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Changes, Progress and Growth

the four seasonsApril 19, 2017 – Changes

Every person will go through many changes in their life. We change from a baby into a toddler, from a toddler to a child, from a child to a preteen, to a teen, to a young adult, to middle age and then to a senior citizen. But we change in many other ways to as we grow older.

Depending on our circumstances, we may change from being poor to having an adequate amount of money or being rich, or we may be born rich and end up changing to a poverty level. We change our ideas, our clothes, our taste in furniture, our cars and even, sometimes our jobs.

We may change our way of thinking and acting from being bitter, angry and cold to being happy, warm and kind or just the reverse. We may at times change our beliefs as well. Maybe you were raised around those who believe in magic, spells, good luck and back luck, or maybe you grew up believing a bunch of old wives tales or old tales of spirits, ghosts and goblins.

I’ve gone through many of the above changes at different times in my life. I fully believe that there is evil out there among us, I have seen it, I have experienced it. That evil had a strong influence on changing my beliefs, because if there was evil, there was also good. The biggest and best change I ever made was accepting Jesus as my savior, my lord and king, my best friend. Today I am thankful for the good changes in my life.

John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

stairsApril 20, 2017 – Progress

I love it when I actually make some progress on something I am doing. Whether it is Spring cleaning, working on my plants or just getting some simple things done around the house, it just feels wonderful to step back and see the progress I have made.

I was the same way when I worked. I was an over achiever in school and at every job I held. I guess you could say that my OCD showed through and sometimes that could create a problem with me with people who didn’t work the same way that I did.

I have watched the progress of others over the years. I have watched my grandchildren progress from the time they were born, and even though I am far away from them now, they still share their progress with me. I have watched most of them growing up and forming good goals as they go.

Sadly to say that most of them have been through some tough times, being separated from family and intervals and being in foster care and group homes that were, for the most part, out to make money instead of really caring for the children. So when I see them progressing toward their goals, it makes me an even prouder grandmother because of the obstacles they are overcoming.

I think the greatest progress in my life, ins the continuing progress in my walk with Christ. Everyday I talk to him, and every day he shows me all the different things he has done for me, now and in the past, and hope for the future. Today I am most thankful for the progress he has helped me achieve in getting to know him better.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

hen and chicksApril 21, 2017 – Growth

We grow from the day of our conception. We grow in our mothers womb until it is time for us to come and meet the world. We grow from infancy to childhood, to teenage mania to young adult to middle age and on to old. We grow in many ways. We will get taller, our hair will grow, sometimes changing color as we get older. Our organ grow, we may get heavier or if we were a chubby child we may get slimmer, but we grow mentally and spiritually as well.

The schools we attend during our major learning years cannot teach us everything we need to know. Our parents can’t teach us everything, and if you are raised in a church, the pastor, teachers and other church leaders cannot teach us everything.

We grow through life experiences and some of the lessons we learn are very hard, but we learn. What we take from our experiences is totally up to us. Some people who grew up in poverty, don’t see themselves going any further than their parents did and others will strike out, work hard and become millionaire.

Some people, raised around domestic violence, crime, drugs and alcohol follow along the path they have seen their elders go, ending up bitter, hateful, violent and abusive. Many will end up in relationships where they are abused or they abuse someone else, others will go on to harsher drugs and more alcohol use than there parents, and still more will find a way to dig out of the cesspool they lived in as children.

I’ve been through a lot in my life, some good, some bad, some very bad and so just so-so. I’ve can easily see the lessons I have learned during my life time, but I have to admit that my eyes weren’t open to the right ones until I was 43, when I accepted Jesus as my savior. From that time on, he has shown me the right lessons I needed to draw from my experiences.

He is the reason I am still alive, the reason I am strong, the reason I go on. I have grown so much more since I accepted him than I ever did in my life before. Today I am thankful for that growth.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

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Death Defeated, Spring has Sprung and Good Friends and Neighbors

EasterApril 16, 2017 – Death Defeated

There have been many times in a lot of peoples life where they feel they have cheated death. I can name several incidents in mine where I cam very close to dying. I thought, for some of them, it was through my own instincts and will to survive that I cheated death. When I became a Christian my eyes were soon opened to the fact that it was not myself who cheated death but the watchful hand of God because he had other plans for me.

He has a vast number of angels, too many to count, that he sends out on special missions. Some are sent to protect, some to deliver a message, and others to urge people to take the right path in life. The Holy spirit is our all time resource for guidance and protection, ever dwelling around us and in us as Jesus promised.

The few times I had a gun pointed at my head, I thought it was my actions or my words with the person holding the gun that caused them not to shoot. When I felt someones hands around my throat, I thought it was my pleading and begging that stopped them from coking me to death. Now I realize that God held their finger off the trigger and loosened their grip on my throat.

A friend of mine was poisoned and had died. They were getting ready to tag him when a women put her hand on his chest and said “we are not giving up on him yet” and his body jumped. Everyone ran around to get him stabilized because his heart had started again, and 15 days later he left the hospital, still alive. We both believe it was an angel sent by God in human form for no one knew her and she disappeared right afterward, never to be seen again.

I’ve read on several occasions of people who were pronounced dead only to start breathing and their heart to start beating within minutes of the pronouncement. These are true miracles, the same kind that Jesus performed while he was here with us in human form. They happen every day but you very rarely hear about them because the News Media would rather post all that is bad with this world.

But, even with all of these miraculous cheats on death, I know of only one who has defeated death, only one who was actually buried and came back to life several day later. That one is Jesus. He is the only one in all of earth’s history beside Lazarus to come from the tomb several days after being buried, and he is the one who brought Lazarus back.

Easter is the celebration of his resurrection. It is the celebration of him defeating death and returning to the living to prove to us all that he is indeed the son of God, that he is indeed the last sacrifice for our sins, that he is indeed the way to eternal love and life. Today I am thankful that Jesus defeated death.

blue butterlyApril 17, 2017 – Spring has Sprung

The Formosa tree in back finally has leaves and blooms on it. The grass has been growing like crazy because of all the rain we have had. The dandelions this year are totally out of control, and almost every tree has new leaves on it.

I saw a monarch flying around the front porch this morning and a yellow butterfly in the back while I was putting out seed for the birds. Yesterday a momma sparrow had two of her young ones down on the deck trying to teach them how to pick up grain. They attempted several times but weren’t quite getting the hang of it so she started putting the food in their mouths.

The doves and robins are back, so are the four cardinals and the four bluejays, who really have kind of hung around most of the winter. Mrs. Beasley seems to want to wait until we lay down for our nap before she comes for her sunflower seeds and this time we got her some peanuts, figuring they would be too big for the birds to take away.

As I sit and look at the patches of blue sky, getting bluer each day, and I listen to the chirping of all the different little birds that like to sit in the bush outside the office window, I have a sense of excitement and peace, at the same time, wash over me. New life has begun and it is so awesome to see it grow. Today I am thankful that Spring has sprung!!

Mrs. BeasleyApril 18, 2017 – Good Friends and Neighbors

When I lived in some of the over populate concrete jungles, which I have done for most of my adult life, I rarely paid much attention to the neighbors. Sometimes it just wasn’t wise to let them know too much about you because of who they were.

For instance, I lived next door to an apartment where the living room window opened into a small, narrow space. Across from there was the neighbors window and in the small space was a ladder going to the roof. I was told that the ladder was there for her sons to get up on the roof and hide whenever the police came looking for them.

In another neighborhood, while living in the front apartment, I found out that the young men living in the back apartment were thieves. They actually vandalism my car because I didn’t want to move it from in front of an abandoned set of garages across the street. It turned out that they were taking their stolen cars in there, late at night, to tear them down. They were actually shot at while out in the store from a gang member across the street because they had broken into his place and stolen some of his gold chains.

Living in this rural town, even though we have a small share of crime, I have been blessed to have people living next to me, who for the most part are friendly, mind their own business and obey the laws. It is quiet here, they don’t do a bunch of partying and they are friendly and respectful to all who live around them.

We have friends at the hospital, who are more like family. Everyone knows us on a first name basis and treat us as if we were having a family visit, talking with us about family gatherings, what their children are doing and how their farms and gardens are going. Some of them even bring in some of their produce to give to us because they have an abundance and want to share.

Even the gentleman who comes to mow and weed eat our yard stops to pass a few moments of his day with us and we have passed little bits of knowledge and information back and forth. It is such a blessing to go to sleep at night, knowing I have nothing to fear from my neighbors and to realize I now have more true friends in my live than I have ever had before. Today I am thankful for good friends and neighbors.

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Happy Feet, Birthdays, The Cross and Three Days

Legs in SPA

April 12, 2017 – Happy Feet

I’ve always used my feet a lot. It seems that no matter where I worked, office, warehouse or on the road, I had to be on my feet a lot. I didn’t have the option of sitting all the time. In the office, on one I had to run up and down two flights of stairs several times to offices on the second floor. In the warehouse, even though I had an office, I had to be out in the ware house looking for items or putting stock away, and on the road I was running in an out of court houses all day.

Even as a child, I loved to use my feet. I loved to run through the woods, jump over things and climb trees. It High school I joined the gymnastic team and again had to use my feet for my routines. My feet have been very important to me.

I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis years ago, but it mostly affected my neck, shoulders and upper back. Recently my feet swelled up like balloons and it took my own research and several doctors an several office visits before I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis can travel through your whole body, not just the joints, but the hands and feet are the two areas that are attacked most often.

While I don’t like to take chemically based prescriptions, in this case they became necessary. While I have adjusted to the not so pleasant side effects, the feet have gotten better. The arthritis couple with gout and plantar fasciitis cause pain almost every morning as soon as my feet hit the floor, but there are those days when I am pain free. I call them my Happy Feet Days. Today I am thankful for the days that I have Happy Feet.

birthday cakeApril 13, 2017 – Birthdays

We are a race of individuals who like to celebrate anything we possibly can. From the minute we are born until the day we die, one of the most important ones to us seem to be our birthday. We tend to spoil our children on that special day, buy special presents for our adult friends and relatives, throw parties, picnics and barbecues and many, who enjoy the spirits will meet at their favorite bars.

For some, the birthday celebration never ends. Even when loved ones pass away, we still celebrate their birthday in remembrance of what they meant to us. We don’t throw the parties or have the picnics, but we will assuredly post a birthday wish on social media or remind other relatives and friends about the date.

When you are young you look forward to those birthdays especially when you turn 18 because it signifies that under the law you are considered an adult and then the 21st rolls around and you are now of the legal age to drink alcohol.

As we age, some of us don’t want to celebrate our birthdays because we are afraid of getting older, because the older we get, the closer we get to death. But, if you know Christ, if you have received him as your savior, you realize that death is just a doorway to a better, longer lasting, healthier and happier life. Each year brings us closer to being with our Lord. Today I am thankful for all the birthdays I can celebrate of those I love, and thankful for the memories of birthdays of those who are gone, and thankful that each of my own birthdays brings me closer to my lord.

EasterApril 14, 2017 – The Cross

The cross has long been a symbol of our saviors death, of his sacrifice for our sins. He gave up his own life as the final sacrifice so we could be forgiven and have the promise of everlasting life with him. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know if someone had come to me and said “you must let your son die in a cruel way, crucified on a cross to save mankind” I would be looking for alternatives.

I am a weak human. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be and I would fight to the death for the lives of those I love, so if someone told me that, I would be trying to negotiate, trying to find another way to save the human race. I would even go so far as to ask God to grant us another way to be saved.

Can you imagine how the author of all love felt, looking down at what his son was going through, seeing him scourged, seeing him whipped and seeing him nailed to the cross. Can you imagine the agony he felt, the pain and suffering he endured as his son endured it? The though of it just breaks my heart, but he did it, he ordered it in order that his other children, us, could be forgiven and have everlasting life with him.

If not for the crucified Jesus on the cross, we could not be forgiven of our sins. We could not live our lives with the promise of eternal life in a new glorified body that would never hurt, never be sick again. We would not have the assurance that we would never have a broken heart, that we would never suffer from a disease, that we would live forever if it wasn’t for the son who was nailed to the cross. Today I am thankful for the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross for my sins.

Jesus 002

Drawing of Angels taking Jesus off the cross by Richard Carter

April 15, 2017 – Three Days

No one knows for sure where Jesus was for three days before he was resurrected. Many believe that he went to Hades to visit the spiritually bound prisoners there, not to preach the gospel to them because they had already made their choice, but to show them the truth, the result and completion of so many prophecies.

For three days he may have laid in that tomb or he may have been about the fathers business elsewhere. Because no one visited the tomb until three days after his death, it may never be known for sure where he was. Three days after his death Mary Magdeline and another came to further prepare his body and he was gone. He appeared a little later to Mary and she ran to the disciples to tell them.

The bible holds a lot of information and a lot of history. It sets the rules by which are to live and how we are to serve God. The coming of Jesus, his ministry, his suffering, his execution and his resurrection were all prophesied long before he actually was born.

I for one do not think it is that important to know exactly where he was for three days, whether he was still in the tomb or in hades or in heaven conversing with the father. What matters is that the prophecies were true. He came to free us from our sins. He died as the final sacrifice and three days later came back to life.

There have been many events where people were pronounced dead and then came back to life, but that was within a few minutes. No human has ever been dead for three days and then resurrected. Today I am thankful for the three days that proved all the prophecies true.

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Simplicity and War Zones

possumApril 10, 2017 – Simplicity

I look around me at this world today and most everything looks difficult. I am not technologically educated. Many of the new techno-geek applications, downloads, uploads and advancements completely baffle me. I can’t even get the Facebook application to load on my cell phone.

Sure, I can operate a computer, I can even clean up the files and reinstall programs, but I don’t have a touch screen, which in a way is good because I would most assuredly hit all the wrong buttons. I don’t have a camera or microphone on this laptop, but I don’t feel the need to take selfies all the time.

I like my life private, I don’t feel the need to get on Facebook every five minutes to let my family, friends or even strangers know what I am doing or thinking. I have better things to do with my life. I don’t need an iPhone or a tablet or any other gizmo that many people use for taking selfies or texting or checking Facebook when they are driving.

Heaven forbid that I would do something like that and possibly take another person life or severely injure them in an accident. When I shut my computer off in the evening and go to watch some television before bedtime, the phone is shut off also. The same thing is a rule if/when I lay down for an afternoon nap.

I close the world out a few times a day. I don’t feel the necessity to always stay on top of every horrible news story, everything my family and friends are saying, playing or posting on social media and read a bunch of chain letters everyone wants me to copy and paste to my status.

When the weather permits, I might walk outside several times and just watch nature. I like watching the actions of the birds, flying from tree to tree, chattering away. I love to watch the sky as white fluffy clouds float by and I like to watch Mrs. Beasley doing her daily rounds, digging for nuts she buried, eating certain leaves off the trees and bounding along the fence line, jumping to the garage roof and on into the neighbors yard.

Life didn’t use to be like this. I had to keep weird hours because of the jobs I worked and taking care of many people. I was at the beck and call of many people for many years almost 24 hours a day. Life was hectic and everything seemed to move very fast. It wasn’t until I retired, took time to sit back, relax and take a nice long breath that I realized I like simplicity better than busyness in my life. Today I am thankful for the simplicity of my life.

old-police-carApril 11, 2017 – War Zones

In 2013 there was an estimated total of 17891 deaths from terrorism

In 2014 – 5,500 civilians died in Iraq in wake of Isis offensive.

In 2014 it was estimated that we were involved in 134 different war efforts even though Congress has never actually declared any of them a war other than the “war on ISIS”, and even then it is still termed as a “War on Terrorism”. Iraq, Afghanistan, Algeria, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen are just a few of the ones on the list where we are either training, supporting or fighting in a war effort. Other sources indicate that we are also involved in supporting one side or another in wars in Indonesia, Thailand, Colombia, Peru, and several countries in Eastern and Central Asia.

But there is war on the American soil also, not just from terrorist threats and attacks. From January to April there have been 875 shootings in the Chicago area and 4368 shootings in the same area in 2016. It has been estimated that 61% of violent deaths in Chicago are caused by gang related violence.

2016  had the highest rate in ten years for homicides for Cleveland at 136 compared to 119 in 2006. Besides the Bloods and Crips, which are in every major city now, Cleveland is known for it’s smaller gangs that control whole neighborhoods and there are new ones being organized all the time. I lived in neighborhoods where you did dare venture out after dark, where your windows were barred and your entry ways were equipped with huge metal doors.

Baltimore, Md ended the year with 318 killings, some from riots, others from homicide and several were innocent victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We know from the news that Baltimore indeed has had some major problems. It has it’s share of gang related neighborhoods and crime as well. It was even rumored that two of the biggest were setting aside their differences to take on the Baltimore Police after the Freddie Gray incident.

All of these figures mentioned are homicides and murders only. Those who survived, those who were assaulted, raped, burglarized or robbed are not listed among these numbers, neither are the numbers of how many died from drug overdoses. These are just a few of the war zones inside our country. Others have to do with differences in nationalities and religions.

We run low in our country on violent crime. There have been only 3 murders in this area since 2001, no known rapes. Most of our crime is related to theft and property theft. A lot of that is more rural as farm equipment is expensive and many farms use chemicals in their farming that can be used in making of certain drugs. We may hear sirens once in awhile at night, and every few days during the day, with the majority of them heading toward the west and involving car accidents on I-49 or shoplifting at Walmart. Today I am thankful I no longer live in a war zone.

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Will Power, Presence and Peace

turtle speed limitApril 7, 2017 – Will Power

There are days in every persons life where they don’t feel like doing anything. Sometimes it is struggle to get up and do the basics like clean the house, get the kiddies off to school and head out for your job. It happens to everyone. It may be as simple as a depression episode, or it might just be that you are worn out and didn’t get the rest that you need. This is the normal for most people.

There is another group of people who find it a struggle to crawl out of bed because of medical issues. Muscular or skeletal diseases can cause deformities and excruciating pain. Couple that with PTSD or the depression that comes with dealing with their disease and taking a multitude of prescription drugs and it is extremely hard for them to cope with just waking up and doing the basics like making the bed or fixing breakfast.

There is a third group of people who don’t get out of bed on their own. They have crippling diseases and their bodies, their extremities just don’t work right anymore. I can only imagine the humiliation, the depression, the PTSD and the pain that they go through, having to depend on someone to do everything for them.

I have a few medical problems, some are hereditary, some are caused from events in the past and others are age related, but I haven’t gotten to that point where I must rely on someone to do everything for me. Some days it is a struggle to make it through the day. Either the pain is at it’s highest or the depression has once again settled in.

It is on those days that I need a truck load of will power to make it through. It is on those days that I force myself to do things as normally as possible. I firmly believe by forcing myself to function as normally as possible I can stave off the time when I will need someone to take care of me. Today I am thankful that the lord made me a strong willed person for I depend on that will power much more now than I have had to early on in life.

Hands holding the worldApril 8, 2017 – Presence

I love to stand out on the back deck and look back out over my back yard. Well I did until recently. The house behind us had seven trees along the fence line, and when they were all leafy and in full bloom, they blocked the house off from each other and you felt like you were standing out in the woods.

Recently another elderly couple moved in there. For some unknown reason, they decided to cut down four of the trees, leaving wide gaps that make their house and our house fully visible to each other. Now don’t get me wrong, I really have nothing against them, I don’t know them, but this is the area where I like to keep to myself. We have had a few short conversations and they seem to want to stay to themselves also, which is fine with me. I’m not a snob, I just have my quiet areas where I can close everything out, and home is one of those places.

I don’t go out back when the neighbors are out because I simply don’t like intrusion in my private life. I get along fine with the neighbors on either side, for they like their privacy also. We wave to each other, say hello and go on about our business. I like my quiet time and my quiet space. It is during those times, when I am able to close out the outside world that I can feel the very presence of the Lord.

Although I was upset at first about the trees being cut down, I have come to realize and remember that God is everywhere. I don’t need a treeline present to feel his presence. He is with me all the time, all I have to do is be quiet and still and let his presence fill me. Today I am thankful that he has shown me his presence is always around me, tree line or not.

missouri riverApril 9, 2017 – Peace

There is a hymn that goes like this “Far away in the depths of my spirit tonight
Rolls a melody sweeter than psalm; In celestial-like strains it unceasingly falls
O’er my soul like an infinite calm. Peace, peace, wonderful peace, Coming down from the Father above! Sweep over my spirit forever, I pray In fathomless billows of love”

I have always loved this song. It is such a great reminder that he will give us peace when we need it, when we desire it, when we ask for it and when it is his will. That wonderful peace that fills your heart, goes deep into your very soul and brings such a calmness to your whole being, physically and emotionally.

God did not promise us euphoria here on earth. Jesus said there would be trials and tribulations. He said we, Christians, would be persecuted, even unto death. Because we live in such a violent, immoral, turbulent world, the atrocities, the crimes, the injustices fall on those who are standing innocently by.

Your life can be filled with agony not of your own making, and it is during those times that Satan rejoices. It is during times of sorrow, tribulation and temptation that he is the busiest, trying hard to get Gods people away from him, so when this peace descends he gets very angry and tries all the more harder to destroy us. Today I am so thankful for the “wonderful peace, coming down from the father above.”

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Anger, In Secret, and Enthusiasm,

anger faceApril 4, 2017 – Anger

There are very few people that I have met that don’t get angry, or do they? It is very possible that they hide their angry moments from others because they know they need to be an example and showing anger is not a very good example.

I have my angry moments. I would be a liar if I said I didn’t, but over the years they have decreased because I have come to realize that the things I got angry about weren’t worth the time and effort. I may have moments where something doesn’t sit just right with me but I avoid those feelings of anger as often as I can.

When you are in constant pain from one condition or another, it is very easy to become tense and to take out your frustrations on others. Doing this can often lead to angry words being tossed back and forth, words that you never had any intention of saying. It is a defense type mechanism that is inherent in almost all humans when they are involved in displeasing and angry situation.

But, by realizing that others are not the reason for your pain and by realizing that you are stressed out and need to get control of it, you can often avoid these anger filled events. If I am feeling bad, I tend to draw away from people for awhile, a tend to try and deal with it on my own

That’s not to say that I have never taken my frustration out on others for I most certainly have, many times, but like any other worthwhile effort, you practice. So for years and ongoing I practice trying to control my frustration, trying not to take it out on innocent parties, and sometimes that is easier if I draw away for a little while.

I do not like the way anger makes me feel. I feel like I am about to explode inside. My heart rate goes up, my face turns red, my breathing becomes labored and I just want to strike out at someone. In my opinion, anger is one of the worst feelings we humans experience. Today I am thankful that the lord has been teaching me over the years to control my anger, to realize there is nothing worth getting angry about and to control the feelings of anger that come with my medical frustrations.

Fantasy trees2222April 5, 2017 – In Secret

We all want God’s blessings and we lift up our hearts in praise when he answers our prayers in the way that we want. We expect him to honor his word that whatever we ask in Christ name, we shall receive, however there is one thing we must do for that to happen, we must have the faith that he will do what he says. He can see your heart, hear your every word, look into your thoughts so he knows if you have enough faith to believe he will honor his word.

I could never, in a thousand years, list all the blessings I have received from the lord. I could never list all the prayers he has answered. Even if they weren’t answered exactly the way I wanted, they were answered according to his will and for the best of all concerned.

But what many don’t realize is that God doesn’t sleep. He doesn’t say “I’ve done enough for today” or “I think I will go on vacation for awhile”. No, he is on the job 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. He is always watching, listening, and acting in our best interests.

But it doesn’t stop at him bestowing the blessings that we expect or ask for, it doesn’t stop when he answers our prayers. He is always working in secret, setting up other blessings, other surprises for us because he loves us so very much. Today I am thankful for all his blessings, but I am also thankful for the secret ones, the ones he does because he loves me, not because I asked.

laughterApril 6, 2017 – Enthusiasm

Merriam Webster describes enthusiasm as a strong excitement of Feeling. Have you observed the enthusiasm of a small child when he/she is at play. Have you seen how excited they get as they put their imagination to work, figuring out puzzles, creating new adventures or discovering something new that they haven’t seen or experienced before.

And, you have probably felt enthusiasm many times in your life. For some people it is finally being approved for their first home or car, for others it might be the early phases of parenthood, and still for others, their enthusiasm is wrapped up in the sports they participate in or watch.

I remember one pastor preaching on a Sunday morning, saying he just couldn’t understand how so many people get so enthusiastic about the Super Bowl but not show one iota of enthusiasm for their God. He was one of the few that I have observed that had sincere enthusiasm for our creator.

Think about it for a minute. We will jump up and down, scream and holler, laugh cry, hug each other, pat each other on the back when we go to a concert or our team makes a touch down, yet we sit in the church pews with a sober look on our face, as if we are enduring some punishment or are bored to tears.

I get enthused about the return of Jesus, every morning when I read my bible. I have often though it would be interesting to watch the tribulation unfold, but I will be in heaven waiting to return with Jesus for the millennium. I can’t for the life of me figure out why Christians are not more enthusiastic about that event. Have we become so material oriented that something that momentous just doesn’t excite us? Today I am thankful for the enthusiasm I feel about Jesus and his return.

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Mercy and Forgiveness, God Everywhere and Money

Christ of the Ozarks

Christ of the Ozarks, Eureka Springs, Arkansas

April 1, 2017 – Mercy and Forgiveness

The very first definition at Dictionary.com for mercy is “compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power; compassion, pity, or benevolence” Example: Have mercy on the poor sinner. Showing mercy is right up there with forgiveness on the list of things that moral, upstanding people should do. These two are also considered some of the hardest actions that we struggle with.

It is hard to forget when someone has wronged you. It is hard to consider showing love and kindness to someone who has hurt you, someone who may even hate you. Whether they spread rumors, were physically, mentally or emotionally abusive, whether they stole from you or caused you financial difficulties of another sort, it is hard for us to let it go.

But think for a moment on how many times God forgives us. Think about how many times he has shown us mercy, how many times he has taken compassion on us when we are hurting or have suffered a loss. He doesn’t keep a list and remind us that he hasn’t forgotten. No, in fact, when we repent with a true heart, those sins are wiped away and will never be brought up to us again, but he does require us to strive to be merciful and forgiving, even to those who have deeply wounded us. Today I am thankful for his mercy and forgiveness.

lighteningApril 2, 2017 – God Everywhere

Thus God hath written himself and his laws very broadly on all that is around us if our poor dull eyes and duller souls could but read what he has set before us” Alleyne Edrickson “The White Company” written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

That just about says it all, doesn’t it. He is here, with us, around us, in us, all the time. You see his mighty power in the lightening and thunder and rain and you feel his softness in the smile of a child or the cuddling of a pet.

You see his creativity in all things related to nature, the way the seasons change, the way the trees and grass grow, the way the flowers bloom, the birds fly and all the other woodland animals go about their daily lives.

You see his beauty in the snow capped mountain peaks and deep, rich valleys. You hear it in the songs of the birds, the chirp of the crickets, the bubbling waters of a stream and the whoosh of the wind. He is in everything and he is everywhere, if we could but open our eyes, ears and hearts we would see him. Today I am thankful that God is everywhere.

moneyApril 3, 2017 – Money

In early biblical times everyone lived on what they could produce, growing their own food, raising their own flocks, making use of the meat to eat and the wool and skins for clothing. They made their own household items, bowls from hollowed out wood or rock or molded in clay, looms from branches and sticks and kitchen items carved out of wood. They made tents from hides and from wool woven on their looms and when they decided to build houses, you made mud, straw and clay bricks.

If they wanted a changed in diet or needed something they didn’t have the skills to make, they would trade some of their home grown goods with another traveler, farmer or herdsman. Communities stayed close and many of them worked the fields and herded the flocks together.

As time passed, the population grew, kings and emperors came and went and each minted their own coins to be used as currency to pay their military and other employees. People learned the value of silver and gold and began using it more and more often to purchase what they needed.

As cities grew and shops and businesses began to spring up, money became increasingly more necessary. The age of barter and trade was coming to an end. From there, over the centuries, each country developed it’s own currency, usually backed by gold and money became part of everyday life.

Today, you cannot acquire much of anything without money. You use it to buy your food, pay your bills, pay for medical expenses, run your car, buy clothes, pay your mortgage or rent. Some people have a lot, some have what is adequate and many never have enough, but for sure, you can’t take your basket of tomatoes to the butcher to trade for steaks. Unfortunately some people worship it, but there are still those who haven’t fallen into that trap

I am not rich, nor do I want to be. I have enough, though. My bills are paid, there is food in the house and I can pay the doctor at my next visit. Today I am thankful for the money that allows me to get the things I need.