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Little Blessings

Little Blessings

The last two years have been pretty hard on us. We had the worst Winter I’ve seen since I moved to this beautiful rural town in 2007. With that weather came an onslaught of problems that we didn’t expect. Beside more emergency room visits for Rich, I was diagnosed with several other problems too and just recently Rich’s mom passed away leaving many broken hearts behind.

Thankfully the car never broke down like the dryer and freezer on the refrigerator did, causing us to have to hang clothes around the house wherever we could find a place, and buying bags of ice every two days to keep our frozen goods from thawing, until we could save a few dollars to buy a freezer.

Yet, we are people who have been through many trials in our lives, often doing with less than most people but always making it through. I learned a long time ago that complaining about your circumstances only make them seem insurmountable and have often reminded myself that no matter what I am going through, there are those going through something worse.

I’ve gained strength, patience and knowledge through all the trials in my life. Through everything it comes down to one final thought: God is in control and he has my back, all will be well at some point in time. It is my hope that my attitude, the way I talk, and the things I do or have done will bring someone to Christ or bring closer to him those who have strayed.

I love to walk out on the back deck early in the morning before it gets so hot you can fry an egg on the hood of the car. The sky is crystal clear, the sun is shining brightly and there is a gentle breeze. If it’s around 7:00, the Baptist church bells ring out a hymn and it reminds me that I belong to the Risen Lord

Missy, the stray that adopted us starts mewing from wherever she is at as soon as she sees me. She wants to make sure I feed her and pet her before I go back in. Sometimes we have long conversations, where I do the talking, she mews a little, and squirms into different positions to make sure I have petted her all over.

The squirrel in the neighbors back yard, sits on the fence and watches us. At other times the cardinals or doves fly down to the railing for a minute, as if to say, we are here too “Good morning”. In the evening, the possum makes it’s tour around the fence line, over to the garage, stopping just for a moment to look up at us before running into the garage because Missy wants to play with her and she isn’t in the mood.

The Robins and Doves over on the Radio Station Hill sit on top of the lines, looking down as we do our laps as if they were our protectors, there to signal us if something isn’t right. The butterflies and dragonflies fly back and forth, landing in the grass near us and have at times actually landed on me as if to say “we want to be your friends too”.

The flowers, the trees, the natural ponds, lakes and streams and even the grass are all part of the natural beauty that the Lord created for our pleasure and enjoyment. I’d much rather be walking down a woodsy path than through any mall in the world. It’s these little blessings, the nature, the love, the kindness of people that matter more than anything else.

Job 12 :7-10 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

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Prayer

Prayer

When I was a little girl, I was taught certain prayers. We were taught the “Lord’s Prayer” in Sunday School and then prayed a little prayer over our food “God is Great, God is Good and we thank him for this Food” . The night time prayer was “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.

It wasn’t until I was in my forties that Jesus called me back to his side. Now I had kept up praying to him all those years, but I never really did anything to improve my relationship with him. I made some huge mistakes and my life was controlled by someone else for almost 20 years, but I know it was through prayers that he delivered me from that situation.

When I went back to church in my forties, I would hear people in the church praying and thought I could never pray like that. I wouldn’t know when to say “thou” or “thee” in my prayers and I didn’t fully understand why some would pray to “Father God” and others would pray to “Jesus” and even some others would ask the “holy Ghost” to have his way.

I learned quickly about the trinity but I was still glad that no one asked me to say the prayer because I was certain that I wouldn’t say it the right way, that I would stumble over my words and people would look at me funny. One Sunday a visiting pastor talked about prayer. He said if you weren’t sure how to pray to just visualize Jesus sitting next to your bed and holding a conversation with you in the same manner that a friend would.

Boy, did that relieve me because I still believed that my prayers were so inadequate that God would ignore them. I was glad to find out there was no set protocol for praying. I found it easy to pray like that and I quickly realized that I could talk to him anywhere I went and I still do.

There are still those that try to say you must pray a certain way, that you must first thank him for his blessings, then ask forgiveness of the sins you committed that day, then pray for all others before praying for yourself, but in some circumstances, especially if you need immediate answers, that just doesn’t work. This method makes some sense but I don’t believe it has to be done in a certain order.

My nightly prayers are an all night event. I usually fall asleep half way through, so every time I wake up to get a drink of water or use the bathroom, I apologize to the Lord and go back to sleep, starting where I left off. I sometimes wonder if he gets tired of my constant prayers, but somehow I doubt it.

Basically there is no wrong way to pray. Of course there are certain things you shouldn’t pray for; anything to do with greed like praying to get rich, win the lottery or get a large inheritance, or anything to do with vengeful acts on another. You shouldn’t pray any kind of selfish prayer because that is not what he wants to hear and that is not how he wants us to act.

There is one more thing I will say about prayer and it’s something that I just learned. When you pray, sometimes you need to pause and listen. Don’t make it such a rushed procedure so you can hurry up and go to sleep. Quick prayers for immediate needs are just fine, but if you are going through a list in your morning or evening prayer, stop once in awhile and listen.

I think sometimes we get in a hurry. We don’t stop to listen, to see if maybe God is sending us a message or answering one of our prayers. Everyday he talks to me and shows me something new. Everyday I learn something more about praising him in my prayers and accepting the answers he decides are the right ones.

In the early morning, when I step out on the back deck and start my morning prayer, there are times when I look around at the beauty of his world, the natural beauty, not what man has made and I smile and I can almost hear him say “I made this all for you my child” and all I can say is “thank you” over and over again.

1 Chronicles 16:11 Look to the Lord and his strength, seek his face always.

Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call on me, and come and pray to me and I will listen to you.

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God is in Control

God is in Control

I know I haven’t posted for a long time. It’s not that I am uninspired, it’s more of a time factor lately. I don’t even know where to start. Phrases like “the light at the end of the tunnel” and “ the path out of the valley” cross my mind but right now I don’t think either one of these apply.

I’ve tried to always be upbeat about most things. I’ve tried to set an example of having a positive outlook for every day. Even when things go wrong, I try to pick out blessings to share and to uplift my spirit also, but this last year often seems like a landslide that just won’t end.

I try not to complain because I know I don’t like when others are always complaining. I try to let God be the one I complain to, no, talk to. This last year has been a long lesson in realizing that no matter what we might say or do, or how we might try to control or change things, in the end “God is in Control”.

There are times in our life where we suffer because we did things our way, we didn’t listen to the prodding of the Holy Spirit, we thought we knew best, and we pay the price for our stubbornness. But there are also times where things happen that are not the results of our own actions.

So many times I’ve read and heard that we are tested. That when things happen that changed up or interfere in the way we normally do things, we are to garner strength and knowledge from them. We are also supposed to be an example to others when we go through these valleys.

This last year has been one of the longest valleys we’ve been through, and we still haven’t seen the pathway out or “the light at the end of the tunnel” and I have asked so many times “Lord, when?” I talk to the Lord many times a day and he has given me strength and patience to help me through these trying times, but if I am to be truthful, lately I’ve wanted to shut out the world, crawl in a hole somewhere and pull it in after me. I know that’s not being a good example.

We’ve missed out on doing “summer” things for the last two years because of health and medical issues and this year isn’t looking all that great either. My garden plot for my container garden is still marked off and waiting and I still would like to get a few more plants for it, but that is low on the list now.

I’m not going to get into all the details of this valley because my goal is not to bring anyone down, but to uplift any that I can. I find blessings in everyday, but sometimes there are those days where I where I just want and end to the valley to be in sight.

The hardest part of this valley was the recent death of a very kind, loving and Godly relative. We watched her go from being vibrant, loving and funny six months ago to having to have someone come in and take care of her three months later, to being bed ridden in two months and then going into an almost comatose state five days before she passed away.

The pain of losing someone you love is like no other pain in the world. It is worse than any medical or physical pain you can feel. Research has shown that medical and physical problems can cause emotional problems like anger, depressions, sorrow and fear, and in reverse these emotions can cause more medical and physical problems. It’s a vicious circle.

I’ve been down this path before, but Ken didn’t suffer as this person did. I don’t understand why the Lord let her suffer the pain she was going through and even in an almost completely comatose condition, she still cried out in pain when they had to bath, change and move her. I think the pain I felt was doubled this time watching other people I care about suffering the same anguish I was feeling, but I know somewhere down the line he will use her death to reach or help someone else.

We are still grieving and we aren’t seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel” or “ the pathway out of the valley” yet. A new and dangerous health condition has presented itself so we are on another journey, trying to stay positive and respond with faith in God. No matter what this may bring, we have come to realize that no matter what the circumstance “God is in control”

I’m believing that he will bring us out of this valley soon, even with the new problems that have come to light because he has seen us through so many valleys before.

I encourage you to remember, no matter what your circumstances, no matter what valley you are going through, if you have received his son “Jesus” , if you believe in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, to look for the blessings in each day, for even when you walk in the valley, they are still there, and he is still beside you and will lead you to the “light at the end of the tunnel” or the “pathway out of the valley”.

If you don’t know the son, now is the time to correct that, by repentence of your sins and just asking him to come in. Revelations 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

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Pain

Jesus PainPain

The medical and research industry has made leaps and bounds in discovering and producing products that will reduce our physical pains. Pain is usually an indicator that something is wrong in our bodies and before we seek pain medications we should find out why we have that pain. Advancements in diagnosing physical and medical problem help the doctors to determine the underlying problems of your pain.

Some pain is associated with aging or diseases that cannot be healed and often there is little to no relief. Even if pain killers are prescribed, you end up on a roller coaster ride, having to take these medications every few hours during the day and/or night. Sadly a lot of these medications have long term side effects that could cause worse problems than the pain you are experiencing. Many people today are researching and finding natural ways to relieve their pain.

Reducing pain makes it easier to get through each day but eliminating it completely may not be a very good idea as increased pain can indicate that a condition has gotten worse or a new condition has presented itself. Pain medications have also been responsible for addictions that people normally wouldn’t have and have been the causes of many drug overdose deaths.

In the spiritual/emotional realm of our lives, we experience other pains such as guilt, fear, anxiety, depression, rage and bitterness. They have discovered and created drugs to numb these types of pain, many of which affect your thinking processes and numb you to what is really happening around you. Some of them are very successful in taking away most emotional responses, leaving you feeling like a zombie of sorts.

In the John Hagee prophecy bible, on page 743, he addresses these types of pain and whether there is any value to having these pains. He says that most of Society, today considers any kind of these pains as bad and must be abolished for a person to remain healthy. Take at look at what he says.

True guilt indicates a conscience sensitive to sin. Fear prepares for a flight from danger or effort to overcome an obstacle. Anxiety indicates a person needs to reassess his trust in God. Depression is a warning that life has become a burden and either the weight needs to be lightened or help is needed to bear it. Rage suggests that a person has lost perspective and begun taking too much of life as a personal attack. Bitterness means that rage is hardening into a defensive, hostile attitude toward people and circumstances.”

These pains, like their physical counterparts, indicate that something is wrong. Action needs to be taken to alleviate these pains and get life back into a forgiven, peaceful, hopeful, patient and loving zone. Without the pains we couldn’t take advantage of the pleasures God gives us.”

My life has been a roller coaster ride of pain, starting in early childhood and continuing on through my life now, both emotional, spiritual and physical. But I have learned over the years to pay attention to that pain. If I have a new pain, I don’t automatically run for a pain killer. I assess it. Where is it at, how long does it last, does it seem to continue? I also research it to see if it is related to any of the medical conditions I already have and if necessary, if the pain lingers, I see the doctor.

But when it comes to my spiritual pain, that is another matter. I’ve learned some valuable lessons about my spiritual pain. I’m not perfect, nor will I ever be. I experience all of the emotional/spiritual pains described above at different times in my life and I have learned that I need to face them head-on.

When I feel those pains coming on, I contact my healer to help me through them. He is always on call, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and you don’t have to leave a message with his answering service and wait for him to call you back. He is always taking on new patients and the fee is simple. It won’t cost you an arm and a leg and you won’t have to take a bunch of medications, but it will take a commitment on your part. His name is Jesus.

Psalm 50:15 Call to me in times of trouble. I will save you, and you will honor me.”

Revelations 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

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Tomorrow

EasterTomorrow

Tomorrow is a very special day. No, it’s not the birthday of any President or any other Politician. Its not a summer holiday like Memorial day or the 4th of July, it isn’t a Harvest celebration and it’s not the first day of school, but it is a day that we celebrate freedom, our most important freedom. We remember different wars and battles that have insured our freedom as a nation, but this man insured a freedom that no battle or war could, the freedom from sin with the promise of eternal life.

Over 2000 years ago an innocent man was convicted of crimes he did not commit and sentenced to die. You may wonder why we would celebrate the death of this individual for the three days, from the day of his death until tomorrow, the day that he was to be the only one to defeat death and rise from the grave. We celebrate this man because of who was and who he still is.

This man felt pain, suffered grief, anger and humiliation at the hands of his accusers before he was nailed to the cross. He felt love and he felt kinship and he felt sorrow. He was spit on, cursed, and ridiculed, and lied about. He was whipped with a cat of nine tails, a whip that had sharp objects attached to leather strands, that when used on a person, literally ripped the skin from their bodies. It is said that as he carried that cross, you could see his lungs drawing in a letting out air through the bloody mess of his back.

As he hung upon that cross, he didn’t cuss and swear and yell at his executioners. He didn’t cry and beg to be taken down. He didn’t demand any last requests or a last meal. No, instead he hung there in pain and asked that his executioners be forgiven because they still didn’t understand what they were doing.

Luke 23:24 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.

As he mouthed the words “It is finished”, the curtain in the Holy of Holies was torn from the top to the bottom, and the earth gave a world wide shutter that was felt in every place. The clouds blocked out the sun and many people shrunk in terror over the sudden change in the air, most still not realizing what the cause was. At the moment, even one of the soldiers who was involved his execution looked up and remarked “surely this was a righteous man”.

Luke 23: 44-48 And it was about the sixth hour and ther was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. And when Jesus cried out with a loud voice “father, into they hands I commend my spirit and having said thise he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying “certainly this was a righteous man” And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts and returned.

Jesus died for our sins, but he rose on the third day, defeating death and now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for our sins. He doesn’t look down on us with anger. He doesn’t look down on human-kind with thoughts of vengeance over being wrongly executed. No, he looks down on us with love, and he stands by our side to strengthen us, to help us when times are rough and he lives within us, guiding us as we go through this life. All he asks in return is that we believe in him, love him and share him. That we, humans with an inherent sin nature, do the best that we can to live as he has said we should.

We celebrate the fact that our sins can be forgiven through belief and love for this man, and we stand on his promise that some day he is coming back to take us to eternal life, eternal utopia, a place of love with no hate, no sorrow, no illness and no grief and no sin and no looking back.

If you celebrate this day with the other millions that do so, celebrate it for what it is, not for Easter Egg Hunts, not for a family dinner, not for a BBQ, not for a day off work, but for the fact that he died for us and will return for us some day.

If you don’t know him, there is no better time than now to talk to him, to ask forgiveness of your sins, to allow him to come into your heart an take over your life. I had a person tell one time that he would go to church and seek Christ late in life, that this was what you did when you got old. Tomorrow is never promised and tomorrow may be too late.

Happy Easter

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Are You Ready?

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Are You Ready

We go through a lot of “Are You Ready” times in our lives. Some of these are times that we have to make life changing decisions, like are you ready to go to college, are you ready to fall in love, are you ready for marriage, are you ready for children, are you ready to change jobs, are you ready to buy that new house or that new car.

Some of these decisions make a huge difference that could last a life time, and those who think logically or were raised to balance out what needs to be done don’t make these decisions lightly. Good parents try to teach their children as they are growing up how to make good decisions.

Not everyone is raised that way. My parents mostly raised me under the “do as I say, not as I do rule”. There were times that they lied to me and times that I found out later, they tried to cheat me out of something that belonged solely to me.

I learned most of what I know on my own and I made some very bad decisions, some that I still pay for today, some that come back to haunt me and make wonder why I wasn’t a little smarter, why I jumped into things head first.

Don’t get me wrong, I was considered pretty intelligent but that was only academically. I was the original “Nerd” who got all the awards that were handed out in homeroom every six weeks. Honor Roll, Merit Roll, Citizenship, and Deans list were just a few.

Even after all my mistakes, when I was on the road to healing emotionally after almost 20 years in an abusive relationships, I still made the Honor Roll, Merit Roll, Deans List and Citizenship in the College I attended. I even got an award, and I was the only one in my class that received it “Over Coming Odds.”

You can be genius academically, but that isn’t going to help you with real life outside of your job. You need to have a different and instinctive knowledge to live in the outside world. There are pitfalls and black holes around every corner that want to suck you in and never let you go. My parents never talked to me or taught me anything about these and there was no class that I took that taught it.

I’ve been through a lot in my life, and from everything I have become stronger and wiser. The biggest lesson I learned is that I needed Jesus in my life. Once I realized that and accepted him it was like I stepped off this planet onto another.

This world is crazy, and it is getting crazier each day. Politics has become a war and not about getting people in office who really want to see this country and it’s people do better, and sadly that seems to be the case in most other countries, some of which still live under a dictatorship. Crime, war, and violence have reached unheard of levels. Families, neighbors and leaders turn on each other on a daily basis and the laws that once protected us change on a daily basis.

There will come a day when Jesus takes his believer to heaven with him. After that there will be seven years of tribulation. More violent, more devastating than anything we have ever seen on this earth before.

Now is the time for one of those “Are You Ready Moments”. Are you ready for Jesus return? Are you ready to to be raptured to heaven with Jesus and all the other believers or will it take the 7 year tribulation to awake you?

Matthew 10: 35-36 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

Matthew 24:21 – For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

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Where Do You Find It?

peace

Photo by Cindy Aldridge, Missouri

Where do You Find It?

It’s not in your closet or under your bed. You won’t find it in the kitchen, living room, bedroom or den. You will be wasting your time and energy if you go looking in the attic, down in the basement, or in the trunk of the car.

It is not on a shelf at the local store and no convenience store or gas station carries it in their stock. Your neighbors don’t have yours and you can’t get it from you mother, father, sisters or brothers or even your best friend. Your doctor or dentist doesn’t have yours either.

Look as you will, you won’t find it in a box, or a chest or any other storage place. You can’t just call someone for it and it cannot be ordered to be delivered at your door. Your co-workers might have their own but they won’t have yours. Some people find more of it when they are alone and some claim to get theirs out in nature. Others find theirs in the pages of a book while other find it in a song, and some find theirs in prayer.

It’s free for the taking, it’s actually a gift. It’s non-transferable, non-returnable, it’s something you must keep, you can’t give it to others although you may at some point be able to help others find theirs. You can’t buy this anywhere nor can you lend it to someone else.

No one can take yours away although they can disrupt it but only if you allow them to. The true form comes from only one place although there are some who claim to have acquired it on their own. What is it? It’s peace, the only true peace that is offered to us through knowing Christ.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Colossians 3:15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.