scenario is fraught with disappointment.

I do know that the best of plans can be impacted by life.  The car needs have to work don't have the money. Even when you understand the reason the promise has been broken or delayed, the intense disappointment is there.

Looking at this from the view of the one who made the promise is something we understand only after we mature. Some of the hardest messages I ever delivered was to tell  my kids we couldn't do something that I'd promised we would.  

Another aspect of promises are the promises we make to others if or when they do something. If you'll clean your room by noon we'll go to the park and have a picnic.  I call this the if/then promise. 

It's this aspect of promises made and not fulfilled that has me pondering today.  Imagine you are God up in heaven watching all of us on earth and talking to the angels.......

* * * * * * *
Jesus - I am so disappointed!

Angel - You are?  Why?

Jesus - I have so much to give and so much I want to do, but it seems she just doesn't get it.  I promised her and she's not doing her part.

Angel - Lord, what are you talking about.

Jesus - I told her that anything she would ask in my name believing, I would do it. John documented that three different times in his book.  (disappointed sigh)

Angel - (watches the woman as she sits with a defeated look on her face)

Jesus - What really gets to me is that my power, my ability to do anything is documented and demonstrated for thousands of years and she still has no clue the power that she is capable of releasing and unleashing.

Angel - You know, sometimes I wish you'd let me go down there and shake her up a bit and tell her some things face-to-face like when you sent me to talk to Mary.

Jesus - (smiles ruefully) Nah, I know she'll get it.  I believe in her. Let's watch a little longer.

Woman on earth - (starts to ponder what she knows about God)

  • Led around a million or more people out of bondage in Egypt and provided them food, water and clothing and shoes that did not wear out.
  • Made meal and oil last for a prophet, woman and child through a famine, one day at a time.
  • Used a man who didn't believe in himself, along with 300 men, to defeat a huge army that had bullied and stolen from them for years.
  • Used a little servant girls testimony to encourage an unbeliever to seek and find healing for leprosy.
  • Delivered three young men who stood for righteousness in the face of an egotistical king out of the fiery furnace and changed the direction of an entire nation.
  • Turned water into wine.
  • Fed 5,000 with only 5 loaves of bread and two fish.
  • Healed the servant of a Roman soldier without even meeting the sick man.
  • Raised a young man from the dead because he had compassion on the woman who mourned her son.
  • Healed the blind, the lame, the deaf.
Woman on earth - (picks up her Bible to read God's Word; John 14:10-15)

"10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

11 Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.

12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

15 If ye love me, keep my commandments."

Jesus - (smiles to himself as he sees the faith raising in her heart)

Angel - What are you smiling about?

Jesus - I love it when she reads my Word.  Her heart starts beating a little faster and her faith reaches out and touches my heart.  Now let's see what she does about all this today.

* * * * * *

Some promises require us to do our part. His promises are well documented.  His promises are forever.  He has not changed.  It's me who needs to do my part.

Believe that God and Jesus are one; if I can't get my head around that, believe it because he demonstrated that by his works.

Ask, in Jesus name, for the things that are needed.

Love Jesus and keep his commandments.

The promise?  If I will do this, great things and greater things can be done for the kingdom of God.  Yes, my heart is beating a bit faster and my faith is increased.

I'm looking for someone coming down their dusty road looking for a promise to be fulfilled today!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Daily Gift

The mist smears the view
Smudges hide the day
What to make of it
Will the color be hid by grey

I left the view just a moment
Returned to find skies ablaze
Color ignited by the sun
Splashing over the mountain maze

Once again I am reminded
Each day is a gift from God
Each breath I take a blessing
I stand arrested; I applaud

There is no one like our God
No one can paint the sky
No one can order my steps
No replacement; No standby

There is only one true God
Above Him there is no other
No one can do the things He does
So I shall not seek another

To fill my emptiness
Or be my very best friend
For when all is said and done
With Christ I will forever ascend