As time slowly marches on I'd like to share a recent visit with my mom. It was not only heartwarming, but heart wrenching. Reflecting on her current situation, I long to be with her more and provide more of her care to make sure her days are comfortable and full of love. Blind, due to strokes she experienced two years ago, Mama has been a really good sport living in a nursing home. We have employed caregivers and now are blessed with the aid of Hospice. Thank goodness many loving souls are surrounding her and helping with her needs.
However, as I look into those eyes that seldom see me, it's just plain sad. It's sad that she doesn't remember readily events I call to her attention; places she has visited, people who have recently visited, comments she has previously spoken that were filled with humor or what she was served for a meal a couple of hours previously. But when I speak of Jesus, the hymns of old and lessons we have learned from the Bible, she's right on the mark. You see, Mama loves Jesus. She is so ready to meet Him and gain access through those pearly gates and take up residence in that mansion He has so diligently been preparing for her. Those thoughts bring a smile to her face and an anxiousness that makes it a bit easier to desire that journey for her, but will fill our hearts with grief and sadness.
Oddly enough, since my mom and I have shared a close connection throughout my entire life, on those days I need her and long for her advice, God gives her clarity of mind to give me support and encouragement. It's as if the curtain of dementia is rolled back and Mama surfaces to spread words of wisdom and hope. To God be the glory for granting me those glimpses.
Mama's hands have held mine many times. They have swept my porches when she would visit, changed diapers when the kids were babies, cooked my favorite foods, washed our clothes, dusted furniture, cheered us on at every turn and given warm hugs that are still available even in her weakened condition. And those are things she has done just since I married and moved away from home. I can still recall us on our knees in the bathroom when I would accidentally drop one of my hard contact lenses. They were so expensive at the time and I only had one pair. Mama would pray as we carefully crawled around seeking that one lost contact. Ironically, we found that little sucker every time and mama gave all the credit to the Lord!
Yes, Mama's hands have been a great source of comfort and this past weekend she just wanted to sit outside and breathe in the fresh air, feel the warmth of the sun and hold my hand and my husband's as we were seated on each side of her. Just to feel the touch of a loved one even though she couldn't see us filled her with joy. (Of course, milkshakes, hot dogs, hamburgers and coconut shrimp bring her joy as well, but the nursing home doesn't readily serve those items!)
Well, that's about all I have to share today. I pray one day when my hands look like my Mama's, they will tell a story about love, compassion, good deeds and show traces of how they were used for God's glory.
Blessings, my friends!
I am not a gardening expert....that fact needs to be stated first in this writing. I can plant and I can water, but knowing the names of flowers, plants, trees and various other beauties leaves me in the non-knowledgeable category. I have books that I was given for Christmas at various intervals that I requested thinking maybe I would use the winter days of lesser outside activities to learn about God's beautiful creation. But no, winters have come and gone and I still can smell the newness of those books when I dare open them to peek inside.
With all that being said, Gary and I have watched as various trees and bushes we planted in our yard years ago have gotten sick and died. We've lost a burning bush that was incredibly beautiful in the fall; a Cleveland pear that once shaded a great portion of the front yard and a Lilac bush that I dearly loved. Since we have a lawn service to aid with controlling weeds, we inquired of a tree service to investigate our Cleveland pear's ailments. Unfortunately, the diagnosis was herbicides.
Now, looking up this term on the web leads one to believe that herbicides kill weeds and do not harm the vegetation. But no, here is an added statement I read:
"Contact herbicides kill only the plant parts contacted by the chemical, where-as systemic herbicides are absorbed by the roots or foliage and translocated (moved) throughout the plant. Herbicide activity can be either selective or non-selective. Selective herbicides are used to kill weeds without significant damage to desirable plants. Nonselective herbicides kill or injure all plants present if applied at an adequate rate."
Bingo! Evidently, one of the companies that serviced my lawn used, at some point, a nonselective herbicide and it went into the ground and was sucked up by the roots of these trees and adult bushes. We are currently treating one of our Dogwoods that we are hoping makes it through this chemical storm.
Remember the last story I wrote concerning the aggressiveness of my Blackeyed Susans? Well, those little babies have nothing on the aggressiveness of the nonselective chemical havoc running through my lawn! After further investigation we discovered the particular herbicide used on our lawn is no longer being used....only a Cleveland Pear, Burning Bush and Lilac too late!
Okay, what's the spiritual point? Well, I think you know where I am headed with this lesson. My Blackeyed Susans are in the process of taking over, but I saw it coming and did nothing. I knew that these flowers were mounting an uprising and bottom line, I was too lazy to get out and dig them up. But I was extremely surprised that I never knew or realized a lawn service was applying a deadly chemical on my yard that would penetrate into the root system of my yard and vegetation. To be perfectly honest, I wonder if the lawn company was completely aware of the situation. It took about two years to surface and then it was too late for some of my beauties. The unknown...a dangerous concept. In the Christian life, we are continuously needing to be a watchful child of God. We can't grow lazy and allow the world to bombard us with aggressive tactics. Nor can we sit back until we are totally surprised that a wave of deceit was being disguised in plain sight.
What is possibly in the lawn of your life that has been treated with a deadly dose of worldly chemicals? Is there an area you've become accepting of that a couple of years ago you'd never entertain being associated? Are there signs of withering leaves where initially evidence of growth existed resulting in shade for relaxation and refreshment? Does your life appear green and lush on the outside, but dark, dead and dying on the inside where only God can see and you can feel?
Deadly herbicides have wreaked havoc on my lawn, bushes and trees. I will be much more astute in the future as to what is being placed on the lawn by these companies. Watch out my friends, not only for the protection of your lawn, but for the wellness of your spiritual life. Pray that God will give you discernment to recognize the warning signs of worldly advancement.
Father God, please help us as Christians to be aware of the traps set before us on a daily basis. Give us the courage to live a life that is bold, but sincere and gracious, filled with the love of Jesus. Guard our hearts and minds with knowledge. Sprinkle our answers with sweetness, causing others to evaluate the road they are currently traveling if it is not paved with following You.
May your name be praised from this point onward. In Jesus' Name, Amen!
I'm sure we have all heard the term "in-between". I thought I'd consult the dictionary and find out exactly the definition according to the terminology experts. Here's what I discovered:
situated somewhere between two extremes or recognized categories; intermediate.
"I am not unconscious, but in some in-between state"
an intermediate thing.
"successes, failures and in-betweens"
Now that we are all on the same page with definitions, I don't think anyone likes to be referred to as a person who is an in-betweener. That sort of reflects someone who can't make up his/her mind; someone who is "sitting on the fence", if you will.
Recently I read about in-betweeners in a devotional. I thought it was an accurate description of folks who want to be accepted by the world and its standards, but also look good for the Christian community. Scripture speaks of people with these attitudes as neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. Now before you say there is nothing particularly wrong with lukewarm, think for a minute when you go to water fountain. Want that good 'ol lukewarm water bursting up to quench your thirst?
The writer of the devotional sadly concurs that unfortunately, many of God's own people are betweeners - living between Egypt and Canaan. If you are not familiar with those two destinations, the writer refers to Egypt as the time of slavery in the lives of the Israelites and Canaan as the Promised Land overflowing with milk and honey. Why would anyone choose slavery over abundant living in Christ? Slavery can be the ties the world has on your heart and mind mixing truth with so many lies all you can see is a state of gray.
Don't be one who is living between Good Friday and Easter Sunday believing that Jesus died on the cross, but not living in the power of His blessed Resurrection!
It doesn't matter how far you have run in the opposite direction. God is still waiting for you to return to His open arms. He loves you. He gave His Son for you. He is willing to receive you until breath leaves your earthly body. Don't chance eternity because you are living in the "between".
Father God, please take this devotional and burn it into the hearts and minds of those reading. May the Holy Spirit of God begin to work and dwell among those Jesus came to save. May the Light of Jesus Christ shine so brightly it is as if the road to Damascus is being revisited. May Your Light shine so brilliantly it cannot be avoided by any means; around, underneath, through or over. Your truth must be confronted and a heart surrendered. In Jesus' name, Amen!
God bless, my friends.
I think it's time we changed up this blog and had a little fun! Growing up in a conservative Southern Baptist background, dancing just wasn't looked upon kindly. But the joy of the Lord can be shouted from the rooftops and put to music so our hands, feet and bodies can move and be joyful.
Take a few minutes and enjoy this tune I heard last night at a MercyMe concert. It is pure and simple...joy multiplied. By the way, get up and dance it out before the Lord!
"We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generations to come the praises of the LORD, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done."
We do our best as parents and grandparents to pass along our faith to the next generation. If we don't, who will tell our loved ones about Jesus and His love for us? Who will read the stories of God's faithfulness? Of His protection in times of struggle? Jesus Christ is not a fairy tale and He is not just a great teacher that lived a long time ago. He is alive and well today living in the hearts of believers.
My heart goes out to all those who have decided to do what is best in their own eyes because that is the correct way to live; everyone attempting to live promoting "good" deeds and passing along to the next generation how to make "good" decisions. But we don't live in a "good" world. There will never be a consensus of a peaceful lifestyle with everyone holding hands and treating one another with "good" intentions. Just watch the news; children are being sold for profit; drugs are being distributed on school campuses; road rage is frequent; the media dwells on the worst possible scenarios in order to keep the world population in a state of unrest and on we could go.
What grieves my heart are those under the guise of counselor, teacher, professor, or individuals with extremely high IQs who have decided there is no God and once you die, it's all over. After all, if a question can't be answered and proof not found to support said question, then it is not very intelligent to believe it based on faith. My, how the heart of Jesus must be grieved with the mindset of carnal man. But, praise God, there are still believers who uphold and call on the name of the Lord. The majority at large just doesn't hear or read about it. After all, the rating of national networks would plummet if Christianity issues were given a slight nod of reporting.
Do you ever see military believers gathered in a circle praying? Do you hear of the 600 gathered in Washington, D.C. for the purpose of supporting the persecuted Christians around the world? Is true tolerance being experienced by all especially from the ones crying out their need for tolerance? In fact, in the realm of those wearing the banner of Christianity, how many attend church regularly with their families? Is worshiping Jesus, studying His Word, and knowing how to defend your faith part of your daily life?
Isn't it time we stopped making excuses and started living as if today was our last?
Being raised in the south and going to more gospel "sings" than I could possibly count, once in a while I get a longing to hear those beautifully blended voices of quartets. Mark Lowry, one of my all time favorite Christian performers, used to be with the Gaithers and now from time to time he sings with the Gaither Vocal Band.
I hope you enjoy this particular song....it brings back so many memories of days gone by and gives a salute to this great nation!
It’s difficult to put into words the longing I have in my being for others to know and understand the truth of the gospel. The truth I write about is belief and trust in Almighty God. Sin is in the world and the ultimate deceiver is roaming about seeking whom he might devour. The Bible quotes those very words. Satan is alive and well, folks. He is as much alive today as he was in the Garden of Eden tempting and calling into question the truth of God’s Word. And he seeks not only to get a foothold into any doubt you might have concerning God Almighty, he wants to devour that belief and extinguish it from your heart and mind. He wants to rob you of your soul and the hope of a secure eternity in heaven with the One who created you.
If only the worldly blinders of self-knowledge and lies were removed and the Light of our Lord displayed so brightly those carnal beliefs and deceit would be clearly revealed. Blinders taken off revealing the presence, passion and peace only God can radiate into our lives.
I am continually amazed at the growing unrest of those who appeared to have placed their trust in God in times past. Since I don’t know a person’s heart or the commitments he/she made before committing their lives to God, maybe there wasn’t a true conversion of faith to profess Jesus Christ as God’s Son. But to have heard God’s Word preached, to have sung the songs of praise, attended the Sunday School lessons taught and memorized scripture, to have allowed the deceiver to wiggle himself into a life and so completely turn it against the things of God is beyond anything I can describe. And Satan sits back and laughs, taunting Christians with, “What are you going to do or say that will make a difference?” “I have them believing in facts, not faith. People need to see, to know, to have it written down and shown to them. Not all this understanding by faith stuff.” “Where’s God now?”
God is alive and well. He sits on the throne of grace and mercy and it is through the blood of Jesus and the mercy that flows strong that prevents the storm of judgment from raining down on us. The Lord is waiting for as many as possible to turn from those sinful, carnal ways and return to Him or come to Him for the first time. It’s like the ark…yes, Noah’s ark. Noah worked on that ark for a very long time all the while trying to get others to come to God. But they laughed and made fun of Noah and his family. Noah continued working diligently day-by-day building an ark when rain was no where in sight.
Then one day, when the ark was complete and the animals were safe inside, God closed the door. And when God closes a door, it’s done. No more chances, no more sermons, no more wooing of those who love you and have prayed for your return to Christ. The door of opportunity has forever closed.
My husband, Gary, and I recently toured a replica of the ark in Williamstown, Kentucky. It stands 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and 51 feet high. It has been built to the specifications outlined by the Lord for Noah. This structure is massive. Among the three decks located inside there is an actual door that symbolizes the door that was shut to keep Noah, his family and all the animals from being destroyed in the flood.
I will be writing more about the doors of the Bible at a later date, but for now I would like to pose two questions:
First, if you are having a problem with believing in God, the Bible, Jesus as God’s Son, Creation, or anything at all. Would you begin a dialogue with me? Just share with me your thoughts and concerns, questions or items that factually you are having trouble believing. This is not to start a debate or anything of that nature. This is for my information and if you desire, I will respond to the best of my knowledge.
Second, research information and just don’t take others’ viewpoint without fully understanding the subject matter. Not only research the sites of those who support what you are now believing that is contrary to the Bible, but include Creationists, Archaeologists and Historians who give supporting evidence for the “other side of the coin”, if you will. I have come to believe that if I don’t understand what others are thinking and holding onto in the way of belief, how will I ever be able to fully defend my own faith?
May God illuminate our minds, keep us from harm and anoint us with wisdom. The Bible has yet to be disproved. If you have evidence to the contrary, I would appreciate your sharing that information with me.
To God be the Glory….may the door stay open until all have come to Christ, or come back to Him.
“By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
"O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water."
"Wilderness experiences are good for you, for they teach you an important truth: You draw satisfaction from blessing on the inside, not from circumstances on the outside."
My dear friends....what are your current wilderness experiences?
Dear Father in heaven, please watch over and protect your children who want to witness with all their being and belief in You. Help us to be able to overcome the present worldly knowledge that is penetrating every facet of our life style. Give us strength to endure, wisdom to speak the truth and the armor of God to Light our way....one day at a time.
In Jesus' precious name, Amen!
As I debate what to write about today, I find myself glancing upwards at the bulletin board hung above my desk. There are so many memories and bits and pieces of people and "things" that I have accumulated over the years. Let me give you a tour of what I am remembering through these little tidbits of my life.
1. Pictures of Gary the first time he held both our children after they were born.
2. Notes my dad wrote to me on scraps of paper that he left laying around for me to find after he and mom had visited us in Pittsburgh and were headed home to Virginia.
3. Beautiful handmade birthday cards from a dear friend.
4. Anniversary and wedding napkins from my grandparents' 50th; my mom and dad's 35th and one from our wedding in 1980.
5. Poems about the beach...one of my favorite vacation spots.
6. Pictures of our Compassion and Feed the Children kids.
7. Family group pictures; a vacation picture from Disney with Lucy; a picture of the kids with Gary on his birthday when they were young....and, one of my favorites....A Wish Poem that Kimberly sent me a long time ago.
8. A mustard seed....
9. A newspaper announcement when my father-in-law and his brother-in-law (now both deceased) went to Washington to attend the funeral of John F. Kennedy!
10. A calendar that Kimberly gives us each year that catalogs our year (especially hers and Lucy's) in memorable pictures/events.
11. Messages of faith on measuring spoons!
12. A lovely crocheted cross to be used as a bookmark.
So many blessings, so many memories....I am blessed beyond measure and it's a great time for reflection! Thank you, Jesus, for giving yourself as a sacrifice so that I might live eternally....and thank you to my heavenly Father for the gift of life this side of heaven.
The Wish Poem
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Good-bye."
This particular scripture was listed on my daily devotional this morning, June 1st. As I opened my Bible to this selection, I saw that my Dad (to whom I gave this Bible) had marked the very same scripture. In fact, two other selections from this Psalm were underlined by Dad. Of course, my interest being piqued, I read these verses several times asking myself, why would Daddy underline and leave for those who followed these words from God's book?
Psalm 37: 16 "It is better to be godly and have little than to be evil and possess much."
Psalm 37: 18 "Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive a reward that lasts forever."
Psalm 37: 23-24 "The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand."
I can only surmise why my earthly father underlined these words from my Heavenly Father. Seems to me Dad wanted me to know that 1) it's okay not to accumulate a lot of wealth, because having Jesus in your heart and follow the things of God is more than riches. 2) God will watch over and take care of us rewarding us with eternal life. And 3), all our paths are directed and orchestrated by God; every single detail, so don't worry about perfection or stumbling and falling because God's got you!
Thanks Daddy and my Heavenly Father for a great lesson! God bless!