Sunday, April 13, 2014


These two words have been playing tag in the back of my mind for quite some time.

Is this quote familiar to you: "Never say 'never'" ? 
There's some wisdom in this saying, depending upon the setting. 
I assume that most of us are "guilty" of exclaiming, 
"I would never do that!"  
(and, then, we do);
"That will never happen!" 
(and, then, it does)

And, then I thought, "What will my family say about me when I'm gone?"...
Mama always.....always.....always....always WHAT?!  What have I always done? 
Good or bad; but, here I am thinking of something positive, something "good". 
For instance:
"Grandma always brought us something special when she came to visit." 
"Mama always read her Bible, first thing, every morning." 
"She always controlled her temper." 

It saddens me a little that I am so mortal that there is nothing I can think of that applies. The truth is that I have done things I thought I would "never" do, and thought certain things could "never" happen (that did), and have not been so faithful at anything that one could say, "She always...."   

Now, my thoughts turn to the One Who IS that faithful!!!...
The One Who says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) ...
The One Who never sinned, nor ever told a lie. (1 Peter 2:22) 
The One Who is "able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." (Hebrews 7:25) 
The One "Who  always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place." (2 Corinthians 2:14)  
The One Who said, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty." (John 6:35)

Oh, so many more verses could be added here; but, I leave you to your own study and pondering. This next part is where my pondering led me...the "love chapter". The well-worn, oft-quoted 1 Corinthians 13. Please take the time to read it for yourself, in its entirety, even if you already know it by heart. First, it tells what love is. Then, what love is not. What love does and does not do. I like verse seven: "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." And, the clincher is verse eight: 
All the other things -  prophesy, tongues, knowledge -  will be "done away"; but "when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away".   
I think I know upon what I will be concentrating for the remainder of my years.  It won't be to always have the right answer, or never say the wrong thing. It won't be to always be on time, or never miss an appointment. It won't be to always wear a smile, or to never be disappointed. 
It will be to love as Christ has loved us. 

"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, 
an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." 
(Ephesians 5:1,2)
"Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, 
because love covers a multitude of sins." 
(1 Peter 4:8)
(Luke 10:27)

Always remember, and never forget, 
God is love. 

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; 
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 
The one who does not love does not know God, 
for God is love. "
(1 John 4: 7-8)

Friday, April 5, 2013

Let Freedom Ring!

" Now the Lord is the Spirit, 
and where the Spirit of the Lord is, 
there is freedom."

We are hearing so much about "freedom" these days, along with "choice", "rights", and "liberty". And, no wonder...this country called "The United States of America" was founded on  those ideals. The well-known, well-worn words of the July 4th,1776 Declaration of Independence gives this testimony: 
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."   

(You may wish to read it in it's entirety, here.)

I've been wondering how God views freedom...

What does He have to say about it? 

A LOT!!!!!!!

The very first verse that comes to my mind is Galatians 5:13: 
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (NAS)

The NIV states it this way: "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."

This verse is so all-inclusive, I could just stop typing right there, and it would be enough to live by. But, while looking that one up, I saw so many more....

1 Corinthians 8:9 "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak."

1 Peter 2:16 "As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God."

Let's ask the question: Freedom from what? 
Romans 6:20-23 has some answers: 
"For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification, and the outcome, eternal life.For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

1 Corinthians 7:22 "For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord's freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ's slave."

Galatians 5:1 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage."

2 Peter 2:19 "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage."

Answer: We may choose to be free from sin!

Another question: Freedom to do what? 

Romans 15:1-3: "Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and notjust please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself;"

Philippians 2:3-8: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross."

Galatians 5:14 "For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” "

Philippians 2:5 "In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
1 Corinthians 9:19 "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible."

Answer: We are free to serve one another in love.
Yep, we are right back to Galatians 5! 

Perhaps, you are disappointed that I did not enter into a current events debate, to help you resolve in your own mind what is the "right" position on the issues at hand...

Let me leave you with these verses:

James 1:25  "But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it--not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it--they will be blessed in what they do."
John 8:32  "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

God has all the answers.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's ME!!! :-D

I am having a "me" day. 

not a day that I am living for myself, serving my own desires, 
putting my needs above others, or being otherwise selfish or exclusive!

By saying "a me day", 
I mean a day that feels right for me...
one that reflects what is most important to me, 

 what my priorities are, 
what my convictions are, 
and,my truest, purest choices
...a day that reveals my heart.  

This will require further explanation, I see...

 Growing up, as an adopted (and "only") child, I often heard stories of other adopted people setting out to "find themselves". I thought this was silly. And, perhaps, it is not something that only adopted people do. All of us, to some extent, tend to base our understanding of ourselves upon our comparison of other's lives, as well as according to what others think of us. I suppose this is natural.  But, we can get really mixed up doing this self-hunt this way! 

"For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding." (2 Corinthians 10:12)

For the most part, I have always been comfortable "in my own skin", as they say. I liked being alone, because I liked myself okay. But, I do remember looking at others, and deciding that I would like to cultivate a quality that I appreciated in them. I also remember deciding to avoid certain behaviors/attitudes/characteristics that I felt were less desirable.

Nowadays, I hear the phrases, "Get REAL!" and "Be NORMAL!" ... neither of which are conducive to being true to yourself.   Both "real" and "normal" generally refer to what the rest of the population are doing, which is not often or always right in God's sight.

"And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God." (Luke 16:15) 

In my Christian journey of 34 years or so, I have been growing in my understanding of myself, as I grow in my understanding of my Savior. 

"But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Ephesians 4:15)
"But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts." (Romans 13:14)
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Somewhere along the way, I allowed the voice of others to prevail against the voice of the Holy Spirit and my own, inner voice...and, I gradually all-but "lost" the "real me".  I have realized anew that it is every bit as important to be true to yourself, as it is to be true to God; and, that this should be done simultaneously!

This morning,  it occurred to me that I was experiencing that glorious combination and balance again. What that amounts to for me is simply this:

~ apply the principles of God's Word in a way that reflects the way that He created me...a unique being.

If we pattern ourselves after other people, either we will become hypocrites or become very disillusioned with ourselves.  Our thought processes, and our choices, should reflect our true nature, as well as the nature of God. 

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. "
(2 Corinthians 3:18)
"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." (Philippians 3:12)
 "Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."  (1 John 3:2)

dressed in my long, loose layers of comfortable, cotton, home-sewn clothing; 
eating kale chips & almonds; sipping a fruit smoothie from a glass straw; 
hanging my homemade soap-scented laundry outside to dry; 
spying (with camera in hand) on the birds at the feeders outside my kitchen window; 
folk music predominating all other genres; 
colorful rag rug in the making by my side; 
grandson safely tucked-in for a nap; 
reveling in sons and daughters exploring and learning and serving and working; 
basking in the love of a good man...
these things and many more make me "ME"!

I am happy with me, 
happy in the Lord.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Setting Our Sights

Who of us, to some extent or another, 
 does not "set our sights" on something

a destination, 
a goal, 
a vision for the future, 
the next major event? 

Plans and dreams and expectations help to keep us moving, keep us "ticking", keep us motivated.  

For myself, after a major event or goal is realized, there's a momentary let down...a "now what?" moment...a need for re-setting our sights for the next thing. I remember, as a child, experiencing a feeling of disorientation when my dear aunt's long-awaited visit had come to a close and she left us. I hardly knew what to do with myself... "Now, what do I look forward to?"  

We have all experienced the disappointment that comes when something for which we had planned, prepared and expected  fell through. For whatever reason, the thing we had hoped for and worked towards fizzled.  At 55 years, I can look back on a great many of those times. (Of course, I can also look back and realize that God's "detours" proved the best way!) 

So, how do we stay grounded in the schemes and dreams of our lives? How do we stay focused? Balanced? Content? I believe the answer is found in these profound words in Colossians 3, verse 2:

"Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

The previous verse states: "Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God."

It certainly isn't wrong to make plans and work towards them. But, we need to keep the end in view. Whether our earthy aspirations are realized or not is of little importance in the bigger picture. We need to live our lives in a way that prepares us for the grandest scheme that ever was, that final destination that will last an eternity.  That "view" will help us keep a proper perspective while we "occupy til He comes"...

If we seek and set our affection (minds) on those things that glorify God, we will not be disappointed when that time comes.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

""But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you." Job 12:7

Truly, I am not a fan or fancier of snakes.    Honest, I'm not! 

However, I am extremely fascinated by all of God's creation...including snakes. They are a mystery to me. How they move without legs!!!

Proverbs 30 says in verses 18 and 19:

"There are three things which are too wonderful for me,
         Four which I do not understand:
The way of an eagle in the sky,
         The way of a serpent on a rock,
         The way of a ship in the middle of the sea,
         And the way of a man with a maid"
Everywhere I look, I am mystified by God's creative handiwork. I am in awe of His infinite variety of species and sub-species. I am intrigued by the diversity, adaptation, survival techniques, camouflage, instincts, migration...the list goes on and on and on!
Okay, confession time: I was determined to be an environmental biologist, once upon a time.
But, aren't we all to some extent?  God has asked us to be good stewards of His creation:
Genesis 1:26 " Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.""
All of nature, human nature included, absolutely intrigues me. Even the snakes. I make no apology. Psalm 8 summarizes well my faith and philosophy in this regard:

O LORD, our Lord,
         How majestic is Your name in all the earth,

         Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength
Because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
 And You crown him with glory and majesty!
You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen,
 And also the beasts of the field,
The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth!
Observing something as simple and slithery as a lowly snake causes me to worship Him, 
the Creator of all.

Romans 1:20 " For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This One Thing I Do...

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

I make a lot of "to do" lists. And, I remake my lists, over and over, as I re-prioritize and complete tasks, and new projects emerge. For quite awhile now, I've thought that I ought to have a "one a day" system for the things that are most important to me, such as:

1. read one chapter in my Bible each morning 
2. write one letter every day
3. exercise once a day
4.  make sure Ethan has 30 minutes in his stander every day

Alas, each day takes on a character of its own and my lists are altered accordingly.  The older I get, the more I realize that it is not so much what you do as how and why you do it.  Doing "the next thing, first", as my daughter would say, with cheerfulness and a servant's heart is more important than checking everything off the list, as though there's a prize at the end of the day for doing so. Doing all "as unto the Lord" is more important than trying to impress anyone with our capabilities and efficiency. Going about our duties for the good of others blesses ones' heart more than indulging self. And, last, but not least important is keeping the perspective eternal

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:18)

That eternal perspective just makes all the difference in the world, literally.  For instance, am I so concerned that every last stick of silverware gets washed, that I become irritated at every interruption of the inquiring mind and heart of my child? Do I pause, dry my hands, stoop to face that boy and really listen to what interests him? Or, am I storing up clean dishes in heaven?!?!  Obviously, dishes must be washed or soon we would be eating off the table; but, the thought here is : "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."
Dishes are not eternal. Clean houses (in & of themselves) are not eternal. Souls are.  So, as we work at dishes or whatever it may be, our first priority must be to affect a soul for eternity...with a knowing smile, with a gentle touch, with a listening ear, with a compassionate heart, with a kind word or generous gesture...

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead 
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.(Phil.3:13)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

What Can I Do?

This morning, I asked for prayer from my facebook community for our son, Ethan. He is sick, and being one with cerebral palsy and sensory issues, he thinks he's going to die. Of course, I'm concerned for him - that he doesn't go into seizure activity from the fever and stress, that he doesn't become dehydrated due to refusal of any food or drink, that he doesn't aspirate vomit when he's throwing a fit about hurting. (and the list goes on)

So, as I'm sitting here, keeping watch, working on a rag rug, praying, checking in on facebook, I see that many dear friends have responded with concern and reassurance that they will be praying. This just blesses my heart. I, myself, count it such a privilege to pray for the needs of others. I scan my "news feed" several times a day simply to be aware of the needs of others.

Often, that's all we can do. Pray. And, trust God to answer those prayers in a way that fulfills His purposes and that glorifies Him.

I started wondering what else is accomplished by being aware of the suffering of others, especially if we can do nothing, physically, to help them. The following is what came to my mind, though by no means exhaustive:

1. Knowing that there are people who are starving, should make us less wasteful, and more thankful.
2. Knowing there are people without family, without loved ones, should make us treasure our relationships to the point where we "submit one to another, preferring one another", laying our lives down for one another.
3. Knowing that some wander the streets, with no shelter, should make us good stewards of our dwelling places; and hospitable.
4. Knowing there are sick and disabled folks, should make us use our strength and minds for His glory.

What can I do?

I can live a faithful life of gratitude.

I can live "circumspectly"...

"So, then, be careful how you live. Do not be unwise but wise, making the best use of your time because the times are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)
"Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma."
(Ephesians 5:1-2)