August 16, 2017/ I’m Done

Due to physical impairments, mental stress, and a great deal of soul searching as to the use of the internet as a whole and what it is doing, I am finished posting.

I urge those who would heed me to set your sights and your time into reading Scripture…for it is there, within God’s word where we all need to be focused.

God Bless!

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August 10, 2017-Aspects of Sadness

There are times in your life where you hit the ‘low’ notes. You come to a point where you wonder if you can keep going. Usually, these times coincide to the amount of stress you are handling.

At the end of 1991, I was working a part-time job (which I loved), dealing with a teenager, keeping up with housework, and experiencing the day-to-day dealings of a long-term marriage to the man I loved. In an instant, that changed when my mother went into the hospital. It was December 12th. A time when people were supposed to be happy, shopping, and thinking about snow and presents. My mother’s diagnosis of colon cancer didn’t fit in with that spirit.

She died forty days later after a few dedicated nurses stood firm against myriad doctors to allow her her last wish which was to die at home. She was in a coma at that point, but to this day I am convinced that she knew she had succeeded and passed peacefully away in her own bedroom.

Those days are a blur now. I remember simply ‘marching on’. In fact, my title for those time is my ‘Brave Little Soldier’ days. Everyone needed me for something–doctors, nurses, husband, father, daughter, employer. I was marching, but there were so many pieces of me missing that it was as if I ploughed through a fog.

There are many times when we feel as if we hit bottom in our lives. How do we survive them?

If we could guarantee a pill or a $19.99 ‘special’ that answered that question, we would spring to popularity.

No one, however, has that answer–but James takes a stab at giving us some clear direction.

James 5: 10-13-Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy. But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation. Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

So, first James reminds us that others have suffered. Since the beginning those that follow God are NOT given an easy path. In fact, they usually suffered MORE than those around them. They suffered through war, famine, personal attack, imprisonment, unpopularity, and many other situations. They ENDURED. James reminds us that they not only endured, they did so HAPPILY.

Say what?

Happy when sad?

Imposssible.

If not happy, then at least patient and eventually convinced that God was in charge and we needed to rely on His wisdom.

When going through the pits, don’t make foolish comments. Never Say Never Again is not just a James Bond notion. As unhappy as we may be, we are to be wise enough to keep from foolish dogma in making claims we may not be able to fulfill.

James gives us our solution to dealing with sadness.

PRAY…then SING. Most of the Psalms were actually made to be sung. The act of singing is comforting. Those in dire circumstances can often feel better when putting their feelings into music. We need only look at history to see how the gospel songs, the blues, even the art of chanting of prayers to music can lighten our paths.

To this day, I have no idea how i survived those forty days of suffering. I remember my father taking me to task for celebrating Christmas as we always did. His words stung me as he complained I was ‘unfeeling’ in celebrating. I knew, however, that he wasn’t so much striking out at ME but the circumstances which he could not control in losing my mother. I know my boss was unhappy that I was missing work (although I was going to the office almost every day and continuing to do my job as best I could in the circumstances!) Days after my mother’s death, she promoted my underling to my position. I was NOT a happy camper, as one might imagine.

If I learned nothing else during those times, I learned that prayer helps. People surrounding you can give aid and comfort…but God, alone, always walks with you.

So, pray, sing, and give over your sadness and march onward today. We will be ‘brave little soldiers’ at one time or another. Our ‘Commander-in-Chief’ rules over all and cares for us always…whether we are happy or sad!

 

August 7, 2017/Aspects of Wealth

“Money, money, money. Must be funny, in a rich man’s world.”

Yes, I loved ABBA.  (Although, what Hollywood did to MAMA MIA was disgraceful!) Note to all in show business who may read blogs—DO NOT HIRE PEOPLE TO PUT IN MUSICALS WHEN THEY CAN’T SING. YOUR AUDIENCE IS NOT AMUSED!!!

Getting back to the subject of money, we all may wish we had it–but we eventually learn the sad truth behind riches. Those that have lots of money spend their time wanting more. There never seems to be ‘enough’. You would think that having no financial worries would allow people to relax and become more charitable; to spread their wealth and be content–yet that is not what seemingly happens. No, take a look at people who have more money than they will ever need. Do they look happy? Some with money crave more power. Some decide ‘they’ have all the answers and wish to ‘teach’ us to obey their point of view out of pride. Some simply abandon all ambition and take the road of an hedonistic existence–little knowing or caring about anyone or anything other than themselves.

It’s sad but money isn’t the root of all evil…it simply forces the evil that is already present in humans more to the surface. I am sure that there are those who have wealth who manage to do great things. How else would we have had the experience of genuine philanthropy? But, as a whole, those with great wealth are always seeking something more–for money doesn’t love you back; keep all illness at bay; or provide true friendship.

God gives us many glimpses into what the possession of money can do to humans. He warns us that the money, itself, is NOT the problem. It is our attitude toward money that brings destruction.

1 Timothy 6: 7-10-For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession;

When Jesus threw out the money changers at the Temple, I believe His dismay at their display revolved around how far the religious leaders of the day had lowered themselves to allow MONEY and its insidious force to corrupt the true worship of God. It wasn’t the changing of money so that people could buy their sacrifices that caused Jesus such disgust–it was placing it on the same stage of worship…as if equalizing God with money; the rich with blessings; the poor with pity.

Those who are rich must avoid snares that those of us who are ‘common’ do not address. For one thing, they never know if they are loved/courted because of their money. They become accustomed to being fawned over–not for what THEY accomplish, but for what they possess.

Riches may bring momentary pleasure but it is wise to remember as Timothy reminds us here that we bring NOTHING into this world and we will carry NOTHING out.

So what’s in YOUR wallet? What are you spending your time and energy creating? What takes precedence in your life? To whom do you declare your allegiance?

Christians must avoid the devil’s snares whenever they can. To do so, we must focus ourselves of studying God’s word, praying, and seeking His will. His care will provide us with whatever we need…

August 2, 2017/Aspects of Love

No, I am not writing about Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical…IF you know that was the title of one of his musicals. Like all of us, Webber has been blessed with some spectacular triumphs AND failures. This musical was not one of his big hits (although I happen to love his tune, LOVE CHANGES EVERYTHING!)

I picked this title for my devotional today while sitting here watching my husband fall asleep with our dog laying between his legs for his daily morning: “I’m not really asleep…just resting my eyes,” moment. You see, after forty-five years of marriage there are a few lessons I have learned about love that I am willing to share.

There are many aspects to love–romantic love, parental love, brotherly love, even friendship love. Each type of love is different and includes different elements which change as we change.

Take romantic love. In the beginning we ‘love’ every aspect of our partner. We overlook the things that might take the outer gold-leaf off the package we are unwrapping. Their jokes are hysterical; their idiosyncrasies that seem so adorable at first; their looks, mannerisms, and behaviors are beyond reproach. After a lot of time, however, what first appeared adorable may begin to wear on the nerves. You’ve heard the jokes; you grow tired of the way he toes off his socks; you begin to tire of smelling Vicks when his sinus problems (which seem to happen far more often than you realized when dating) begin. All of those characteristics that you once deemed cute suddenly take on a different nature when you live the day-to-day existence of love-and-marriage.

Life mellows these instances just as it brings storms. Romantic love includes holding the basin as your beloved vomits; doing the dishes when he/she has been up all night with a teething baby; pacing the floor alongside your partner as you wait for an overly late teenager on a date. Or, as is happening now, watching your aging loved one sleep just to reassure yourself they are still breathing and count your blessings that you are still together, still in love—failing bodies, not withstanding!

The one aspect of love that seems to be overlooked in the world lately is that true love is never wrapped up in some package. God, however, can get to the heart of the aspect of love in a simple sentence: 1 John 4:8–He that loveth not, knowest not God; for God is love.

In that simple sentence, those of us who are interested in trying to understand all the aspects of love that we are searching for have been given the guidance for which we search. To truly know love, we are to look at God. A God who would conceive the idea of creating a mixture of infinite, holy, perfection, combining that with imperfect humanity so that this by-product would be brought into existence to teach us the ultimate depths of the ‘aspects of love’ by sacrificing His all to die in our place. This, this glimpse into the depths of how great a love God has for His human creations.

Love. True Love encompasses SACRIFICE. True love means being willing to love AGAINST what you may want. Putting yourself second. Giving when you would rather receive. Yes, as ALW wrote in his musical Aspects of Love: “Love, love changes everything.”

As we journey onward in life we will pass through many joys and sorrows. A lot, if not most, of them will revolve around our aspects of love. We will explore, discard, change, and redefine many of our attitudes toward love as we grow and mature. If we begin by focusing on the great love God provides, it will, in turn, influence us as we fashion our own attitudes toward love.

He that loveth not, knowest not God; FOR GOD IS LOVE.

When we begin on that premise we have found our answer…