Friday, December 28, 2007

Friday's Excuse

Just thought I'd send out a quick blog and let you know that I haven't given up on my blog. I've just been busy, busy, busy with the holidays and all. Yesterday I intended to blog but our power kept going on and off all day and I didn't want to chance it any more than the one time it caught me on my computer. It's no fun to have your blog disappear. We have company due in tomorrow and they will be here until Wednesday so next week's blogs look pretty skimpy and uncertain too. Sorry about that but I only have one mind and I don't want to lose it over whether or not I post a blog.

Got my hair cut this morning and it's short, short, short again. Yea!!! Now I won't have so many of those bad hair days when I make up every excuse under the sun to NOT leave the house for any reason short of life or death. Actually I've gotten better about going out with my hair not quite perfect. I'm easing up but just barely. Had an interesting thing happen on the way to the Beauty shop. I had my mind on other things and sort of "rolled" through the stop at the end of the street right in front of my grandson. I'm sure he had to hit his brakes but we weren't like "inches" apart. He followed me to the shop and gave me a bad time about "running" the stop sign. It's funny because as I was rolling through, making my turn in front of him, I thought to myself, "I think I just ran that stop sign!" Funny! I'm just glad it was him and not someone who would get belligerent or nasty. Also glad it wasn't a CHP that tend to come down that road to go back to headquarters. I have no excuse. I was aware I was running it when I ran it and have no idea why I didn't stop. I ALWAYS stop at stop signs. Yields I'll roll through, but stop signs mean stop. And I always stop. My grandson got out of his car and says, "Since when did you start running stop signs?" Smart aleck!!

We went to bed last night and I had my mask on because Michael was reading and all of a sudden the bed shook with him getting up quickly and then I realized he had gotten up to answer the phone (without my hearing aids I can't hear the phone ring). It turned out to be our daughter-in-law calling to tell us it was snowing. I got up and we turned on the porch lights and sure enough, it was snowing outside. It was so cold when I went out for my haircut that I thought it would snow before it would rain anymore. They had forecasted low snow and they were accurate. We're about 1200' elevation so we qualified. I'm kind of hoping it will snow a little this afternoon. It's fun when we get snow down this low because it's never dangerous on the roads and it just makes everything beautiful. Last year when it snowed it was like a winter wonderland. That is, until the neighbor drove into the vacant lot next to us and pealed (or is it peeled?) out, throwing reddish brown mud all over the pristine white snow. It made me so mad that he did that. I mean, really, what kind of a thrill does that give people anyway? Lucky for us Michael had gotten a couple pictures before he came along and ruined the scene. We are supposed to get more precipitation later today and during the night so we just might wake up to a blanket of snow again like last year. It's really rare to have snow at our elevation. My sisters got snow too over there on the other side of the river. They were without power off and on yesterday too so it was a good-sized outage.

If you haven't figured out by now, I'm not going to do a devotional today. I just thought I should let you know that I haven't retired, I've just been very busy and chances are I won't be back to my devotionals until Jan 3. Well, now that I think of it, it may be later than that as we have our big shopping day on the 4th and I don't usually have time to blog on those days. Then it will be Friday before I can blog. And then it's the weekend so gee, it may be awhile. Just keep checking because I will be back.

I got my bedding changed this morning and I'm on my third load of laundry. Now I need to get busy with the vacuum and duster. There's always something but with company coming there's even more than usual. So I think I should publish this and get busy doing things. Oh, before I do that, I have to tell you . . . I gained 5 more pounds!! Yikes!!! I'm really going to have to get serious about losing a little weight. This is ridiculous!!! (I love exclamation points, don't you? Ha! And I prefer "Ha" to "LOL"). Okay, now I'm going to go get busy. The dryer is probably ready to shut off any time now so that's another reason so say good-bye. I don't know when I'll get back to really blogging but hang in there, I will return.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Source of Doubt

[I went AWOL for a few days. Did you miss me? I hate to admit it but I enjoyed my little mini vacation!]

If we have trusted in Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord, yet continually doubt our salvation, then our entire lives will be out of balance. Major areas of our faith life begin to crumble, and we limit the work of the Holy Spirit in and through us. It's impossible to live an effective, empowered, Spirit-filled life if we're always facing doubts about our eternal salvation.

Why, then, do we as believers so often doubt? Let's look a 5 key reasons.

1. Sin. When there is disobedience in our lives, our prayers and spiritual understanding are thwarted. So it's understandable that sin can hinder and confuse our understanding of the truth of salvation.

2. False Teaching. If we've been taught that we must earn our salvation by our behavior, or if someone comes along and says that there are things we must do to gain salvation, then false teachings are going to warp our understanding.

3. Overemphasis on emotions. Too often the experience of being saved is tied to an "emotional high." This leads many of us to doubt our salvation during times of normal or "low" emotions. This is especially true for people who suffer from bi-polar disorders.

4. Disbelief. We must understand that disbelief is different from unbelief. Disbelief is the conscious act of not believing in the face of overwhelming proof. Acts 16:31 clearly states, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." So if we've made this saving confession, then we are saved. Period. End of discussion. Doubting the truth of this Scripture means that we fail to accept God's word.

5. Satanic assault. Satan's goal is, and has always been, to separate us from God. One of his most effective tactics is to cause us to question our standing in salvation. If he can cause us to doubt he will have been successful in driving a wedge between us and the Lord.

If we doubt our salvation after accepting the forgiveness and grace of God, then we need to carefully examine our hearts. Are any of these five lies corroding our relationship with the Lord? If so, we need to allow the Lord to comfort us with His love and the truth of our salvation. We pay nothing for our salvation. And nothing can prevent us from being saved if we accept Christ and what He has done. That is the only requirement for salvation.


What a great Christmas we had. Sure hope yours was good also. On Sunday before Christmas I played hooky from church and we went over to my sister's house and opened presents with both of them. Then we carried everything down to the club house and had our annual Christmas dinner and party. (There were 19 people present!) I think everyone had a great time this year. My sisters had introduced a new element into the celebration. We had 9 door prizes to give away so after we had our name drawing we had the nine other drawings for the door prizes. It was a lot of fun. I think every body enjoyed them. We had so much fun but eventually it was time to clean up and head back home. Pepper had been locked in the house for hours and we knew we needed to head on home. I helped clean up as much as I could. It took several trips from the car to the house just to empty all the gifts out of the trunk! Monday we just vegged and I went to the store and bought us a small sirloin tip roast for our Christmas Day dinner. Tuesday (Christmas, yesterday) we didn't even bother to get dressed. We stayed casual all day long. I put the roast and potatoes and onions in the slow cooker and sat around watching the History Channel all day. I learned everything I've ever wanted to know about UFOs. After dinner we watched A Christmas Story. It wouldn't be Christmas day without the movie!

Then last night Ken and Tamara stopped by to deliver another gift from Patty and Randy. It was a very nice, stainless steel rice cooker. I'm really anxious to try it out. My new pan (it's not really new, just newer than the rest of my cookware) cooks rice very nicely except that it always boils over, filling my drip pan full of "rice juice." (You know, that thick white stuff that puddles around your pan no matter how low you have your burner set!) And now Christmas is over until next year. This year I'm going to try really hard to buy gifts throughout the year so I won't have to cram it all into a few days of shopping. Although I did good this year. I got all my Christmas shopping done and all the presents wrapped a couple weeks before Christmas. I ordered quite a few gifts from a couple catalog companies I like. Their products have always been so nice. Very high quality stuff. So I will probably resort back to ordering gifts through the mail and then if there's anyone left I'll finish it up at the drug store that has such nice gifts. I don't think I could ever work at that store because I would be spending my entire paycheck on gifts all the time. I'd never get home with any money.

Our weather has been nice over Christmas. Lots of sunshine and fair weather. Sunday's trip across the river was uneventful, no traffic to speak of at all. All in all, I have to say, this was one of the gentlest (is that a word?) Christmases ever! I thought it was going to be horrible because of needing to shop at WalMart and K-Mart. But I figured out a way to do all my shopping away from the crowds. I will never go back to WalMart shopping for Christmas after experiencing the quiet, laid back shopping of this year. I actually enjoyed shopping for everyone.

Well, it's getting late and I need to run some errands and get a few things done. I want to get in and clean the house (I'm going to try keeping it clean for a change!) Cathie, John, and Chris will be up in three days so I don't have this peace and quiet for long. I probably won't blog over the New Year celebrations. I may go AWOL again. Just thought I'd give you an advanced warning. With John's allergy to cats I need to vacuum everyday until they get here to keep the cat hair down to a minimum for him. So until tomorrow ...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Temptation Two

Rick Warren, in his book The Purpose Driven Life, says that "temptation follows a four-step process, which Satan used both on Adam and Eve and on Jesus." Then he goes on to list the four steps: desire, doubt, deception, and disobedience. We start out by simply thinking about the object of our desire. We play with it in our minds the way a cat plays with a mouse. We imagine how it would feel if it were ours. (This is true for people as well as possessions.) It's interesting that no matter how many blessings God has showered upon us, we always seem to focus on the one thing we do not have! We must ask ourselves, Could Satan be trying to redirect my focus?

We must remember that Satan wants to break up our relationship with our heavenly Father. If he can get us to take our eyes off the Lord and instead, to fix our attention on what we feel we're lacking, then he can lead us into desire.

Then, our desirous thoughts give way to full-blown lust. Rick wrote: "This intense longing is the culmination of our imaginings. We are no longer content simply to enjoy the objects in our minds; now we must actually have it. It's all we think about. It drives us insane. Our lust grows so intense that it's all we can do not to scream."

And the desire leads to a choice. Here is where we make the decision, Will I give in to this sin, or will I lay it down?

Every time we stand up to a temptation we become more like Jesus. Through the Holy Spirit, we have the ability ... and the power ... to walk away at any point in the process of temptation. We are never helpless to diffuse the situation, no matter how much momentum we've allowed to build up.

Do we ever feel as if we are powerless to stop a growing temptation? Understanding the nature of this progressive process can help us to stand firm against Satan's tactics. Every temptation comes with a choice ... an opportunity ... to do good. Temptations keep us dependent upon God. God can bring good out of any situation (Rom 8:28).


Here it is another Friday. I'm facing two wonderful days off. I have no real "plans" for Saturday but Sunday will be our family Christmas over at my sister's club house which is always fun. Lots of love, laughter, and food! Poor Pepper will have to spend the day alone except for all the cats. But I'm sure he'll survive the day. He won't think he will but he will. I will wait and put all the bows on my presents until we get over there so they won't get knocked off or squished on the drive over.

I have no plans for today other than to do the things I didn't get done yesterday. I'll try to talk Michael into making the post office/store run today. It's his turn. Michael has requested something special for Christmas dinner. Maybe I'll cook a roast and we can thinly slice the left overs and make sandwiches out of what's left of the meat. That sounds good. We both like cold roast beef sandwiches as well as Hot French Dip sandwiches and Pepper's always game for any waste there might be. I think I'll plan on that. We haven't had a roast in ages. I like cooking things that are good for multiple meals. This business of deciding every day what you're going to cook for dinner gets old really quick.

Well, I guess I should get busy it's almost noon already and I haven't done a thing except read my emails and write my blog. The bed isn't made yet and I'm still in my pjs. I wish I could wake up early on my own every morning like my sister does. She's just naturally an early riser. She wakes up around 5:00 most mornings, whereas I slept until after 9:00. Makes for short days for me especially when you figure in the time I spend on my blog. And before I can write my blog I have to read all the news on Michael just came out and he's dressed now so guess I better not let him beat me by too much. (I beat him yesterday. He slept until 11:00 yesterday!!!) I would love to just wake up about 6:00 or 7:00 on my own. I have an alarm clock with a bed shaker but I hate when that goes off. It's such a rude way to wake up. No, I'm talking about waking up on my own after having had a nice restful night's sleep. And as long as I'm dreaming I may as well put a smile on my face too! Okay, okay, I'll see you all on Monday. I haven't decided if I'll blog on Christmas or not. I'm going to leave the option open for me and just see how the day goes. Until then ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Temptation One

Everyone experiences temptation. No matter how "spiritual" we are or how long we've been a Christian, we have been tempted. We will never out grow temptation. Sometimes it comes across as a faint whisper; other times it's a deafening shout in our mind. But regardless of how it sounds, we know what temptation feels like. If someone asked us could we define temptation?

One thing is sure, temptation always starts in the mind. It is simply an enticement to take a God-given desire beyond God-given boundaries. Many people reject this idea, refusing to believe that guilt-instilling allurements could even be remotely related to God. But let's think about this. In what ways are we most tempted. In the area of material possessions? Intimacy? Companionship? Food? These are all things that God not only created, but sometimes uses to bless His people. The problem comes when we ... who still carry around the old "programming" of our flesh nature ... take those drives beyond the healthy limits God has set for us.

Take sex for example. He created sex for reproduction and enjoyment within a marriage relationship. However, this divinely-approved desire is horribly corrupted by physical intimacy outside of marriage. And so something the Creator designed for His purposes becomes a source of guilt and shame. This is not what God intended. It's taking a God-given desire beyond God-given boundaries.

One of Satan's favorite strategies is to distort a God-given drive for his own vile purposes. But we can short-circuit such an attack by reminding ourselves where these drives came from in the first place, requesting from God the strength to use them for His glory, as He had intended them to be. Rick Warren wrote: "In one sense you can consider temptation a compliment. Satan does not have to tempt those who are already doing his evil will; they are already his" (A Purpose Driven Life). And lets remember that every time we defeat a temptation, we become more like Jesus.


We got 2.5 inches of rain last night! It just poured all night. This was supposed to be a small, lighter storm and we got more rain than we did in the "big" storm. Shows just how good our weather people are. I think we're supposed to be dry now until sometime next week. Maybe we'll get out of this near-drought pattern after all.

Another day without plans. No, that's not quite true. I have plans to clean up the house and put it back into its desired clean state. I worked hard to get it clean last weekend and I don't want to lose all the work I did. See, that's the thing. If you spend the little time it takes to keep it clean on a daily basis, it won't get totally out of control like it tends to do. It's a lot easier to keep something clean on a regular basis than it is to put everything off until it's totally out of control. That takes a lot more effort to clean it up and put it back into the desired state.

Are you bored yet? I simply have nothing to write about. I'll venture out to the post office a little later and will try to get some reading done. I simply cannot read at night anymore. I'll read one or two paragraphs and my eyes start to glaze over. I successfully programmed my brain to go into sleep mode whenever I am horizontal. I got so tired of going to bed and reading for hours that I started working on just going to sleep whenever I went to bed and now I can't read even read when I want to. But that's fine, it just means that I'll have to make time during the day for my reading. I'm so far behind. I have books just stacked on my bedside table waiting to be read. Maybe that's not the best place to keep them now that I'm not reading in bed anymore. If I had them out here in the living room, I might remember to read a little during the day. But then, I don't have a place out here for them without adding clutter to an already cluttered house.

Well this is silly! I'm sitting here, staring at my computer screen and nothing's coming up in my brain to write so I think I'll just end my blog for today and get on with things I need to get done. Hopefully I'll have more things to write about tomorrow. It just hit me that tomorrow's Friday already! Where did the week go??? Until tomorrow ...

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Secure in Our Salvation

The cross of Christ provides us with a salvation that leaves no room for uncertainty or doubt. If we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Father wants us to be 100 percent certain that we are securely inside Christ's provision of salvation in Him and Him alone. To that end, there are three test questions we can use to analyze our understanding of our salvation.

1. What does the word of God say? The Bible's teaching on salvation leaves no room for doubt. Acts 16:31 in the NCV says it well: "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved" (emphasis mine). Period. It doesn't say "you may be saved." It doesn't say "you might be saved." It says you "will be saved." And all you have to do to be saved is "believe." It doesn't say, "believe and do this" or "believe and do that"; it simply says we are to "believe."

2. What is the witness of the Spirit? Romans 8:16 says, "And the Spirit Himself joins with our spirits to say we are God's children (NCV). This means that when we receive Jesus as Lord by faith, the Father places His Holy Spirit within us. This ever-present, indwelling Spirit is the One who equips us to relate and communicate with God. The eternal witness inside us continually testifies that we are saved ... regardless of how our feelings about salvation ebb and flow. God's spirit within us moves us in ways that we find undeniable. When once moved by the Holy Spirit, we can't doubt Him. We know. Someone asks us how we know and we know because we know because we know. This isn't strange to those of us who are saved, we know we are God's children.

3. What is the desire of my heart? Watchman Nee said that the characters used to translate Holy Spirit into Chinese literally are translated "Resident Boss," and that is certainly understandable because the Holy Spirit takes up residence within our human hearts and powerful ... undeniable ... changes happen. A never-satisfied yearning for sweet intimacy with the Lord and a sensitivity to His will begin to develop. We can't stop thinking about Him. We can't pray enough, read the Bible enough, or fellowship with other believers enough. The more of the Lord we have; the more of the Lord we crave. This doesn't mean that we'll never sin. But it demonstrates our born-again spirit's unquenchable thirst for the Almighty.

We can know that we are saved. If we've made the commitment to trust Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we can immediately rejoice as a saved and secure child of God.


The rain has been replaced with fog this morning. We have more rain coming (I think) but not until later. Of course, weather is such a fluid thing that it's ever changing. It changes from newscast to newscast so we're never sure about what's in store for us.

Nothing planned for today except to go out and get the mail. We haven't gotten many Christmas cards so far this year. We had a lot more last year by this time. I'm not sure what that means if it means anything at all.

Well, I know this is short but I really have absolutely nothing to write about this morning so I'm going to sign off and hope for more things to write about tomorrow. So until then ...

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Total Surrender

Paul wrote, "Live by the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want" (Gal 5:16). This is a simple recipe for a righteous lifestyle. We have a choice to make: we can live our lives by our carnal nature for pleasure and for self, or we can trust the Holy Spirit to lead us in ways to serve the Lord, regardless of the destination.

Resisting temptation is never easy. Even the apostles who traveled and lived with Jesus for three years weren't strangers to the power and pull of temptation. And even these eleven trusted friends couldn't be expected to achieve righteousness in their own strength. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem until the power of the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts 1:4). And we, Christ's modern-day followers, can't be expected to create our own righteousness any more than the first-century followers were.

We must first accept the fact that it's impossible for us to live the Christian life apart from Christ before we can walk by the Holy Spirit. We will be hindered until we accept that as truth. If we depend upon ourselves, on our own strengths and our own experiences we face total failure. God's Holy Spirit works in us and through us. That's why it is critical that we submit our will to His power and guidance. And surrender isn't a one-time event; believers have to yield to the Spirit repeatedly and constantly. Every time we are faced with a decision we will need to look to the Spirit and obey His will. We willingly submit our wills to His will over and over again as we walk the Christian walk.

Total surrender takes discipline and courage. Our old nature screams for us to do the things that please its carnality. We don't much like it when we are faced with situations that are difficult but yet are just the thing we need to grow to be more like Christ. See that's the difference between those living by the Spirit and those living by the sinful nature. Every decision we make to follow the Spirit says No to the sinful nature. Total surrender is believing that the Lord Jesus Christ rules our lives. That nothing can happen to us today without it being first approved by God. And it's a submission to His will not our own. The Spirit allows difficulties and hardships to enter our lives to polish us into shining vessels poured out for Christ's sake. What an awesome God we have who can take us as we are and recreate His very own Son in us! If we surrender our will to His will we will be ever changed into a vessel He can use. If we don't surrender or submit to Him we are too full of ourselves for His righteousness to fit in. Emptying ourselves gives room for the Spirit to work out His will in our lives. As we say No to our old nature we say Yes to our new nature. As we are emptied, we are refilled with the Spirit of God to do God's will. And while the Lord can lead us to do great things, we mustn't be fooled into thinking that we must be "doing" something to be surrendered. God's will for us sometimes is to simply "be." Not to do Christian things, but simply to stand before the world as a Christian. We don't always have to "do." I am convinced that most of the time we are called to simply "be." To simply exist in a sweet union of our nature yielding to the nature of the Spirit. It is not so much that Christians "do." It is everything that Christians "be."

Total surrender is giving God the okay to live His life in and through us, regardless of what we desire for ourselves. Total surrender is loving God with our whole heart and mind and body and soul and strength. It is ever yielding. Ever being. Are we willing to submit to the Spirit if we are never called to "do" anything? If He asks no great deed of us, will we still live our lives in submission to Him? If we are never called to act will we rest in the life He has called us to live? This is total surrender: The giving up entirely of our own wills for His will. And regardless of where that will takes us, we are to be ever yielding, ever submitting, ever "being."

Living righteously is simply not natural for us. Being human beings we can't do it on our own, we need help and our heavenly Father has lovingly provided us with a Helper to enable us to live a life pleasing to God. We have to make the choice whether or not we will yield to His direction. Doing so leads to joy and peace. Failing to yield to Him leads to conflicts, uncertainty, and pain. May God grant us today the wisdom and courage to make the right decisions. And may we glorify Him as we yield our spirit to His Spirit; as we surrender totally our will to His will.


Rain, rain, rain, rain here in the foothills. It started raining again about 1:00 this morning. So far we're not getting the copious amounts that were forecast for today but it's still early in the day. In fact they are now saying that it may continue to rain until Thursday afternoon and then clear up for a couple days and then start raining all over again. This is good. This is very good because we were beginning to resemble a drought pattern as far as rain goes. We're just not getting the big rains we usually do this time of year. We're supposed to be under a wind advisory too but I sure don't see any wind outside to speak of. I think sometimes they jinx us when they predict these big storms!

We'll have Christmas tonight at Ken and Tamara's across town and I'm excited. I love Christmas because it's all about family. Jesus was born so that He might die to bring us into the family of God. Isn't that amazing? I am absolutely blown away by the God we have. Have you ever thought about the fact that God could have spoken redemption into existence the way he spoke creation into being, yet He chose to allow us to play a part in it instead? Have you ever thought about that? He could have just snapped His fingers and recreated the world. I mean who could blame Him? Just wipe us all out in the very same instant that He recreated a new order that wouldn't even think about doing things for self. He could have done that but instead He chose to redeem us by involving us in the process. Our prayers matter to Him. Our obedience brings Him pleasure. He's allowed us to be a part of His plans. And even more amazingly He has given us every single thing we need to stand before Him, approved and justified and loved. Amen! What a God!!! He has empowered us with His very own righteousness that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. And for all that, we exhale a breathless "Thank You." How can we not love a God who gave us one requirement ... to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, having total faith in what He has done ... and then given us the very faith He required from us in the first place! Nothing like stacking the deck in our favor, right? Any other god would have required something we had to work and slave for. But not our God. Our God reigns!!

I have no plans for today except to go over to Ken's later today. Otherwise I have no plans to go out in this mess at all. Although Michael told me this morning that we need milk but I'm not going to go out and get it today even if we need it. We can make do without as far as I'm concerned. There's enough milk in there for breakfast in the morning and then I'll pick up a gallon tomorrow when I go out to get the mail. I think the only thing I'll be doing this afternoon will be taking a nap after getting up before 6:00 this morning. I almost never wake up that early.

My card ministry is very rewarding for me. Finally something I can do! (And what did I write about "being" this morning? LOL!!!) I can't use phones but I can surely mail out cards. I'm trying to keep an accurate account of who gets cards and when and why so that I'll be able to evaluate the ministry. I mean, the goal for my ministry is to get people back into the habit of coming to church. We have so many church members that just don't come anymore. At one time they cared enough to become members so hopefully they'll care enough to come back once they start getting cards every month from the church. Sometimes a prompt is all they need. I had two or three people who hadn't been attending, actually come after getting my cards. I don't know, my cards may not have had anything to do with them coming to church but I'd like to think they did! People need to have their names removed from the membership roles if they are not going to be supporting that church for whatever reason. I think most of the time it's simply a habit one gets in to. Just not going. Some of these people may have moved away but I bet the majority by far have just gotten out of the habit of coming to church. Hopefully this card ministry will give them the nudge they need and they'll start coming again. I think it would just be wonderful if we could fill the pews every Sunday. Dan is good enough to do that, we just have to get people to come and discover that Dan can do that. Most of these people simply need to discover Dan, period! This church is totally different than it was before Dan came to minister to us. He brought so much life and excitement with Him when he came. He and Teresa have been such a blessing for our church.

Well, I think this'll 'bout do it for today (isn't it fun to play havoc with our grammar and spelling? I think it is.) Take care and until tomorrow ...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Do Not Become Short-Sighted

[Why am I always late on Mondays?!!!]

Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of stew. He was so focused on his short-sighted immediate needs that he completely ignored the future blessings that were meant for a first-born son: authority over the family and a double portion of his father's wealth. Esau's foolishness is a good lesson for us to avoid spiritual short-sightedness. We, too, can be tempted to think only of today's needs all at the expense of future blessings.

God created us with the normal appetites for food, sleep, pleasure, and intimacy. We tend to think that if a little something is good, then more would be better and much more would be much better. But the Lord knows that too much of anything is not good for our bodies, minds, and/or spirits. That's why self-control is listed as a spiritual fruit at Galatians 5:22-23. God Himself gives us the strength and wisdom needed to remain within the boundaries He has set for these desires.

But when we are spiritually short-sighted, we ignore the Spirit's promptings and allow our appetites to rule us. As believers, we cannot afford to live our lives according to what feels right or looks right, because focusing on instant gratification will give us only temporary fulfillment. Lasting contentment is the result of pleasing our God instead of ourselves.

We can probably think of at least one temptation that Satan tells us is absolutely necessary or deserved. Watch out ... that's our bowl of "red stew!" Neglect of our spiritual well being and loss of future blessings are not worth getting a taste of that temptation. We must keep on resisting, because that bowl of stew will never compare with our birthrights as children of God.


Well, our dinner with Leo turned out to be great! There were only a couple times that silence enveloped us. The rest of the time we were able to keep the conversation going. I had spent the day finishing my housework and baking the pie, frying the bacon bits, preparing the bread, and tossing the salad. Michael would make the spaghetti when it was time. I wanted to have all my parts of the dinner done so I could devote myself to Leo and not be running in and out of the kitchen while he was here.

I left early to pick him up and he was standing outside waiting for me. I went inside and met the staff and the rest of the residents. You can tell they don't have many visitors. I gave out a lot of hugs and handshakes. On the way home I told him we were just a poor couple so not to expect a lot in the way of appearances, that all my furniture is cat damaged. He didn't seem to care. I gave him a root beer and we sat and visited. I found out that he's 55 years old and originally came up from Stockton back in 1995. He has worked at the store all these years. He really does have a good memory and a great big heart. He has been a Christian his entire life.

Dinner was outstanding! The best sauce I think Michael has ever made. When I went to the store to buy the bread for dinner I happened to think to buy a few links of sweet Italian sausage to go with the ground beef in the sauce and we think that's what made the sauce so great. Leo ate well and had seconds on most things. We had our pie and sat at the table visiting. I put the dishes in the sink and cleared off the table and then Leo tore into his Christmas present. Then we moved back into the living room and visited for another half hour or so. Then it was time to take him home. The three of us had a great time. I was so pleased that everything turned out as well as it did. Leo said he'd like to go shopping at WalMart with us sometime so maybe this spring we can arrange to take him with us. My driver's license and insurance information is on file now at his residential care facility so we're all set to take him places.

Tomorrow night is Christmas at my son's house across town. That will be fun. We're having it so early because of trying to fit it around everyone's schedules. It will be good to see my son again. It's been awhile. That's the problem with living so close; it seems that we rarely see each other. We saw each other a lot more often when we lived about 16 miles apart. (Of course that was back when I was babysitting the grandkids.) He's having not-so-pleasant things going on at his work so I haven't wanted to bother him while he's taking care of that business but it seems there's always some reason that we don't make contact. He is my son and he's still the light of my life. Funny how no matter how old my son gets, he is still the light of my life.

[I'm inserting this on an edit. Ken just came over and spent a little time with us. I gave him an extra big hug and it really felt good. He's not little anymore but he's still my baby, I don't care if he is in his 40s!]

It started raining sometime during the night and it's still raining lightly. We're supposed to have a very rainy week with rain every day except Thursday I think. We need it! I hope we get enough rain to make a difference in the fear of another drought. Tomorrow is forecast to have the heaviest amounts of precipitation.

My card ministry is really booming but I need to get the addresses of quite a few people and I'm not sure how to do that. As far as I know I have copies of the latest list the church has. I guess some people don't fill out their addresses when they sign the Friendship pad on Sundays. I will need to ask Pastor to emphasize how important that is. We really do need that information so we can notify them of something should the need arise. We had 34 absences for November and 13 of them had no addresses so we really need to advertise the purpose of the friendship pad. I know pastor uses it to send greetings to visitors. This month Margaret needed them too for her shut-in ministry. If they make it out to church, they aren't really a shut-in. She was to send them all a Christmas card and deliver small poinsettias to those who are in rest homes. We (the deacons) are really making an effort to make our congregation a family that cares when people are not at church for whatever reason. Jesus said people would know His family by their love for one another. And we are convinced it starts with us doing our part. And everyone enjoys getting a friendly card in the mail. Seems like the only thing in people's mail boxes anymore are just bills, nothing personal, you know? We want very much to be a "personal" church.

Well, I better get this sent out so it will be out before noon. Hope I get an earlier start tomorrow. We both just slept in this morning. Shame on us!! Right? Well, you don't know it until you try it. It feels really good. But we don't get a lot done on days we do that. Of course, we don't have any reason to do anything today and it being rainy and all just hanging out at our own place and pace seems good. I plan to go out to the post office and by the store for some hot dog buns and that's the extent of my plans for the entire day. Can't believe Christmas is only a week away. Glad I got all my shopping done and my cards out early. So nice not having to hurry, hurry, hurry to get everything done. One year I didn't get around to my Christmas cards until Christmas eve. This year has been so pleasant because of not trying to do the shopping on a WalMart visit. This year there were no crowds or hassles. I just took my time shopping in quiet out-of-the-way stores and made use of mail-order companies. I wish S&H wasn't so high though, that's a real bummer. Well, until tomorrow ...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Our Spiritual Growth

Salvation is neither the climax nor the finale of Christianity. The knowledge that we have been forgiven for all our sins and that our heavenly home is assured must not lull us into apathy, thinking our ultimate salvation is the only thing that matters for there is more ... much more. The experience of a new birth is only the beginning of the Christian walk. From that moment on, the Father begins conforming new believers to the image of His Son Jesus Christ; "For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son ..." (Rom 8:29 NIV).

Ephesians 4:15 says, "we will grow up in every way into Christ who is the head;" (NCV) and the NIV translates it as, "we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ." Our knowledge and understanding of Scripture is skimpy and meager at best when we are first saved, which is why New Testament writers often used the metaphor of a baby to describe new believers. If a child stopped growing at three years of age, the parents would have every reason to be concerned and worried. In the very same way, God is concerned and worried when believers fail to mature, because His plan has always been to guide us from babies into full-grown spiritual giants.

As we meditate on Scripture and apply it's principles and commands to our lives, we leave behind spiritual babyhood and learn to make wise choices by discerning truth from error, and we strive to please our heavenly Father with every decision we make and every action we take. This is exactly what Jesus did while He was on planet earth. When we seek to please God, our life is increasingly characterized by love, kindness, faithfulness, and all the other good fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). And our spirits begin to resemble Christ's Spirit.

We are not called to spiritual infancy. That is just the very beginning. We are blessed and privileged to grow into sacred image-bearers of Christ Jesus. We must make and take the effort to build a relationship with the Lord through prayer, Scripture reading and meditation ... and by accepting His purifying work in our lives as we grow ever stronger in our resemblance of Christ Jesus our Lord.


Do you ever wonder why God waited until Jesus was 30 years old before He brought out His identity. Why 30? It's just a thought. I just can't help but wonder if there is some significance to that fact. I mean, why not at 21 years? Or 28 years? What are your thoughts on this?

This afternoon will be spent cleaning this messy house. I actually look forward to it today. I used to love to clean house. I got so much satisfaction out of cleaning a house until it was spotless. But not now. I love it when it's clean but I just hate the process of cleaning it. But it does look so much better when I put out the effort. I'll hit the baths first and go from there.

Yesterday was filled with activity and yet I accomplished nothing it seems. I went to the doctor for a routine visit, finished my Christmas shopping, and have all my gifts wrapped and ready to go, except for the bows. I don't put the bows on until the last minute so they don't get too squished. Everything I had this year came in it's own box so they all wrapped very nicely. Well, one gift didn't but I had an empty box to put it in. They all have nice, crisp corners. I always measure out the amount of paper I need from the roll and then fold it back over on itself making a firm fold and then I insert a letter opener (one of those plastic ones that has the razor blade in it) into the fold and then just use the opener down the length of the fold as if I were "opening" an envelope. Quick and easy. I haven't used a pair of scissors when wrapping gifts in several years now. I probably didn't explain that very well but if you can figure out what I'm saying it will cut your wrapping time in half. You just have to be sure and align the edges of the paper so you get nice straight folds that become nice straight cuts.

Well, I've been sitting here for several minutes trying to think of something to write and I'm coming up empty so I think I'll just close off for today and see you on Monday. I'll tell you how our dinner with Leo went. I'm so afraid we'll run out of things to talk about and we'll just all three sit around looking uncomfortable. Until Monday ...

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Growing Taller in the Lord

[I told you my blog would be late! Sorry!]

Kids are excited by their physical growth. It's common for kids to mark their heights on a door frame of the house and watch the marks get higher and higher as they grow up. They often stand back to back to see who's taller and they regularly describe their height by how high they come up to their parents ... "I come up to my mom's shoulders!" As adult believers, we may be finished with our physical growth but we will forever be maturing in our spiritual lives. And checking progress is still an exciting experience. Here are three ways to check and evaluate your spiritual growth.

We can know that our relationship with the Lord is growing when we can clearly see our new nature exhibiting itself routinely in our lives. As we give the Spirit more and more of our lives, we will become increasingly aware of our own sinfulness and weaknesses. We will have realized that we cannot live this Christian life in our own strength and we will lean ever heavier on our Lord for His strength. We will find it impossible to live without Him. He is our life and our reason to exist.

We can know we are growing when our response to temptation and sin is a quick negative ... the prick of conviction brings about immediate and genuine repentance. Ignoring our sin is rebellion against God, and disobedience stops our spiritual growth.

We can know when we are growing spiritually and our intimacy with God is deepening when we vigorously guard our quiet time with our Lord and Savior every day. Private moments spent in prayer and Scripture meditation will have become a top priority for us as we continue to grow and mature. By listening to the Lord and talking with Him about our joys and needs, we will stay connected to His will and are reminded of His love.

Seeing our spiritual growth within ourselves should give us much joy! Why? Because our spirits are looking more and more like the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior! And we don't need to stand back to back with people of the world for them to see that we are "blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which [we] shine like stars in the universe" (Phil 2:15 NIV).


I'm really sorry this is so late in the day. I mean it's after 6:00 in Georgia where some of you live. But I didn't do my blog before my doctor appointment and then I had to pick up some prescriptions at the pharmacy. I swung by the house and picked up Michael and he went to the pharmacy with me and together we finished our Christmas shopping. We only had one left to buy for but he's really, really hard to buy for. Ended up just getting him a new mug. Nothing else was appropriate for him. I went by the bank and exchanged some bills I had for nice, crisp, new bills, one for each grandchild. And lastly, I dropped back by the store and bought what I need for dinner with Leo on Saturday night. Leo called while I was at the doctor's office and Michael got the impression that Leo thought we were having dinner tomorrow night and so I had to make sure that he understood that it was for Saturday. He said he was just calling to remind me so I wouldn't forget that he's coming for dinner Saturday. He's so excited about it. I hope he has fun. Leo asked what we were having to eat and I told him spaghetti and salad and garlic bread. He liked that. Then he says, "And bacon bits? I like bacon bits in my salad." I told him I planned on making him some fresh bacon bits for his salad. "What will we have to drink?" he asked. I told him iced tea and said he liked ice tea. Then He says, "And dessert? What will we have for dessert?" I told him I planned on baking a pumpkin pie and he says, " That's good. That's good." That satisfied him for today. Michael happened to think that maybe I should give Leo a Christmas present and as luck would have it, I had a box of candy left over after all my wrapping and so I pasted on a bow and put his name on it. I just want it to be a really fun night for him. I'm sure he doesn't get asked to come over for dinner too often. Maybe never. I'm so afraid I won't have anything to talk about so I've started making a list of questions I can ask him. He's such a sweetheart. Keep us in your prayers that he has a really good time. He wanted to make sure that he could stay after dinner a bit and visit.

Well, I'm going to go ahead and publish this post since it's already so late in the day I won't spend any more time rambling on about my life. I have a deacons' meeting tonight but will be home early so tomorrow's blog should be published in the morning, California time. Until tomorrow ...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bonus - A Second One

One summer afternoon I climbed a hill near my home. When I reached the top, I stretched out on the grass to relax.

Turning my head to one side, my eyes focused on some blades of grass within inches of my face. This short-range focus not only strained my eyes, but it blurred my view of anything beyond the end of my nose. So I began to adjust my focus, and then the distant city came into view instead. I found I could shift my sights from near to far at will. The choice was mine.

In the third chapter of the book of Colossians Paul emphasized that followers of Christ need to keep eternity in view. He wrote, "Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth (3:2). We can choose where to put our focus.

We can succumb to selfish, earthbound thoughts, blurring our view of anything beyond the end of our nose. Or we can gaze through this sinful scene and fix our attention on things above, where Christ is seated at God's right hand ... and we with Him! Then, and only then, are we in a position to see what's most important in life.

Only the mind set on things above can say No to sin and Yes to holiness. The choice is ours. (by Joanie Yoder)


Just a short little thing I found torn out and stashed in a drawer. Thought you might enjoy it.

Your Kingdom Come

Christians hang onto the promise that Jesus will return and redeem the world and establish a new kingdom ... His kingdom. Do you know that God has told His children (believers) to pray for that event? What is commonly known as the Lord's Prayer at Matthew 6:9-13 includes a plea for the future establishment of the kingdom and the revival of the earth. Verse 10 says, "May your kingdom come and what you want be done" (NCV).

Sin was unleashed into the world in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve failed to resist the temptation Satan issued to draw them into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree "that is in the middle of the garden" (NCV) from which God had told them they must not eat. And God allowed the consequences of their actions to run their course. Nature became a destructive force with occurrences of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes; the spirit and will of every person ever born on earth was destined to bend away from their Creator rather than toward Him; and Satan reigns as lord of this present age. But God ordained a redemptive plan to reclaim the earth and everything in it from the enemy and transform it into a kingdom of light under Christ's reign (Col 1:12).

Everything in the world and the very world itself ... all of creation ... groans and suffers as it awaits this time of redemption that the Lord's return will initiate. God's perfect plan is to redeem not merely souls but also the world He created for His people to inhabit (Isa 45:18). It has been His plan all along, since the beginning of time. So when we pray "Your kingdom come," we are pleading for God to bring about His eternal kingdom of righteousness and love. And in the new earth, which will be perfect and free from corruption, believers will live and worship under the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ forever. Never sick. Never lonely. We will be in a perfect world where only good things happen. And best of all we will be free to worship our Creator to our hearts' content. Praise God!

The day is fast approaching when God will bring about the transformation of this world. It's a promise of a time and a hope we can look forward to with great anticipation as we pray, "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt 6:10).


Sorry about no blog yesterday. I just didn't feel like blogging for whatever that's worth. I just wasn't disciplined enough yesterday to do what I was supposed to do and I apologize. And I'll warn you now my blog may be late tomorrow because I have a doctor's appointment in the morning. I may wake up early and get it done before my appointment but, knowing me, I wouldn't count on it.

We've got overcast skies this morning and it got down to 26.4 for a low last night. Pretty standard for this time of year. I got absolutely nothing done yesterday so I will have to buckle down today and get some work done. Tomorrow afternoon I need to get some housework done. It's time to scour the baths again and my kitchen floor needs mopping again. I have decided that we are really messy, sloppy people. I no more than clean the house and it's time to clean it again. Rats! Please tell me other people have this same problem. And to think I used to keep such a clean house! Oh well, people change over time or at least I have.

We're looking forward to having Leo over for dinner on Saturday. Please pray for us that we will be able to come up with enough things to talk about with him that he will enjoy his time with us. He is such a sweet, gentle man. I will leave most of the talking up to Michael because he's the talker in the family. I get around people and just freeze up. I can't think of a single thing that sounds interesting to share with someone.

I made the mistake of getting out of my chair awhile ago and now I'm sitting on the front 3 inches and Mario (my black and white Italian cat) has the rest of the chair. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know that I have a running battle with Mario. He's either in my lap, lying on my desk with his head resting on my hand, or lying in my chair. Anything to distract me from what I am doing. He's a pest but I love him. Cats are such strange creatures and I love them all to death. I look forward to the time when I'll have only one cat to worry about though. We have a houseful right now. Mario, Mulder, Pretty, Punkie, and Hissy are the inside cats and then we have Moody, Mama, and Little Mario who live outside during the day and in the garage at night. I would love for Mama to be an inside cat. She is so incredibly sweet and loving but Pepper, my over-grown "Chi-wa-wa," would never allow a new cat in the house. So that's just out of the question.

Well, I'm out of things to blog about so I guess I'll let this be it for today. I will go over now and read http://womanoffaith blog and then get busy with my chores. Until tomorrow ...

Monday, December 10, 2007

God Hears Our Prayers

If we've been a Christian very long we'll know the meaning of the phrase "Prayer changes things." And from that we go on to believe fervently in what it means. God hears our prayers. He answers our prayers. And things change.

When God hears our prayers, He is certain to respond if we are asking in accordance to His will. Almost all the time ... 99.9 percent of the time ... we cannot change God's mind and we will never cause Him to act outside of His plan and what a great plan it is (Jer 29:11)! Sometimes we may pray for things God doesn't want us to have. When this happens God answers our prayers with a negative response. We don't get what we pray for but God has nevertheless answered our prayers about the matter. But if we are honest and earnest about desiring his will for our lives, He will do something even better than what we have asked for. And He will change our hearts accordingly so that we will receive what we long for.

One of the primary purposes of prayer is to discover God's will. As we seek His will, He works in our hearts and minds to develop our full understanding of the situation and guide us to a resolution. Then our eyes and minds will be opened to His point of view so we can pray appropriately. And when we pray for God's will to be worked on His time schedule, we'll discover that we make an impact on the world around us.

Prayer is powerful. Things happen when we pray. We see unbelievers come to a saving understanding of grace. We see the sick healed, and we see evil beaten back. God changes things through prayer every day. We have the awesome experience of participating in His work just by doing the thing we're supposed to be doing anyway ... talking to our heavenly God. Can we impact the world around us? Yes! How much depends on how much time we're willing to devote to prayer and how willing we are to seeking God's will rather than our own.


Here it is Monday again! Where do the days go? I had a nice weekend. I didn't do too much but had a pleasant weekend anyway. I finished my Christmas shopping Saturday except for one person and he's hard to buy for. And we have an extra week for him because we won't exchange gifts with Michael's kids until New Years when they come up from San Francisco. (Daly City to be exact.) And I've got all the gifts wrapped already too.

I actually wrote a few pages in my prayer journal yesterday. My feelings and thoughts surrounding my prayer life seem to be resolving themselves. They always do, it's just difficult to go through the trial. I prayed throughout the day Saturday and Sunday and it was such a joy! There is truly nothing quite so sweet as prayer with our heavenly Father. Times when we know we have His undivided attention. Times when our words don't just bounce right back at us and strike us in the face. Times when we rest in the contentment that comes from knowing we've been heard. And it feels so right when we make this connection in prayer. It has been a season of testing for me but I think it's just about over. Thank you, Lord Jesus!

I woke up at 6:00 this morning for no apparent reason and just decided to go ahead and get up and get my blog typed for the day. Now I'm thinking about going back to bed for a short nap before getting up to stay up. I have plans to go out to the Post Office today and I'll swing by the church to drop off my reimbursement slip for the cards and postage I bought as a deacon doing church business. I still need to buy more stamps but I'll take care of that later this week. I had some stamps left over last month so I might have a month to buy more, I'll have to see.

We had our Children's Christmas Play at church last night. What a fun time!! I didn't stay too long afterwards though as I really felt like I was ignoring my husband a bit. I know he doesn't mind but what kind of wife am I, if I'm gone all the time? I take my role as helper quite seriously. Just as our Holy Spirit takes His role of Helper seriously. He is, after all, the model for our lives.

I've forgotten about PraiseMoves for two weeks in a row now and I've got my fingers crossed that I'll remember this Wednesday. Thursday night is my deacon meeting and then Saturday we're having Leo over for dinner. Leo is a middle-aged black man who is retarded. He can't read and that breaks my heart. But Leo is always happy! I think he goes to just about every church function he can. (It gets him out of the home for awhile.) He asked me yesterday what we were having for dinner and I told him spaghetti and he was really happy about that. He asked if I'd have bacon bits for his salad so I guess I'll have to fry up some bacon for him since I don't keep bacon bits on hand and can't see buying an entire bottle for just one meal. He is really excited about coming. I told him I'd pick him up about 5:00 and then take him home afterwards. He says he wants to stay and visit for a little while. Pray that this can be a real time of blessing for him. He'll do just about anything to get out of the home. I mean, face it, wouldn't we? That's why I thought to invite him for dinner. Church has stopped Sunday night celebration and he was so disappointed that he won't have that to go out to any more. That's really what made me think of inviting him for dinner. I hope we can find enough stuff to talk about while he's here. You might pray that this will be a good experience for Leo. I would really appreciate it if you would.

Okay I'm going to head back to bed for a little while. (I love to get up and then go back to bed for a little while)! Feels soooooooo good!! Until tomorrow ...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Praying to a God in Total Control

Perhaps we wonder why we should even bother to pray if God is in total control and He already knows everything. We may wonder what our prayers have to do with anything.

First off, when we pray we are establishing a line of communication between us and our heavenly Father, between His Holy Spirit and our own spirit. A relationship ... any relationship cannot survive without communication. If the parties do not speak with each other the relationship begins to fade and will eventually disappear.

Secondly, this connection between ourselves and God, allows Him the means to bring us into alignment with His will. If we are honestly seeking to please Him, then our prayers will be made with open hearts and minds and there will be a willingness to adjust our plans to align with His plans. In addition our prayers afford the Lord the opportunity to impress upon us the desire to pray for those things God desires to bring into our lives.

And lastly, prayer gives us the incredible blessing of participating in God's great kingdom on earth. As we learn to trust Him for answers in agreement with His will and purposes, He gives us greater tasks in prayer. The Lord will place on us the weight of praying for an unsaved friend or family member, or people enduring the hardships of natural disasters, or the state of our nation and the president who serves in office. When we see an answer to our prayers, whether it's big or small, we know He has blessed us with the inclusion of our prayers in the process.

Our heavenly Father calls on us to pray for the simple reason that He longs for us to be involved in His work, especially His work that concerns us. What an incredible privilege it is for us to be encouraged to come before the Creator of the universe and know that He is interested in what we have to say, what we think on the matter. In fact, He is pleased to have us approach Him in prayer and ask Him to fill our needs or meet the needs of someone else we are praying for. And if we are praying according to His will and along His time frame, He will answer every single time.


It's so strange that I am typing this series on prayer at a time when I am struggling with prayer myself. (No, I don't believe in coincidences, either.) I wrote out this blog a couple weeks ago and am just now getting to it on my post. It's come at the perfect time. Although I confess it's not going anywhere but to my head at this time. I will need to mull it over and hope it sinks into my heart as the day goes on. It's just that there is a numbness to my heart lately. I'm going through a phase of nonfeeling when it comes to prayer and a sense of purposelessness at the same time. In my head I know and believe what I write about prayer but I'm just going through a difficult time lately getting it into my heart. I decided last summer that I was going to keep a prayer journal and I haven't touched it in weeks. There's been no reason to open its cover. I'm almost to the point of believing God answers prayers; just not mine. Have you ever felt that way? I just feel like I must be doing something wrong when I pray because it doesn't seem to be working for me. (I'm talking about my feelings right now and I know I can't rely on them ... it's fact, faith, and then feelings with feelings being totally unreliable) but I don't know how to discount the feelings. Can anyone help me here??? During my Christian walk I have enjoyed incredibly rich seasons of prayer. I'm just not going through one at this time. This is lonesome. I miss my Father.

It rained almost all night last night. The rain gauge has an inch and a half in it. We got .58 in the gauge yesterday afternoon. It's good to have rain for a change. We need it. I doubt I will go Christmas shopping today since it is so wet and dreary. I'll go sometime next week. I still need to go out to the post office but I think that'll be about it for my adventurous side today. I have a cat asleep on my left hand again and typing single-handedly is a slow process. Mario has just gotten it in his head that when I'm at the computer he can jump up on my desk and take a nap. Occasionally he will shift his weight and press down on the keys. The computer will do all kinds of spastic things when he does that. I've got my keyboard pushed as far to the right as it will go and am typing with my right hand while his head is resting on my left hand. I know I'm establishing a bad precedent here but he likes to sleep up here with me so badly that I can't seem to muster the nerve to boot his bottom off my desk. I will live to regret this I'm sure.

I guess I will publish this and get ready to go run my errands. I didn't do anything yesterday after I finished my blog but sit on the couch in front of the television. I'm serious, that's all I got around to yesterday. I didn't even get out of my pjs. I guess we all need a lazy day every once in awhile (that makes me feel so much better knowing I'm not the only person to have days like that) so guess I'll go get busy and not fall victim to laziness for a second day. I just realized it's Friday again. Where do the days go??? That means no blog tomorrow or Sunday so until Monday ...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bargaining with God

Sometimes we try bargaining with God in our prayers, especially during crises. Promising that we'll do this or that for God if He'll just do this one little thing for us or will give this one little thing we're asking for. But as Christians we often forget that we don't have to bargain or beg. We are God's very own children and all we have to do is simply pray effectively, which means praying to God with our whole heart, mind, soul, and strength because He is the only Person who can fix our problems or supply us our needs.

During times of adversity our prayers must have purpose to be effective. Our daily conversations with the Lord often cover several topics and sometimes many people. That is good because regular communication is what builds healthy relationships. Especially with God. The more we talk to the Lord in prayer, the better it is for our relationship with Him. Think about it ... how good would your marriage be if you didn't talk to your mate more than a couple times a week; or even once a day, which is better but still far from ideal? We must develop the habit and routine of taking everything to God in prayer. He will know which things are of greatest concern to us. But when James speaks about the righteous person's effective prayer reaping results (James 5:16) he is talking about one specific prayer request, focused on a single situation, requiring one resolution. The King James version of the Bible uses the word "fervent" as it describes such a request or prayer which is prayed with urgency and a strong desire for an answer. We are to take everything to God in prayer and to do so constantly. But even more so in dire circumstances, asking for His help and power to find a way through the hardship or trouble.

God desires nothing so much as He desires using His supernatural powers to help or bless His children. However, as believers, we can allow pride and self-reliance to get in the way. As long as we feel we can handle a particular tough time, we won't be praying the way James is talking about here in 5:16. An effective or "fervent" prayer recognizes our weakness and God's strength. It is when and where we feel the most desperation and utter helplessness that God's great Holy Spirit can release the most power (2Cor 12:9).

Effective prayer is honest and real, spoken with an honest sense of urgency and desperation. We don't need to try and bargain with God ... He is eager to intervene on our behalf when we trust in Him and Him only to bring resolution to our situation. He loves us and answering this type of prayer is right up His alley.


And how is your prayer life? Mine? I'm still struggling. I know I don't pray the way I should. I know what God desires and I seem to be sorely lacking. I don't pray often enough. When I first came to the Lord I prayed constantly. Then somehow over the years I got lazy or forgetful or something and now I'm to the point where I don't even pray once a day. Shame on me, I know!! The thing is, I miss my prayers too. It was a lot more fun and rewarding when I prayed all the time. It just seems that I forget about it. And when I do pray I promise myself that I'm going to shape up my prayer life only to walk away forgetting all my promises to the contrary. I am sorely in need of discipline in that area. Perhaps that's why my brakes are acting up again. Maybe it's the Lord teaching me to pray constantly. But when I pray constantly I feel like a nag. Anyone else ever have this problem? Any suggestions? I'm open to just about anything at this point in time.

It's raining here in my little part of the world this morning. Lucky for us that we got our Christmas lights up yesterday afternoon. I went out to the garage and plugged them back in this morning because it was so dreary outside. I thought the lights might bring a bit of cheer to the neighborhood. We also got Christmas Moose up and his lights on too. I think I need to buy some glass balls to hang on Moose's antlers. I think they would add a little something to the overall look. So anyway, now I have all my Christmas decorating done. I don't do much because the cats won't let me do much.

Michael and I both sat down last night and did our Christmas cards. He has his own list of friends that he sends to and then I have mine. Between the two of us we are sending out 46 cards. Didn't think we knew that many people! (That's $18.86 in postage, ouch!!) Now my chore is to wrap the presents I got yesterday. Last year I saved all the wrapping until I'd done all my shopping and I exhausted myself wrapping all the gifts at one time. This year I thought I'd wrap as I go. Hopefully that will work better. I plan to go shopping again tomorrow and hopefully finish it all up. That will be nice to have it all done. Yesterday I just went down to the Pharmacy here in town and bought 4 gifts. This store is a gift haven. It's my favorite place in the whole world to shop and the only reason I don't do all my shopping there is that they don't have that many "guy" gifts to buy. It was so pleasant yesterday. No crowds, no confusion, nobody in my way. So unlike WalMart. Two of the gifts I mail ordered came in yesterday too so that helped. It's funny, every year I say I'm going to do my Christmas shopping all year long rather than just at Christmas time when the crowds are impossible to deal with and every year I fail to do that. What's wrong with me??? Besides the bipolar, that is.

No plans for today except to stay dry and wrap the gifts. It's going to be a lazy day for me. Michael is cooking his own chili beans for his dinner and I'll just warm up the pork fried rice from the other night, so I don't even have to worry about cooking dinner. Yea!!! I think this calls for a scheduled nap. Yep, I really do.

Until tomorrow... P.S. My spell checker says I didn't misspell a single word. Good for me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

God Answers Prayers

It's easy to say "God answers prayers" when everything is going along smoothly without a care in the world. But what about during difficult times? A crisis can often bring doubts to our minds especially if God doesn't respond to our prayers as quickly as we feel He should. Right into the middle of Jame's letter to the first-century believers is a simple statement that should boost our confidence: "When a believing person prays, great things happen" (James 5:16b NCV). The Lord hears and He will respond to our prayers at just the right time and in just the right way.

The Greek word for "happen" is the one from which we derive our English word "energy." What James is saying is that in response to the effective prayer of a believer, God will direct His supernatural energy toward the current crisis situation. However we mustn't ever think that He can be manipulated into unleashing His power. And there are no formulas or magic words that will cause Him to react in a specific way. He cannot be goaded into action because of something we say or do.

The Lord responds to faith so the godly believer will see Him intervene. All born-again Christians have been clothed in Christ's righteousness and positioned as God's children, but not all of us have clear consciences. The Bible states, "If I had cherished in my heart, the Lord would not have listened" (Ps 66:18 NIV). If we refuse to repent of disobedience, the Lord will not respond to our prayers. This is why crisis situations are often times of personal revival. We must repent of all known sin before we can expect God to act.

God wants to intervene on our behalf. His love for us demands that He comfort, console, strengthen, and aid us when we are troubled. We clear the way for Him to respond to us when we keep a clear conscience.


This is a good devotional for me today. I'm going through a time of numbness, a state of unfeeling about prayer. I don't know what to think of the latest turn of events. A couple weeks ago we were coming home from an evening out celebrating our 35th anniversary, Michael was driving, and everything was going along fine until he stepped on the brakes to turn the corner by our house. They made a horrible "grinding" sound and we all know what that means, right? Time for a brake job. Well, as chance would have it, I had been responding to the Lord's admonitions that my prayers were too generalized, that He wanted me to pray for specific things so for the previous 2 weeks or so I had been praying specifically about the front end on my car which has a wobble due to a bushing in need of replacement. And us with no money.

The next morning I had a small group meeting and when I backed out of the driveway and stepped on the brakes, there was that grinding sound again. As I circled the block the brakes made that horrible sound at every stop sign. Then I just sort of let God have it. I mean, He wanted me to pray for specific things so I was and it seemed that instead of solving the problem about the front end on my car He just gave me another problem to worry about. After that rather forceful and loud prayer the brakes were silent. No noise at all when I stepped on the brakes. Wonder of all wonders, I'd had a miracle!! Everything went along just fine until we went into the next county the other day to do our monthly shopping. We were just going along and I thought I should tell Michael about the miracle. (Come to find out he had no memory of the brakes making that noise when we came home from the concert.) I thought about jinxing myself and that perhaps I should keep it a secret. Then I thought, No, I need to give God the glory for this. Michael needs to know that God answered my prayer. So I told Michael about my miracle. Wouldn't you know it, the very next time I put on my brakes they made that awful grinding sound again.

So what am I to think? Do I believe in jinxes? No, but I'm sure tempted. Do I believe God answers prayers? Yes, I do. Do I think God gave me a miracle? I don't know. And that's where I'm stuck. I don't know what to think. I hope all of you will write me and let me know your take on this. What do you think??? I'm still praying for the front end on my car and have added to it the brake problem. And I'm waiting. Just waiting.

I know my faith is being tested over this. I just wish I knew what to think. What are we to think when God disappoints us, anyway? And I don't even know if I'm more upset over not getting my miracle or more upset over the fact that somehow we're going to have to beg, borrow, or steal (stealing is definitely out) the money to do these car repairs. We just don't have the money. Period. We are never going to have the money. So I will continue to pray. And I'll ask while I'm at it why He gave me a miracle only to take it back when I bragged on what He'd done. I mean look. We aren't asked to believe in a hocus pocus spooky god that isn't there. We are asked to believe in the one and only God, the great I AM, the everlasting God Almighty and either prayer works or it doesn't!! God says it works. Am I to believe Him? Do I believe Him? Yes and yes. I just don't understand. But I know that through this trial I will emerge more Christlike. That somehow this is refining me and making me more like my precious Lord. That the God who gave me a temporary miracle can give me a permanent one at any time. That this miracle making God is real and eager to answer my prayers. I wish I could peer behind the curtain and see what He's doing here in my life. But I can't. I just have to have faith. And it has to be real faith and not this gee-I-hope-pretty-please-let-me-have-my-own-way faith. So, what am I to think about all this? That my God reigns and He has promised to make me into the image of my Lord and Savior and I thank Him for that. I praise Him for working so openly in my life. And I thank Him for letting me question Him and His motives. I thank Him that doubt is not sin. I thank Him that I need not fear He's too busy for my prayers. And I will wait. For as long as it takes, I will wait.

My brakes have gone back to being silent again and I will take every silent day as an answer to my prayers. I believe in miracles and I believe in the God of miracles and I will be thankful that my God is intricately involved in my life. And I will praise Him every time I step on the brakes whether they grind or not. When I pray I align all the powers that be into the formation of obedience and faith and I will say thank you.


Well we are still shrouded in fog this morning. I didn't blog yesterday because I wasn't feeling very well. Just my sciatic acting up but it hurt to sit for any length of time so I decided to skip sitting at the computer. Anyway, we had rain early yesterday morning and then it cleared up. And then about 2:00 in the afternoon I saw this fog bank coming at us. It was just blowing across the road and it continued and thickened into a pea soup mixture of moisture and pollutants and the whole world turned gray. We rarely have fog up here in the foothills and we've never had fog blow in midafternoon like this one did. It's kind of spooky. I have to go out today and run some errands and I hope it lifts before then. It's not risky driving fog, though, just I-wish-it-were-clearer fog. Being raised down in the valley where they have real Fog with a capital F, this stuff doesn't even phase me except to make it a dreary day.

I hope to get my Christmas lights up today. I've been wanting to do it for several days now. I even have the box (carried in from the garage) sitting on my table. But every day there seems to be some reason not to put them up. It's not raining today so maybe we'll get to them. I have Christmas Moose in from the garage too and I have plans to get him set up and lights wrapped around him too. Then Christmas season will definitely be here. I got out my Santas the other day and put out my kitten nativity set on the coffee table. And that's about it for our household. I used to have more things but I gave them to my granddaughter to give her a start. My cats wouldn't leave anything alone. It was nothing to wake up and find everything on the floor. I'm sure they thought loving thoughts for their new toys as they massacred every decoration I so carefully put out. It's been a lot less stressful since I gave Christmas away. I still have the two Santas but one of them hangs on the wall and the other one they haven't found yet. I'm sure I'll have to pick him up off the floor more than once or twice before Christmas is over.

Well, I think that's about it for today. Hope you have a great one. Until tomorrow ...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back to Borrowing

Okay, that's it! My writing career was short and sweet and waaaaay too much work. I'm going back to borrowing from other writers. I just can't come up with something new everyday. I don't have the energy. I don't have what it takes. And it takes time. Lots and lots of time. Time I should be spending on my housework and my hubby, not to even mention my laundry. Time better spent reading Scripture and communing with the Lord. Everything I write, I write for God's glory. It doesn't matter for any other reason. I stayed true to my commitment on a few blogs but then I just flat out ran out of things to write about so I started borrowing again. It saved so much time. It seems that it takes me forever to think things up on my own. And I just don't have forever to spend on my blog. My own blogs were taking me hours to write and I just don't have that kind of time or energy anymore. I hope you will keep reading, as I feel the information I put out glorifies our Lord and Savior but I'll understand if you decide you don't want to read "warmed-over" devotionals. I try to pick ones I like and then from that I rewrite to my liking. I edit them, I change them, I add to them, and I subtract from them and turn out something of my own borrowed from other people, if that makes sense to you. What I do is take something someone else wrote, read it, then in long hand I write it all out in my own words. But I know that sometimes I'm borrowing from the original writer I just have no way of telling where I've borrowed and where I haven't. I've never tried to keep it a secret. I've always said I was "borrowing." But then I promised to write my own and I did for awhile. Until I just flat out ran out of time. Some of my devotionals have been originals that I wrote from start to finish, it's just that I can't do that day after day after day. I exhausted my Topical list and ran out of ideas. So anyway, as I've said before ... I borrow. It's just that periodically I feel I have to put in a disclaimer so people won't think my devotionals are all originals. As I said, some of them are but most of them aren't. I don't want people to think I'm this colossal writer when I'm really more like a reviser. I take something someone else wrote and twist it around, change it, adapt it, rewrite it into my own blog. I've tried to think of a way to tell you when it's original and when it's borrowed but the two are entirely too interwoven. It just takes me too long to write from scratch. Thinking is hard work! So I've gone back to borrowing. It's so much easier and it is still a worthwhile pursuit because it's all for God's glory anyway. I'm not getting anything out of it other than the satisfaction I get from churning out something that may not be original but it glorifies the Lord anyway. It doesn't matter how He's gloried. It only matters that He is. So as I said, I borrow! I don't have the time to spend on my blog so I'm just laying it all out here for you. I think my blog is still worth reading (that's why I continue to write it, rather than giving up on the entire thing like I was going to do sometime last week, or was it week before). Writing originals just takes more time than I have to devote to this project. I figure if you like reading my blog, it won't make any difference to you whether I borrow or not. I just wanted to make sure that everyone understood that, while a lot of what I write is original. I do borrow from other writers and at times I borrow heavily. I just don't want my readers to think I'm this terrific writer when I'm not. I always refer to them as things I write because I put so much into them but they are not 100 percent my own work. Okay now that I've got that straightened out I can go back to blogging tomorrow. But don't ask me whether something was original or borrowed because they get so twisted around sometimes that even I don't know which is which.

We did our shopping today so I didn't have time to blog. Just this quick disclaimer. I just got to worrying that people expected me to continue writing them from start to finish and I can't do that anymore. And I felt I had to write and tell my readers that I was going back to borrowing. I just couldn't keep up with the pace to produce originals.

See your tomorrow ...