I am a Christian, a retired teacher, a mother and a grandmother. I love to read and I love the Lord Jesus Christ! Unless otherwise specified ,all visual illustrations are from the YOU VERSION APP of the Bible.
I don’t watch awards shows anymore and it’s not just because they have become such an outright blasphemous display. I stopped watching them long ago when I realized that every award show is just a group of boastful people tooting their own horns loudly. My philosophy is that those who are doing good do it quietly and God rewards them, not the academy of motion pictures or the other musicians or even a group of fans. Doing good is without a lot of fanfare because one generally does it to benefit others, not to make themselves look good. It annoys me when millionaires announce that they have given a great sum of money to a certain charity. I would be more convinced of their generosity if they did it and didn’t then tout it everywhere.
Mother Theresa was a giver, deep in her heart and soul and for all of her life. So what if you don’t feel lauded by the world, appreciated and praised? That is not our purpose here on earth. God made each of us for a reason and He knows how important we are, so that is what really counts.
The Scriptures tell us numerous times not to boast or be filled with pride. The real reward comes from God when we stand before Him and hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” I would rather have a “well done” accolade from the Lord than the applause of many empty-hearted people who don’t even know the real me. God knows the real me, the one that wants to do my best for Him, and He loves me and counts me as worthy of the death of His Son. I’m not really anyone important, but to God, I am His beloved daughter, and that’s enough.
May you be blessed with the knowledge of your worth before the Lord God and know that you are important to Him.
I haven’t written a lot about what has been going on in my life recently because I didn’t want to share how hard things suddenly became for me. We went to our son’s house on Thanksgiving and I ended up staying for two additional weeks to do childcare, similar to what I did last year. The difference this year is twofold: one, I had not prepared to stay, so I did not have a lot of my warm things with me; and two, the infant is now a very active toddler and my seven decades have difficulty keeping up with him. I have been home this week as my son and his family celebrate at Disney. I am so blessed to be home for almost two weeks, spending time with my beloved kitty and my even more loved spouse, taking care of errands and just settling comfortably into my chair with a warm blanket tucked around me. Next week I return to Maryland and my duties there. Yes, the work is harder for me than I want it to be, but God is allowing me to be a witness for a season, so I am trying to approach the situation with joy. My husband will be with me for Christmas and then he will come back to Virginia for the month of January while I remain behind.
One of the offshoots of my stay there has been higher blood pressure, a condition that my nephrologist wants me to get under control because of the effect on my single kidney. So one of the first things I did when I returned home was schedule an appointment to see my cardiologist. I saw the physician’s assistant instead and received a prescription for a new medicine to add to my Beta blocker. Unfortunately, I reacted badly to the medicine with some rough side effects, so now I am awaiting word from the doctor’s office about what, if anything, I should do next. Meanwhile, I am praying and hoping that the high blood pressure will pass and I will level out again. As my husband said, I am anxious about my numbers as I take the reading each day, so it is not a surprise when they are higher. I am trying to control my thoughts and thus my hypertension, but I’m not too good at it.
I read in Dr. Denison’s Forum today about joy and was happy to discover a quotation from Henry Nouwen. I hope that it speaks to you as it spoke to me. I encourage you to follow the link to Dr. Denison’s post and to sign up for his Forum. He gives a refreshingly Biblical insight into current events! Dr. Denison’s Forum
Henri Nouwen observed: “Joy does not come from positive predictions about the state of the world. It does not depend on the ups and downs of the circumstances of our lives. Joy is based on the spiritual knowledge that, while the world in which we live is shrouded in darkness, God has overcome the world. Jesus says it loudly and clearly: ‘In the world you will have troubles, but rejoice, I have overcome the world.’
“The surprise is not that, unexpectedly, things turn out better than expected. No, the real surprise is that God’s light is more real than all the darkness, that God’s truth is more powerful than all human lies, that God’s love is stronger than death.
Joy is not based on circumstances, but on the unwavering truth of God’s Word. And that is a fact that I can live with!
Have a blessed day and may you find joy and peace in your life, no matter the circumstances.
Most times when I was disciplined as a child, I learned something. Hard lessons to learn about not lying, not rebelling, not taking things from others. But I learned that I would be punished. Nowadays, I am thankful for God’s judgments because it is from Him that I am learning to be more like Jesus.
I continue to pray for all who face the final judgment of God, and I am well aware that we learn the lessons about righteousness that He is teaching now or we will live eternity separated from Him because we didn’t accept and learn from Him.
Have a blessed day and look forward to God’s teaching us righteousness. It is for our good always.
Here is a quotation that seems fitting for today:
“A. W. Tozer wrote, “The only safe place for a sheep is by the side of his shepherd, because the devil does not fear sheep; he just fears the Shepherd.”
The inspiration for today’s post came from Dr. Denison’s Forum on October 13, 2022. You can read the entire article here: Dr. Denison’s Forum, 10-13-22
This is kind of a different way of saying “What would Jesus do?” But this quotation made me ponder deeply. None of us knows when we will take our last breath, so it’s worth noting that our choices might be different if we had an inkling that our end is imminent. Food for thought, for sure!
We definitely learn from our choices, both good and bad. I think of life as a test with a steep learning curve. It is up to us to use what we have learned to grow spiritually so that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes over and over. It is not a coincidence that the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years; they made bad choices and didn’t learn from them. God was patient in continuing to lead them, in my opinion. It’s a good thing that He is also patient with me because sometimes I get stubbornly stuck in trying to force Him to accept my way instead of accepting that His way is best.
Yes, we make choices daily and those choices have consequences, but I go back to the first question that I asked. “Would you change what you are about to do if you knew it would be the last thing you would do?” Think about it as you listen to the song below. If you read the “Forum” article, you know that this is the last song that a twenty-three year old sang before he died in an accident. May we ever be mindful that tomorrow is not a promise, but a gift.
Have you ever been following directions from your GPS and realized that it was leading you incorrectly? That happened to me and my husband a few months ago when we were in NC for an author signing. The GPS had us turn right out of our motel and head about fifteen miles away, but when we got where the GPS said “You have arrived at your destination” there was nothing there except a lot of houses and a small convenience store. We stopped in the store to ask directions and were told that the GPS had been sending a lot of people to this small town instead of to the bookstore where we needed to go. We got directions back to the correct place. Guess what? It was a left out of the parking lot and less than a mile from our motel! We were definitely misdirected!
God gives us clear directions about the road to eternal life, but we can only follow those directions if we keep our focus on Him and His Word. That’s where the clear directions come from.
The problem with a lot of people today is that they don’t want to hear about God. Like the Israelites, they want to steer their own course and go their own way, never counting the cost of moving in the wrong direction. Their choices are skewed by the fact that they think that their internal GPS will take them on the right road and eventually, one day, whenever they are ready, they will go to Heaven and meet God. Unfortunately for them, God’s plan doesn’t work that way.
I like this quotation from my devotional. At first, I thought, “Well, I’m okay, because I hardly ever call a bunch of people to tell them my problems.” In today’s world, you don’t have to call people to be more reliant on your phone than on God. You “google” whatever your problem is and then follow the advice that you find online. Instead of going to the phone and all of its technological advances, it would be a lot simpler to go to God’s throne and just ask for His guidance and help in whatever you are going through. True, I don’t call, but I do “google” and I am reminded to stop and pray not scroll and read the phone. It has few if any answers to the way that I should follow to life.
The “HE” is God…He has put us on the exact road that we need to be on to go straight to eternity with Him. That is the good place where we will end up if we follow His directions, His plan. Instead, we (including me at times) have followed my own way, my own GPS or even the google master and ended up frustrated and lost. Thank the Lord that He does not leave us in that place where we insisted on going! He picks us up right where we are and tells us the right way to go, putting us once again on the pathway to life. We just have to stay focused and be willing to admit that we messed up and need His help.
God will show us the way of life if we just ask Him. We don’t need a GPS or Google or our own internal voice telling us which way to go. We need to just listen to God so that one day we will have the pleasure of being in His presence forever.
Communication consists of putting words together into thoughts and then speaking them to others. Over and over again, we are warning in the Bible to be careful what we say with our mouths because we are either speaking death or life. I try to be aware of what I am saying and to whom I am saying it, but oftentimes, my emotions get ahead of my tongue and it just follows along that path of spewing what I’m feeling instead of thinking before I speak.
I don’t mean to or want to crush another person’s spirit, but I have seen it happen. I watch the person’s face change from happy delight to see me to overwhelming disappointment that they did. I must say that once I notice, I apologize, but wouldn’t it have been better to think first? I’m getting better at this skill, but I have not perfected it yet.
Maybe one of the reasons people walk around just looking down or with such sour faces is because of all of the ungracious words that have been spoken into their lives all day. I was very aware of what I said to my students when I was teaching because I wanted to point out that what they had done was a poor choice but that did not make them a bad person. In today’s world, we think nothing of going online and attacking someone’s character, whether we know them personally or not or whether they truly deserve the attack or not. Since I have not reached a state of perfection yet and God has not made me a judge over anyone except myself, it is much better for me to pray for a person who is in error than for me to take on the duty of pointing out how wrong they are about something, attacking their character because it doesn’t suit me. No one is served when the attack of words begins. The person you attack begins to avoid you and you lose a possible friend and you lose the witness to the Lord that you are supposed to be at all times.
I have seen this on line, many years ago and reminded my students of it when they were talking to each other. High school students especially seem to think that they become a bigger person if they can tear another person down. What I told them is that cutting people up with your words is not building yourself up but rather tearing yourself down in the eyes of others who watch what you do and say and lose trust in you. We would do well to follow this acronym when posting online.
I always enjoyed Audrey Hepburn movies and I had no idea that she had such wisdom as this quotation demonstrates. She was considered a beautiful and poised woman. Perhaps this motto was a real part of her life and that is why she was so lovely.
Anyone can make one of these graphics by using a site called Wordle. I happened to find this one online and each time I looked at it, a different word stood out. What strikes you as an outstanding word here? Words mean something, on paper and out loud. We have to remember that. We can take back words and apologize for them, but we cannot heal broken or damaged hearts. That takes a loving God and a person ready to forgive.
May each of us be more aware this day of the effects of our words on others and speak words of life and love into the needy world. Have a blessed day!
I remember that when I was very young, I would get up from my bed in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, but I wouldn’t turn on any lights. I knew the way because I had done the same trip so many times and was confident that I could make it into the bathroom, two doors away, just by walking straight. Then there was the night that I heard my father whooping in the bathroom and my mom asking him if he “got it yet.” Got what? It seems that there was a big rat (yes, a rat) in the bathroom tub and daddy was intent on killing it with his boot. That night ended my dark rambling to the bathroom because now I had an absolute belief that there was possibly, maybe, likely could be, a rat between me and the bathroom and I wanted to see it before it saw me. Or at least that was my thought. So, instead of walking confidently in the dark, I turned on my bedroom light, the hall light and the bathroom light before I would go in, use the facilities and return to bed.
Faith is like me before my father found the rat, only the confidence isn’t supposed to go away. You believe because you know in your heart that God is taking care of you and will work it all out. Stepping into a dark room or stepping out in faith? With God walking before you and providing a rearguard too, we have nothing to fear.
The last week has been a test of faith since our grandson got injured. On Thursday, Tyler went to the orthopedist to have his fractured clavicle checked. We had prayed for good test results and fully expected that would be the case. But…the doctor said that his clavicle is not aligned correctly, put him into a brace and a new sling and said he had to return in three weeks to be checked again to see if he will need surgery. Oh, dear! That was not what my faith was expecting, so just like the child turning on the lights, I started wondering what I could do to change the outcome. However, there are no lights to turn on, no place to run and hide. There is God and my belief that He has the situation under control That is what I was praying this morning as I awakened and showered, for God to work things out for Tyler and his family. Now, I wait for the answer.
God’s promises didn’t stop when Tyler got injured. Tyler is still his beloved child and He is still watching over and caring for Him. I anticipated that the orthopedist would tell him a few months in the sling and he would be as good as new. I have no doubts that he will one day totally heal, but I have to wait for the news that it has happened. Just as my mom was saying in the hallway, “Got it yet?” Well, good things may take a while but God’s timing is perfect. I have no idea what God’s plan is in all of this. I know that Tyler is going to go back to college this week and has to make some major adjustments in order to be able to attend classes and do his work. For example, he has to have help taking off and replacing the brace when he showers. That requires dependence on a helper and Tyler is not one to ask for help easily. (Isn’t that true of most of us?) He cannot carry a backpack, so he will need someone to carry it for him. He may have difficulty taking notes in class, so again, he will need a helper. He can’t carry a tray in the cafeteria…help. So much that he has been used to doing alone, now he will require assistance. My prayer is that the Lord will prepare the way before him and have the helpers there that he needs when he needs them. I just have to wait to see how everything works out. My daughter, his mom, has done all she can to clear the path for him, calling student services and alerting them to his needs. Now, we wait.
Waiting is not easy, but it is necessary. Abraham anticipated that God would provide a sacrifice instead of Isaac, so he waited. I suppose he could have gone off into the bushes and looked for a ram or a lamb to sacrifice, but that is not what God had told him to do. So, he believed in God’s provision, knowing that no matter what God had the situation under control. I am not sure how that would have felt, climbing up the hill with the understanding that at the destination, your only child is to be sacrificed. And yet Abraham climbed the hill anyway. I would like to think that I would do likewise, but I just don’t know how big my faith is until I get to the point that it’s the only thing holding me up.
That’s where I was last week when we first heard that Tyler was in an accident and seriously injured. He was unconscious, with blood pouring out of his ear. I could only cry out to God for mercy and grace, asking that his brain and skull be okay. And you know what? After multiple tests, the physicians declared that there was no brain bleed, no fractured skull, no injury to his brain at all other than being shaken around and concussed. Good news! Now, as a loving grandmother who is trying to have faith take over instead of doubt, I am trying to believe and anticipate that God will take care of Tyler’s clavicle, his ear drum and his needs at college. I’m anticipating all of the great testimony that Tyler will have about God’s provision and healing. Do I know with one hundred percent certainty that all will be just as I would like it to? No, of course not! But I trust God absolutely. That means that I am absolutely certain that He will take care of Tyler, heal him in the way that is best for him and take care of him on this arduous journey. God promised and I believe! He loves Tyler much more than I ever could and He has the best plan for him. I can’t see down the road that far, but I know wherever the road takes him, God is already there.
May each of you be blessed today with a faith that hopes, anticipates and even waits if necessary.
My husband and I are approaching our fiftieth year together and when people see us joking around and laughing together, they usually ask how long we have been married. When we tell them, they want to know our secret. Well, our first secret, which isn’t so secret after all, is that we have built our marriage on the Lord. He has always been our foundation and we have taken our vows before Him seriously. That is not to say that there have not been times when I wanted to throw in the towel, walk away and start a new life without Harry in it. But God just wouldn’t let me do that. He knew that the feelings were fleeting but the commitment was forever.
As I read my devotionals this morning, I realized that one of the reasons that we have been together for so long is that we bear each other’s burdens. When Harry was working on his Master’s degree and having difficulty writing his papers, I had him write them longhand and then typed them for him, editing the grammar errors as I read aloud to him and changed the wording so that his meaning was clear. I did that for two years, complaining some but also realizing that I was helping to make things better for both of us and for our family. Then, many years later, when I had a stroke, Harry took over all of the cooking duties and has continued that to this day. I can still cook and do so when the urge hits me, but my loving husband shouldered the responsibility to make sure that I am getting the nutrition I need for my brain to function as well as possible. We have been partners in raising three children, partners in our many moves and in finding churches. We encourage each other and when one is down or upset about something, we can tell the other and know that we have immediate understanding, concern and prayer.
We know each other well and can sense when something is not quite right and when the other person needs prayer, some time together or an encouraging word. Just a smile helps sometimes. You know, it works for strangers, too, the people you meet out in the world who just need a smile and an encouraging word. I try hard to notice what people are doing well when we are out doing errands and make it a point to compliment them about something, no matter how small. People in the service industry especially get a lot of flack and grief from customers, but I don’t think they hear a lot of positive feedback. It only takes a few seconds to notice how carefully someone is bagging your groceries or how attentive they are to putting in the right cost or even how friendly they are in spite of how tired they must be. Take time to comment and watch how their face lights up, from the inside, because you touched their hearts.
I always used to tell my own children and then my students to be careful not to judge others by the standards we set for ourselves because we don’t know what they are going through. That is another reason that Harry and I have been together for so long. We understand how difficult life is for each other and have worked together to lighten the load instead of adding to it. We have shared our history before we met and we know each other’s story for the last five decades. The hard times…we were there to hold each other up. The fun times…we were there to laugh together. Laughing, crying, embracing, always together. What about those you meet briefly? Do you instantly dislike them because of an outward appearance of a first impression? Do you judge them because of the way they live or the car they drive? Maybe we should all just take a step back and realize that where that person is now is perhaps not where they want to be, but neither is it where they once were. Instead of walking away and being glad that we are not like them, maybe we need to imagine if we were like them and be more compassionate towards them. Jesus never met a stranger that He did not seek to understand their needs and to show them love. How can we not choose to do likewise?
Yes, almost fifty years have passed. Actually, we met on my birthday fifty years ago and got married the following April. But the time seems short to get to know each other, to walk in each others’ shoes and to encourage each other. There are many whom I meet for only a few minutes who need me to understand, to look them in the eyes and to appreciate them for the unique creation that God has made them to be. Why have we been together for almost fifty years? Because of sharing worries and shoes.
My husband and I really missed attending church during the pandemic. We hardly went out except for shopping or errands, so church was our way to see friends, to associate with other believers and to get spiritually fed. In my devotional on Sunday, I read a quotation that I want to share with you that made me think deeply about the motivation for attending church.
The question we should ask is not ‘What am I getting out of church?’, but ‘What am I giving out at church?’ They did not come just to receive but also to help others.~Nicky Gumbel, One Year Bible, August 21, 2022
Giving instead of getting is an awesome responsibility, but it is the real reason to attend church or to meet with other believers.
If we meet together with an attitude of encouraging each other, then we end up being encouraged ourselves.
The hearts of the believers in the first church were happy just to be meeting together. This gives me reason to think. Is church a chore or duty or is it the place where I am happy and I am there to spread happiness to others?
May your day be richly blessed as you encourage others the way you would like to be encouraged.