Sunday, September 24, 2017

"And they overcame by the blood of the lamb and the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." {Revelation 12:11}

Did you know that your story matters to God? It also matters to the many people that will read it and be touched. John Eldredge, in the book "The Sacred Romance" shares from scripture how God has us on a magnificent journey, and if we follow Him, there will be drama, the unexpected, and great love revealed. The problem comes with us not knowing which way the journey will take us. This is what G.K.Chesterton is quoted as writing in "The Sacred Romance:" "The thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not except."

None of us wake up each morning and say, Oh great! What fiery trial will beset me today! We want everything in life to go along smoothly, and without resistance, but then we wouldn't recognize our need for our Savior. God, in His divine wisdom knows what calamities will show us what this world is all about, so that we draw near to Him. He takes no pleasure in suffering, because as a Good Father He would never place hardship on us in this way. If it produces fruit in our lives by teaching us a valuable lesson or causing us to grow in patience God declares it sandpaper to knock off our rough edges. He is more interested in our spiritual growth than our comfort.

Our verse today is a well known one, but several versions  use different words to explain the beginning.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

"Cast your cares on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. {Psalm 55:22}

Our verse today is rather well know. I tend to overlook the well-known because I know it.  I guess I'm overstating the obvious here, because what often occurs for me is the well-known slides off the plate of my understanding. It loses its effectiveness in my life because it becomes common to me.

I am glad for this verse from Psalm 55, and intend to allow it to bring fresh meaning to my heart. I can't even begin to tell you how many times it has brought peace and rest. I learned it from the King James Version, which reads, Cast your burden on the LORD, and He will sustain thee, he shall never allow the righteous to be moved."  The word care in the Oxford English Dictionary means "A feeling or cause for anxiety." The word burden from the same dictionary means ,"something carried or an obligation causing hardship." These words are similar, but not the same. It may seem like grasping for straws, but looking at these words from different perspectives can help us with understanding.

 The word burden gives us a heavy feeling, when care seems to be lighter. What is important to see here is that God cares for our feelings and our burdens! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end! No matter what your care, minute, or burden, huge it is under His banner of love. Song of Solomon 2:4 from the amplified Bible reads: "He brought me to His banqueting table and His banner over me is love {waving overhead to protect and comfort me."} I love the extra notes that the amplified gives us. Waving overhead, proclaiming victory and peace to us!

When I proclaim victory over my situation, especially when I don't feel it, my emotions follow victory. Some people may see this as being untruthful about my situation, when actually I am lining up with what God says about me. To think that The God over all creation cares about the smallest needs in my life! This is what I want to proclaim to a lost and dying world!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Hello Friends, hope you are having a good week, whatever that means. Our thoughts on what is good can be very objective. What one gal thinks is a good week may end being horrible to another! God has our good in mind all of the time. How many of us really believe this? I didn't feel like that when my Mom was in a coma, after falling in our house. She died three days after. How could this be good for me Lord? It didn't feel good, and some things in life just won't feel right.

What I couldn't see was the bitterness that was beginning to grab her heart. She was angry because we felt she shouldn't drive anymore for her safety. This is a typical conversation that siblings have when aging parents need changes. It is not one that the aging parent agrees with. Mom also needed a walker and she felt it wasn't necessary and with that, she let go of said walker, and hit her head on the floor. Mom was not the type of person who spoke about her feelings. It was a subject that was not discussed in the family setting, but when you live with a family member you can sense their anxiousness, or hostility.

My Mom's desire for life to go on as it always had is one that we can all relate to. Not many people look forward to being incompasitated later in life. Her quality of life would be greatly diminished in her estimation. When she fell, and died three days later, God was showing  both my Mom and I mercy for our relationship. We had a good time together, and when she was taken it was as if Jesus said, "You know Ann, let's allow you to remember Mom in a positive way." I understand this now, and I am grateful for His perfect timing. I didn't have to become the parent to my Mom, and tell her what to do. 

God's grace and mercy extend far into our lives when we need them. I am so glad that He doesn't do life the way I might think is right. In His mercy He doesn't allow me to go my own way. He sees what's ahead and wants to prepare us for greater blessings. I am so short sighted, selfish and impatient. His best is what I need to be healthy, well and prepared in every way. Petfection still evades me, but I am learning and so are you, I am sure!

Monday, September 18, 2017

When was the last time you were by the ocean? I have to say that I thought I would have more "ocean time" this year, but somehow it didn't happen. I had the pleasure of visiting the ocean in North Carolina with my sister, at Shell Island and at Topsail Island. These beaches are clean and the water is a light blue. They aren't crowded with people, or boardwalks, just natural sandy beach to walk and look at. Even in the hight of summer you can be alone and enjoy all that's around you. You have to get wet, because it is so hot!

Our New York beaches are not like this. The ocean is never warm, and the Sound is full of rocks. I don't mind the rocks when I wear beach shoes, but the rest of my family won't go with me. I think it's great to have a beach 10 minutes from my house. When I was in Elementary school my Father would take us to the local beach in the summer. He was a teacher so this was his time to get fit, so we were there 3-5 times a week. He used the summer beach experience to lose weight with swimming and my brother, sister and I had the best time ever. It was the happiest time of the year for our family.

When I am at the beach, looking up into the skies seems like the natural thing to do. I remember my husband's Aunt Connie saying when she moved out of New York City, that "the sky is so big out here!" Her sincerity made us laugh, and she was so cute! The sky didn't change, only her perspective did. She got to see more of the sky because nothing was blocking her view. Do you have something blocking your view? "The heavens declare the glory of God, because it goes on for ever. God, has no end and no beginning, and the skies tell us the same. One can only have this revelation at the beach, or on top of a mountain.

Whether you are at sea level, or high in the mountains, your comprehension of all the earth is one of awe and majesty. At these times, we see more of the reality heaven.Who is like our God, who can compare to His matchless grace and love? Do you know of any that can equal His divine wisdom and power? Can someone else create all out of nothing? You could spend all of your life looking, and all of your relatives after you for hundreds of years and come up with nothing. No one can match the one and only, sovereign, Holy, maker, creator, divine One.

Friday, September 15, 2017

"Regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic all purpose garment. Never be without it." Colossians 3:14  {MSG}

Suppose all that people saw of you were your spiritual gifts?  What if your outward appearance didn't show but only what was inside your heart? I would be so scared for others to see what is inside! I want to hide some anxious, bitter thoughts away because I may feel I deserve to hold on to them. Oh, I feel blah just writing about it!

Maybe you can remember a time when you were sure that you had conquered a certain fear, but it seems to have found its way back into your heart. I hate when that happens, but it may need just another nudge to leave you alone for good! God knows our hearts better than we do. Jeremiah 17:9-10 tells us that we don't know how wicked our own hearts can be, but God sees all and loves us anyway. God searches our hearts, and know our thoughts, and still He continues to work to get us free! He knows a little push here or there is what is necessary to release His unfailing mercies and truth in us.

How do we put on love as a garment? We choose love. We push away from anything else.We have a choice to walk in love or fear, or hatred. These emotions can be a stronghold on us, and may seem as if we cannot choose something else, but that is not the truth. "Whom the son sets free is free indeed." {John 8:36} Remember, it's not our strength but God's that we should rely on. How do rely on Him? We read His word, and if need be, take it as medicine. Our hearts are sick from sin, so he is the only remedy.

We are all tried by fire, to see what we are made of. At times we need to dig deep to find Jesus, because we have pushed Him away all too much. I for one can attest to this. Why don't I take Him at His word? I am learning, and so are you, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this. Fight for love to be the first thing to come out of your mouth!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
{Proverbs 31:3} NIV

I wish I could say that I painted these flowers, but I didn't. I can't take the credit for it, but it shows exactly what I feel in my heart. Bright colors, flowing lines, and subtle shades. These are not real, but I could imagine that some flowers arrangements look similar, but then there are real flowers that look fake. No matter what, flowers display a beauty that is heavenly.

The beauty of heaven can be seen all around us, although it is a faded view, a distant image of the reality that is beyond. It reminds me of the beauty in our faces, which some may see as fading, but I say it gets better with age. The wrinkles may not be welcome, but the wisdom that comes from being older is a wonder to behold! Most of us who are older, {which includes everyone, because we are older than we were yesterday,} understand the seasons of life as just that. We can't stop one time from flying into the next.

Most of us feel that our beauty was in the past, never to be restored. God is not one of us and He says that a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised, not the one who stands out in the crowd, not the one who has the right words at the right time. The best thing in God's estimate of life, are those who know their God. Plain and simple. I'm glad for that because I was never known for anything when I was young. I didn't stand out, and I felt left out, picked over sort of. I wasn't great at anything, especially school.

I didn't have a subject that I could look forward to because I really knew it well. What brought about tremendous change in me, was when I gave my life to God. It was as if someone turned my life into technicolor! Life seemed entirely different. I felt God's love all over me, and I knew I would not be the same again!I left behind my insecurities , but truthfully it took a while to work this one out. Doubt and fear began to fade, as I saw Jesus walk into every area that I allowed him into.  It isn't easy but it is worth everything!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

"Finally my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." {Ephesians 6:10}

Do you want to live on this private island, by yourself? Sometimes I think it might be nice, but not most of the time. We are social beings, especially if you are a woman. It's the way God intended for us to be. Otherwise who would ask for directions, find out what the neighbors are doing or make sure everyone has used the potty before a long trip? It's our way of relating to the world around us, and keeping our families safe. We have to be "in the know."

I don't mean we have to know about everything in a gossipy way. No, we need to know how to care for our loved ones, as Jesus cared for those around Him. He made known to His disciples what would be necessary so that they could please God, which is at the core of every person's soul, whether the person knows it or not. All of life's journey is about filling the inner absence of God. Those who know Jesus as their personal Savior has the void filled, but still there is a process of letting go of the old ways, and grabbing hold of the new.

We become stronger as we hold on tighter. As we push aside the temporal, and lay hold of the eternal we grow, and we let God do the work, which by the way, He already accomplished on the cross. Why do I go around and around, like Moses and the Israelites when all I have to do is rest? I think Moses was never more than a day's journey from the promised land, but the people were not ready to go in and take it over.

Sounds like a waste of time, but possessing the land took the strength of God in their hearts, which wasn't something most of them had grasped. The song goes like this, "It's not by might, nor by power but by my Spirit says the Lord of Hosts. It takes God's power to overcome the enemy. It takes God's power to change hearts. It takes God's power to bring us to the cross.

Do you see this bumblebee on this zinnia? It stayed there for two days. I thought I had to move quickly to take this picture before it moved, but not this time.Do you see the white picket fence? My husband wanted it so our children would have it as a memory from their childhood. My husband felt this memory was important. I felt a release of tension today as I passed a white picket fence that a neighbor put up recently. If it doesn't help anyone else, it was for me! I could laugh out loud!

Our childhood memories are important in who we become. They can mold us and shape us, for good or ill. I remember my Mom telling me that when I was in kindergarten the teacher told her  I would never be a reader. I wish she hadn't told me this, but later on when I far exceeded that professional opinion I gave all the glory to God. My husband was told at the age of 16 by a teacher  that he should drop out of High School, and look for a job. After 40 years as an Attorney , he is very glad he didn't listen to that advice.

Discerning God's direction and hearing His voice clearly comes after years of careful consideration.  His advise trumps every one else. Anything that comes from God is safe, and good for us. If it lines up with His word it will be what is best, but it might not make sense to us. We don't see all of the picture that He sees. We don't know how all the pieces fit together.

Another safety measure I try to use is to have a trusted friend, who knows the Lord, to bounce my thoughts off of. The Apostle Paul said, " Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. {2 Corinthians 13:1}Although this verse refers to legal matters, it still is true to confirm God's direction in our lives. We need each other, and God wants us to trust another who has wisdom and care. Not one of us can be an island unto ourselves. Many times a person close to us has a better perspective and understanding of any given situation. Be careful to only share with those who have your best interest at heart. Love and grace to you today, my sweet readers!

Friday, September 8, 2017

"We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.  {Psalm 66:12}

You might be saying to yourself, I remember seeing this picture recently, and yes you would be right. I felt it bears repeating! I love the beauty of the reflection in the water that adds depth to the scene. I take a lot of pictures, hoping for a few that will be worthy of my blog. This one speaks to me, in a way that I can relate to. We all need to be reminded how much Jesus cares, and wants to bring us to a place of richness.

I am not writing today to tell you that if you trust in God, He will give you a million dollars. The richness that God wants to give moves beyond the money realm. Although He is a good provider in the natural, we have to do the physical labor 99.9% of the time. The abundance that God is talking about has to do with our souls, our spirits. We go through hard times, whether it is financial, relational, or physical. In the magazine "Voice of the Martyrs" a 90 year old man continues to serve God even though he knew he would probably be put in jail, again. Most of us have no idea what that kind of hardship is about. My Pastor has said many times, "If you  are willing to live for Jesus, you will die for Him.

And we see much destruction these days from water. Hurricanes in Texas and Louisiana, have left thousands without homes. We don't know yet about Florida, or what will occur after that. A earthquake in Mexico just happened today, and my daughter tells me that her friends are talking about Christ's return being around the corner. I don't know God's timetable, but I do know that we have never seen the level of disregard for God and His ways that we see today.

What should we do with a pending date of Jesus' return? Continue as we are. Serve God as best you can and however He leads you. Pray for wisdom, strength for yourselves and family. The Bible tells us there will be two in the field, and one will be left. There will be two grinding grain, and suddenly one will be left. Share God's love and desire to save those who are lost. Ask God to pour His love upon you so that you can shine as a light, as a lighthouse for Him, and don't act surprised when He does it! Blessings my dear readers.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

"If you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed-"{ Matthew 17:20}

I'm planting tulips today because I want something pretty to look forward to in spring. Usually I have to wait until I plant flowers or for the hydrangea to bloom, which doesn't happen every year. I usually plant geraniums which you see in the picture. They are tried and true when it comes to plants. They are hardy, bloom all summer, and are vibrant colors. I wish I could be vibrant, bloom all season, and never wilt! Some days are not meant for vibrancy I have decided. I call these catch up days.

A catch up day usually occurs after a lot of busyness, or emotion. My husband will say to me at night, I can't stop thinking, I need to shut down my brain. In the middle of the night I can wake up and my brain kicks into action, when it isn't supposed to. This is when prayer works well. Rehearsing with God what ever we are feeling at the time can bring back rest. Trusting in His unfailing love brings peace.

Peace can be fleeting if you live in a household with teens. I might add that girl teens can be particularly emotional and flippant. Plans can change in a moment, they can be stable one minute, and crying the next. "What's wrong?" you say. "Oh nothing," they cry. O.K., then let's move on. "Don't you care about why I"m crying?"Men have a hard time understanding this. They are not the only ones. I know that my child will be fine. All girls come out of the "teen years", and move on to some concept of stability. I know this. I want it now!

I want my teen to understand everything, act like an adult, be courteous all the time, and not ask any questions about this. Nice for me, but she doesn't learn a thing. She needs to see Christ in me, so that she can be drawn to Him, even on those days when I don't feel like it. How do I do this. "I" get me out of the way. If I will lean on God, and take each step one at a time, He will come out. Our children start out smaller than a mustard seed, but with time, prayer and lots of coaching, caring , and love will glorify God beyond anything that we have ever been able to do.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

" In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." {John 1:1-2}

How can you not love a lighthouse? They are beacons of light but also hope and peace. When a weary sailors saw this relic, they would be jumping up and down for joy to see that land was ahead. A sailor would rejoice to know  that safety was only a light beam away. They aren't as important today, since they will only warn of rocks, but that is necessary for small boats without radar.

God's word is a beacon for our souls. It reveals who God is in the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.  Jesus saw His Father but we have only seen the son, but we are told that He is an exact representation of His Father in Hebrews 1:3."The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word."What an awe-inspiring description of Our Savior! Who but Jesus in the trinity, could speak the world into existence?

When we think of light we don't see it as God sees it. He is everything that is good, and we only know good on a limited basis. When we get to heaven we will be free from our earthly shells to experience light and life in a realm that we can't imagine now. How can we think about something beyond our five senses? We can't , but we can be sure that once we are there we will know all things.

Jesus, known in heaven and on earth, is the one who was with the Father from the beginning of time.  This same Jesus answers us when we call. He lives in our hearts when we become born- again. He have infinite wisdom, beyond that of Solomon, because He is the "I am" and gave this earthly king his abilities. No one has ever seen or heard of one like Him. He is matchless, supreme, flawless and alive. No words can describe one so radiant. Call upon Him today!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with my eye. " {Psalm 32:8}
Two lone sailboats out in the sea. Do they care that no one is around? No, I don't think so.  They probably want it to be that way; why else would they be so far from land? We all need some alone time in our lives. In the still, quiet place, we can hear God calling us by the name He has given us: Daughter.
God is so good to us. He could have said I will guide you with my hand, or my arm, but He has said, "with my eye." This declaration means that He is personal and concerned. His thoughts toward us are for our good. He is fully engaged because His gaze is upon those that He loves.Who does God love, honor and pour His grace on? Those who fear His name.

This concept called the fear of God has been examined, torn apart and pulled in all directions, but according to old testament language it simply means what it says. We fear Him because without His grace, we would all be swept away by sin. We would be wretched, evil beings without a bit of love within us.  "Every good and perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. {James 1:17}NKJV

This means everything that is good in our lives and in those outside of the faith. His passion for the lost reaches beyond those who love Him! Without this grace no one would be compelled to come to Him. The Bible so beautifully says that no one can come to God unless He first draws us, in our sin, our mess, our brokenness.  Who do you know that would love the drug addict, the drunkard, the hopeless like Jesus does? He is calling all that this world throws aside, plus everyone else.Do not delay in calling upon His name today.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that you have set the planets and stars in orbit. You have created all things for your pleasure. I don't think that I have bee pleasing to you recently. Please forgive me of my sin and regrets, and come dwell in me today by your Holy Spirit.
If you have prayed this prayer today, let me know and I would be happy to talk to you. E-mail me at Blessing and joy be yours today!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

If anyone lacks wisdom , let him ask of God who  gives generously without finding  fault and he will give it to you.  James 1:5

Wisdom is not a thing that you find most people talking about theses days. It is not on the list of top 100 words used in the U.S right now. In Solomon's day everyone was amazed by the wisdom that God bestowed on him. The Queen of Sheba was overwhelmed by all that Solomon knew and had aquired. Liz Curtis Higgs has a new book out that talks about this Queen. I haven't read it yet but I am curious about what Liz has to say. Liz is a lovely Christian woman who spoke at the conference I went to. She is best known for her humor, but she has a depth and love for God that I found unique. I can't recommend the book yet, but I am almost certain she has wonderful things for us. Liz will pull you in with her stories, and then say something so significant that you will remember it.

Solomon asked God for wisdom, and God was so happy to give it to him because it was a better request than others. God said he would give Solomon many riches because he didn't ask for anything for himself. Solomon lost his wisdom when things became more important than God, and women filled him with false ideas. Having everything is no replacement for the truth. He was the one man with everything except what mattered most. He couldn't find his way back to God with his money or women. Only God can make himself known to the human heart. Only God is worth giving our everything for.

Wisdom can mean many things to many people, but from a biblical construct it means what is important in relation to God and eternal values that He deems worthy. Jesus spoke from what He heard from His Father. He said " I only do what I see my Father doing." For us that looks like prayer and reading, studying the word of God. Fellowship with other believers is crucial to our wisdom too.

I cannot stress it enough! Read your Bible go to Bible Studies, spend time alone with God. If you give yourself  to these things you will be established on the rock. As I say this to you I say it double for me. Now is the time to get serious and move ahead. As time goes on, it may get harder for us if we don't do it now. The world is darker than it has ever been. Look to the heavens and  see His lovely face. You will never regret any time you give to God. Boldness and strength are wisdom for our day.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." { Romans 8:1}

A lighthouse up against the rocks. The rocks are a barrier in case the light isn't enough to keep boats from danger. The light is great for far away, but what if you are under the light?We should know better than to be under the rays of the light. If you crash into the rocks because you didn't heed the warning light, you can't be thinking clearly.

All of us think at some point in our lives that we can handle life without the warning light. What a poor choice! All of us have been made with a God- shaped vacuum inside our hearts. Our God is not a crutch as some might think, but the Lord God Almighty, who declares "Let there be light," and the sun shone for the very first time. Our Lord and Savior is the one and only who declared the oceans and skies into existence. He holds all the world in just the right place, the right angle from the sun so that it does not burn up the land.

When we step out of God's covering, we can burn up, change direction and fall into destruction, just like the boat that decides it doesn't need the light. Why does our scripture for today tell us that there is no condemnation? We need to hear this! We condemn ourselves all too often. Forget about your neighbor spewing out negative remarks, our own hearts can do a good job of this, at least that was my life for far too long. We are speaking about those who walk in the Spirit, not others who are outside Christ. The enemy will try to shame us into thinking any wrong-doing will cancel us out of God's love and affection.

Our own wicked hearts need to be restored, and made clean, and that is where discipleship comes in. We never grow out of our need to follow close behind our Lord Jesus. Some may want to point out our every wrong, and sham us for it, but not God. He uses His rolling pin to work us over and over again until we are ready for use. He doesn't have to say much, but he uses our circumstances to speak volumes. "Come along now, my child, this is necessary. You must be made whole. Listen to my word, one step, one day at a time." Every day is important in the process of making us whole. One day we realize, that we no longer think negative thoughts about ourselves, and we receive God's love more readily. We don't see the dailiness of restoration, but the Spirit of God is at work, rolling us, mending us working in us!

Monday, August 28, 2017

 When I was a teen, I longed for stability, but I had no idea what strength like that looked like. Then I came to know the Lord. It seemed as if I immediately gained strength, and my grades in school showed it. I was no longer riddled with fear, but it was still a hinderance in my life.
When  someone would mention fear, a myriad of thoughts hit my mind.  sometimes it was just that sick feeling in the bottom of my stomach.

I attended Dowling College, and I didn't know anyone. There were a few students from High School that I said hi to, but not much of anything else. While I was becoming acclimated to the campus, a guy comes up to me and starts talking. We made some light conversation and that was it. He looked for me after that, every day. I could not get rid of him. No matter what I said, he wanted to talk more. Later I found out that being rejected by a girl can cause some guys to a challenge of the pursuit. Oh, great. Now I was not only getting used to college, I had a cling-on, who was very persistent.

He was more that just persistent. He found my phone number in the school records, and called me at home. This was now more than weird. I was afraid, but somehow I found out that the school nurse was a christian, and went to see her. She knew who this guy was and she gave me some very good advice. She said,"Do not cast your pearls before swine." Matthew 7:6  I certainly wanted no part of that! I wanted to be a good godly witness, and bring him to the Lord. He wasn't interested.

I was a young 18 year old who wanted to be nice to everyone. I learned that not everyone should gain my attention, and certainly not everyone should be in my face! Fear led me to leave the college the following year, and God used that in my life anyway. I can't believe how naive I was! Looking back I should have gone to the school authorities and had him arrested for stalking. As a young person, I would never do that to someone. It never crossed my mind. We didn't even know what a stalker was in 1977?  My point is, look back to see how far you have come, never to judge how foolish you were. Fear can take sound thinking from us, and wisdom can be shut out. Don't allow it to trap you into a corner. There is always a way out! God, who is the master planner knows before any situation happens how to lead us to greener pastures.

Friday, August 25, 2017

"Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you"  { 2 Corinthians 13:11}  NIV

We are at the end of the week already! I love this farm scene and especially the sunflowers. When we lived in our first house, we had a lot of sun, and these flowers were growing along the fence. They were huge, and moved with the sun throughout the day. By night, their faces were over the fence, facing the west. It was a pretty sight.

This verse is so important for us today as it was when it was written. "Strive for full restoration." This means that there must have been some rift or separation that the church of Corinth needed to work on. All of us can remember a time when this happened in their family or in the workplace. Full restoration is what is on the heart of the Lord for every one of us. Sometimes this won't happen until heaven, but most of us have work to do in some area with someone.

What is encouraging in this verse is that when we give all that we can to restore relationships, God is pleased, and showers down His love and peace. This is not easy, especially if those in the middle of a problem live under the same roof. I suppose all of us can say amen to that. This is why we need God's counsel at every step. We pray for wisdom, we ask Him to intervene. We watch and wait.

Ask The Lord to send someone that you can share with, and pray with. Don't try to resolve conflict when you are tired or sick. Your thoughts can be hampered by these things. Try not to allow emotions to get out of control. Nothing is too big that God can't handle. Keep this thought in mind, this may seem overwhelming at the moment, but God has a plan, just ask Him! If no answer comes, trust God anyway.  It is what we are called to as believers. He cares about you, and the other guy!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

" I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of the horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.

Nothing establishes us spiritually like prayer.We can read the scriptures, memorize and meditate, but prayer is the cement that holds the word in our hearts. I like to start my day with prayer, but I am not good about being the first one up in the morning.This is where the trouble begins. I can get side-tracked and off on many tangents. This morning I went to my room to be alone and my plan was to shampoo the carpets upstairs after I finished.

Can you see how I got off track? I started picking up small tables, clothing and other articles while I was in prayer. This can be a terrible mistake for me. I know that we can pray while we are doing chores, or cleaning, but this was supposed to be just Jesus, and I. I realized my dilemma, and fixed it immediately.Why do I choose the mundane over the eternal? Mostly because the mundane is staring me in the face!

Our verses today tell us to be patient; this is a character trait that can always get better with use. God is not on my schedule, nor does He always care what activity I am up to when He calls me to seek Him. I realize that the cleaning will always be there, but my time in His presence, and my relationship with Him comes first. He is faithful to hear my cry, and I want nothing other than to follow Him, but this means laying down my urgent plans, for the eternal. I am growing in these traits and I'm pretty sure that you are too.

Nothing that I do in a day will be done well if I don't lay down my heart before Him first. The chores will be done, but my attitude can be off. I may not have a song in my heart, which helps me to do those everyday continuous chores. Meditating on the Lord makes the time fly, and I don't focus on the activity at hand. Will the carpet be cleaned today, yes, will I sing, I hope so!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

"How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel.  {Psalm 78:40-41}

Slowly but surely, I am learning about graphics. Please be patient with me, I know I will be able to make it work. This is a shot from Shelter Island, a seemingly remote place while only being a few minutes from Greenport, Long Island. The pace is slower, the architecture is from the 1920's in some places. A nice place to visit: quiet and picturesque.

This quiet place has nothing to do with the tension of our verses for the day, except that our friends the Israelites may have wished they were there. Their own choices made life miserable for them. How did the Israelites provoke God? They forsook God's way and went on their own. This truth makes me shiver inside. How many times have I thought I could do the same? I hate to admit it, but all too many times.

My husband and I have been negligent when it comes to our youngest child's behavior. I remember feeling that God wanted me to take her phone away because of inappropriate speech, and a haughty attitude. I didn't. Every time I let it go, it only made her attitude worse. She became more defiant, and less concerned for other family members. It finally came to a head, and her phone was taken away for a lot longer than she ever thought. Other family members got involved, and it became a major conflict, when I could have kept it to a mild roar.

The problem is when we do our own thing, we limit God and what He wants to do in the situation. Instead of having a teen who would be respectful and considerate, I had a daughter who for far too long, got away with defiance. It upset me every day. It got blown out of proportion, when I could have resolved it many times in the past. Why hadn't I done the right thing in the first place? It was inconvenient, it would upset her. Wrong motives on my part. Listening to the small things in the first place, gives us freedom in the end. Blessings and love to you.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

"So what do we do? Keep on sinning so God can keep on forgiving? I should hope not! If we've left the country where sin is sovereign how can we still live in our old house there? Or didn't you realize we packed up and left there for good? That is what happened in baptism. When we went under the water, we left the old country of sin behind; when we came up out of the water, we entered into the new country of grace- a new life in a new land!"    {Romans 1:1-3} MSG

I realize that these verses are a lot for one day, but just hang on, and I'll try to explain. I love the way Paul describes leaving sin as leaving a country. It is from The Message Bible, and so it is paraphrased more so than other versions, but it clarifies what Paul is saying in a way that I can understand. I think you probably can say the same about it. It works well along side the New King James, or the New International Bible.

WE have left the country of sin in baptism. The water is a symbol of the washing of the Holy Spirit. Nothing happens here that is out of the ordinary, because it only happens when faith is in the heart. God looks at the heart. Our motives are what motivates Him to move on our behalf. {Look at King Solomon  yesterday. God blessed him over and beyond what he asked because God knew his heart.} Is your heart filled with thankfulness, even when your life is upside down? Do you trust God when the bills aren't paid, or the car breaks down?

Is God faithful when life gets tough, or does he run out the back door? No, these are the times when we see God more clearly than ever before. These verses give us a clear picture of the books of the Law,  Exodus and Deuteronomy, because the Israelites walked out of the land of bondage representing sin, to the land, of wholeness where sin is atoned for. Out of Egypt, and into the Promised Land, a land flowing with milk and honey. What they didn't plan on were the giants in the land, that fought them before they could rule.

In Christ, we are in the Land flowing with milk and honey. He has taken our sin, and our place before God, by dying in our place and cleaning us from all unrighteousness. Why then do we contend with sin? We are in the church age, and we still live in a fallen world.  Although sin has no victory over us, it is all around us, and calls us to come back to its country. We are not perfect, and can fall into the ploys of the enemy. WE, are a work in progress, still becoming more like Christ. Sometimes I am left flat footed, and the enemy ambushes me, and I never saw it coming, but this is a new land, one of grace, and He finds me here. I am safe, and forgiven.

Monday, August 21, 2017

                                                                                                               August 21, 2017

Hello my on-line friends! I want to tell you about my friend Solomon today. Most of you have heard of him from 1 Kings 3. This is verse 3:" Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed and burned incense at the high places."I find this strange because Solomon loving the Lord, would mean he would never go to the high places, and not ever offer to God there. Scripture in Deuteronomy is clear when God spoke to Moses that the high place, being a place for pagan gods to be worshipped, was not an acceptable place for Him to be worshipped.

Worship to the one True God, should never be mixed with a place where false, bondage- causing worship would be given! Isn't the One and Only, God of the entire universe, and those beyond be worshipped in the right way? Why would Solomon compromise like this, and what influences were part of his life? If we look at the first verse in this chapter, we learn that Solomon had already married the Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter. Don't you think this choice could be flooding his mind with compromise?

We are not given much information about Pharaoh's daughter, but even if she had converted to worshipping the God of the Israelites, she would have come into this union with additional baggage.
Living in Egypt all of her life until now, had to influenced her life. We know from chapter 11 of 1 Kings that Solomon changes his mind because it is said of him, "But King Solomon loved many foreign women."Oh Solomon, how I wish I could be there to tell you not to go this way! Please don't make the same mistakes other Kings of Israel had made! Isn't it true, if we are honest with ourselves, that we have made life decisions that have changed us and our families?

What can I do? Even if I was able to go back in time, and warn the King, he probably wouldn't listen to me anyway. The best I can do right now in 2017 is watch my own life, for compromise.  I can see little decisions of my past that turned in monsters in my life later on.The body of Christ is in place for this very thing! We need to be able to speak to a believing brother or sister of footholds in their lives. We should not take offense if a loving, caring person tries to correct us. We are to make wise decisions, and if someone who truly cares for us, wants to help, we need to consider what is said. Not everyone in our lives fits into this very special category. Pray about who may fit into your life in this way, and then stomp on the devil's foot, and close the door to him. Blessings and love.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

And Solomon loved the Lord, walking in the statutes of his father David, except that he sacrificed  and burned incense at the high places. 1 Kings 3:2

How are you this sunny day? I hope you have something special planned for this weekend since our summer weekends are dwindling down. Today we are visiting friends on Shelter Island.This is a once a year trip so we look forward to it every year. Life on Shelter Island seems to take us back 50 years. Many of the homes are 100 years old, but have been restored to their former glory. If you ever get a chance to go there, take it! Drive to Greenport, on the north shore of Long Island, take the ferry and you will be amazed at how quiet life is there!

I have been very occupied this week with my daughter Rachel home until Friday, and writing for a Bible study app that I may be hired to do on a regular basis. My husband asked me to write a letter as well, so I have not forgotten all of you my friends in all of this. I want to share a little about this Bible lesson that I am working on. The verse for today is what I am using,  and is about KingSolomon. The whole time that I am writing about this chapter I want to yell at Sol, "Don't do that any more, you are putting the entire nation in jeopardy.! Don't you know that this is forbidden! What exactly do I mean? Offering sacrifices to God on the high places. Pagan gods are worshiped there. Doesn't  the Lord God Almighty deserve to be  worshiped  in the right way? How can Our King  the leader of all of Israel lead God's people with such actions. He is far from perfect, but then again so am I.

There are a lot of unanswered questions here, so we can't come to any conclusions. All of God's word leads us to the same conclusion. Man is fallen , sinful and left to his own devices he will self destruct. All of his wonderful word leads to our need for a Savior. Solomon probably thought that he was loving God and walking in His ways. Compromise came in and a wife who was Pharoah 's daughter. Not at all what God had planned for him. How does this apply to our lives? It displays a life that opened itself to compromise, which gave the enemy a foothold and led to Solomon's demise.We can glean much from this. I have been sobered as I have studied his life. The man known for wisdom was an unwise King. I have to be honest with you, I don't know if You or I could have made any better choices.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Water on a hot day; there is nothing like it! As we are in the midst of August, I hope you have had a chance to get wet, and enjoy the beach, or pool.When I was young, we went to the beach quite often. When we couldn't go, the lawn sprinkler made for perfect enjoyment. Seeing life through a child's eyes makes for a lot of fun.

A child doesn't see all of the pitfalls or negatives to having fun, which is why adults are always watchful and careful on their behalf.  I remember playing in the dirt with the water. We made rivers and lakes streams and roads. This meant digging deeper into the soil. We have the same need when it comes to God's word. Our initial glance doesn't need to make sense. When we glean all the goodness from the original language and commentaries, we can see a clear picture of what God intends for us.

We are far removed from the culture of the Bible, and we see things through the lens of our knowledge and standards. What if we were able to go back and experience what life was like then?As women, we would be property of our husbands, or male relatives. We wouldn't be allowed to own property. Our only purpose would to be birth children, and care for them, which in and of itself is a good thing, but it doesn't define us.

Whether we like it or not, we can trust God that we've been born for the right time and generation. Every generation has had good and bad aspects, and His purposes will come to pass in the lives of christians who look to Him, and obey His statutes, whether we understand everything or not. I for one, do not understand many things, but I am learning. I can live with this truth. I once thought that I knew many things, but I have learned that the older I get the less I know. How about you?

Monday, August 14, 2017

Lily Pads are not something that I ever see, but at Longwood Gardens they have a display that is unsurpassed. Some of these pads can hold a 40 pound child! This tranquil display is covered with people, but quiet at the same time, almost like the library. No one has said "You need to be quiet!" The surroundings almost dictate a calm, and so quietness is all around!

It seems silly to say that quietness is felt in a particular place, but it is there, or is it in my soul? I think the Bible would say that it is in my soul. A quietness that comes from the spirit of God, as I ponder His greatness, in the tranquil scene. If I got close enough and blocked out everything else, I could think that I was not in a large garden, but somewhere alone with God. Even the picture gives us a similar feeling. All is right with the world! "Taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who trusts in Him."{Psalm 34:8} NKJV

No wonder God met people in the garden! It seems to speak His language. Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray before He was taken by the people. Adam the first man was placed in a garden, and God met with Him there. It is no coincidence that the first man and the last man, Christ,  found God's presence in a garden. I feel as if nothing is near me in a garden. Building and the hustle of a city life may be only steps away, but I can close all that out, and talk to Jesus there.

I hope you can feel this tranquility too. What if you say to me, "Ann, I don't know what you mean?"
I want to be clear, God is not what He created, but much more than the creation itself. These creations point to the Lord and display His Majesty. They are a tiny picture of the true, real place where Jesus is. The heavenly place that he has prepared for those who love Him, and declare Him Lord over All!

Friday, August 11, 2017

"So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep doing it."  {1 Thessalonians 5:11}  MSG

Think about a time in your life when you felt alone, venerable, or fearful. Did you know that there was hope and strength available for you at any moment?  You probably weren't sure of help at the moment, no matter how many Bible verses you had memorized. We all can get overwhelmed with lies when we are caught at an awkward moment.

I was anxious recently coming home from a visit with my sister in North Carolina. My allergies had my head feeling like a a lead bowling ball and all I wanted to do was curl up somewhere safe and cool and take a nap. None of these options were possible and what I had to do was quite the opposite.  I had to get on a plane and go home to New York. I was scared that my head would burst under the pressure.

I prayed the entire trip, and God met me as He so often has. I arrived with my head feeling cloggy, but in one piece. Our verse for today is so important in regard to encouragement. My husband had been praying and encouraging me as He is in the habit of doing. Hope is an all-consuming truth for a Christian! Prayer is an all-consuming spiritual habit! It removes us from the everyday, mundane life of this world, and brings us higher, above the blindspots in our way. Physical pain can be a road block for me seeing God's truth.

I am on the road of learning to trust God even in physical pain. I love that 1 Thessalonians speaks about everyone included. "Encourage one another and build each other up. {1Thessalonians 5:11} In the NKJV. Keep this verse close to your heart. It is so important! How many times I have forgotten, and spoken angry, hurtful words. Help me Lord, and my dear friends reading, to build each other up. Our time with one another is never promised. Live, and speak as if your time is short. Love one another as if you won't see each other for a long time. May this help us to choose our words carefully Amen.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

" Immediately he went to Jesus and said, 'Greeting Rabbi!' And kissed Him. But Jesus said to him, 'Friend, why have you come?' Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took him." {Matthew 26: 49-50}

Have you ever doubted a friend's motive for being your friend? Have you ever thought something wasn't quite right? A friend just didn't like you back as you liked them? I have. I remember thinking  as a child that I had to buy a friend a gift, otherwise they might not stay my friend. I was insecure in most relationships, because I didn't feel anyone would like me. What did I have to offer them?

To my surprise, I had friends who really did like me, and still like me after all these years! Praise God, for His love for me ,and for all of us who have been unsure of ourselves. I 'm pretty sure this includes all of us. Can you say amen?

Our greeter in this scripture above had purely selfish motives in greeting Jesus. He wasn't proud to be Jesus' friend , he was a robber and Jesus knew everything ungodly and evil thing about Judas. The kiss was one of defiance, and came from a cold blatant heart. There was no love or friendship in it. All of a sudden, Jesus is left with angry people wanting to kill him. A minute earlier the scene wasn't so serious, but Jesus knows that His time has come.

Jesus asks Judas why he has come. Jesus knew exactly what Judas was doing. Jesus exclaims in verse 56, "But all this has taken place in order that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." No malice was found in Jesus. He knew that His Father had all power and authority, and that Judas was only a pawn from the devil's hand. What had to be ,would come to pass, and the rest is History, or as some might call it, His story. Blessings.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

"Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom."  {Psalm 48:1} NIV

Can you imagine the greatness of the Lord? It is comparable to trying to think about the end of the sky; it just continues on without any end that we can comprehend. According to Luke1:33, speaking of Jesus- "And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." These words were spoken by the Angel Gabriel to Mary when she first found out about Jesus being formed within her. Mary felt the greatness of God, after the Angel told her to not be afraid.

I think one of God's greatest qualities is His ability to identify with humans and know our frailties. In all of His awesomeness, He can still come to our level and tell Mary not to fear. She probably had never seen anything like Gabriel before! Most depictions of Angels in scripture describe them as immense creatures towering over the buildings! Maybe he was the normal size of a man; why would she be afraid? The heavenly glow that surrounded him must have been impressive!

The Most High over all the earth, in all greatness and glory, still bent down to our level to quietly paint a flower, many of them in fact. These simple signs of His gracefulness, and vivid beauty could never come close to the beauty of who He is. A simple indication of His presence, and the reality of who He is! The Creator, who even thinks of the smallest detail to point to Himself!

No one else could paint the sky with wisps of white and blue. How many days has He done this, too many to count, and still not one sky is like the other. Soon we will see Him come in the clouds and every eye shall see Him! {Revelation 1:7} With our abilities to see events as they happen through the use of T.V. and cell phones this is now possible. And we wait, we wait for you. For you are coming soon!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

 We never stop learning, and growing, especially as we seek after God and His ways. When we have a thankful heart towards the Lord we tend to not allow the small everyday things get to be big things.
It all depends on our focus. Where we look determines what we see. Do we see all the good God has given us, or do we see the problems, and situations that are less than perfect?

God uses the small things, the big things and everything in between to mold us if we let Him have His way. This is where the rubber meets the road. This is where we determine if we will give God control, or not. It can be a split second decision. Sometimes we might not even be aware of it, at all. Our willingness to yield to God is directly linked to our trust of Him.

The more trust we develop in the faithfulness of Jesus, the more we relax in His arms. Relaxation in His arms leads to us hearing from Him, and peace overcomes our worries, fears and anxieties. Faith is developed over time, as we see Him move in our lives, answer prayer and do what only He can do!
If we had a DVD of all that God has done for us, a behind the scenes perspective of his workings, we would be blown away with the revelation.

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning ; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I will hope in him."   {Lamentations 3:22-24}

Thursday, August 3, 2017


"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but do justice, and to love kindness{mercy} and to walk humbly with thy God?  {Micah 6:8} ESV

My very good friend has just become a Mena, which is Italian for Grandmother! What a joy for her, and her family. Her daughter can't stop looking at her brand new baby boy! A baby seems to never come, and once they arrive we are mesmerized by their presence. What a miracle they are, and what a joy to be a mother!

This joy I speak of can be hard to find, after the childhood stage turns into the teenage stage. I once was told that small children, bring small problems. Big children bring big problems. It can become overwhelming to see a perfectly good child enter into "the ways of the teen"!! They enter that never to be seem again zone, and you wonder if they will make it through, and if they do, what they will be like on the "other side." This morphing needs a lot of prayer, and I do mean a lot.

It can be scary for the teen as well. All of of sudden emotions rise that never had before, and the perfectly respectable kid becomes like a zombie, and you think , whose child is this anyway? They are thinking the same thing, or they are feeling unsure of who they were in the first place. Change is a challenge, and in our society it comes with many outside voices screaming their names.

 My generation had tv, and we only watched that for a certain amount of time each day. Todays kids are able to access anything from social media to tv, and much worse. This really scares me. The models who tell our girls how to live and what make-up to wear, and what clothes they need.

Our verse for today expresses God's desire for us, as His people. We don't need to look any further to know His heart and mind. This is what is good: Do that and live! Who cares what so and so on the internet says. Live a just life, by doing what's good for those around you and those who you come in contact with. Kindness, and mercy as it reads in the NKJ version. Look to bless others, go out of your way for a stranger, give to those in need. Walk humbly? All you need to accomplish this is to see Jesus as you read His word. He is the embodiment of humility.We have no better example on the face of this earth!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

"When the day of pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting."    {Acts 2:1-2} 

Isn't this a stunning fountain! It reminds me of Italy, with its delicate curves, terraced layers, and petite design. If I were to purchase a fountain this would be it, but it is missing a important component. What is a fountain, without water? Just some cleverly designed cement that looks pretty. The main reason for its being is to show off the beauty of nature.

Fountains, and water mainly always draw me, because my mouth is always dry from antihistamines and decongestants. Oh! how good it can feel to have a cool cup of water when my throat is dry! How about on a hot day? Do you focus on getting water to quench your thirst? Of course!

What about our thirst for the living water? God's word is a river of life to our whole being because it  fills our heart with truth which gives us peace and rest. When our souls are at peace, every other part of us can rest. It reminds me of the old adage, "If Momma ain't happy nobody's happy."

The Holy Spirit is water to our souls. All the wrinkles of our day are smoothed out when we allow the river of God's love to flow. We can start to feel his life -giving power come back to us. It is the cool water that flows from the top of our heads all the way to our toes. All of a sudden those hassles at work fade into the background. Those frustrations of the day don't seem to be our focus, and we see his sweet face smiling down on us.

"Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly dove, Stay right here with us, filling us with your love. And for each blessing, we lift our hearts and say, without a doubt we know that we have been revived, when we shall leave this place." By E. Dewey Smith Jr.

Monday, July 31, 2017

"The Lord reigns; Let the peoples tremble! He dwells between the cherubim; Let the earth be moved! The Lord is great in Zion, And He is high above all the peoples.    {Psalm 99:1-2}

What can we say when we serve such a wonderful God? Music says it perfectly! Music was created for us to worship God, until the worship leader went south. Satan thought himself more glorious than God, and decided to change the very essence of music in heaven. Fortunately he didn't get very far. He has influenced music on earth however. We have seen the ravages of sin and death from these venues.

I can so identify with music bursting out from inside of me. It is such an incredible way to communicate a feeling, emotion, and thought. I have always been a music fan, and when I was a child I would dance freely whenever it played. Have I forgotten that joy from within? No. My dancing is only for the Lord to see, because I don't want any of you laughing!

He understands exactly what I mean when I am moved to the melody, or sing out loud. You don't need to see this, but I need to do it. Worship is meant to move all of our being, not just our mouths. It is so beyond comparison to know the God of the Universe, how can I keep it inside? I hope you have let it out too! Our hearts are not meant to hold this inside. Let there be an outburst of your soul!

Friday, July 28, 2017

"All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him down the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went his way.  {Luke 4:28-30}

Right about now I'm thinking to myself, why do I save pens that don't write. I want to write my thoughts so badly. I just found one to put down something unusual for me. I want to share with you a current event that is happening now as I write. President Trump, the current President of the United States is about 10 miles from here speaking about our gang trouble. Yikes, what gang trouble?

Why am I not thinking about this more often, why am I not concerned? My son and husband both attend court daily as a course of business.They tell me all the time about these things. Why doesn't it affect me? It does. I go to prayer. I have been organizing a group in our church for about 21/2 years that has been pressing in to God about our Island and revival here! This has led me to believe that you are either safe in God, or your are not safe at all. Sometimes before God can move things get worse, but that just gives him the glory!

In Luke chapter 4, we see Jesus speaking in the synagogue. The anger of the group caused them to want to kill him. Jesus went unnoticed, through the group and fled. He wasn't scared or fearful, but moved away from what was deadly. I wish I could say that this will happen to us every time, but it won't. We go through hard times, and their are dangers everywhere.

I don't want fear to run my life, and I believe you don't want it in your life either. Jesus said, "In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer for I have overcome the world."There is this thing called wisdom that Proverbs reminds us of often. It means that we do all that we can to stay away from evil. Its important! Meanwhile, we pray for those severely troubled individuals who are violent and evil. Love to all.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I have to deal with this situation immediately! How many of you have said this to yourself? A child is spilling yellow food coloring onto his brother all around your kitchen! Another one is spraying Lysol  into the other's face! This didn't happen years ago, but just a few days ago. What is going through their heads? Any thought processes at all tonight?

I guess the brain is shut down after work. My husband tells me this all the time, especially on Friday nights. Rudy doesn't want to think, just veg out in front of the HGTV screen. I can understand this; I'm pretty tired too after a day of laundry, cleaning and cooking. I do manage to have thought processes though, because someone has to! Imagine if none of us were coherent?

It is just like our God! He provides in ways that we never imagine He would. This reminds me of the watchmen on the wall in Nehemiah. He worked for the King of Persia, as a wine taster because in those days Kings couldn't be too carful! This was a high honor! Nehemiah was a captive from Israel, and he wanted to restore Jerusalem to its original beauty. The wall around the city had to be rebuilt since it was almost totally ruined. The favor of the Lord was on Nehemiah and when the King saw how upset he was he told Nehemiah to go and build.

"Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other they held a weapon. {Nehemiah 4:17} Just after this Nehemiah said that the one who blew the trumpet was right next to him. Others were not in agreement with the building of the wall, and they did't want Israel to prosper again. If the trumpet blew, the people knew that the enemy was approaching. You know, you can't stop the work of God from happening. These people worked hard day and night to keep everyone safe, and to see God's city restored. They were on their toes, aware of the danger that lurked in the darkness.

Are you on your toes, keeping watch over your family? Prayer is essential to safety and wholeness. Our enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy, but Our God restores hearts, and lives by His mighty power. Be the watchwomen on the wall, and stay alert!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.     {James 3:16 -17}

I can remember many times when I only thought about me, myself and I. Before I knew the Lord it seems that I was consumed with me, but I didn't trust me either!  My foundation was rather shaky to say the least.  My desire to have a firm foundation lead me to Jesus!

There is no order when we think only about self. Happiness is elusive because this only comes when we are others oriented. Philippians 2:3 says, " Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself.

This was an outrageous statement to my flesh. When I first got saved this seemed to be unattainable, unrealistic, and just all wrong! It took many years for me to see the truth in it. Then it took even longer for it to be worked out in my life. The more I look at Jesus, the better I was able to apply it, because His unfailing love had me in the most stable environment. Taking our eyes off of self opens a whole new world to the believer, and the joy is endless.

This new way of living freed me to see others as better than myself, but not superior. God sees us all as the same, but when we make people a priority it all falls into a healthy focus. I am free to give, because I have allowed Him to freely give to me. My needs a met, so the overflow goes to whomever He puts in my path. Be free today to pour out His love on those who come along to you!

Monday, July 24, 2017

I don't know where to begin! I have so many good ideas, thoughts and plans whirling around in my head right now. I came home yesterday from the "She Speaks" Conference that was held in Concord North Carolina, and I need a few days to process all that I heard. The most important thread of information that every speaker made perfectly clear is that Jesus is Lord! There are no celebrities or famous christians. We are all the same.

This means a lot coming from well-known names like Chrystal Evans Hurst, and Liz Curtis Higgs.What they all had in common was that it is all about the Kingdom of God, not our kingdoms, not our plans but the plans that He established from the beginning of time. What a beautiful truth! This bring peace to me, and to you too, I hope. He already knows what will happen in our lives today, tomorrow and the next. Knowing that He loves me, and has my best interests at the center of His will for me brings calm, joy, and rest.

I do not call my blog whole hearted lady because I think I have everything all together. No, just the opposite. It is not me, but Jesus that pens these words. I have nothing to give anyone that will bless them or give them peace, but it is only because I follow close behind my Savior that you would ever want to read a thing that I write.

Striving ceases at the foot of the cross. Mercy flows as a continuous river. Love pours down as a scarlet stream, never loosing it redemptive ability. We fall down, we lay our crowns at the feet of Jesus. {Chris Tomlin, We Fall Down} He is always there- with arms outstretched, ready for us to enter. What was He thinking! Allowing the throng to take Him to the cross? He was thinking of you and me.Why? Why would He do this? We were the ones who needed Him to take our place. He calls us His Beloved.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sorry this picture is on an angle. I guess I didn't hold the camera straight. This is Wilmington North Carolina, where my sister Allison lives. These old shops are so cute, bringing back memories when people shopped up and down Main St.. This market was closed when I took this picture, otherwise I would have gone in. Italian food is hard to find in this area, but you can find some good places. Lots of New Yorkers have moved to this city, so they are leaving their mark.

When I was growing up, I thought every one of my classmates were from an Italian family. I thought that we were the only outsiders. When I entered Middle School, I met some Irish and Jewish friends, but I was still convinced that the Italians held up Long Island. By High School I knew of other cultures, but still wanted to be Italian.

When I met my husband and he brought me home, I found that his mother was Irish and Polish, and she knew a little about Italian cooking from her mother in law who had long since gone.What was a girl to do? My sister learned to make sauce from a La Rosa family member, who were a major pasta company for many years. Alright, now I can make sauce!  It has taken many years to perfect, and then Mama Lombardi bottled her sauce and sent it to Costco!

My family likes it better, so I guess I will go back to being Ann Migliore,  the christian , the wife, mother, writer, dog keeper and anything else that fits. I'm fine, I have learned to adapt, and be the girl from America as my mother used to say.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

See the places where the ground is bare? That is where my flowers used to be. This is the work of moles! They go underground, and steal my plants by pulling them down by the roots. My dog got one of them, but I know there are more. Every year this happens to me, and every year I forget , or think,"that won't happen again!" It does though.

Why do I just believe that this won't happen, and allow it again and again! I can see this in my life when I speak to my children. I say the same thing over and over, but they don't move until I apply the pressure! You know, I have taught them to do that, not on purpose, but they know from past experiences that I won't "apply pressure" until x amount of times.

It works with wounds, we can't stop the blood flow until we push into a cut area. I wouldn't wait long at all if I saw one of my children bleeding profusely, I would take immediate action! Our enemy the devil knows how much we will take from him before we say"enough is enough!" Do I tend to wait and let him have some ground into my victories before I say, Get lost, Creep! You know he will test us every time we declare victory to see if we really mean it.

Don't give him the time of day! He is a defeated foe and he knows it. He wants to try at every turn to pull you away from God and His life-infusing ways, so that he can take over. Tell him to scram! Use the Bible to set him in his place! "This is what the Lord says: 'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the Lord"  {Jeremiah 9:23-24} Nothing can stand against the Lord Almighty! He reigns! Apply pressure on the devil's lies today!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

I hope that you have been able to do this already. Maybe you won't get to celebrate until August, but make sure you take this summer, and make it memorable! None of us have forever here, so I want to make the most of the time I have. I'm sure you do too! My husband wanted to put a white picket fence around our vegetable garden so that our children would have that memory from their childhood.

As far as celebrations are concerned, as God's people we always have much to celebrate! Our God rules the heavens and the earth, and He loves us, wants to see us be victorious over the enemy, and live in the power of His Holy Spirit.  All we have to do is say no! No to our will, our plans, our ideas.

We need to be so convinced that God is who He says He is, and that He will do what He said He will do before we come to the end of ourselves and bend our knee. We convince ourselves that we can't trust Him, and that we know what we are doing. This only leads to our demise. When we give our everything to Jesus, He takes all that He has given to us in the first place and brings it into technicolor. My life was black and white until I met the Lord. Now there is color, life has dimension, and meaning.

I remember life before my relationship with God, and I can see His hand on me, keeping me from some heartaches, and allowing others, and no matter who you are you will have hard times. The difference is whose hand you hold while you go through it, and what they whisper in your ear. "My beloved spoke and said to me, "Rise up , my love, my fair one and come away. For the winter is past the rain is over and done. The flowers appear on the earth; the time for singing has come.  {Song of Solomon 2:10-12}

Monday, July 17, 2017

I always thought this was a crown, but as I look closer I think it depicts the trinity. Oh well, whatever it is precious to me and it has hung on my kitchen closet door fro 6 years. I expect it will be hung there a while longer. I was praying this morning and the Lord kept saying lovingkindness and tender mercies, so I looked it up, and found this:"He redeems me from death and crowns me with lovingkindness and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is restored like the eagle's!" { Psalm 103: 4-5}

I have said that I never would want to be young again, because I knew so little. As I get older though it seems the more I know the less I know. There is so much more to understand and learn, that it becomes impossible to know anymore. Does this make sense? Can we trust God that we know what is truly important in life and leave it at that?  If we allow Him to crown us with these true riches what more could we want or need?

This verse sums up life for a christian. He saves us, blesses us, and gives us strength! Why do we look any further? Is it curiosity or lack of faith, that causes us to slide off the path? Do we loose our foothold because we don't hold on tight enough? I have to say for me, it can be any of these. Lazer focusing on Jesus is the only way to commit to following him. It is not our strength that saves us or blesses us or makes us right before God. It is only because HE holds us and wants to, that we are restored.

I remember when I realized that even when I let go of God, that he was still holding on to me. I was recovering from post- partum depression, and I was listening to a Beth Moore bible study. She had us hold our wrists, one hand to another. Then she said, now let go of just your right hand. The other is still holding on. That is how God feels about you. He still holds on, when we let go of Him! It was an ah ha moment for me. This truth impressed upon me exactly what I was feeling, but I had it all wrong. He hadn't let go, I had.

Friday, July 14, 2017

This is my cat. I have had her for 6 years. She is the perfect pet. No feeding, and no hair balls. Also no meows or soft fur, no sweet purrs. Hmm, maybe not the best, if you want a pet that can give back to you. At least my dogs don't chase her. Who would settle for a picture when they could have the real thing?

Of course the real thing comes with responsibilities, costs and needs. You have to commit to caring, feeding and cleaning out the litter box. I like my cat better for now. I know this sounds odd, but sometimes people will settle for a picture of Jesus, instead of the real one. They are glad to know about Him, but don't want to have Him lead them, influence them and give them direction. He can get in the way!

 It costs something to follow the Lord, no it costs us everything! Knowing Him will cost you your life, but then without Him it is non-life. He is more real than anything that we can see in this world. This reminds me of chapter 10 in the book of Jeremiah, where God is speaking to the prophet. He tells him about the wood that is taken from a tree and some of it is used in the fire, and some of it is hewn to form an idol. People bow down to it and worship it, but do not realize that the same wood that warms them is used to form an inanimate figure, that has no mouth, ears, and cannot hear or see!  

I used to think that money was an important thing. My family thought so too. I was raised by a father that  had no knowledge of God, and therefore fell into idolatry, the love of money. He held on to it so tightly that he treated family like outsiders, so those who really loved him were turned away. It was a snare, a trap that made his life miserable instead of happy. Putting anything above God makes for a lonely existence. All other things turn to dust, and become what they originally came from, dust. Those things that come from above last forever. A relationship with God, eternal life, love, truth, compassion. "But the God of Israel is no idol! He is the creator of everything that exists, including Israel, his own special possession. The Lord of Heaven's Armies is his name!"{ Jeremiah 10:16 NLT}

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

This is a not too good picture of my daughter Stephie and I at Easter. She always looks lovely, but I think I look a little confused. I think it is what my day was all about today! Most of you know I was in North Carolina and flew home last night. Today was a catch up with reality kind of things. Things were moving rather smoothly until I took Stephie to a friend's house.

Her friend is relatively new to us so I went into the house to speak to her Grandmother. We were having a trivial conversation when I was just about to leave. She asked me if her Granddaughter had told me about her mother. I replied yes, she died of cancer two years ago, and her Father has never been in the picture. She then said, It has been really difficult for us since then, could you pray for us? That is when I was blown out of the water, the record player needle ripped across the record, my bubble burst, you know what I'm getting at.

I prayed because I can do that in my sleep, but when I left I cried! How often we go through our days, forgetting about those who are really struggling to keep themselves and their families together! There is a void in this family, but they know who to go to! They know that God is good, even when He doesn't do what they want. They still hold on to Him tight, because there is nowhere else to go. " Then Jesus said to the twelve, ' Do you also want to go away?' But Simon Peter said, 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

All who know Him know that He heals, and wounds and loves all the time. The wound is to be healed, but with it comes compassion, caring and knowledge about what it is like to be in despair. It allows us to reach down to someone else when they can't look up. It allows us to say, "Come, I know it hurts, but we can trust Jesus." His strength wins out over heartache, and His love holds us close when we are able to open up again. Will you pray for this family?