Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."  {Ephesians 5:19-20}

It's only two days until Thanksgiving. I have much to do as I know some of you do too. If I don't stop, and pray, and talk to the Lord, I will lose the peace in my heart. What is a season of thanks if the cook is out of sorts? It kind of defeats the purpose of the thanks in the giving. I can give thanks and I can give, if I am in tune with the Holy Spirit.

Yesterday I wrote about christians giving thanks always out of a joyful heart. It is impossible to do this unless you are in communion with Christ. I don't mean that you have to take communion every day, but that you be in contact through prayer 
and the Word.  This is true even more when we have very busy times, and everyone is counting on that turkey being better than life. It seems the more we think about "the turkey" the better we remembering it tasting. That can be a tall order to fill.

Thankfully, all of the special side dishes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and desserts can make even a not so good turkey seem fantastic. The excitement of having family and friends together for another year can also add to a turkey that might not be the best. It is for the gathering together that the season is for, not the food. I wouldn't say that to my brother-in-law though. He is all about the food. 

Giving thanks, it is a wonderful thing! It keeps our hearts clear of ugly things, that only trap us into believing lies. Our God reigns, and we are His precious children. No one can take this from us, unless we allow it. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and try to keep things in perspective when the cranberry sauce spills onto your good white tablecloth. Lots of love,  Ann   

Monday, November 20, 2017

This is my turkey plate. It sits on the table near our front door. It reminds me of my Grandmother's dishes with the brown design around the edge. It can be odd what memories are triggered by seemingly innocent trivia. It's turkey time again, and yes, I have mine in the refrigerator, or on the table if you want to be literal.

Thanksgiving is a christian attribute. It is part of who we are as the people of God. It becomes part of our everydayness when we see what goodness He has placed in our lives. Why did He save me? Why did He call me to be His own? These are questions we can ask ourselves, but there isn't any answer, at least not now. It is His absolute goodness that we are in His family, and the fact that we chose to say yes to His call.
"I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant', I have chosen you and have not rejected you."  {Isaiah 41:9 }

I am so glad that you said yes to Jesus to follow Him, to listen to Him, to obey His word. Maybe you can't say that you have said yes; there is no better time to do this than right now. The most wonderful gift of saying yes to Jesus, is that He cleanses us from ALL sin. All you have to do is ask Him! He has done the work, and He took your place as the sinless son of God. It is His gift to give to you.

Dear Jesus, I come to you now. My past is yours, my present situation is yours, and I want to spend my eternity with you in heaven some day. Please cleanse me of my sin, my wrongdoings, my shame, and make me free. I know that I have to do my part by staying away from those things that hurt me, and pull me down. Put a christian in my life that will help me to understand more of this new life. Thank you for making me new. In your name we pray, Amen.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Here I am, in my kitchen again. I kind of like this picture because it doesn't show all the dirty dishes, and messy counters. When I look at it I feel there is hope. I'm just being silly, but having a corner of your space looking acceptable is a huge thing. I have piles in one corner or the next, and I feel accomplished when I dissolve one.

 I am trying to dissolve my piles, not move one thing to another pile. This means removing stuff from the house. Clothing,  old decor, things that appear, and you're not sure what do with them. When you have others bringing items into the house, the "I don't know what to do with this"pile can grow exponentially. There are many who need the items I don't need. We have a Mission on Long Island that gives and gives and gives to those in need. Most importantly, they give in Jesus' name.

During this time of thanks, we remember the giving part as well.
One goes with the other,  as the word thanksgiving exemplifies.
"And thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever."   { Revelation 7:12}

Because we have been given much we can give much. And our giving is not begrudgingly, but with thanks. Hopefully you can see my plate. It says, "Let our life be full of thanks and giving." We give thanks to God first, but out of this giving flows; a natural desire to bless, and the cycle continues. It is how God works in us, to do His will. See what you can do to give to someone today. Ask God to put needs into your path, so you can bless someone today. People are hungry for love and positive attention. You may be surprised how easy it can be.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

" A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."  {Proverbs 25:11}

This proverb has given me a sense of completeness, as if now everything is right, and we can rest. You can almost see that shiny golden apples reflecting the deep silver finish of the bowl surrounding them. There is purity, and goodness here. The silver has been through the fire, to remove all the dross, or impurities, so it is ready for service. The apples have been chosen for their vibrant color, free of blemishes.

There is someone I know who is free of blemish, sin or stain. He dwells in misshaped imperfect containers, like you and I. His perfection made Him one with God, and obedient to come to our disgruntled, fallen world. His beauty shines so far beyond anything we have known on this earth, and yet He is humble, and mighty all at the same time. Just a glimpse of His beauty and we are overcome, undone by the vision of His Holiness.

Everything stands still for that moment, because we don't know what to do. Did we see Jesus, or was it a dream? Did He reveal Himself to mere mortals like us, or is there some mistake? Does He do such things today? Yes, He does, and He will if you look for Him. How do we look you say? Let your heart be open to Him, as you read His Holy word, allow the Spirit of God to move upon you as you pray. Live as if you have already seen Him.

One important way we can be His hands and feet is to give. There are so many ways to do this, because the needs are all around us. Ask God to show you what He wants you to do, and do it. Don't tell anyone, so that you get a pat on the back. Let it be between you and the Lord. It will be your own apple in the pitcher of silver, and you will be blessed. Thank Him that you are counted worthy to pour out his beauty.

Monday, November 13, 2017

I know that God has given me grace in many areas, but the one area I notice it most is in my kitchen. I used to get upset easily when the dishes would pile up in the sink after I thought I had cleaned up for the night. I take it in stride now, simply because I'm glad that my kids are cooking for themselves. Should I get after them to clean up after themselves, yes, But I'm glad that anger isn't my first reaction. Someday I may wish they were here again, so I will take this inconvenience in stride.

Most of what I consider an inconvenience may not be a big deal to anyone else. It all comes down to our perspective, and what we think is acceptable or not. We might loose our tempers if someone cuts us off on the highway, when someone else finds it annoying, but not worthy getting angry over. Perhaps it comes from our storeroom of peace within. If I pray in the morning before I start my day, my outlook tends to be positive. My perspective is more other oriented than self oriented, but I can't stop praying about this. Do you find this to be true in your life?

A heavenly perspective loosens us from the grip of self, and causes us to see outside our own little, closed in corner of life. Yes, there is much more going on that we need to explore. This season is one of Thanks, but all you see in the public square has to do with filling ourselves with our own care and desire. Caring and giving only come when our eyes become unglued toward selfishness. God is glad to remove the glue that holds our eyelids shut, by getting us in His word, which dissolves all selfishness and self awareness. 

When we realize that we can influence our world for eternity's purposes somehow our own little world shrinks to nothingness.
I didn't say this would be easy, only well worth it. Peace will cover us in mountains of inner rest and contentment. Following in God's ways here on earth fulfills His plan and gives us a soul that is content and happy.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
                                  Look full in his wonderful face,
                                  And the things of earth will grow strangely                                        dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Friday, November 10, 2017


"Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by.  {Psalm 57:1}

Do we understand the difference between mercy and grace? I was told that grace is getting what you don't deserve, and mercy was not getting what you do deserve. In other words, grace is a blessing, and mercy is put into place to keep you from being judged for your sin. Mercy is the picture that Jesus draws for us when He cries out for Jerusalem.

"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me."  { Luke 13:34}

Our first verse is a child of God calling out to God. The second is God calling out to His children. This is a perfect picture of how our relationship with God works.We call, He hears and answers according to His plans and purposes. As we grow in this relationship, we begin to realize that His hand is extended purposely to mold us into who He wants us to be, and as we grow, we yield to His hand. My problem, and I think you will agree that it fits you too, is that I have thoughts in my mind and plans about how I think my life should go.

"Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend."  {Proverbs 27:17}

God sharpens us and the pressing that He puts on us will form us into useful servants for the plans that He only has. When trouble comes, and it will, we can rest and be safe under the shadow of His wings. With a world full of more evil, and death than we previously realized, we can be sure of God's will to be done in our lives, whatever comes our way.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."  {Proverbs 16:18-19}

I was embarrassed, and a little humiliated last night, which was all my own doing. It was Election Day, and I went to vote with my husband and two of my children. Not a big deal, one would think, except it became one for me. I am not the neatest person around, and I tend to do things quickly even though I might spill, or drop something. I had a relaxed attitude when given my ballot to fill out, and not really giving much thought to it.

As I complete the ballot, I see that I made a mistake. I cross out the mistake, and place the ballot into the voting machine. The machine rejects it. I try again. No good. I am told that I need to get a new ballot, and start over. The 5 people sitting at the table where I had to return my invalid ballot were not amused. They became my judge and jury. They explain the process all over again, and then give me a new ballot.

This time I feel that I will get it right, but I'm still not so careful. I proceed to fill in the little ovals with the black felt pen, Oops, I accidently made a little pen mark in the wrong oval. Oh no, I said to myself. Maybe it will be alright. I place the ballot into the machine. No good again. At this point I am mad, not at myself, but at the silly process. Why can't we have the machines with the little levers that we had for years, I am saying in my head. What about the days when we used pencils and you could erase! I dread having to go back to the judges and explaining again, what went wrong. I get a lecture about how to do this simple task, and this time I am told I won't have another try if I fail to make this right.

One of the ladies in the judgement seat didn't hear that the men told me this was my last attempt. She started to tell me again and I said, yes, this definitely is my last time, because I'm not doing it again, even if you tell me I can! I was mad, and feeling a bit stupid at this point. I got it right, and we were on my way, but I was not happy about my attitude. "Oh Lord, I really got mad about nothing." I said. My attitude was foolish, and a bit haughty for sure. I didn't regard this process as an important thing, and I took it lightly. To make matters worse, one of the men in the judgement seat recognized my husband from his television commercial, and was fawning all over him. Sigh,.

All I could say to the Lord was, "I'm sorry. Please forgive me." When I thought I was something more than I was, I fell, flat on my face. Oh yes, and I am thankful for it. I don't want a prideful heart. I need to be reminded that anything I am is because he paid the price for me. What others think or understand is not important. Only what's done for Christ will last for eternity. Thank you Lord.

BTY- One of the "judges", said that I wasn't the only one who messed up a ballot. That does help.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"For the Lord gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." {Proverbs 2:6}

What's a mother to do? A child is sick and cannot do any work, so she claims. One of the dogs continues to wet the floor, or rug and now the sofa? The dog is an easy fix. Since she doesn't use the wee wee pads much, I got her a diaper. Hopefully she will dislike the diaper enough to wait until she goes out. What about the child? The Lord gives wisdom, and this situation may take more than today to fix. What this child may not understand, is work doesn't go away, it piles up.

The wisdom that we need is not new, or revolutionary. It won't entice scholars or professors of any type. It is so simple that most will not think of it as wisdom. Some will miss out on proverbs or the words of Jesus, simply because the words of wisdom aren't found in a Shakespeare sonnet, or a college textbook although I certainly am one of many who want them there. These words are too simple for the cosmopolitan or aristocrat to notice. It would do them good to stick their noses into the center of the Bible once in a while.

Wisdom is not taught, as much as it is caught. I know that may sound cliche, but knowing what is right in a situation can take a lot of years growing in the undercurrent of wisdom. It comes from God's heart. It comes from love, and patience which can't be taught so much as caught. I would have had no idea what to do with a teen who would't do her homework while home sick ten years ago. I would have forced the issue, and made it ugly. She will learn her lesson.

I never understood how much wisdom my mother had when she would leave situations alone, so that the person could find out for themselves about their conclusion. This is wisdom too, knowing when to move and when to be still. So often I say what I'm sorry I said, or did what I later wished I hadn't. Words cannot be taken back once said. I need Jesus so much more than I ever realized. You might be feeling the same way. Seek out a matter, find the conclusion. Look for the words of wisdom in the book of wisdom, that never changes. Far beyond our earthly understanding, seek the treasure, and the gold. It is "far above rubies."


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Today is November 2, and it is warmer today than any day in October. I just love it. I love the way this water fall makes the water look inviting, although I'm sure the store owners nearby would not think that is a good idea. If I think it would be fun to wade through, what does a child think? It would be next to impossible to keep me out if I were 4 years old. It speaks refreshing, and relief on a hot day. It sounds tranquil, and peaceful, as if I am the only one listening to it splash down on the rocks. It compels us to be quiet, as if a sudden hush moved through the area. No one wants to break in on the beautiful sound.

Why is water a common theme in the Bible? It is something everyone can identify with. Without  water we cannot survive, and we can diminish our health by not drinking enough of it. I had been struggling with getting enough water each day, until a friend recently told me about her quart container. She fills with water and lemon in the morning, and refills it at noon. She knows she is getting at least 8 cups of filtered water a day. It is pure, clean unadulterated natural water, oh, except for the lemon. The lemon makes it easier to drink.

When we are thirsty for more of God, we don't need lemon or anything else to make Him more palatable.  He is pure, genuine love, that beckons us to draw near to His heart, for no cost or requirement, except to keep Him at the center. Nothing can quench our thirsty soul like Jesus. This is why He tells us to stay away from those things that seem to fill us for a short time, but we need to be filled again and again, as if someone was playing a cruel joke on us. Who wants to make a mockery out of God's word? The enemy of our souls, and god of this world, who wants us kicked back to being who we were before Christ set us free.

He is the liar, who whispers in our ears, "You can't trust God, He doesn't love you, how could he love you?" And you and I can say to him, "Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be removed but endures forever. "{Psalm 125:1} We will also say,"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." {Lamentations 3:23} And we will need to tell him,"He saved us, not because of the righteous things that we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and a new life through the Holy Spirit." {Titus 3:5} The reason why we need to know God's word, and hide it in our hearts is because the devil can trick us and cause us to fall if we don't know what God says.  The power of God's word backs off the enemy, and makes him defenseless. It is our sword that thrusts through the enemy, and gives us victory. Praise God.

Listen to the words from this song:           Let the King of my heart
                                                                   be the shelter where I run,
                                                                   The fountain I drink from
                                                                   Oh, He is my song.
Let him be your song today!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"The grass withers, and the flower fades, because the breath of the Lord blows on it; Surely the people are grass.The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever."            {Isaiah 40: 8}

This is the time of year when we see the flowers fade, and the vegetation begin to shrivel up and die. It isn't a sad thing, just the cycle of living for our place on this planet.  If you live in a southern climate you are blessed because you don't see this cycle as clearly as we do in the north. If you live farther north that New York you have seen it already, I suppose. What it reminds us is that seasons come and go, and all have a purpose, and a reason. This flower in the picture is from a month ago, today it is brown and has fallen to  the ground in a deep fade of cycle and progression. Jesus said, "Yes, indeed! I tell you that unless a grain of wheat  that falls to the ground dies, it stays just a grain; but if it dies, it produces a big harvest.   {John 12:24}

Fading is something that happens to me too. I stand strong on some things and then I might not feel too concerned about others. I am fallible, and I don't always realise what is most important, but that's when I look at God's word. It is infallible, and undeniably the most read book around. It has been a best-seller for many years, and before that, every home in America had one. This is not true today, but 50 years ago, I think it was close. 

Upholding the Bible, and following after God are not popular things to do in our culture, but then, we are not supposed to be like our culture. The people of God have been called to be like Him. But wait, if we look at our verse for today, we see that God is the one who breathes on His people. Why would He do a thing like that? He may not exactly, but He allows circumstances to breathe on us, so we will know that there is a God in heaven who will meet us at every turn. 

Getting to know God means that we rely on Him, and trust in His eternal goodness. And what about the grain of wheat? It dies so that it will bear more fruit. Jesus is talking here about Himself, falling into the ground in burial, and rising to overcome every human weakness, for us. Have you ever heard of anything more glorious than this?And the incredible truth is, that it was set in motion before the world began. Yes, God knew before He created man- kind that we would fall, and that His only son would have to redeem us, and He made the world and all of us anyway.  What a perfect picture of unselfish love!