What Are Your Plans?

old church Billy GrahamA couple of years ago, Dan and I were in Central Florida at his 55th High School reunion. After the reunion, we were driving on the old back roads enjoying the day and the quiet, wooded surroundings.

As we drove, we passed a quaint little church, obviously very old but well kept through the years. I love taking photos and the church was so picturesque that I had him stop so I could take pictures.

The caretakers of the church, an elderly couple who lived next door, came out to meet us and inquire why we had stopped. We learned that the Rev. Billy Graham’s parents were close friends with both of this couple’s parents.

The Grahams often spent vacations with them there in that little bend in the road. As youngsters, they’d both known Billy Graham. As young adults, the now elderly couple had married and lived nearby. They were now grounds keepers living in the home of her grandparents.

In Rev. Graham’s first years in Bible college, he would come back to visit with the old friends and go to church with them. They chuckled as they told us that during those summer visits the not yet Reverend would go out into the woods behind the church and preach at the top of his lungs to any animal, bird or butterfly that would listen.

They smiled fondly as they told us that even then, Rev. Billy’s mind was set on one message. The same message that was preached in the woods with sobs of compassion was preached from his pulpit for his entire ministry; “You must be born again.”

They said he had such a heart for the lost and wounded that he would spend hours crying out to God in the woods, for people to know Christ as he did. His heart for the lost was obvious from his youth.

This is the picture I took of that church where the not yet Rev. Graham preached his first sermons out back in the woods; undocumented by any but the ears of nature and God Himself. No pulpit, no congregation, just a young man whose heart was broken for the lost, seeking God for direction.

Each one of us has a calling, maybe not that particular calling Rev. Graham was called for, but never the less—a calling that God has chosen us for individually. Scripture tells us that God knows us from our conception in our Mother’s womb. (Psalms 139:19,  Jeremiah 1:5, Galatians 1:15-16) 

God has plans for my life, your life (Jeremiah 29:11). Perhaps today we should spend time crying out in the stillness, then listening for God’s direction. Only God knows the hearts He has prepared for us to minister to if we’d just—listen for direction.

Prayer:  Father, help me to be sensitive to your Holy Spirit and to be responsive to His voice.  I want my life to be lived as you planned. Amen.

Scripture References:

Psalms 139:19  For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Galatians 1:15-16  But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

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Got Patience? God Does.

 frustrated-2681484The hardest part of  having patience is waiting; I want what I want and I want it IMMEDIATELY.   I’m very aware of my own lack of patience, as I’m sure you are aware of your –lack.  

But it wasn’t until very recently that I realized, it is the patience of God, Himself, that is beyond comprehension.  Being busy with Church, community, family–I never thought about how patiently God waits for–me.

It is so easy to focus on ‘doing’ things FOR God instead of actually making time to spend with Him. God created us for relationship with Him but gives us the choice to choose Him—OR not.  Patiently He uses the circumstances of life to draw us toward intimacy with Him.  

It’s interesting to note that Christianity is entirely about relationship. We were created for intimate fellowship with God. Sin ruined that kinship. God sacrificed His own son, Jesus, so that companionship could be restored.  Christianity is not about rules and regulations; it’s about a loving God who wants to have us close to Him.

Jesus sent us the indwelling of the Holy Spirit so we could have not only relationship but have intimate relationship. The Lord of all creation has literally given and done all that can be done in order to make intimacy with Him possible. Now, God patiently waits on us to — respond.   

II Peter 3: 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your patience with me. You always have time to listen when I come to you. Please help me to realize how much you want to spend time with me, to share your Word and plans for my life. I love you. Amen.

 

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Honey Bees Can’t Fly

Honey bees Cant Fly

Honey Bees Can’t Fly

Romans 10:9-10

In the 1930’s, a group of French scientists proclaimed that it was aerodynamically impossible for honey bees to fly. They based their conclusion on the size of the bee’s wing compared to their body. Obviously, in spite of their scientifically supported “facts”, the honey bee did, does, and will continue to be airborne.

Since the irrelevant scientific fact was announced, scientists have learned that the bees can fly because of the way their wings flex and move. During flight, bees flap and rotate their wings more than 240 times per second; therewith creating a vortex that lifts them into the air and sustains their flight.

Many people believe that there is no Hell and present all manner of intellectual reasoning to support their theory. Like the French “bee scientists”, they are mistaken. Probably for the same reason: they simply haven’t availed themselves of all the facts. To deny the existence of Hell is to deny the crucifixion and God’s gift to mankind that restored us to relationship with Him.

If there was no need for any payment for sin, there would have been no need for Calvary; a Historical event that is documented by Roman, Jewish, and Greek historians. Scripture declares that all have come short of the glory of God, the wages of sin is death and the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 3:23; 6:23).

Believing the theory that there is no Hell has eternal consequences. Sin separated us from relationship with God, but because of His great love for us, He made a way of redemption. The price was great; the life of Jesus is documented through History, and refusing to accept the blood that was shed on Calvary will result in an eternity spent in Hell.

Just like believing that bees are not aerodynamically equipped to fly, whether or not we ‘believe’ in Hell doesn’t change the truth. Bees fly and Hell exists. The real question is—-do you really want to find out that Hell is real from personal experience?

  1. Admit that you are a sinner. (Romans 3:23)
  2. Recognize that Jesus paid the price for your sin at Calvary. (I Corinthians 15:3-4)
  3. Accept that forgiveness and receive Christ as your savior. (Romans 10:9-10)

Christianity isn’t about rules, it’s about relationship. When we accept Christ and fellowship with Him through His Word and prayer; our life changes to reflect that relationship.  Living the Christ life isn’t about being made to do things differently, it’s about wanting to do things differently.

Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

Prayer: Lord, I recognize that I’m a sinner and that Jesus died for my sins. I ask Jesus to come into my heart and forgive me of all my sins. Help me to live life according to your Word and through the direction of your Holy Spirit. Thank you and I love you.

Scriptural References:

Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

Romans 6:23 But the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

I Corinthians 15:3-5 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures

 

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Announcing my new Book publish!

Merry recent cover pic grndma 2My newly published book, Grandma Finds Her Groove, Book 2 in The Grandma Chronicles series, is available on Create and on Amazon.

You can order it from Amazon or from Create Space. My heart hopes you laugh and enjoy and LOVE Grandma’s stories. 

AMAZON link:

https://www.amazon.com/Grandma-Chronicles-Book-Two-Groove/dp/1546601635/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1495575856&sr=1-1&keywords=Grandma+Finds+Her+Groove

Create Space link:

https://www.createspace.com/7158375

 

 

 

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BIG Very BIG

giant cake

At a community social event awards were being given and a reception was to follow. From my seat on the far side of the auditorium, I could see a glimpse of the cake through the cracks in the moveable room partitions. It was sitting on a table in the assembly room, many yards away.

Obviously it was a big cake, because I could tell what it was from that great of a distance. But it didn’t look like a seriously very large cake. I made a mental note that a lot of people were going to go home—cake-less.

After the ceremony, I got in line to get my slice of cake. I hoped they had another cake hiding somewhere in the back because the dessert I’d seen wasn’t going to feed half the people, much less all the guests. Then, as I rounded the corner of the partition into the area where the cake was, I discovered the cake was—-HUGE. 

It stood nearly as tall as my head and was so big around I couldn’t reach around it, not even if I held hands with a couple of friends! It was not sitting on a table, as I’d originally thought, but rather on a special platform that had been constructed to look like a table.

When in the auditorium, I’d viewed the cake from a great distance and it had looked small. When I stood closer to the confection, its actual size was revealed. Sometimes, it seems like God is small —because where we’re standing makes God look small.

The Children of Israel had a name for God that shows how BIG He is, Yahweh (Jehovah). The Hebrew meaning of the word is, “He who is at one with the limitless, unbounded universe because He has created it.” Wow, that is quite—a description of our Lord.

The word, name, Yhwh, (Tetragrammaton) with this particular BIG meaning, is in the Bible only four times.  (Exodus 6:3, Psalms 83:18, Isaiah 12:2 and  Isaiah 26:4) The Jewish people held that BIG name for God in such respect that some claim that it was spoken just once a year and then only when they were in the temple at Jerusalem.  

They believe that “BIG God name” is so Holy that they won’t even write it down; using only symbols to represent it. They would not even say that word in prayer because it was so Holy!  God, Himself, in all of His magnificence and glory, was defined by that one name. Yet, that powerful, unwrite-able, unspoken—name, was, in their eyes, not adequate to describe the greatness of God.

Sometimes, because we’re so busy with work, family, life, even church, we stand at a distance and don’t see how BIG God really is. Situations and circumstances that I have no control of seem so huge because I have placed “that” between God and me. According to scripture, God is so BIG that when he approaches, the mountains tremble (Nahum 1:5) He created the universe and calls the stars by name. (Isaiah 40:26)

My God is so magnificent that He wraps Himself in light, as if the light was a garment to be worn. The clouds are his chariot and He rides on the wings of the wind. (Psalms 104:1-3) As I move in closer to my Lord, the problem doesn’t change, but my point of view does. How BIG do I allow God to be in my life? It’s up to me. How close do I want to get?.

 Jeremiah 10:6 No one is like you, O LORD; you are great, and your name is mighty in power.

Prayer: My Lord, you are very great, you created the universe and call the stars by name. Help me to focus on your power and strength when I’m afraid. Help me to accept your sovereignty over every circumstance and simply —trust you. Thank you for your faithfulness. Amen.

Scriptural References

 Exodus 6:3  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them.

Psalms 83:18 Let them know that you, whose name is the Lord, that you alone are the Most High over all the earth

Isaiah 12:2 Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid.The Lord, the Lord himself, is my strength and my defense he has become my salvation

Isaiah 26:4 Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.

Nahum 1:5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away.The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.(

Isaiah 40:26 Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

Psalms 104:1-3 Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.

 

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Sometimes, It’s All About Me

waffles

Sometimes, It’s All About me!

John 1:12

My grandson, Max, was the only one at school today; his brother and sister were sick.  When I picked him up after school and asked how he was, he grinned from ear to ear and said, “I’m just GREAT!  This morning, I had Mom all to myself.”

He proceeded to tell me about his extravagant morning of individualized attention.  He said usually, in the morning, his mom is all about getting stuff ready and he gets  cereal or something microwaved.

But this morning, with both his brother and his sister in bed with fevers, and his mom off work to take care of them, it was, and I quote, “all about Max.”  He said “Mom was all over me. She was saying, ‘Max, do you need anything? Max how are you doing, are you ready to go yet?’”

He further revealed that breakfast this morning had been HOMEMADE FRENCH TOAST with hot syrup, not just syrup out of the bottle, served to him personally.  He said he didn’t have just one piece, but as many as he wanted!  He declined to say how many pieces that was.

As we turned into his neighborhood, he leaned back in the seat and sighed, “Tomorrow, if I’m still the only one well, I’m gonna ask for some bacon to go with my French toast–.”  In today’s busy world, individual attention is always a special treat!

One of the many things that I love about being a Christian is that our God cares for us personally. Even though God’s grace is extended to all people, it requires an individual response to His invitation. Once I respond to this invitation for relationship, God’s Holy Spirit brings me intimacy and “God” becomes MY God.

We are created for personal relationship with God but satan does everything he can to spoil that intimacy with our Lord. When Jesus hung on the cross, He was paying the individual, personal price for my sin. It was, “All about ME.”

John 1:12 To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me so much that you died on the cross to pay for my sins. Help me to fully understand how much you love me. I accept your payment for my sins and ask you to help me to live for you every day. Amen.

 

 

 

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Got Mouth?

doggie mouth

James 1:26

I have mouth trouble. Sometimes, my tongue beats my eyeballs black and blue in the on-going quest for mouth control!  Mercy!

Did you know that humans are the only one of God’s creations that can express their thoughts in words?  Some birds can be trained to mimic words and animals can be taught to respond to specific commands.  But, only man has been given the ability to verbalize his feelings and thoughts.

The Bible has a lot to say about talking; ranging from a heart condition to words of witness. (Matt. 12:34) What you say reflects what’s really in your heart.

We are to make a place in our hearts that gives reverence to Jesus as Lord and from that understanding, always be ready to share that knowledge with others (evangelism.)  (I Peter 3: 15)

Just as in life choices, we have word choices.  It takes a conscious effort, a willful act, to use our mouth to build up instead of tear down.  (Psalms 19: 14) God doesn’t control my mouth, and neither does the devil; I do.

The Word says the tongue is full of evil and impossible to tame. (James 3:7-8)  In other words, it’s a “me” problem that requires that I must consciously commit my mouth to the rule of Christ.

Our mouth is to be used to edify or build up those around us; to encourage, not to tear down.  The Word says in James 3:9-10 that it is wrong to use the same mouth that speaks mean words to worship God.  I Thessalonians 5:11 says that we are to encourage and build each other up, not tear each other down.

The battle for mouth control is on-going and serious. In Matt. 12:36, God’s Word says that we’ll be held accountable for every careless word we speak.

God does not see teasing or demeaning words as “it’s ok, everybody is doing it.” He sees it as a lack of obedience that cancels our relationship with Him. The Sunday School Child’s song, “be careful little mouth what you say—“ actually isn’t childish at all, it’s a sign of spiritual maturity.

James 1:26 If anyone considers himself to be religious and yet does not keep a tight reign on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to think before I speak. Help me to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit so that I say only those things that lift up and encourage. I love you and thank you. Amen.

Scriptural References:

Matt. 12:34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.

 I Peter 3: 15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

Psalms 19: 14  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

James 3:7-8  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,  but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 3:9-10 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

I Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing

Matt. 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.

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Get Your Mise en Place

misen-place

I Timothy 2:15

There is a cooking term that, when used, will help any recipe you make come together smoothly.  Mise en place (pronounced MEEZ-ahn-plahss). It’s French and it means, in common English terms, “to put in place” or “put everything in its place.” Being a simple person who has never been to France, never spoken French and at this point in life, I’m fairly certain I never will, I remember this term simply as, “Get Your Mess In Place.”

French or not, this idea is a time saver and a head ache preventer. There is nothing more frustrating than being all ready to bake or make only to find out half way through the process, you don’t have enough of one of the ingredients or that you loaned “that” pan to your cousin, Thelma.  By “getting your mess in place” before you start, you will never suffer this frustration.

Planning a time for Bible study is a lot like planning a meal. As with meal preparation, Bible study requires a plan. You set a time to start preparing a meal because without a plan, supper doesn’t happen.  In like manner, plan a time to spend in Bible study and prayer.

Then, like getting ready to prepare supper, make sure you have your “mess in place” gathering all the “tools” you need, like a Bible that you can easily read, a concordance and a devotional or Bible study book.

If you planned your meals the same way you plan your spiritual food, what kind of diet would you be be eating?  Don’t just read a few Psalms every day and walk away feeling well fed. That’s like eating dessert every night instead of meat and vegetables. It is important to study God’s Word so we know what God’s will is for our life, what His promises are for our safe keeping and how to handle everyday life situations. (II Timothy 3: 14-17)

As with a healthy diet, a healthy spiritual life requires discipline, planning and, of course, action. You can have a shelf full of great cookbooks, a cabinet full of the best equipment—but if you don’t take the time to get all the ingredients and tools out and then actually —use them. You go hungry.

Like any other life maintenance, study and conversation with other cooks are very important. And of course, like you would share a recipe or tell your friends about a good meal, share your faith.

Prayer: Father God, thank you for sending me your Holy Spirit to help me study your Word. Show me how to organize my day so that I plan a time of Bible study with the same faithfulness that I do my every day routines.  Thank you for wanting to talk to me and to listen to me. I love you. Amen.

Scriptural References:

II Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

II Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

 

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Got a Memory?

mamas-vase

When I was a young woman, my mother and I would often go to Fenton Art Glass, world famous for their beautiful hand painted and blown glass. One trip stands out in my memory because it was for my 25th birthday.  My mom bought me a vase to commemorate the day with each other.

The beautiful glass vase that we chose together sits in a window in my home today, catching the sunlight and reflecting it in rainbows. Every time I look at it, my heart smiles in remembrance of the day spent together and the laughter we shared.

As Christians, we spend time with God to find direction, strength and wise counsel before we make any life decisions. Whenever we doubt God’s direction or forgiveness, we can take our mind back to the exact moment when we met with God and reaffirm His direction for our lives.  We have a definite memory to stand on, a reference point that we can point to and say, “I know it’s real, right here is where it happened!”

Just as you enjoy time spent with your parents or children and friends this Christmas, God treasures the time we spend with Him! Make a memory in your heart when God speaks to you through his Word, preaching, or His Spirit.

Treasure that memory as a point of acknowledgement and recognition whenever you doubt our heavenly Father’s love or direction. God wants to be an every day God; He’s interested in every area of your life. Say His name often in your heart, hold awareness of Him close.

Psalm 77: 11-12  I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will remember all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.

Prayer:  Father, help me to want to know you more. Show me how to make time in my busyness to spend time with you. I want to have memories of times you and I share together and talk, memories of your presence in my life. Thank you for wanting to spend time with me. Amen

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How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

5-zac-thinking-school-fall-04

Have you noticed how hard it is to keep New Year’s resolutions? Why is that?  Psychologists have thought maybe it is because people are all caught up in the excitement of starting over.  They want to change their bad habits into good ones, symbolic of the turning of the year; New Beginnings.

Everyone knows that if you keep doing the same thing over and over, you will always have the same results. Time for change, this time, THIS time, I will do (whatever) different.

That ideology makes sense to me so, in light of my—enlightenment– I have determined that what I resolve to do, will be done. This year, I plan to lose weight, save more money and spend more time with Jesus. To achieve my New Year’s goals of losing weight and building my savings account; I will exercise more and eat less, I will save more and spend less.  (rolling my eyeballs) Both plans look so easy on paper.   

Since I’m in control of my thoughts and my actions; I’m the only one that can decide what is changed and then discipline myself so that change happens.  Just like planning a time to go to the gym or planning to save money; to achieve my third goal, I must plan time for Jesus. 

Now, that I acknowledge the goals and have made the plans, on to the hard part. The final step of my New Year’s resolutions is to carry out the plan. When my life is so busy, without the discipline to do the plan; nothing will change.  If nothing changes, I’ll be right here, next year, setting the same goals–again. (siiiigh)

Recognizing the need for change is step one. Making a realistic plan to accomplish that change is step two. Now, the most difficult of all; step three, the discipline of DOING it.  I will set a time to exercise daily, make sensible food choices and arrange to set cash aside in a savings account every pay day. As I actively plan more time for the things of God; I set a time, “this hour of the day,” so my plan is carried out. 

To serve God is not troublesome; like my other goals, it is simply a matter of planning and then, the follow through of doingI’ve noticed that I’m more likely to do the things that are really important to me; an attitude adjustment may be in order.  

This year, as the New Year begins, I’m going to not only plan but do whatever re-arranging is necessary, to keep my New Year’s resolutions. Looks good on paper, feels good to my heart as I read what I just wrote. Carrying out my plan in the business of everyday life—will take discipline.  Lose weight. Save money. Spend time with God. I have the plan. I have the goal. Not starting tomorrow, starting—now.  

John 3:30 He must increase but I must decrease.

Prayer: Father God, help me to cultivate the fruit of self-control. Show me ways that I can discipline my lifestyle to reflect your presence in my life. I love you and want to serve you in every area of my life. Amen.


 

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